What next for travel and tourism? Here's what the experts say

In many countries, more than 80% of travel and tourism spending actually comes from the domestic market.

In many countries, more than 80% of travel and tourism spending actually comes from the domestic market. Image:  Unsplash/Surface

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Stay up to date:, travel and tourism.

  • In 2020 alone, the travel and tourism sector lost $4.5 trillion and 62 million jobs globally.
  • But as the world recovers from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, travel and tourism can bounce back as an inclusive, sustainable, and resilient sector.
  • Two experts highlight some of the key transformations in the sector going forward during the World Economic Forum's Our World in Transformation series.

The Travel & Tourism sector was one of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving not only companies but also tourism-driven economies severely affected by shutdowns, travel restrictions and the disappearance of international travel.

In 2020 alone, the sector lost $4.5 trillion and 62 million jobs, impacting the living standards and well-being of communities across the globe. Moreover, the halt in international travel gave both leisure and business travellers the chance to consider the impact of their choices on the climate and environment.

Amid shifting demand dynamics and future opportunities and risks, a more inclusive, sustainable and resilient travel and tourism sector can be - and needs to be - built.

The World Economic Forum's Travel & Tourism Development Index 2021 finds that embedding inclusivity, sustainability and resilience into the travel and tourism sector as it recovers, will ensure it can continue to be a driver of global connectivity, peace and economic and social progress.

We spoke to Sandra Carvao , Chief of Market Intelligence and Competitiveness at the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), and Liz Ortiguera , CEO of the Pacific Asia Travel Association in Thailand (PATA), and asked them to highlight some of the key areas of risk and opportunity in the sector during an episode of the World Economic Forum's Our World in Transformation series.

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Travel & tourism development index 2021: rebuilding for a sustainable and resilient future, towards resilience and sustainability: travel and tourism development recovery, how can we really achieve sustainability in the travel sector, what are some of the top global trends you're witnessing currently in the travel and tourism sector.

Liz Ortiguera: Given the extended lockdown that we had on travel with the pandemic, vacation for friends and relatives (VFR) is now a high priority for people who haven’t been in touch for a long time thanks to the pandemic. So, people are reconnecting. And that kind of links to the second trend, which is multi-purpose or blended travel. Never before, particularly now that we can connect digitally through Zoom, has the ability to work from anywhere enabled travellers to cover multiple purposes, like visits with friends and multiple business trips. So, we'll find that the duration of travel and the length of stay is longer. And third is the continued high focus on safety and wellness which is top of mind for travellers due to the pandemic. All travel is wellness-related now.

Sandra Carvao: I think there is a bigger concern with sustainability, which is very welcome in our industry. Consumers, particularly the younger generation, are much more aware of the impact they have, not only on the environment but also socially and on the communities they live in. We've also seen an increase in expenditure per trip, so I think people are very eager to go outside, and they're staying longer. And on the other side, I think there are some challenges: we’re seeing a rise in late bookings because restrictions can change at short notice and that’s having an impact on the decisions of travellers. This is putting pressure on the industry in terms of planning and anticipating fluctuations in demand.

Social media surveys have shown that travellers who have immersive experiences are more likely to post about them, which is good for the industry.

What is community-based tourism and why is it important?

Sandra Carvao: One of the positive impacts of the pandemic is that people are looking for local experiences and are spending more time with communities. So, the concept of community-based tourism is obviously one that puts the community at the core of every development, ensuring that it's engaged and empowered and that it benefits. At the UNWTO, we worked with the G20 and the Saudi presidency back in 2020 and produced a framework for tourism development in communities, which states that communities need to be part of the planning and management of tourism activities. We need to go beyond traditional definitions of community to a point where the industry leans on partnerships between the public and private sectors and communities.

Liz Ortiguera: In July 2022, PATA is hosting a destination-marketing forum and one of the key themes is community-based tourism. The purpose is really to put the community and authenticity-in-culture activities at the heart of the travel experience. There are benefits for all stakeholders. One is that travellers can have an authentic experience. They're not in overcrowded, touristic locations and they experience something new and unique within the community. These experiences are designed in partnership with communities who get the benefit of financial inclusion, and if activities are designed properly, the reinforcement of their cultural heritage. Governments also engage in economic development more broadly across countries. Another interesting trend is creative tourism, which means you create an experience for tourists to participate in, like a dance lesson, or a cooking lesson. Social media surveys have shown that travellers who have these kinds of immersive experiences are more likely to post about them online and that's good for the industry.

It is important to emphasize that virtual experiences, while they are a fun tool, can never replace visiting a destination.

How is technology and innovation helping to leverage cultural resources?

Sandra Carvao: One interesting trend we’re seeing is that more and more people are booking trips directly, so communities need to be supported to digitize their systems. Education and upskilling of communities are important so that they can leverage digital platforms to market themselves. From the tourists’ perspective, it is important to emphasize that virtual experiences, while they are a fun tool, can never replace visiting a destination.

Liz Ortiguera: People have been living virtually for more than two years. Amazing innovations have emerged, such as virtual reality and augmented reality, and all kinds of applications and tools. But the important thing is the experience. The destination. Real-world experiences need to remain front and centre. Technology tools should be viewed as enablers and not the core experience. And when it comes to staff, technology can really democratize education. There’s an opportunity to mobilize a mobile-first approach for those who are on the frontlines, or out in the field, and can’t easily access computers, but need to get real-time information.

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How is the sector dealing with labour shortages and re-employment of the workforce?

Liz Ortiguera: Labour shortages are much more dynamic in North America and in Europe. But it’s having a knock-on effect on Asia. If, for example, their air carriers are limited by staff and they have to cancel flights, which we're very much seeing out of Europe, seating capacity then becomes a limiting factor in the recovery of Asia Pacific. That's the main constraint right now. And compounding that is the rising price of fuel. But people in the Asia Pacific are keen to get reemployed.

Sandra Carvao: Labour shortages are a priority for the sector in countries around the world. Many workers left the sector during the pandemic and the uncertainty that surrounded the measures taken to contain it left many people unsure of whether the sector would recover. It is time to address things like conditions, scheduling, and work/life balance, all things which have been top of mind for workers during the pandemic. As the sector recovers, we need time to bring new hires on board and to train them to take over where those who switched jobs left off.

Are we seeing a growing trend towards domestic tourism?

Sandra Carvao: We’re talking about 9 billion people travelling within their own countries. And in many countries, for example in Germany, more than 80% of the tourism spending actually comes from the domestic market, similarly in countries like Spain and even smaller economies. Whenever it's possible to travel again, domestic markets tend to be more resilient. They kick off first mostly due to perceptions of safety and security issues. As the world economy recovers from the pandemic, there is a good opportunity for nations to rethink their strategy, look at the domestic market in a different way, and leverage different products for domestic tourists.

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When it comes to sustainable tourism, how quickly could we mainstream eco-friendly modes of transportation?

Sandra Carvao: Transport is one of the key contributors to energy impacts and tourism. But it's also important that we look at the whole value chain. The UNWTO together with the One Planet Sustainable Tourism Programme just launched the Glasgow Declaration, which includes green commitments from destinations and companies. We’re seeing a strong movement in the airline industry to reduce emissions. But I think, obviously, technological developments will be very important. But it's also very important to look at market shifts. And we can't forget small islands and developing states that rely on long-haul air travel. It’s important to make sure that we invest in making the problem much less impactful.

Liz Ortiguera: 'Travel and tourism' is such a broad encompassing term that it’s not fair to call it an industry: it is actually a sector of many industries. The pandemic taught us how broad the impact of the sector is in terms of sustainability. There's a big movement in terms of destination resilience, which is the foundation for achieving sustainability in the journey to net-zero. We now have standards to mitigate that impact including meetings-and-events (MIE) standards and standards for tour operators. There are multiple areas within our industry where progress is being made. And I'm really encouraged by the fact that there is such a focus not just within the sector but also among consumers.

This interview was first done at the World Economic Forum's studios in Geneva as part of 'Our World in Transformation' - a live interactive event series for our digital members. To watch all the episodes and join future sessions, please subscribe here .

