2024 travel trends: what the experts predict (2024)

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The year of 'surprise travel'?

2024 travel trends: what the experts predict (1)

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"Surprise travel" may become the big trend of 2024, said David Farley on theBBC. A survey of 27,000 travellers in 33 countries byBooking.comfound that 52% are "keen" to book a surprise trip where "everything down to the destination is unknown until arrival". In the last decade, "more and more surprise trip companies have popped up", Farley added, and the "element of mystery" is "tempting travellers to seek a new way to see the world".

Mongolia and Nairobi included in Lonely Planet's Best in Travel

2024 travel trends: what the experts predict (2)

(Image credit: Narantungalag Dashtseren/Shutterstock)

In its "Best in Travel" report for 2024, Lonely Planet has predicted the world's top 50 countries, regions, cities, best value and most sustainable destinations. Looking at the top places to "unwind, connect, eat, learn and journey", there's "plenty to pack in" over the next year. Destinations highlighted in the report include Mongolia (country), Western Balkans' Trans Dinarica Cycling Route (region), Nairobi in Kenya (city), Spain (sustainable) and The Midwest, USA (best value).

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Set-jetting continues to take off

2024 travel trends: what the experts predict (4)

(Image credit: Carole Bethuel/Netflix)

Travellers turning to their TV sets and movie screens for inspiration "shows no signs of stopping in 2024", said Expedia Group. In its "Unpack '24: The Trends in Travel" survey, more than half of travellers have researched or booked a trip to a destination "after seeing it on a TV show or movie", and one in four admit that TV shows and films "are even more influential on their travel plans than they were before". In fact, travellers say TV shows influence their travel decisions more than Instagram, TikTok and podcasts.

In its "set-jetting forecast", the group predicts the "entertainment-inspired destinations" tourists will be heading to in 2024. The top picks include Thailand, inspired by "The White Lotus" season three; Romania, inspired by "Wednesday" season two; Malta, inspired by the new "Gladiator 2" film; and Paris, inspired by "Emily in Paris" season four.

Music tourism 'accelerates'

2024 travel trends: what the experts predict (5)

(Image credit: Mat Hayward / TAS23 / Getty Images for TAS Rights Management)

Travel technology company Amadeus has released its fourth travel trends report. Using the latest data and industry-leading insight, travel in 2024 will be dominated by five trends: music tourism, business class fares unbundled, influencers becoming agents, artificial intelligence matures, and electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft prepare for take-off.

Music tourism is a trend that's expected to "accelerate" in 2024, Amadeus said. After the social isolation of the pandemic, when bands and musical artists were "grounded for months", a "boom" in concerts and festivals in 2023 tapped into "a desire for connection". When Taylor Swift announced her Asia Pacific tour dates for 2024, Amadeus research suggested that Swift's concert dates in Australia, Singapore and Japan had a "significant impact on travel searches and booking volumes to the countries".

Palate-led holidays and UK getaways

2024 travel trends: what the experts predict (6)

(Image credit: PoB Hotels)

PoB Hotels' "Cultivating Luxury" market trends report found that palate-led holidays and increased domestic getaways in the UK were among the key findings for 2024. Food and drink "undeniably take centre stage" in "capturing the attention" of domestic travellers, commanding an impressive 82% of their interests. A significant 54% of affluent high net worth individuals (HNWIs) plan to enjoy "three or more" leisure holidays within the UK in the upcoming year, reflecting a "notable increase on the previous 12 months". And a considerable 27% of affluent/HNW travellers anticipate taking UK trips "lasting three or more nights" in the coming year.

Cultural exploration and quaint cities

2024 travel trends: what the experts predict (7)

(Image credit: Tomasz Guzowski/Shutterstock)

"Cultural exploration" will "more than ever" be a priority for travellers, Skyscanner said in its 2024 travel trends report. Expect "gig trippers" to jet off to see their favourite artists and "budget bougie foodies" to seek out the very best food experiences. When it comes to the destinations that are whetting would-be tourists' appetites, the metasearch engine and travel agency has seen an increase in searches for "quaint cities" such as Vigo in Spain (+1,235%) and Bydgoszcz in Poland (+313%). Meanwhile, the cost-of-living crisis remains "top of mind" with Skyscanner's "Everywhere" search tool being the "top search destination for travellers globally".

Journeys with 'a sense of purpose'

2024 travel trends: what the experts predict (8)

(Image credit: Pavel Svoboda Photography/Shutterstock)

The founders of luxury travel company Black Tomato predict that travellers will be looking to journey with "a sense of purpose" in 2024. With ever increasing demands on time, and the desire to make travel truly count, travellers want to create "positive and lasting change" – not only in the destinations they visit, but in their own lives.

"What we've uncovered," said Black Tomato, is that the feeling a trip ultimately evokes "greatly informs the destination booked". For groups "craving togetherness", journeys which "strengthen bonds and connection" are "prioritised". Black Tomato has picked out "off-grid" Peru, Morocco's Tangiers, the Mitre Peninsula in remotest Argentine Patagonia, and New Zealand's waterways on its 2024 destination hotlist.

The new Michelin Guide 'keys'

2024 travel trends: what the experts predict (9)

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The Michelin Guide will award hotels with "keys" as part of a "new rating system" launching in 2024, said the Visit California PR Pulse Report. The system will be aimed at recognising hotels based on factors including "location, design, service, uniqueness and value". As it does for restaurants, the guide said it intends to independently recommend hotels that "constitute true destinations" and will propose a new selection of more than "5,000 remarkable hotels in 120 countries".

Fodor's 2024 'No List'

2024 travel trends: what the experts predict (10)

(Image credit: Kirk Fisher/Shutterstock)

Most travel experts recommend places to go in their annual reports, but Fodor's has a "No List" of nine regions to "reconsider" in 2024. The travel guide company said it's not a "round-up of spots we revile", it's a "declaration of places we revere". However, the "frenzied admiration", and "incessant need to experience them", are "not sustainable".

The 2024 No List focuses on three main areas of tourist impact: overtourism, rubbish production, and water quality and sufficiency. For overtourism, Venice in Italy, Athens in Greece, and Mount Fuji in Japan are highlighted. Rubbish production no-gos include San Gabriel Mountains National Monument in California, Ha Long Bay in Vietnam, and the Atacama Desert in Chile. While water quality and sufficiency has impacted Lake Superior in North America, the Ganges River in India, and Koh Samui in Thailand.

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