News and Insights

Expert Guide to Travel Trends this Global Tourism Resilience Day

February 16, 2024

In February 2023 the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution to adopt February 17th as Global Tourism Resilience Day. The annual day is set to emphasize the need to foster resilient tourism development and to celebrate and share the best of product diversification in sustainable tourism that aligns to the SDG’s.

We asked some of our global office clients for their predictions and innovations that we could share on Global Tourism Resilience Day. Here is what they had to say about the future of tourism in 2024 and beyond…

A shift to shoulder season

With European summers hotting up like never before, the traditional ‘summer holiday’ may be shifting further away from the peak summer months. Our client, Intrepid Travel saw a significant rise in travelers booking outside of July and August, with a 61% increase in shoulder season bookings to Western Europe and a 29% increase in Southern Europe in 2023.

Zina Bencheikh Managing Director (EMEA) at Intrepid Travel said: “We’ve upped the number of shoulder season departures to popular destinations like Italy, France, Spain and Portugal this year by 47% in April and 27% in October and are introducing new trips in top destinations like Greece.

“We’ve heard from our customers that traveling in the shoulder seasons brings them a better travel experience. Not only are there cooler more comfortable temperatures, but there are also fewer crowds in cities and hotspots.”

Paul Muir, President of the NY International Travel Show has also seen travel patterns changing. He said: “Over-tourism is making travelers more reflective on where they will travel, causing some destinations to encourage a new mindset on traditional travel patterns from high-season to other times of the year and to lesser-known places to lower the eco-impact of too many people traveling at the same time to the same places.”

Authentic experiences

Beyond sustainability, it’s clear that authentic experiences are key for 2024. Connecting with local communities and learning about the local culture is a trend many of our clients outlined for the year ahead.

David Goldstein, CEO of Travel Alberta, believes authenticity is important to travelers in 2024. He said: “For us, we are not trying to chase the essence of other destinations – we are forming our own. Main case in point, our historic partnership and investment in authentic indigenous experiences.”

Dean Winter, Managing Director at Swire Hotels has also seen a keen interest from guests looking for authentic experiences whilst staying at Swire’s properties across Hong Kong and mainland China. He said: “We have engaged our guests more through community-driven activities whilst supporting local, homegrown brands. For instance, we have launched a series of homegrown F&B driven pop-ups and have an ongoing partnership with local animal charity in Hong Kong, LAP, to host puppy adoption days and dog yoga in our gardens.”

Tom Santora Chief Commercial Officer at Coury Hospitality is also predicting a growing trend for authenticity when it comes to culinary experiences. He believes hotel restaurants are no longer just places to dine, but need to be vibrant hubs that go beyond the ordinary and immerse themselves in local culture. He said: “The focal point must shift toward restaurants becoming the heartbeat of the hotel by presenting innovative dishes paired with a diverse range of entertainment. This creates the ‘quintessential living room experience,’ inviting both locals and travellers to fully immerse themselves in an authentic representation of local culture.”

Non-invasive tourism

For Anomien Smith, Creative Director and Principle at Luxury Frontiers, the goal of ‘leaving no trace’ and minimizing environmental impact on the hospitality industry is hugely important in 2024. When it comes to Luxury Frontier sites she said: “A non-invasive approach to design not only respects the ecological integrity of the site but also creates an immersive experience for guests, where they can truly connect with the environment. By harmoniously weaving the natural elements into the architectural fabric, the projects become living tributes to the site’s heritage and the enduring appreciation of its beauty by both the past and present generations.”

With travellers more focused on sustainability than ever before, Anomien believes key sustainable practices will not only help preserve the environment but also appeal to environmentally conscious travellers who prioritise staying at environmentally responsible locations.

Wellness travel

With our physical and mental wellbeing coming into sharp focus over the last few years, wellness travel is a trend that’s going nowhere in 2024 according to our clients. Tom Calame Area General Manager and Managing Director at Kyo-ya Hotels Hawaii is embracing the trend of healthy living and capitalizing on Hawaii’s year-round sunshine.

He said: “From oceanfront yoga sessions to embracing local Hawaiian traditions such as “Talk Story with Tutu” and weekly Hiuwai and Hoala morning rituals, our resorts prioritize authentic connections with the surroundings, ensuring a memorable stay rooted in wellness and cultural immersion.”

With varying insights across the industry, there is one thing our clients all agree on – travel is booming.

Anita Mendiratta, strategic advisor and author of “The Call to Leadership” said on 2024: “Finally the global travel and tourism community can look to a year of confident industry recovery.”

After the last few years of uncertainty, travelers are certainly keen to get back to travel like never before, although according to our experts, in more measured and environmentally conscious ways.

TAGS: Travel & Tourism