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The travel and tourism industry by 2030.

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Oscar White is the Founder & CEO of  Beyonk , the experiences booking platform: empowering events, activities & experience providers to thrive

The ever-increasing speed of technological advancements and changing consumer expectations makes it arguably more difficult to forecast the future of the tourism industry than ever before. However, looking at macro-trends, there is a clear direction of travel that could substantially change the industry as we know it. The trends favor the end consumers and organizations that, paraphrasing Darwin, are “most adaptable to change.” They will be more likely to survive and thrive. As an ex-strategy consultant and public speaker on digital and technology trends, and now running venture-backed, travel-tech startup Beyonk , here are my predictions for the state of the industry by 2030.

1. Customers will become empowered through more choice and control.

As the tech giants lead the way in designing products that provide the best customer experience, from Amazon with single-click buying of every sort of product to Uber with quick and simple pickups, our expectations continue to evolve. Customers will want more, in less time and with less effort. Millions of bookings, analyzed by Beyonk, show 65% of consumers book within 48 hours of their events and activities. This will likely shorten as the friction of finding and booking in-destination experiences reduces.

2. Connectivity will become commoditized.

Since 2006, the travel industry has benefited from the General Transit Feed Specification, a standard for how data is accessible across industry stakeholders. While it’s unlikely that the rest of the tourism industry will get a similar standard, connectivity will continue to grow between suppliers, resellers and customers. This is a natural evolution of the tourism industry and will likely continue to make consumers more powerful with their decision-making and as a whole, make it easier to find and book with long-tail providers or book multiple categories at once. A series of application programmable interfaces could give access to a large portion of the supply. Many online travel agents could then access similar supply, making branding, differentiation and customer experience even more important to compete.

3. Personalization will become more important.

With the explosion of available data, services that are able to meaningfully present the relevant data in a constructive way will probably thrive. The more companies can tailor their offering to suit personal preferences, the more they’ll win. From the pre-sales aspect, they’ll be able to target suitable audiences with a compelling offer and lead them into personalized customer journeys — from building itineraries to selecting the room package and flight.

Best Travel Insurance Companies

Best covid-19 travel insurance plans.

The challenge of Apple and Google changing their privacy policies and ability to use third-party cookies has made it more difficult to personalize offers, ads and communications to relevant audiences. Companies are investing more to build up more first-person data such as emails. But they are struggling too, as Apple has introduced masking and obfuscation of email addresses, including in-browser privacy protection, which masks users’ IP addresses. An opportunity for personalization may come through Web 3.0 — where each person could have a single profile that follows you across the internet, that can be shared to allow websites to show you content specific to your profile to give you the best browsing experience and allow you to control the data you share. Those who are able to keep responding to the ever-changing privacy changes, but still build out strong personalization strategies, will build more loyal customer bases, have more efficient spending and reduce the cost of acquiring new customers.

4. Online channels will become seamless with offline channels.

As augmented and virtual reality technology improves, the price point for such devices in this space will drop significantly. AR and VR will become the new way to experience destinations, travel and things to do. For the initial pre-buying process, there will be a more immersive experience, moving closer to a “try before you buy” approach, as witnessed in retail over the last decade, with more brands adopting such features. See my article, “Ecommerce Trends for the Tourism and Travel Industry,” for a more in-depth discussion of this.

It is clear we are moving toward in-destination experiences where you can have an overlay of reviews for each menu item, or have a virtual tour guide giving you tips wherever you are via your wearable device. We, as both consumers and providers, will become more equipped with data to have better experiences. Those organizations that can cater to a more seamless online and offline experience could win big.

While it’s impossible to predict the future, the trends suggest the future of the industry could be grounded in further maturity of timely, relevant data and making it consumable across channels to delight customers.

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Fact sheet: 2022 national travel and tourism strategy, office of public affairs.

The 2022 National Travel and Tourism Strategy was released on June 6, 2022, by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo on behalf of the Tourism Policy Council (TPC). The new strategy focuses the full efforts of the federal government to promote the United States as a premier destination grounded in the breadth and diversity of our communities, and to foster a sector that drives economic growth, creates good jobs, and bolsters conservation and sustainability. Drawing on engagement and capabilities from across the federal government, the strategy aims to support broad-based economic growth in travel and tourism across the United States, its territories, and the District of Columbia.

Key points of the 2022 National Travel and Tourism Strategy

The federal government will work to implement the strategy under the leadership of the TPC and in partnership with the private sector, aiming toward an ambitious five-year goal of increasing American jobs by attracting and welcoming 90 million international visitors, who we estimate will spend $279 billion, annually by 2027.

The new National Travel and Tourism Strategy supports growth and competitiveness for an industry that, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, generated $1.9 trillion in economic output and supported 9.5 million American jobs. Also, in 2019, nearly 80 million international travelers visited the United States and contributed nearly $240 billion to the U.S. economy, making the United States the global leader in revenue from international travel and tourism. As the top services export for the United States that year, travel and tourism generated a $53.4 billion trade surplus and supported 1 million jobs in the United States.

The strategy follows a four-point approach:

  • Promoting the United States as a Travel Destination Goal : Leverage existing programs and assets to promote the United States to international visitors and broaden marketing efforts to encourage visitation to underserved communities.
  • Facilitating Travel to and Within the United States Goal : Reduce barriers to trade in travel services and make it safer and more efficient for visitors to enter and travel within the United States.
  • Ensuring Diverse, Inclusive, and Accessible Tourism Experiences Goal : Extend the benefits of travel and tourism by supporting the development of diverse tourism products, focusing on under-served communities and populations. Address the financial and workplace needs of travel and tourism businesses, supporting destination communities as they grow their tourism economies. Deliver world-class experiences and customer service at federal lands and waters that showcase the nation’s assets while protecting them for future generations.
  • Fostering Resilient and Sustainable Travel and Tourism Goal : Reduce travel and tourism’s contributions to climate change and build a travel and tourism sector that is resilient to natural disasters, public health threats, and the impacts of climate change. Build a sustainable sector that integrates protecting natural resources, supporting the tourism economy, and ensuring equitable development.

Travel and Tourism Fast Facts

  • The travel and tourism industry supported 9.5 million American jobs through $1.9 trillion of economic activity in 2019. In fact, 1 in every 20 jobs in the United States was either directly or indirectly supported by travel and tourism. These jobs can be found in industries like lodging, food services, arts, entertainment, recreation, transportation, and education.
  • Travel and tourism was the top services export for the United States in 2019, generating a $53.4 billion trade surplus.
  • The travel and tourism industry was one of the U.S. business sectors hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent health and travel restrictions, with travel exports decreasing nearly 65% from 2019 to 2020. 
  • The decline in travel and tourism contributed heavily to unemployment; leisure and hospitality lost 8.2 million jobs between February and April 2020 alone, accounting for 37% of the decline in overall nonfarm employment during that time. 
  • By 2021, the rollout of vaccines and lifting of international and domestic restrictions allowed travel and tourism to begin its recovery. International arrivals to the United States grew to 22.1 million in 2021, up from 19.2 million in 2020. Spending by international visitors also grew, reaching $81.0 billion, or 34 percent of 2019’s total.

More about the Tourism Policy Council and the 2022 National Travel and Tourism Strategy

Created by Congress and chaired by Secretary Raimondo, the Tourism Policy Council (TPC) is the interagency council charged with coordinating national policies and programs relating to travel and tourism. At the direction of Secretary Raimondo, the TPC created a new five-year strategy to focus U.S. government efforts in support of the travel and tourism sector which has been deeply and disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the full strategy here

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The biggest travel trends for 2024

By Sarah Allard

Glamorous train travel

If 2022 was all about a return to travel, then 2023 was the year we went further than ever before. Travellers took to the skies, rails, roads and seas to tick off major bucket-list moments, with Arctic adventures, luxury yacht cruises and even the first tourist trip into space .

