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7 travel and tourism trends in 2023 for tour and activity operators

The Bókun Team • November 30, 2022

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2022 has been an important year for the travel industry. We have seen the global restrictions easing which led to the travel and tourism industry starting to recover. Countries around the globe have started welcoming tourists back and maximising the long awaited return of tourism in their areas.

Surviving the pandemic left travellers very keen to get their culture fixes and start planning their next trip and experience – even if that means spending more. No surprise that in 2022 travel has reached 81% of pre-pandemic levels in the US and it’s on the way to full recovery, reaching 96% in 2023.

As expected, many aspects of the travel landscape have changed over the past few years, with new trends and ways of travel emerging. People’s perceptions and travel habits have also seen a shift. Despite the uncertain and rather complex economic and geopolitical climate around the world, the need to travel is still present for 72% of travellers.

If 2022 was the year of the triumphant return of travel, 2023 will be the year of its creative reinvention according to As people find themselves struggling to reconcile what is important to them with their desire to travel, revealing that their needs are changing dramatically.

Let’s look at the most emerging travel trends and predictions for 2023 that aim to help tour and activity operators plan better for their travellers’ ever so changing needs.

Cultural experiences

Great news for tour and activity operators! In 2023 we will be seeing more and more travellers wanting to experience new cultures and experiences on their travels. The world is ready to dive into other cultures and new experiences head first.

Half (50%) of global travellers want to experience complete culture shock in 2023 – whether it’s travelling somewhere with completely different cultural experiences and languages (51%) or exploring lesser-known cities with hidden gems that aren’t already on the radar (30%) .

Stepping out the comfort zone is something nearly three-quarters of U.S travellers would rather invest in. From water experiences, to cruising or sailing, an increasing number of adrenaline junkies are less likely to spend on an all-inclusive resort.

According to a Viator study , water tours experiences have seen +122% growth between 2019 & 2022 – we expect to see this number increase in 2023. Forget the usual favourites, in 2023 travellers will be seeking unique vacations that shock, surprise and delight.

Off-grid travel

In’s annual Travel Predictions Report we learnt that 44% of the global travellers were looking for an off-grid stay or experience in 2023. These sort of trips are promoted as a sustainable way to avoid crowds and rekindle with nature, keeping a rather low-profile.

According to Expedia , 21% of travellers are most excited to try new experiences, like: skinny-dipping (11%), sleeping under the stars (19%), solo travelling (17%) or even having a vacation romance (10%).

It’s no surprise that off-grid experiences are one of the top trends for 2023. Many travellers are ready to disconnect from the constant distraction of their devices and get back to what matters most: nature and actual real human connections.

Nearly 60% of travellers surveyed are looking for vacations that allow them to escape reality and totally unplug. A similar number responded that they are even interested in learning survival skills on their off-grid vacation, like building a fire or foraging for food.

Camping will continue to grow in popularity, along with guided eco-tours and luxury “glamping” experiences.

Nostalgic travel and experiences

Amid global instability and the desire for escapism, people intend to carve out travel experiences that transport them back to simpler times. 88% of travellers are interested in experiences that provide the thrill of reliving the glory of the old days.

There is a desire among the younger generations to disappear into the romance of a pre-digital age, with 23% of travellers chasing experiences that evoke emotional memories of a bygone era. Whether it’s visiting sites or attractions featured in iconic retro films or era-themed accommodation, nostalgic travels are becoming increasingly popular again.

Theme parks are also on the rise with 61% of travellers seeking activities such as escape rooms, scavenger hunts and building fortresses with giant building blocks.

If you want to attract the demand for nostalgia filled holidays, why not check products in your area on our marketplace that might just fit the bill! You can also create combos to give your guests the perfect tailored experience.

Start your free 14 day trial with Bókun today and build a network of partnerships to grow your revenue.

Flexibility is key for 2023

While none of us want want to be affected by it, covid is still in the back of our minds when booking trips or activities. Will you be able to cancel your holiday in case of sickness or in case any problems arise?

During the pandemic, a large part of our travellers chose to virtually see the world from their own living rooms! Even now, more than 40% of the world’s travellers say they will turn to virtual reality next year to choose their holidays.

35% of travellers are keen to embark on a multi-day VR travel experience. This will enable the Metaverse to be more than a ‘try before you buy’. It will have the power to educate, entertain and inspire people, opening the door to infinite adventures.

While the Metaverse will offer a new way to experience travel in the year ahead, it still won’t stop people from booking a ticket to their next destination, as three in five believe that a virtual experience is not fulfilling enough to check it off the bucket list.

With that in mind, make sure your cancellation policy is up-to-date and be transparent about your covid policies to make your guests feel safe.

Budget-friendly trips and experiences

Considering the economic disruption caused by COVID, travellers will continue to prioritise travel in 2023, but they will be more mindful of how they can get the most of their travel budget and what exactly is a priority as part of their travel itinerary.

While 50% of travellers say that investing in a holiday remains a top priority for them, 68% continue to prioritise travel while seeking to get more value for money. In 2023, travellers will plan their budgets more tightly by taking advantage of offers, tips and timely travel. 63% will be focusing on value for money through discounts and loyalty schemes.

Show your guests what they would be missing out on if they don’t book with you. Create a unique experience your guests will love in Bókun. You can easily make sure your availability is up-to-date and add seasonal schedules to get travellers looking for off season prices.

Travel through social media

According to Passport Photo Online , social media platforms are used by at least 69% of the worldwide population for travel related needs. In 2023 the consumption of social media will continue to be on the rise especially for the travel industry. Every week, 1M+ travel-related hashtags are searched on Instagram with over 37% of travellers using social media for travel inspiration.

From hotels, destinations, activities to restaurants roughly 52% of travellers decided to visit a specific destination or book a particular activity after seeing an image or video from friends, family, or peers on social media.

In 2023 we think operators should get super serious about social sharing. Any content from 2022 that you have collected, such as customer reviews or photos – put them to use in your future campaigns.

Feature customers’ content on your own social pages or blog whenever they mention or tag your business. Why not even run a social media contest.

Tourism has been hard-hit by the global pandemic in the last couple years. Today, industry players are gradually recovering and looking for ways to return to prosperity and growth. Some are doing better than others, particularly those who focused on customer experience.

Flight delays and trip cancellations have changed the way travellers are booking with brands. They’re being a lot more careful about what they invest in when it comes to travelling and despite inflation, research found that 63% of people say they’re willing to pay more to get better customer service.

If you’re looking to increase brand loyalty and more importantly bookings, you need to deliver experiences that delight your customers. If you fail to live up to their expectations, it can prove costly — 76% of consumers will stop booking with you after just one bad experience.

Bokun recommendations for operators

  • Understand your target audience and the generational trends.
  • Forecast your business trajectory in 2023 by considering the above trends.
  • Rethink your distribution channels – start reselling and partner with new sellers.
  • Include more sustainable travel options and activities.
  • Make sure you don’t forget to have a social media presence – create content that is engaging and authentic.
  • Technology is shaping the future of the travel and tourism sector – make sure you use the best-in-class tech to help you grow.

Ready to grow your business and boost revenue in 2023?

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