WTM Global Travel Report: Holidaymakers abandon sun loungers for experiences

Monday, November 6, 2023



The WTM Global Travel Report, unveiled at WTM London 2023, highlights a significant shift in the preferences of holidaymakers. Sun loungers are being forsaken for a desire to explore nature, savor culinary delights, and embrace wellness experiences, reflecting an increasing demand for unique and authentic encounters while traveling.

Based on social listening data curated by tourism intelligence specialist Mabrian, the report reveals that experiential activities such as wellness, nature, and food tourism have seen remarkable growth, with a 10% increase compared to 2019. Traditional activities like sunbathing have become less significant motivations for travelers in contrast to previous years.

People are increasingly seeking meaningful, in-person experiences as a way to reconnect in an increasingly digital world, turning these experiences into the very essence of travel.

Moreover, climate change is becoming a more influential factor in holiday destination choices and timing. Data from the European Travel Commission in 2023 indicates that the popularity of Mediterranean destinations dropped by 10% compared to 2022, partially influenced by weather perceptions. The climate crisis is also driving trends towards fewer but longer long-haul trips and an increased interest in local, short-haul trips, as well as a growing demand for volunteerism and engagement with local communities.

The report also highlights the growing middle class in emerging economies like China, India, and Indonesia, which is driving new travel trends based on diverse demographics and cultural preferences. China, in particular, is poised to double its “traveling class” over the next decade, with substantial growth potential in India and Indonesia.

Intriguingly, the report notes a resurgence in the demand for travel agents as consumers seek assistance in crafting unique and memorable travel experiences.

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