In 2024, travellers will be putting what’s important to them front and centre of their plans, valuing deeper experiences that leave a positive impact, time spent with loved ones and wellness moments that last well after checkout. We’ll be choosing destinations carefully, slowing it down to enjoy the silence and the stars, indulging in our love of food in new and interesting places, and immersing ourselves in wellness practices that help us live longer.

These are the 20 travel trends likely to guide how we see the world in 2024.

Astro tourism

Astro tourism

1. Astro tourism

What’s the trend? Astronomy, of course, is a field of study that has been around since the dawn of civilisation, and the act of gazing up at the stars has long been a source of soul-soothing wonder. Today, the more society falls deeper into an ever-expanding virtual world, the more we feel a need to broaden our horizons in the real universe. Astro tourism, or star bathing, is the act of travelling with the aim of catching sight of astronomical phenomena – disappearing to lands devoid of any pollution, crowds and traffic, where we can focus solely on the skies above and while away hours gazing at the stars, planets and constellations overhead.

Why will it matter in 2024? Increasingly, wellness-centric hotels and spas are creating the space for guests to gaze upwards, watching for comets, spying constellations and identifying patterns in the glittering expanse. In the UK, Port Lympne has opened the Lookout Bubble, a glass dome allowing guests to sprawl out on king-sized beds and study the stars. Further east on the Arabian Gulf, Zulal Wellness Resort is surrounded by the expanse of the Qatari desert – the ultimate destination for pollution-free astromancy, with dedicated workshops and stargazing sessions for families and children looking to learn more about the cosmos. Safari company Desert & Delta organises trips for travellers looking to soak up the stars across Botswana and Namibia, where guests can sleep in tents at remote locations such as the Makgadikgadi Pans, one of the world’s largest salt flats, and spend nights with uninterrupted star vistas. Similarly, Tswalu is a South African safari camp with star beds set on a sleep-out deck in the Korannaberg mountains. And 2024 happens to be a big year, astronomy-wise, from mind-boggling eclipses to spectacular meteor showers – plus, scientists are predicting the best displays of the northern lights in 20 years, according to the Guardian , as we approach the next solar maximum (the sun’s peak of its 11-year activity cycle). Olivia Morelli

2. Eco diving

What’s the trend? A rise in divers choosing their travel destinations based on the sustainability of the scuba centres, and having a more positive, regenerative impact on the ocean once there.

Why will it matter in 2024? In 2022, UK marine ecology charity The Reef-World Foundation found that 95 per cent of divers wanted to book with sustainable operators, but struggled to do so. In response to this, the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (Padi) launched its Eco Center accreditation on World Earth Day (22 April) 2023, with the United Nations Environment Program and Reef-World itself. The steps required to earn this green status are so rigorous – including sharing evidence of conservation activities and a real reduction in environmental footprint – that Padi advised operators to allow at least 12 months to hit the criteria, taking us to… Earth Day 2024. After an initial figure of just 11 worldwide, there are now 100, and Padi has set a goal to reach 660 by 2030 – a 10th of its membership. “South East Asia currently has the highest density (more than 20), along with the Caribbean ,” says Julie Andersen of Padi. So what does this mean for divers and their trips? “The type of conservation work done and reported on depends on the Eco Center,” Andersen explains. “Those in the Caribbean offer coral replanting programmes, key for regenerating coastlines. In Baja, Mexico , they’ve developed citizen science courses, collecting data for whale conservation.” There are also a number of new Padi courses being launched for any diver to take anywhere, including the Global Shark and Ray Census in August 2024, as well as the relaunch of the Coral Reef Conservation Specialty course before December. Becky Lucas

3. Home swapping

What’s the trend? Increasingly, discerning travellers are looking to stay away for longer stretches, while the rise of remote jobs post-pandemic means that working and living abroad has never been more appealing. The catch? Forking out on hefty accommodation fees while you’re at it. Enter home swapping: the perfect solution to guarantee yourself a (free) home abroad while you offer up your own in exchange – for weeks or even months at a time.

Why will it matter in 2024? As the cost of holidaying continues to climb, home swapping is an affordable alternative to splashing out on expensive hotels or Airbnbs. And while the concepts of couch surfing and house exchanges have existed for decades, several slick new platforms are redefining what home swapping looks like today. Twin City, which operates in cities as far-flung as Lisbon and Los Angeles , has curated a community of 1,100 plus carefully vetted users in just eight months. For an annual subscription fee of £150, members can find Twins to connect with through the platform, and are encouraged to exchange local recommendations for their city as well as their homes, enabling members to feel as if they’re swapping with a trusted friend rather than a stranger. Meanwhile, Kindred, a home-swapping platform where members rack ​​up credits for each night that they exchange homes, raised $15 million in funding this year to expand operations across the USA and Europe, and currently has 10,000 plus homes in more than 50 cities. Members simply pay a cleaning and service fee for each stay, while the cost of the stay itself is free. Or skip out on membership fees entirely and head straight to TikTok, where Gen Z appears to be spearheading the home-swapping movement on social media. Inspired by cult film The Holiday , trending tags #houseswap and #homeswap have garnered more than 23 and 20 million views respectively, with users utilising the platform as a means to advertise their homes, discover like-minded peers to swap with and document their adventures along the way. Gina Jackson

4. Train stations are the new food destinations

What’s the trend? Train stations around the world are usually passed through as quickly as possible, having not been designed for commuters to stay and hang out. Nowadays, as travel delays increase and visitors want more local experiences, it pays for train stations to welcome travellers with shops, restaurants and bars for them to explore. In an effort to create a more dynamic visitor experience, historic train stations are being revamped, with bespoke food and drink offerings as an integral part of the redesign.

Why will it matter in 2024? As train stations are renovated to accommodate more travellers and update old infrastructure, local restaurants and bars are being added to attract more customers. In 2023, the new Moynihan Train Hall in New York City became home to The Irish Exit, a bar from the team behind the acclaimed Dead Rabbit, and Yono Sushi by trendy BondST, plus outposts of beloved NYC restaurants Pastrami Queen and Jacob’s Pickles, with Mexican hotspot La Esquina coming soon.  Platform 1 a new bar and restaurant that opened in November underneath Glasgow Central Station . The cave-like space, with its historic brick arches, serves street-food-style dishes and craft brews made in the on-site microbrewery, plus there’s an outdoor beer garden. As part of its renovation, Toronto’s Union Station launched Union Market in May 2023 with favourite local food retailers Manotas Organics, Chocolatta Brigadeiro’s, Patties Express and Kibo. Meanwhile, in Somerset, Castle Cary station is in the process of a revamp, with nearby hotel The Newt creating a creamery, cafe and co-working space, which is set to open in 2024. Also on tap for the next few years is the completed renovation of 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, with plans for a 20 per cent increase in concession space that will focus on local purveyors. Devorah Lev-Tov

5. Sports tourism

What’s the trend? No longer the domain of lads on tour keen to sink as many pints as possible with one eye on a football game, sports tourism has evolved in the past few years with a new generation – and type – of sports fan emerging thanks to glossy TV documentaries ( Formula 1: Drive to Survive , we’re looking at you). Now, we’re taking our fandom out of the house and following a host of different sports in destinations across the world, planning holidays that hinge around seeing games, races and other activities in exotic locales, and extending trips on either side to see the sights too.

Why will it matter in 2024? A little event known as the Olympic and Paralympic Games anchors the 2024 sports calendar. It kicks off in Paris in late July and runs until early September , during which time more than a million tourists are expected to check in across the French capital. The games have inspired city-wide projects such as the €1.4-billion clean-up of the Seine, which , all going well, will allow public swimming in the river for the first time in a century. Elsewhere, the Tour de France starts in Italy for the first time in 2024, with competitors speeding off in Florence before heading to Rimini on the Adriatic coast and then north to the Apennines through Emilia-Romagna. New bike routes in the area have been released by tour operators such as Ride International Tours and Ride Holidays for cycling enthusiasts keen to join in the fun. Sarah James

6. Coolcationing

What’s the trend? For the vast majority of folk, summer holidays used to be about following the sun, seeking the heat – watching the mercury climb and hitting the sands. With the intense, record-breaking temperatures of recent years, however, many are considering travelling in the opposite direction: booking "coolcations" in temperate destinations, which also benefit from being less crowded.

