The travel sector is recovering. International tourist arrivals are expected to reach “between 80% and 95% of their pre-pandemic levels” in 2023, according to the UNWTO.
Beyond the figures, what trends are emerging this year, and even up to 2030? Armelle Solelhac, CEO of the strategy and forecasting agency Switch, identifies 8 trends and shares them with the 45 decision-makers attending the Net Managers conference in La Plagne from 22 to 25 January.
1. From mass tourism to space tourism
The reinvention of tourism involves issues related to over-tourism, digital technology, and prices, Armelle Solelhac explains in her introduction. “We will have mass and virtual tourism, which can be practiced in a lounge (at a lower cost) via the metaverse for example.” An immobile or almost immobile tourism, with limited human interaction.
Space tourism, both physical and niche, will develop, motivated by the search for unspoiled places.
2. A frictionless world
64% of consumers believe that customer experience is more important than price. And 51% of customers will no longer go to a destination or use a brand after a negative experience. In mobility, “we don’t know how to manage the last 100 kilometers, or even the last 5 before arriving in a mountain resort”, adds the specialist. This means no break in the load, while ski customers have particularly bulky luggage. Hence the importance of integrating mobility solutions into existing infrastructures.
3. Hyper tourism
“It’s a trend that shows that the tourist experience tends to be binary. On the one hand, we are hyper-connected, especially with our smartphones, and on the other, we are hyper-disconnected”. Hyper disconnection, which is particularly strong in the outdoor sector but also at Club Med with its connected bracelets, has its corollary: the rise of digital detox stays, which allow a return to oneself and a reunion with one’s tribe. “These holidays are very popular, sometimes with quite incredible prices. Like this trip to the Turks and Caicos Islands, “from 840 euros per night”, without TV or connected devices. The phones are confiscated on arrival, and offenders are fined at the end of the trip. It’s an experience punctuated with a lot of searching for inactivity and silence, for people who strongly need to unplug and escape.”
4. Tourism anytime, anywhere
Staycation, slow tourism, local tourism, beisure… All these terms refer to slower tourism, closer to home. The Staycation platform is the embodiment of this. Bleisure has the advantage of extending the length of a stay. “This is a real future topic for mountain resorts.”
5. Green tourism
According to a Booking.com study, 68% of tourists worldwide say they prefer to go to eco-responsible destinations,” says Armelle Solelhac. And 87% of travelers say they would prefer to travel in a way that would reduce their impact on the environment. On the theme of “green” tourism, sometimes accused of greenwashing, the founder of Switch cites the American hotel and resort chain Outrigger, which invites travelers to a coral planting activity for $100. “This activity generates repeat business, and guests want to see a year later if the cuttings have taken. In this CSR approach, some travel actors go as far as B Corp certification, such as the travel agency Intrepid Travel, and the French platforms Evaneos and HomeExchange.
6. The ‘micro’ tourism
“Minimalism is more and more in tune with the times.” This is the spirit of Chilowé, Explora Project, Helloways, and the “Tiny House” style micro-houses.
Three examples illustrate this micro-tourism :
- First of all, the platform of unusual accommodation Abracadaroom.
- Secondly, the micro-festival in Liège, Belgium, is reserved for 2000 people.
- Finally, the Micro-Folie concept, which is a “digitized museum” of works from national museums (Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, etc.), traveling from village to village.
7. Emergency tourism
This seventh trend has two sub-categories: ‘last chance’ tourism and Travel Revenge, which is expected to wane by 2023. Emergency tourism is when visitors want to see endangered sites or species.
“Pompeii is being digitized and some parts of the site will soon be closed to the public,” warns Armelle Solelhac.
This raises ethical and schizophrenic questions. Tourism around the coral reef in Australia can contribute to the deterioration of the sea bed if it is excessive. But “the income from tourism around the coral reef in Australia makes it possible to raise awareness and carry out protection actions.
8. Regenerative tourism
The idea, and indeed the ideal, is for travelers to leave the place they visited in a better state than they found it, by getting involved in the preservation of local resources.
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