OM Dark Sky Park & Observatory, Northern Ireland – courtesy of OM Dark Sky
When it comes to travel, over a third of European consumers consider themselves more adventurous than 5 years ago.
Tour operators continue to report growing demand for solo travel in 2023 with 1 in 4 UK travellers considering a trip alone, while in the US, 42% of 18-34s are planning a solo vacation.
Consumers are also taking shorter, more frequent trips to explore destinations closer to home. Staycations and micro-cations have evolved to ‘multi-microcations’ and ‘pay-cations’, according to Allianz, driven by cost constraints, limited time off, and the desire to explore more destinations per year. 1 in 3 US consumers prioritise multiple short trips over big vacations.
As our populations are becoming more diverse, we are also seeing a rising interest in heritage travel, which brings travellers closer to their ancestral roots and cultural heritage. The sector is projected to see a CAGR of almost 4% between 2022 and 2030 with 1 in 3 Americans believing it is a meaningful way to travel.
Wellness and mental health continue to play an important role in travel plans, particularly for younger travellers.
61% of Gen Zs and Millennials prioritise travel that focus on personal wellness in 2023 with 46% of Expedia customers saying they are more open to wellness breaks than ever before. The company’s search data shows a growing interest in ‘sober curious’ travel and meditative experiences, such as forest bathing which is further proof of how traveller mindsets are evolving.
Oaxaca experiences led by the Zapotec community – courtesy of Liliana Palma Santos
Brands are appealing to consumers’ adventurous sensibilities while helping them connect with nature, art, and culture on their trips.
Growing interest in Astro-tourism while staying firmly on Earth has led to increased popularity of Certified Dark Sky Places around the globe. As a result, International DarkSky Places has introduced a new hospitality industry certification for campsites and resorts, DarkSky Resorts.
For those not wanting to pitch a tent, the Stargazing Concierge at Sandals Dunn’s River is guiding guests around the Caribbean sky from the rooftop of their villa.
Bringing visitors closer to genuine indigenous Oaxacan art and culture, Liliana Palma Santos connects people with local artisans, businesses, and ancient sites – ensuring that the growing popularity of the region also benefits the wellbeing of the local community.
The city of Brussels has also recognised the wellbeing benefits of art and culture by introducing hospital-issued ‘museum prescriptions’ to aid recovery from mental health disorders, while the Royal Mansour Hotel, Marrakech, offers art therapy for guests to reconnect with their inner selves while learning traditional crafts like pottery, weaving, and beading.
Brands are also breathing new life into established trends to appeal to specific audiences, life stages, or health concerns: The Goodwood Hotel, Sussex, has introduced a regular Menopause Retreat, while Kamalaya Koh Samui’s Wellbeing Sabbatical allows long-stay guests to improve their wellness and work on their passion projects at the same time.
Wildflower Farms, Auberge Resorts, Hudson Valley – courtesy of Ward + Gray
New hospitality concepts are putting nature, emotional wellbeing, and ancestral culture at the heart of their design and proposition, helping travellers to slow down.
Recognising consumers’ desire to reconnect with nature, Auberge’s Wildflower Farms is focusing on ‘rewilding for humans’, helping guests create a deeper connection with the surrounding environment through its nature-inspired interior design and slow wellness approach, which is reflected in its seasonal spa design.
New adults only wellness resort Pnoé Breathing Life is building its brand around the pillars of Life, Vitality and Presence, and its debut property in Crete was designed as “a space to come up for a breath of air”, while the hotel layout was devised to ‘feel like a big hug’.
The design concept for Palm Heights’ The Garden Club moved the new spa away from individual, solitary experiences and instead took inspiration from communal wellness cultures of Turkey, Korea, Italy, and South Africa, where wellness is a social practice and bathing rituals take place in social spaces.
Embracing ancestral wisdom and nature immersion, Ancestral HandMade Hotels is a new regenerative wellness hotel concept focused on traditional healing practices and collaboration with local communities. Its first site is in the works in Medellín, Colombia, using sustainable, biophilic design approaches.
For travellers seeking out more nomadic adventures, the Lightship L1 travel trailer combines sleek, futuristic design with an ambition to lower the environmental impact of camping trips. Who said camping couldn’t be chic?
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