Why will it matter in 2024? Rising temperatures caused by the climate crisis have resulted in the hottest recorded summer in the UK – just over 40℃ in July 2022 – while 2023, with a sweltering summer in much of Mediterranean Europe, North America and China – is on track to be the hottest year ever. Little wonder that many travellers are thinking again before booking literal hotspots such as the South of France and Sicily in July or August. A survey for luxe travel network Virtuoso found that 82 per cent of its clients are considering destinations with more moderate weather in 2024. Destinations such as Iceland, Finland and Scotland, according to Intrepid Travel, along with Latvia, which is surging in popularity. “We’re seeing an increase in those holidaying further north,” says Andrea Godfrey of Regent Holidays. “Scandinavia and the Baltics are both getting noticed more: they offer a more pared-back style of holiday but have some lovely beaches, and forests and lakes for both relaxation and adventure activities.” Cooler temperatures are particularly well suited to family travel too. “We’re getting far more enquiries from families for destinations that offer summer sun but also respite from the high temperatures being experienced in beach resorts across the Med,” says Liddy Pleasants, founder of family specialist Stubborn Mule Travel. “Kayaking in Norway, with its midnight sun, for instance, and cycling or hiking in Slovenia, which is also very good value.” Time to ditch the SPF50… Rick Jordan

Gig tripping

Gig tripping

7. Gig tripping

What’s the trend? For years, athletes and wellness gurus were the big headliners at retreats. But rock stars are, well, the new rock stars of travel. Call it the Swift Effect. Destination concert business is up more than 50 per cent, led mostly by Taylor Swift, says Janel Carnero, a travel advisor at Embark Beyond. In the USA, tickets for Swift’s Eras Tour cost thousands and were still impossible to score. Music fans are realising they can pay less and have a more memorable experience by seeing their favourite pop icons perform in say, Amsterdam or Milan . Tours from performers such as Pearl Jam, U2, Doja Cat and Madonna will anchor trip itineraries, while music festivals (Glastonbury sold out in less than an hour) will be major catalysts for travel.

Why will it matter in 2024? New music festivals, including Untold in Romania's Cluj-Napoca, are introducing travellers to undiscovered destinations, says Alexandrea Padilha of Fischer Travel. And it’s no longer just about the music, says Carnero. “It’s the social aspect of sharing experiences with friends,” she adds. Hotels and travel companies have taken note and are creating the equivalent of backstage VIP experiences for guests. Global adventure collective Eleven has recently introduced Music with Eleven. The programme’s dedicated team of music-industry insiders (including Chris Funk, guitarist from the Decemberists) custom design itineraries that might include sitting in on a recording session at Flóki Studios, just outside the Arctic Circle at Deplar Farm in Iceland. And Rhythm & Sails hosts musicians on its catamarans. The company’s music director, Anders Beck of the jam band Greensky Bluegrass, curates the line-up of artists who perform sessions onboard and in ports as you island hop around the Caribbean . Jen Murphy

8. Resorts will help you biohack your health span

What’s the trend? Longevity is the latest wellness buzzword thanks to best-selling books such as  Outlive  and the hit Netflix documentary  Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones . Between 2021 and 2022, venture-capital investment in longevity clinics more than doubled from $27 million to $57 million globally, according to analysis from longevity research and media company Longevity.Technology. Now, the science of extending life and optimising health has become the focus at hotels. Blue Zones retreats are the new boot camps and even sybaritic resorts are offering the latest biohacks. Poolside vitamin IV anyone?

Why will it matter in 2024? Since the pandemic, feeling good trumps looking good. “People have become aware of the critical importance of developing a more proactive, preventive approach to health on all levels,” says Karina Stewart, co-founder of Kamalaya, a wellness retreat in Koh Samui, Thailand . This means a new willingness to go beyond diet and exercise and embrace sci-fi-sounding bio-regenerative treatments such as ozone therapy and hyperbaric oxygen chambers, both on offer at Kamalaya's new Longevity House. Luxury hotel brands are embracing the trend too. Six Senses Ibiza recently teamed up with biotech company RoseBar to offer guests full diagnostic testing. Maybourne Hotel Group is collaborating with wellness tech pioneer Virtusan to help guests boost performance. And Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea administers treatments such as stem cells and NAD+ (aka the fountain of youth) through its partnership with Next Health longevity centre. At 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay in Kauai, guests are welcomed with a B12 shot instead of bubbles and the resort’s new wellness-specific rooms come with recovery-boosting mod cons including infrared light mats. If the trend continues, the secret to longevity may be as easy as taking more holidays. Jen Murphy

9. Peak season gets the cold shoulder

What's the trend? There’s been a dramatic recent increase in shoulder season travel to Europe’s most popular destinations (particularly France , Spain , the UK and Italy ), which is set to continue in 2024. Luxury travel specialists Original Travel has launched new shoulder season itineraries to locations traditionally in demand during the summer – including the crystalline seascapes of Sardinia and Corsica – after seeing 14 per cent more bookings for September 2023 than for August 2023. Pegi Amarteifio of Small Luxury Hotels of the World shares similar insights. “Comparing phone reservations in 2023 against 2019, we’ve seen a 33 per cent increase for March to May and a 58 per cent increase for September to November , a pattern reflected across our other booking channels too.”

Why will it matter in 2024? A combination of social, economic and environmental factors is driving this trend into 2024. The cost of living crisis means a heightened focus on value. For 62 per cent of respondents to Booking.com’s 2024 travel trends survey, this is a limiting factor for 2024 travel planning, so much so that 47 per cent of respondents are even willing to take children out of school for cheaper off-peak travel. Shoulder season travel is also becoming more attractive due to rising temperatures, and more feasible due to flexible working. Layered on top of these practical considerations is an emotional motivation too: travellers are craving authenticity more than ever, seeking a tranquil, local feel when abroad, rather than Where’s Wally beach scenes. Toyo Odetunde

10. Private group travel

What’s the trend? The post-pandemic desire to gather friends or family and embark on a shared holiday experience shows no sign of abating – in fact, it’s on the increase in luxury travel, as people appreciate the benefits and savour the moment, from 3G family groups to 50-something empty-nesters keen to rekindle life-long friendships. Just don’t take Succession ’s family outing to Tuscany as a role model.

Why will it matter in 2024? “While some predicted group travel would peak post-pandemic, we’ve seen it have a lasting, positive impact with private group bookings continuing to be a dominant trend,” says Tom Marchant of Black Tomato, for whom group travel now accounts for 30 per cent of bookings. The company has just launched its See You in the Moment series to cater for the demand: it uses a mood board of over 35 experiences themed around key flash points, from The Meal (a backcountry feast served on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, for example) to The Challenge (rafting down the Apurímac in Peru, perhaps), all designed to create lasting memories. For Scott Williams, meanwhile, multi-generational travellers are thinking big: why take one house when you can take a whole estate, such as Meli on Paxos in the Greek Islands, which sleeps 17? Other groups are taking to the water, with Red Savannah reporting an increase in bookings for Turkish gulets, Egyptian dahabiyas and Indonesian phinisis. Scott Dunn have seen an increase in bookings amongst groups of friends, with 30 per cent of respondents in a recent survey saying they were planning trips for 2024 that included ski trips to France, adventure travel in South and Central America, and beach breaks on Antigua and Barbados. Empty-nesters are also a growing force, with groups of couples in their 50s to 70s hiring villas in the shoulder season for cultural weeks away, and all-female groups – mainly aged between 50 and 65 – who are proactive in wanting to renew long-term friendships. “We had one repeat group that included several cancer survivors,” says Sarah-Leigh Shenton at Red Savannah. “A hammam afternoon in Turkey was a deeply bonding experience and they’ve since travelled to Jordan and Sicily together.” Rick Jordan

11. AI aims to be your sidekick

What's the trend? Early last year, after OpenAI’s ChatGPT broke the record as the fastest-ever growing consumer app, travellers started playing around with AI chatbots to get inspiration on where they could go. More recently, major travel booking platforms have started to integrate AI chatbots into the booking experience. But if 2023 was the year of AI chatbots wanting to plan your trips , 2024 will be all about how AI aspires to be your travel sidekick. A wave of new AI-powered features and products aims to support travellers on the ground – all while raising concerns around the potential negative impacts as AI becomes more widely integrated with our travels.

