In 2024, the travel landscape is poised for an exciting new phase, with 80% of UK travellers planning as many or more trips abroad than in 2023. This anticipated surge in global travel reflects a renewed zest for exploration, promising bustling destinations and vibrant experiences worldwide.
In our 2024 sector forecast, we'll explore pivotal trends shaping travel. Will scorching temperatures redirect traditional summer getaways? With TikTok's growing sway, 'Dupe Tourism' is emerging, driven by Gen Z's quest for novel destinations. Plus, with travellers keen on making their budgets stretch ever further in 2024, here’s why you should expect a boom in 'Tour Tourism’, spurred by affordable overseas concert tickets.
The year 2023 marked a significant shift in travel trends, as growing environmental awareness popularised the idea of 'slow travel' - a greener, more sustainable approach to exploring the world. Simultaneously, rail travel is currently undergoing a renaissance, with sleeper trains and new routes gaining momentum across Europe.
For example, a new sleeper train route from Brussels to Prague is set to open in March, which will connect London and Prague with just the one change. 2024 will also see the unveiling of ‘FS Treni Turistici Italiani’, a new line of tourist trains through Italy. This will include luxury, express and low-cost options.
Breaking away from the traditional trend for Summer sun and scorching temperatures, a distinctive travel trend is taking centre stage for the 2024 Summer holiday season: The rise of "coolcations”. Fuelled by a collective desire to evade the recent surge in intense, record-breaking temperatures, travellers are seeking cooler, and less crowded destinations.
2022 saw the UK’s highest Summer on record with temperatures hitting over 40℃ in July. This unprecedented hot weather also took over much of Mediterranean Europe, North America and Japan. Holiday goers are set to reconsider summer hotspots like the South of France, Sicily and Greece, opting instead for destinations with cooler climates. According to a survey conducted by the luxe travel network Virtuoso, a significant 82% of its clients are contemplating destinations offering more moderate weather in the coming year.
In 2024 anticipate a surge in popularity across Northern Europe and Scandinavia. As holidaymakers, particularly families, seek to escape the heat, destinations such as the Polish Riviera can offer a cooler respite to the traditional sea-side holiday.
In the realm of social media, TikTok has fully solidified its position amongst the largest platforms. In a recent report, TikTok claims that they’ve experienced a 410% increase in views of travel content since 2021. In the same report, 82% of UK users say that TikTok has inspired them to consider new destinations.
Gen Z users turn to TikTok for inspiration and holiday recommendations, whether that be searching for destinations, accommodation, activities or restaurants. Influencers are now designing and hosting their own group trips. One example of this is full time influencer Molly Thompson, who has arranged several group tours across Indonesia and Greece.
In the spirit of TikTok's popularised "dupes” (short for duplicates or affordable alternatives) and the knock-on effects of the cost of living crisis, travellers are increasingly seeking out more affordable alternatives to popular destinations. Expedia's "dupe" badge of honour celebrates the alternative destinations that offer not just potential savings but also unique, less crowded, and authentic experiences.
Global searches for these alternatives have more than doubled year-on-year, reflecting a growing appetite for hidden gems. Try switching up London for Liverpool for a more affordable UK city break or, if you're looking further afield, try switching New York for Montreal.
Live music tourism, popularly known as "tour tourism”, is set to thrive in 2024. Expedia found that nearly 70% of travellers have expressed a heightened willingness to attend concerts outside their hometowns. Value for money remains a consideration with SkyScanner saying 44% of 25-to-34-year-olds plan to attend a gig in the UK in 2024 but 34% would consider going overseas to help cut costs.
Cities such as Warsaw and Antwerp have popular touring artists scheduled to perform in 2024 but with accommodation a fraction of the price compared to the UK.
Generative AI such as ChatGPT is set to encroach on just about every aspect of our lives in the coming years, so it comes as little surprise that 44% of travellers are already using AI to help them plan and research their holidays. AI can even go so far as to help travellers deal with dynamic pricing, analysing market trends to find the most competitive accommodation and flight options.
At the same time, tour operators are increasingly looking to AI to help boost sales and speed up certain processes. In 2024 this can include everything from writing tour descriptions to powering chatbots and automating the booking process.