2024 is set to build upon the tourism growth seen in 2023 with Skyscanner finding that 80% of travellers intend to take the same number, or more, trips next year.

As we begin to say goodbye to 2023 it’s time to look forward to the tourism trends that will be at the forefront of travel in the new year.

The WTM’s Global Travel Report found that “2024 is expected to see a return towards greater diversity in travellers’ leisure choices which presents opportunities for global destinations”. The number of travellers looking for authentic and cultural experiences is likely to cause an increase in experience bookings.

2023 has already laid the foundation for this movement with Mastercard’s Economics Institute, Travel Report finding that spending on experiences was up 65% compared to 2019 as of March 2023.

So let’s take a deep dive into the most sought after traveller experiences for 2024.

Off the Beaten Path

A major standout trend for 2024 is travellers looking to slip into the culture and lifestyle of the places they are visiting. Travellers are moving away from homogenised locations; urban destinations that have increasing similarities regardless of their geographical locations.

Expedia coined the phrase ‘Destination Dupes’; affordable alternatives to popular products. Almost 59% of UK holidaymakers would consider a ‘dupe’; with 60% choosing it due to it being less crowded and 26% because they are looking for more authentic culture.

According to AMEX , 89% of travellers want to visit a destination they have never been to before. While 68% take pride in discovering lesser-known travel spots before they become popular.

Additionally, 79% of Gen Z and Millennials want to simulate a day in the life of the locals which presents an exciting opportunity for tour operators in the coming years.


Food Tours… 2024’s Tastiest Travel Trend

Travellers are following their noses to the tastiest trips and tours in 2024.

Demand to try indigenous food and cuisines has been growing steadily with 61% of travellers more interested in learning the history of delicacies and local food than previously, according to Booking.com .

AMEX Research and Markets states that 81% of travellers say local food and cuisine is a part of their holidays they look forward to the most. Virtuoso supports this by saying 53% of travellers are interested in hyper-local, neighbourhood-to-table dining and 60% want to try street food sampling.

Booking.com also found an interesting connection between travellers searching for food experiences and top technology. Almost half (46%) of travellers are looking to enhance their immersive food experience with VR and AR technology, including mood-altering lighting, paired fragrances and sensual soundscapes.


Welcome to Wellness, We Hope You Enjoy Your Stay

Wellness travel has been growing in popularity during 2023 and that is only set to continue into 2024.

Veranda highlighted that wellness trips have evolved beyond the traditional spa trips with travellers looking to immerse themselves in nature. Mountain-hiking, forest bathing and wild swimming are all increasing in popularity among travellers.

75% of travellers feel instantly more relaxed when they are closer to water and 36% are interested in water-centric vacations. This has seen the birth of the ‘cool-cationer’. With temperatures soaring across Europe many travellers have opted for cooler climates rather than traditional holiday destinations.

More than 40% of UK travellers say they intend to opt for the trend next year as a way to escape rising temperatures back home. The other driving factor in the move towards UK staycations or snowier holidays, to the likes of Finland and Norway, is due to climate change. 42% of travellers on Booking.com reported that climate change will impact their travel plans for 2024.


Tour Tourism and Set-Jetting

The cost of living crisis has caused a lot of travellers to pause and give thought as to how to get the most for their money. One trend born out of the economic landscape is ‘Tour Tourism’. As Expedia highlights, the popularity of the Eras and Renaissance Tours led fans to travel further afield to see their favourite acts.

While this trend may have been born out of necessity it is set to morph into a money-saving tactic in 2024 with “30% of travellers willing to travel outside of their home city for a concert because tickets were cheaper elsewhere”.

Skyscanner supported this finding saying that “30% of travellers would take a short-haul flight for a gig, while 8% would take a long-haul flight” for a chance to see their favourite artists.

Another driving factor behind planned trips in 2024 is ‘Set-Jetting’ which Skyscanner now claims is the 2nd biggest inspiration for travel after word of mouth. Travellers are choosing travel destinations based on their favourite film and TV shows.

For example, Skyscanner saw a 60% month on month increase in searches for Paris following the Series 3 launch of Emily in Paris.


Luxe for Less

2023 was the year of ‘Revenge Travel’ where luxury breaks and upgrades became popular among travellers wanting to enhance their holidays with opulent add-ons. Intention and demand for travel is set to continue into 2024; however travellers are looking for ways to get more for their money and experience affordable luxury.

Booking.com found that 51% of travellers are willing to pay for day passes to use the amenities in a five star hotel while staying in more affordable accommodation.

However, it’s not all bad news for the luxury travel sector. WTM’s Global Travel Report suggests that a number of destinations, such as Mauritius, are seeing increasing demand despite the cost of living crisis. “Consumers unaffected by economic downturns are likely to continue opting for luxury destinations.”

Long-term projections for luxury travel still appear to be positive. By 2033 it is predicted that an additional 8 million households in the US will be able to afford travel with a skew to higher earners looking for luxury experiences.


Business or Leisure? Bleisure, Actually

Bleisure or blended business-leisure trips are expected to grow in popularity over the next few years. Changes to office working patterns following the pandemic has resulted in a shift in the way workers are approaching business trips.

Tourism Economics states that Bleisure or blended business-leisure trips are the 3rd biggest opportunity for tourism operators.

Crimtan found that as many as 80% of business travellers are planning to add on a few extra vacation days to their trips so they can experience more of the culture of their destination.


The Arrival of AI

AI is set to become more prevalent in the discovery and booking of holidays and experiences.

Tripadvisor debuted their AI-powered travel itinerary generator, Expedia has integrated their AI Chatbot onto it’s mobile app, Skyscanner has introduced a new AI tool to help inspire flight choices and Booking.com has launched a new AI trip planner and conversational chat GPT to help travellers start their trip planning process.

Booking.com found that 48% of travellers would trust AI to plan a trip for them; even traditionally sceptical generations are turning to AI with 30% of baby boomers looking to AI to plan their holidays.

They also found 56% of travellers will want insights and tips from AI to upgrade experiences with ancillaries and deals.

Trip.com speaking at WTM explained how AI-Driven systems aid in processing user behaviour in order to provide personalised recommendations including tour destination, hotel options, flight details and local tourist activities.

Individual customer data provided by AI can be crucial in attracting and converting new prospects with McKinsey research finding 71% of customers expect companies to deliver personalised interactions.


Travel planning and booking is set to undergo a change in the next few years with many travellers looking for looser plans with increased flexibility.

The travel industry has already started to adapt to this change with tech-enabled flexible services, cancellation options, opportunities to change and amend bookings, mobile bookings, longer booking windows and buy now, pay later options.

69% of travellers surveyed on Booking.com expressed a desire to head on holiday with a loose plan they can change without a lot of hassle if they want to.

Your 2024 Checklist

2024 is set to be an exciting year for travel with new trends emerging and many travellers looking to experience something a little different!

To get yourself ready for the new year we suggest the following:

  • Update Your Availability – longer booking windows can entice more customers
  • Product Optimisations – make sure your unique selling points are standing out
  • Connect with Customers – learn more about your customers to help them feel inspired
  • Join with Resellers and OTA’s – open up your products to more booking channels
  • Consider Add Ons – travellers looking to immerse themselves in culture may want to upgrade their trip
  • Rely on Technology – use technology and AI enhancements for customer communication, cart-abandonment, upsells and more

Not sure where to start with all of this? Sign up to your 14-day FREE trial with Bókun to help with operational streamlining, customer outreach and booking calendars. You can also take advantage of the largest tour and activity B2B marketplace to start driving more bookings in the New Year!