Why will it matter in 2024? AI will start to make more real-time interventions in our travels in 2024. One practical example is live translation , which Samsung plans to launch on its 2024 Galaxy devices. Imagine calling somewhere you want to visit to get information without worrying about whether staff speak the same language as you. Another example is greater AI personalisation in popular apps you already use. Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has recently touted the company's increasing use of personalised AI algorithms , which will learn about your habits and make suggestions based on what you’re doing. For the true early adopters, real-time travel interventions could also mean ditching your screen entirely and clipping a screenless personal translator and travel assistant to your chest. This is the unusual idea behind the new talking and projecting AI Pin from Humane , a start-up backed by investors including OpenAI’s Sam Altman, that promises to function a bit like the universal translator from Star Trek . Will anyone want to actually wear the pin or will it go the way of previously hyped devices such as Google Glass? It certainly raises a host of ethical questions about privacy and data protection. Yet the more that AI products successfully help in addressing on-the-go problems, the more travellers will come to rely on them too. JD Shadel

12. Skip-gen travel

What’s the trend? Skip-gen travel describes when grandparents holiday with grandchildren, in other words, "skipping" a generation. “In the past few months, I've had around twice as many enquiries as usual for grandchild/grandchild bookings,” says Clio Wood, founder of family retreat company &Breathe . “There’s been a rising trend of grandparents taking their grandchildren away,” agrees Ollie Summers, Head of Sales at bespoke operator Scott Dunn . “Often to places that have a sentimental meaning to them.”

Why will it matter in 2024? Several travel agencies have created itineraries to cater specifically for this demand in 2024. “Skip-gen safaris are emerging as a micro-trend from the UK, reflecting a niche traveller group now well established in the US luxury market,” says Liane Goldring of Mahlatini Luxury Travel . “The grandparents are usually in their 70s and still active enough to fully embrace a fully guided safari adventure.” Original Travel, meanwhile, has relaunched its Bonding Holidays Collection , featuring trips focussed on discovering something new together, such as its 14-day Family Ranching itinerary in the American West. Some of this growth can be attributed to big-ticket lockdown promises coming to fruition. Now, amid the UK’s cost of living crisis, parents are also keen to make the most of the time and childcare support of their typically baby boomer, more comfortably retired parents. Plus, the global ratio of living grandparents to grandchildren is higher than ever, thanks to a combined increase in life expectancy and drop in the number of children per person. We’re even said to be living in the "the age of the grandparent". Don’t expect this trend – or your grandparents – to slow down anytime soon. Becky Lucas

Glamorous train travel

Glamorous train travel

13. Train travel gets glam

What’s the trend? Rising climate consciousness has fuelled a rail travel revival, the luxury train niche is reaching new heights of popularity, extravagance and ambition. Travel booking platforms are reporting growing demand for luxury rail trips , where the journey is, yes, the destination. In fact, new design-forward train lines increasingly rival the finest hotels for the culinary experiences and bells and whistles on offer.

Why will it matter in 2024? A new wave of rail lines and itineraries launching in 2024 puts an emphasis on deeper immersion into the culture and landscapes of the destinations, which are more and more off the beaten track. Responding to growing demand for luxury train travel among its user base, specialist platform Railbookers plans to launch arguably the most geographically extensive and expensive luxury train itinerary around. With prices per person starting at $113,599, the 80-day Around the World by Luxury Train voyage will cross four continents and 13 countries. Beginning in August , the slow journey will string together existing luxury rail trips including Canada’s Rocky Mountaineer from Vancouver to Jasper and India’s Maharajas Express from Delhi to Mumbai. In Asia, the previously paused Eastern & Oriental Express is making a grand comeback starting in February, with carriages getting an upscale revamp and its legendary route being retraced through Malaysia's landscapes. Meanwhile, Japan is a hot destination for its scenic train journeys such as the exclusive Train Suite Shiki-shima , which quickly closed applications for its 2024 trips due to demand. And in Europe, six new train lines will commence or terminate in Rome under Accor's La Dolce Vita umbrella, with suites designed by starchitects Dimorestudio, building on the cultural legacy of the famous Orient Express . JD Shadel

14. Restaurateur-owned hotels

What’s the trend? Restaurants and hotels are the two linchpins of the hospitality industry. And naturally, the two are often intertwined on one premises. Until recently, though, most hotels weren’t started or owned by restaurateurs. Yet as food-focused travel keeps increasing, with people hankering for the next hot reservation and planning entire trips around discovering a culture through its food, it makes sense that restaurateurs are adding hotelier to their CVs – and ensuring their new properties have impressive food offerings. We’d be remiss not to mention Nobu, which began as a restaurant in 1994 and in 2013 launched its global hotel brand, as a harbinger of the trend.

Why will it matter in 2024? Just as design brands (RH, West Elm) have opened hotels in recent years, now restaurateurs are getting in on the action. In the USA, restaurateur and 12-time James Beard award nominee Sam Fox has just launched the Global Ambassador in Phoenix, Arizona, with five restaurants. Santa Barbara’s Good Lion Hospitality is relaunching Petit Soleil , a Californian wine country boutique hotel, with a new bar and restaurant slated for next spring. The Lafayette Hotel & Club was debuted last summer in San Diego by Arsalun Tafazoli, founder of a local hospitality group that operates 16 bars and restaurants. The hotel has five restaurants and bars, with two more opening by the end of the year. In Dallas, Harwood International, which owns a dozen or so restaurants in the area, opened Hôtel Swexan in June. In the St Gallen region of Switzerland two hotels were recently added to beloved restaurants: the revamped Mammertsberg  and  Gasthaus Traube . In Slovenia, AS Hotel is a new place to stay launched Sebastjan Raspopović, son of chef Svetozar Raspopović-Pope of renowned restaurant Gostilna AS in Lublijana. Aside from a restaurant by Raspopović-Pope, the hotel has an eatery by Michelin-lauded chef Ana Roš. Finally,  R48 , and its lauded Chef’s Table, was opened in Tel Aviv last spring by R2M Hospitality Group, which also runs restaurants CoffeeBar and Herzl 16. Devorah Lev-Tov

15. Silent travel

What’s the trend? In an age of overstimulation, silence might be just what we need from our travels in 2024. Offering a chance to restore and reset, silent travel represents a more mindful kind of trip, one that doesn’t leave you needing a holiday to recover from your holiday. Silent meditation retreats are an increasingly popular wellness trend, but silent travel also encompasses secluded nature resorts, sleep retreats , quiet hotels , silent walking tours and even silent disco and concert experiences.

Why will it matter in 2024? Saturated with stress and screen time, many of us are looking for ways to disconnect. The silent walking trend that recently took TikTok by storm reflects a growing impulse to escape the noise of our tech-fuelled lives and embrace the quiet, with promising implications for wellbeing. One 2015 study suggests silence may help to stimulate brain development, while another found that two minutes of silence during or after relaxing music increased the music's calming effects. With the Global Wellness Institute forecasting a 21 per cent increase in wellness tourism in the next two years, what better counter to the chaos of our always-on lives than silence? Silent travel is also part of a move towards more sustainable tourism. Quiet Parks International , for example, offers unique nature experiences in dedicated quiet spaces, reducing noise pollution for the surrounding wildlife. Silent travel opportunities abound in 2024. Kick off the year with a silent retreat in Portugal (with Innate ) or Italy (with Mandali ). More adventurous silent-seekers can trek the peaceful Japanese Kumano Kodo trail, or explore Finland’s Arctic landscape with a Silence & Nature Tour . For a tailor-made silent experience, Black Tomato’s Blink camp offers luxury accommodation in the world’s most remote settings, while its Get Lost programme promises to help you find yourself by getting lost in a far-flung location. Tasha Kleeman

16. Urban gardens

What’s the trend? Never mind the biophilic office and those pot plants you forget to water: whole cities are going green as architects and planners create leafy microclimates amid the grey concrete to help keep us cooler, connect communities and even feed us.

