Wasn’t That A Party? But No More

In the post-pandemic world of travel, GlobalData says that party package holidays may suffer as young generations turn to adventure holidays.

Even before the pandemic arrived, GlobalData reports that party package holidays were in decline, both in terms of demand and supply.

And it notes that fears of infection and the process of organizing group travel will further delay recovery, pointing out that it is likely that demand will never fully return as both individuals and destinations are drifting away from this party concept.

Johanna Bonhill-Smith, travel & tourism analyst at GlobalData, observes: “Operators and destinations that typically cater to the ‘mass party concept’ need to carefully reconsider their product and promotion in a post-COVID era amid changing consumer behaviors. Party holidays are now less desired by young generations and destinations in post-pandemic travel.”

In its 2019 third quarter consumer survey, GlobalData found that respondents aged between 16 to 24 and 25 to 34 covering Gen Z and millennials were the most likely to take an alternative holiday with a specialized focus on areas such as adventure/sport, wellness/medical, sustainability, gastronomy and culture than their older counterparts.

So, it was already clear that these generations desired more authentic and transformational travel experiences pre-pandemic.

Said Bonhill-Smith: “This is far different to an alcohol-filled getaway that has been typically associated with younger generations in the past. Holidays for 18 to 30 year olds typically catered for those that were not married and on the search for ‘sun, sand and sea’, not particularly featuring the authenticity or culture of a destination in their visit.”

Many destinations that were once known as ‘party havens’ have adjusted their tourism strategies to appeal to more responsible travellers post-COVID-19. Examples can be found in actions from respective destination marketing organizations (DMOs) in Amsterdam, Prague, Mallorca and Barcelona, that are aiming to adjust their destination images encouraging more sustainable tourism post-COVID-19.

Bonhill-Smith points out that: “COVID-19 has accelerated many changes for the travel sector. Party package holidays were already declining in both demand and supply pre-pandemic and therefore this is another area where COVID-19 is likely to have accelerated change. The re-opening of venues that hold mass crowds including nightclubs, events and festivals remains uncertain. Thailand’s Bangkok is recognized as an ultimate party destination, but the government recently closed 196 nightlife venues throughout April amid a new cluster of COVID-19 cases. While this move is not permanent, demand for nightlife is likely to be reduced in the longer term due to ongoing fears around COVID-19.”

And Bonhill-Smith concluded: “Many destinations are simply focusing on how to resume domestic and international travel safely. The concept of holding mass groups of boozy tourists, all adhering to social distancing rules seems extremely uncertain and potentially off-putting for destinations, meaning the recovery of this type of tourism is unlikely for the foreseeable future.”