A year of meaningful travel
Managing Director of North America
At TourRadar, we predict 2020 is going to be the year of meaningful travel.
With stresses like workplace burnout becoming more prevalent and talked about, especially among millennials, people are already starting to look at travel as a solution, and searching for opportunities that help them disconnect and completely immerse themselves in a local experience.
People are discovering the physical and mental health benefits of taking a break from their usual routine and the increasing pressures of work and daily life, understanding that shortening or eliminating vacation can actually lead to burnout and lower productivity. Turning to travel as a way to facilitate this break means taking longer, more immersive trips that are focused on a local experience. In the past, we’ve seen travellers try to get to as many destinations as possible during their trip, hitting the main tourist areas and eagerly trying to check attractions, cities, even countries off their bucket lists in a short amount of time. Now, we’re seeing a consumer shift where people are focused on being more conscious, deliberate travellers, thus making their travel more meaningful.
With this shift, we see a few specific trends taking hold next year:
THE RISE OF THE LOCALIZED WANDERER
In a 2019 TourRadar customer survey, 70% of respondents said they would pay more for a tour that supports local culture and people. In 2020, travellers will be putting their money where their mouth is, and booking more trips where they can interact with communities, stay with local families, and fully immerse themselves in the local culture of their destination. This will affect which the destinations travellers choose, and how they plan on experiencing them. It also means more people will book trips to smaller towns or destinations where tourists frequent less, so they can interact with locals instead of other travellers. Hopefully, this will help combat overtourism that has plagued so many of the world’s tourism “hot spots.” It will also impact how travellers plan their trip as they book tours and activities that bring them as close to the local food, music or art scene as possible.
HIGHER FOCUS ON LOWER IMPACT
In our 2019 customer survey, 60% of respondents said they would choose to spend more on a trip that was deemed environmentally friendly. We’ve seen this become a trend on both the client and the provider side, as more travellers choose trips that rely less on emissions, like sailing or cycling excursions, as well as more operators offering customers the ability to purchase carbon offsets for their trips. In 2020, we will also see an increase of bookings of trips that depend on alternative transportation once in-destination, such as buses or trains, as opposed to renting cars or taking short flights.
THE URBAN DETOX
We know that getting into nature is one of the biggest stress busters for things like workplace burnout. At TourRadar, we’re seeing a substantial increase in tours that get people out of urban centres and more into nature, particularly through immersive experiences like hiking, trekking and safaris. In 2020, this focus on nature-focused trips will continue to increase as travellers seek specific ways to make their experiences as meaningful and impactful as possible.