Why will it matter in 2024? Having trees and gardens in our cities is a pretty good idea. King Nebuchadnezzar certainly thought so, which is why his Hanging Gardens of Babylon made it into travel’s first-ever bucket list – the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – back in the 2nd century BC. Nowadays planting trees creates much-needed shade, stores carbon and increases biodiversity, but it also makes our cityscapes so much nicer. While Valencia, an early adopter of urban greening with its 12km-long Turia Garden in 1986, is the 2024 European Green Capital, France is busy planting trees like there’s no tomorrow: go to Paris for the 2024 Olympics and you’ll spot budding new forests growing in Place du Colonel-Fabien, Place de Catalogne and in the Charonne district, while Bordeaux’s Grandeur Nature project includes urban cooling islands, micro-forests and rain gardens. All of which will doubtless be discussed at the ISHS Green Cities 2024 symposium, hosted by RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey, England, in September. Meanwhile, on Cyprus – an island that experienced temperatures of 44℃ in 2023 – the new Salina Park opens in time for summer shade in the seaside city of Larnaca. In Brazil, Rio’s Hortas Cariocas is a groundbreaking achievement that will be completed by the end of 2024: the largest urban vegetable garden in the world, connecting 56 community gardens across favelas and schools. And in London, the £1-billion Google building in King’s Cross will show just what can be done with one structure. Designed by Thomas Heatherwick, the "landscraper" – only 11 storeys high but stretching out longer than the Shard is tall – is hoped to provide a blueprint for future urban projects: running along the rooftop is a multi-level garden, with wildflowers, lawns and decked seating areas, set with more than 55,000 plants and 250 trees. Can you dig it? Rick Jordan

17. Back-of-house tours

What’s the trend? Greener hotels giving us a look behind the scenes to show us – not just tell us – they're sustainable. We don't mean a look-see at solar panels or composting, but heart-lifting experiential tours that help us appreciate why it matters to support socio-economic uplift through tourism. In South America, Blue Apple Beach invites visitors to get up close and personal with the community work it does in Colombia through its impact fund. Founder Portia Hart wanted more than token-gesture carbon offsetting, where locals themselves could decide how money was spent. In Africa, guests of the Bushcamp Company contribute to initiatives through the Luangwa Conservation and Community Fund. A popular excursion in Zambia is visiting the boreholes that are installed with outreach funds. Each pump provides fresh drinking water to hundreds of people a day, and visitors who spend time with those gathered get a very tangible insight into how such provisions funded by hospitality can literally change lives in regions most affected by a warming planet.

Why will it matter in 2024? Transparency is on the up as the European Union's Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive comes into force and greenwashing is coming close to being officially outlawed. A year of droughts, floods and heatwaves also reminds us we need to make better-informed choices in our travel planning – and all the better if we can also get a crash course in the science and sociology of positive impact. Experiences that go beyond explaining responsible practices, but demonstrate a deep respect for communities on the climate-change frontlines and help make their challenges relatable to visitors are especially helpful. Juliet Kinsman

18. Wild feasting

What’s the trend? Have you ever noticed how food always tastes better outdoors? But in today’s modern world many of us are more used to eating a sandwich while staring at a screen. Wild feasting describes the trend for beautifully curated culinary experiences in natural environments with the incorporation of hyper-local and foraged ingredients. In Sweden, for example, you can tap into a network of do-it-yourself outdoor restaurants where you book a table in a scenic location, search for nettles, birch leaves, lingonberries and trumpet chanterelles, and then cook them on an open fire according to a recipe card provided by a Michelin-grade chef.

Why will it matter in 2024? A greater range of wild feasting opportunities will give urbanites a chance to properly connect over food. Leading the way is Noah Ellis, founder of the UK's Nomadic Dinners. “Since launching in 2018, we experienced compounded year-on-year growth for our feasting and foraging experiences,” he says. In 2024 he will be hosting a new series of fire feasts, including one set among the bluebells. Also tapping into the zeitgeist is TikTok star Alexis Nikole Nelson (aka the Black Forager) who will publish a book about wild food in 2024. And don’t forget, 2024 is the last year you will be able to eat at Copenhagen ’s legendary, foraging-focused restaurant Noma before it turns into a test kitchen and closes to the public. Another innovator is Holmen Lofoten’s Kitchen On The Edge Of The World series in the Norwegian Arctic Circle, where guests can participate in four nights of wild feasts cooked by top chefs. In 2024, these will include Lennox Hastie, José Pizarro and Heidi Bjerkan. Ingunn Rasmussen, owner of Holmen Lofoten, says: “Now, as when we were little kids, gathering around a bonfire in the wilderness, sharing stories, feasting under the stars in these magical, remote surroundings is one of the absolute highlights, both for our guests and for us.” Jenny Southan

19. Plan-free travel

What's the trend? Saying no to endless scrolling to plan every inch of a trip, and saying yes to spontaneity instead. The power of the algorithm-spawned era of Fomo travel is waning, with those once secret spots made Insta-famous becoming tired and cookie-cutter, and the drive to plan a trip around them losing momentum. The rising counter movement is travel with no plans at all.

Why will it matter in 2024? The plan-free appeal is going one step further in 2024. Booking.com recently reported that 50 per cent of UK travellers want to book a surprise trip in 2024, where everything, even the destination, is unknown until arrival. And it’s possible to do it via travel companies such as Black Tomato, whose Get Lost service offers customers the ability to simply select a preferred environment – polar, jungle, desert, mountain or coastal – and leave its team decide everything else. “While we launched Get Lost several years ago, post-pandemic we’ve seen a notable and rising uptick in bookings and enquiries,” says Black Tomato co-founder Tom Marchant. Journee offers a similar surprise element, with travellers only finding out where they’re going at the airport. The service, which includes a full itinerary and access to a team via Whatsapp, is particularly popular with solo female travellers, while overall demand has grown so much that the London -based brand recently launched trips in the USA. Lauren Burvill

20. Frontier tourism

What’s the trend? To go above and beyond. Or below and under. As crossings of the tumultuous Drake Passage to Antarctica rack up millions of TikTok views and traffic jams form on Everest, canny travellers are seeking more individual, less obvious experiences that combine thrill-seeking with more meaningful self-empowerment.

Why will it matter in 2024? One person’s frontier is another’s backyard, of course, so frontiers are entirely subjective here. For some, this could mean being the first to camp under the stars in a remote landscape, or hike an ancient pilgrimage trail that’s been off the map for centuries. It’s still possible to bag a rare place on a Kamba African Rainforest Experience in the Republic of the Congo, being one of just 12 people to explore a game park the size of Belgium. Black Tomato, meanwhile, is designing an intrepid new expedition to the remote Mitre Peninsula in Argentina, along with a trip in Peru navigating the Sacred Valley of the Incas by raft. “This sort of adventure goes beyond bragging rights and is more akin to self-empowerment and the gratification of pushing our own horizons,” says Black Tomato co-founder Tom Marchant. The Ultimate Travel Company is also heading to Peru, a country repositioning itself for luxury travellers, with stays at Puqio, its first tented exploration camp,, in the remote Colca Valley in the Southern Peruvian Andes. Wilderness camping is also pegging out fresh terrain in Kyrgyzstan, with yurt stays on the steppes trending for 2024, according to Wild Frontiers, as is Mongolia ; while Albania, Mongolia, Pakistan and the Empty Quarter of Oman are all on the radar for an increasing number of travellers. And while the space-age pods of White Desert have already sold out for New Year’s Eve 2024 and 2025, latter-day frontiersfolk can take the path less travelled and explore the frozen continent’s southern coast (99 per cent of visitors go from South America to the northwest) with The Ultimate Travel Company’s new Ross Sea cruises, seeing the Ross Ice Shelf and Transantarctic Mountains. Don’t forget to pack your penknife. Rick Jordan

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‘Bigger than the Super Bowl’: Americans are spending big on eclipse tourism

Eclipse viewing parties are everywhere, from alpaca farms in texas to ski slopes in vermont.

article travel and tourism

For those hoping to catch a glimpse of the total solar eclipse in April, there’s no shortage of options. Six Flags Over Texas is hosting a “Solar Coaster” viewing party. Holland America has a 22-day Solar Eclipse Cruise. And after filling up one path-of-totality flight, Delta Air Lines has added a second, promising unadulterated views from “extra-large” windows.

