The travel trends 2020
2019 saw business travelers beginning to incorporate an element of leisure into their work trips, and this will take a big leap forward in the year ahead. According to SAP Concur travel and expense data, bleisure travelers reported 18% higher levels of satisfaction with their quality of life compared to those business travelers who chose not to arrive a few days early or prolong their stay to either relax or explore. Set on the private island of Isola delle Rose and just a few minutes by boat across the lagoon to St. Mark’s Square, the JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa offers the seclusion often required for high level business meetings, as well as proximity to the sights.
Choosing to explore lesser-known destinations, in an effort to reduce over-tourism and protect the environment, will take off in 2020. Identifying off-the-beaten-track spots and little-known destinations in search of authentic and unique travel experiences will be an option travelers will turn to once they’ve ticked items off their bucket lists. The cyclist-friendly oasis of Ljubljana in Slovenia was named European Green Capital in 2016 and offers all the charm of a small capital escape. It’s also said to be proving popular with Italian tourists looking for culinary-focused breaks, so that’s saying something.
These days travelers want to go home with more than just a suntan and a few souvenirs from a local market. Learning a new skill during a vacation is also moving up our list of priorities, and tour operators, hotels and resorts are making a conscious effort to meet the increasing demand. The five-star Santiburi resort on the island of Koh Samui in Thailand prides itself on offering its guests an opportunity to indulge in activities with the local community. Learning ancient secrets of natural herbal remedies through a guided history, demonstrations and make-your-own workshops is one of the most popular experiences on their upskilling program.
Taking a more responsible and eco-conscious approach to our daily lives is inevitably influencing our travel choices, too. Tour operators are finding that global travelers are more likely to book accommodation that has green credentials, with schemes to combat climate change and preserve local ecosystems now something guests will expect and actively support. For example, glamping specialist Canopy & Stars plans to plant a million trees by 2025. Eco-conscious travelers, particularly millennials, will give greater consideration to destinations closer to home, as well as to alternative means of transportation, to reduce the carbon footprint of their holidays. The Mandala Hotel in Berlin has a zero waste philosophy, sending zero waste to landfills and working strictly with local suppliers to reduce the distances needed for its products to get to the hotel.
The solo travel market is growing. A multitude of statistics and recent reports over the past 12 months suggest it’s no longer just a niche pursuit. For example, more than half the people taking trips with Intrepid Travel – some 75,000 a year – are now traveling alone. A survey conducted by hotel booking site Agoda has also found that European and US-based travelers are more likely to indulge in solo travel for longer periods of time. For solo travelers seeking an adventure that doesn’t involve a sleeping bag and a bonfire, the Panorama Glass Lodge, less than a 40-minute drive north of Reykjavik could be the answer. The tiny, yet plush Scandinavian glass cabin igloos offer unimpeded views of Iceland’s iconic night skies – and you won’t even have to leave your bed to enjoy them.
Mental wellness retreats
According to a recent study by Expedia, over 80% of global travelers already take trips where mental wellness is their primary goal, with this figure predicted to increase. The Global Wellness Institute anticipates that wellness tourism, the industry’s fastest growing sector, will rise to a staggering $800 billion by 2020, in line with our continued pursuit to enhance our state of physical and mental well-being. The multi-award-winning Vilalara Longevity Thalassa & Medical Spa on Portugal’s Algarve offers three-day programs that teach guests how to integrate mindfulness into their daily lives – one of a vast number of retreats tackling stress, weight loss and detox.
Have you always wanted to be an astronaut? Earlier this year Nasa announced it would welcome tourists or ‘private astronauts’ to the International Space Station for the first time, for up to one month. Nasa would require $35,000 a day for each visitor, to cover essentials like food and medical supplies. The transport costs, however, will run into millions of dollars. If that’s out of your price bracket, there is an alternative worth considering. The Adult Space Academy in Alabama offers weekend packages that allow visitors a chance to experience hands-on roles in interactive space missions and to even launch their own rocket.
Women’s travel – whether it be soft adventure trips or luxury girls’ getaways are on the rise, along with couples choosing to travel with like-minded friends, and multi-generational group travel that sees the whole family sharing a vacation. The luxury self-catering Lochside Lodges overlook the Loch of the Lowes in Scotland’s Ayrshire countryside and sleep 8–18 people. They also come with a hot tub. The proximity of the lodges means that while families can have some privacy, the grandparents can be close enough to lend a helping hand.
In 2020, travelers will continue to look for ways to explore popular destinations without experiencing the prohibitive crowding associated with taking trips during summer holidays. For example, the best time to visit San Francisco is actually from September to November, when the temperatures are at their warmest and there are fewer tourists. You may be able to upscale your accommodation choices, too. Luxurious hotels like the palatial Fairmont San Francisco on Nob Hill, that might be beyond your budget during peak season, may be more affordable when there’s less demand.
Published: December 16, 2019