But almost everything is sold out.

The total solar eclipse, which will be visible from more than a dozen states , is fueling a small spending boom across the nation. Hotels are booked, campgrounds are full and rental cars are nowhere to be found around the April 8 event. States including Arkansas and Indiana are expecting record-breaking travel and spending.

“This is likely going to be the single biggest tourism event we’ve ever had,” said Michael Pakko, an economist at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, who is projecting a statewide windfall of $105 million. “Obviously, it’s going to be a short duration — a long weekend — but for that concentrated period of time, it’s going to be a very big deal.”

It’s also rare. A total solar eclipse — in which the moon completely covers the sun for a few minutes, creating a pitch-black “path of totality” — is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many. It’s been 99 years since New York had one, and 218 years for Ohio. This time around, the path of totality will stretch from Texas to Maine, covering parts of several states, including Missouri, Kentucky and Pennsylvania, along the way.

The boost to those local economies could be significant. Texas, which is expected to get the biggest influx of visitors, could pocket $428 million in eclipse-related spending, according to Ray Perryman, an economist in Waco. Johnson County, Ind., is forecasting as much as $25 million in extra revenue, while Rochester, N.Y., expects about $10 million.

Americans emerged from the pandemic ready to shell out, especially for memorable experiences. The total solar eclipse is the ultimate example, with the next one being two decades away for most of the United States. In all, as many as 3.7 million people are expected to travel to the path of totality for the eclipse, according to estimates from geographer Michael Zeiler.

Robust consumer spending — which has continued despite high prices — has kept the economy chugging along at a time when many had feared a recession. Spending on international travel and live entertainment surged nearly 30 percent last year, five times the rate of overall spending growth, as Americans splurged on European vacations and Taylor Swift concerts. Eclipse travel is expected to fuel another mini spending boom.

Indiana, for example, is preparing for a record 500,000 visitors — more than seven times the attendance at the 2012 Super Bowl in Indianapolis, according to Amy Howell, vice president of tourism at the Indiana Destination Development Corporation.

State officials in transportation, natural resources and homeland security have been meeting for months to iron out logistics, such as port-a-potty availability and traffic plans, she said. Some schools are closed that day, and garbage collection will be on hold.

“We know how to host big events, but this is huge — bigger than the Super Bowl and the Indy 500 put together, plus the state fair, which is 18 days long,” she said. “We’re expecting to have all of those visitors in one day.”

A thousand miles away, Steven Wright is making similar calculations at his Vermont ski resort. The 900 rooms at Jay Peak have been sold out since last spring, with the earliest eclipse-related reservations arriving five years ago. In all, some 8,000 people are expected to take part in the resort’s festivities, which start at $365 for two people.

A Pink Floyd cover band will play the “Dark Side of the Moon” album right as the eclipse begins. Also unfolding then: a 50-person wedding on the mountain’s peak.

“It’s an awful lot of buildup for a few minutes,” said Wright, the property’s general manager.

These types of viewing parties are cropping up everywhere, including at alpaca farms in Texas, Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway . For those seeking a more exclusive experience, T.E.I. Tours and Travel is offering private path-of-totality flights starting at $9,750 per person.

The Planetary Society, a nonprofit headed by Bill Nye “the Science Guy,” is hosting a 1,000-person camp-out at a wedding venue in Fredericksburg, Tex. There will be astronomy talks in the glass chapel and telescopes and games on the lawn. Tickets are $325 a pop, and so far the attendee list includes people from nearly all 50 states, plus Finland, Japan and Spain.

“We are huge space nerds, and seeing a total solar eclipse, it stirs something deeply profound inside of us,” spokeswoman Danielle Gunn said. “People travel all over the world to see this — and once you see one total eclipse, you get why.”

This will be the third total eclipse for Nazmus Nasir. He and his wife began planning their trip from Boston to Marble Falls, Tex., seven years ago, after seeing the last one in Tennessee. They nabbed an Airbnb in 2022, as soon as bookings went online, and plan to drive the 30 hours to central Texas in a rented minivan with their 11-month-old son.

“I don’t think words can describe how it feels to be under totality,” said Nasir, a 34-year-old software engineer and amateur astro-photographer. “Nothing really prepares you for it. I knew what was happening, but my brain still couldn’t believe what I was looking at.”

That’s the experience Otilia Vindfeldt Jensen is hoping for. She and her husband are flying from Denmark to Mesquite, Tex., for the town’s “ Solar Rodeo .”

“The way people talk about it, there’s so much awe and they find it difficult to find words for what they’ve seen,” she said. “I really want to be a part of that.”

Jensen, a 31-year-old clinical researcher, and her husband talked about it for over a year, she said, before finally booking $1,500 flights last month. The couple plans to spend three weeks in the United States, most of it driving across Texas.

The rush of visitors is expected to give many small towns and rural areas an unprecedented boost. In Greenville, Maine, the Lodge at Moosehead Lake has been booked for months in anticipation of the eclipse. But people are still calling — even offering to pay for a spot on the inn’s back deck or its parking lot, owner Beverly Burgess said.

Burgess has turned down those requests and is instead focused on figuring out how to manage the crowds. She’s loading up on extra food, has a generator on hand in case the power goes out and has hired a parking attendant for the day of the eclipse, when Greenville’s population is projected to swell from about 1,400 to more than 30,000.

“This is certainly more people than we’ve ever seen before,” she said. “It’s a lot for this little town.”

Julieann Taylor, 66, is determined to see the eclipse — and has hotel rooms booked in three states, just in case. The retired nurse, who lives in northwest Indiana, is planning to drive to Arkansas with her husband, sister, adult son and dachshund, Dieter. But if that falls through or the weather is bad , she’s also reserved rooms closer to home, in Indianapolis and Findlay, Ohio.

Taylor saw the partial eclipse in 2017, but wishes she’d experienced totality. “In that moment, I said, ‘If we’re still alive, we’re going to go to the next one,’” she said. “This is probably our last chance in our lifetime, so we’re going to make the effort.”

Taylor has spent about $2,500 on hotel bookings and says she can barely contain her excitement. Her husband, though, is less enthused: “He’s just not into this at all,” she said. “He’s complaining, ‘Why are we going? We could be going somewhere fun other than Arkansas.’”

In any case, Taylor is powering on. She’s poring over satellite maps to find the best viewing areas and filling a Yeti cooler with water, fruit and cheese sticks in case they’re stuck on the road for long stretches.

“If we miss it,” she said, “it won’t be for a lack of trying.”

article travel and tourism

Travel startups: Disruption from within?

Startups play an essential role in spearheading innovation that benefits consumers, businesses, and industries. But travel startups have been underfunded when compared to startups in other sectors. Looking back over the past 15 years, the travel and tourism industry received around 1 percent of funding for startups across all industries. 1 McKinsey analysis based on PitchBook Data, Inc.. This relatively low level of investment stands out in contrast to the industry’s size: Travel and tourism contributed to over 10 percent of global GDP in 2019. 2 “Travel & Tourism: Economic impact 2022,” World Travel & Tourism Council, June 14, 2022. These factors suggest that it’s a tough industry in which to raise money.

Despite these funding challenges, and unprecedented industry uncertainties, over $27 billion worth of investments were poured into travel companies from 2020 to 2022. In fact, in 2021, investment set a new record of just under $11 billion—indicating that investor appetite has not only returned to pre-COVID-19 levels, but even surpassed it.

About this research

Analysis is based on information obtained from the Phocuswright startup database. Funding was analyzed from 2005 to 2022 YTD (including November 2022), based on a sample of 3,865 startups. This included 6,395 funding rounds, accounting for $76 billion in funding (exhibit).

Given this context, a new report Travel startups: Disruption from within–or not? presents an overview of the travel startup environment, and how the funding landscape has evolved across geographies, and across the different types of travel startups. Analysis is based on information obtained from the Phocuswright startup database and draws on insights from industry executives (see sidebar, “About this research”).

The report examines the kinds of investors that are funding these startups—and the types of businesses they choose for investment. It also puts forward possible future scenarios that would have implications for travel companies and stakeholders in the startup space. This article presents some of the key findings.

Fewer travel startups are attracting funding, but when they do, they secure a substantial amount

Even though funding may be hard to come by, compared to other sectors, investors are interested in travel and tourism. Investment in travel startups has returned to pre-pandemic levels and has even surpassed record-breaking years in the past, such as 2015 and 2019. These peaks were achieved through significant acquisitions that may have consolidated the market. For instance the online travel agency Expedia acquired HomeAway for $3.9 billion in 2015. 3 “Expedia to acquire HomeAway, Inc.,” Expedia media statement, PR Newswire, November 4, 2015.

Furthermore, funding per round has increased over the past decade from an average of around $4 million in 2010 to $20 million in 2022, with the steepest increase seen during the pandemic (Exhibit 1). This indicates that fewer travel startups could be attracting funding, but when they do, they secure a substantial amount. In essence, the relatively small amount of funding that exists is shifting toward fewer startups.

Funding has shifted toward more mature startups

Q&a with johannes reck, ceo of getyourguide.

Johannes Reck is CEO of GetYourGuide, a Berlin-based online travel agency and online marketplace for tours, attractions, and excursions. The company’s website and app connects travelers with activity providers around the world, offering thousands of products in more than 20 languages, and 40 currencies. He shares his views on the investment landscape for travel startups:

What patterns have you noticed regarding investment in travel startups?

At a high level I would say that too little VC money flows into travel altogether, probably due to the market cap that has been realized, and that startups in the scaling phase still have to demonstrate profitability to attract funding. It’s also important not to generalize the way we think about startups—they range in size and maturity from two employees to major disruptors. Essentially, if innovation is not yet proven, then there is little or no money coming in, and this is especially true in Europe.

Are certain types of startups attracting more investor interest than others?

There are category leaders emerging in many areas, such as flights, accommodation, and experiences. I think investors have no appetite to pour money into a number three or four in any given category. And because of the global network effect in travel, it’s really difficult to design a new category. For instance, the chance that a new company could fundamentally disrupt an established concept such as Airbnb, or Booking.com, is limited because of the network effect that locks in global supply and demand—and that’s what makes category leaders so defensible.

Furthermore, there is a perception that as large firms are so big, they can do everything, and that may scare away a lot of investors from betting on a smaller innovative company. The presence of large incumbents may stifle innovation—but startups have a central role to play in this regard and can benefit the entire industry.

What role do you think travel companies could play in the startup landscape?

I think travel companies have to invest in innovation now, otherwise they could be worse positioned in a future crisis. Essentially, travel companies could look at how investing in startups could strengthen all areas of their value chain. They could also focus on the value that innovation will bring to the industry, instead of investing only with profit in mind.

That said, there may be room for travel companies to look at M&A. There is much less competition, compared to pre-COVID-19, and acquisition is now much more efficient. This means that companies could be in a position to grow—much faster and with less effort.

Across industries, later-stage funding (i.e., Series B, C, D) has made up the majority of startup investment (Exhibit 2). Between 2020 and 2022, more acquisitions (e.g., Getaroom.com and On Location Experiences) and public financing rounds (e.g., Sonder and Vacasa) took place than in previous years. This could be symptomatic of a trend: Investors may want to back category leaders that have reached scale (See sidebar, “Q&A with Johannes Reck, CEO of GetYourGuide”).

Hospitality startups remain the leading category for investment

Most recent funding has been channeled to hospitality startups, making up 49 percent of investment between 2015 and 2019, and 41 percent between 2020 and 2022. This is likely due to the rising popularity of short-term rentals. Startups providing services for short-term rentals, such as Airbnb or AvantStay, accounted for 55 percent of hospitality startup funding in 2021.

Business travel startups doubled their share of investment during the pandemic, and within this category, startups in the corporate segment, such as the expense-management software provider Divvy, secured 98 percent of funding between 2020 and 2022. The MICE segment received the remaining 2 percent, likely due to the decrease in events during the pandemic.

Would you like to learn more about our Travel, Logistics & Infrastrucure Practice ?

In the same period, booking and transport startups lost some share of funding as investor priorities may have shifted during the crisis. In the booking category, online travel agency businesses secured 90 percent of funding.

Overall, the pre-trip category remains the least funded, having attracted 1 percent of total funding in the past seven years. Within this category, startups in insurance attracted 84 percent of funding in 2021 (Exhibit 3).

Travel companies account for a relatively small percentage of travel startup funding

Since 2015, five categories of investors have funded travel startups:

  • Angel and private investors: These investors oversaw 138 rounds of capital raising totaling $3.6 billion between 2015 and 2021.
  • Banks and the public sector: These institutions oversaw 125 funding rounds, totaling $6.4 billion. Much of this funding took place in 2021, likely due to pandemic-related bailouts and large rounds of debt funding.
  • Venture capital (VC) and VC-orientated private equity (PE) firms: This group raised 2,090 rounds of funding, totaling $72 billion.
  • Travel companies: These are frequently in-house incubators or joint ventures that provide potential businesses with direct support. Travel companies raised $7.8 billion in investment through 389 rounds.
  • Non-travel companies: Despite not being in the tourism sector, these companies raised more money ($12.5 billion) in 264 rounds than their travel-industry counterparts.

Overall, VCs have been the leading investor category, and spent nine times more than travel companies in 2021. Since 2015, travel companies accounted for a relatively small percentage of startup funding, and this has decreased in recent years, dropping from 18 percent in 2020 to 5 percent in 2021.

Between 2015 and 2019, VCs and PEs invested at least twice as much per funding round compared to travel companies. Average funding size was roughly $37 million for VCs and PEs, compared to $17 million for travel companies. This leveled out between 2020 and 2022 where both groups invested approximately $30 million on average per funding round.

In 2021, banks greatly increased their investment share and matched VC investments, likely driven by increases in debt funding (Exhibit 4).

The travel industry could benefit from supporting startups

To date, travel companies have played a very small role in investing in the industry. As startups generally spearhead innovation, travel companies could take up opportunities to support startups—and reap the benefits. Furthermore, by not supporting, or finding ways to engage other players in the industry, travel companies may be missing an opportunity to shape the next generation of travel businesses. And as the investment landscape becomes tougher, travel companies are well placed to ensure that the innovation pipeline continues to flourish, even if VCs and larger players withdraw.

Travel companies could become more involved in investing in the industry and bring their expertise to bear on innovation and the sorts of capabilities and technologies that may be needed. And they stand to gain from leveraging startup capabilities in-house. Research into collaboration between corporates and startups in other industries shows that both parties stand to benefit. Startups can benefit from corporate funding, resources, and customer access, while corporates may need the innovation that startups offer to stay ahead of competitors and disruption, and also to access new technology. 4 “Collaborations between corporates and startups,” McKinsey, May 2020.

Three possible future scenarios could materialize in light of the trends in travel startup funding.

  • Incumbent-driven consolidation: In this scenario, sustained emphasis on short-term profitability due to inflation and increasing cost of capital would make it difficult for travel startups to attract funding and gain ground in the industry. Funding rounds would be smaller due to early exits, closures, bankruptcies, or consolidation by established and scaled technology-driven firms. Established players would focus more on developing products and services that can be scaled globally and less on optimizing backend processes where rapid scale-up is potentially more challenging, such as manual check-in processes in hotels. This situation would lead to less innovation across the industry. In the long run, reduced innovation due to less startup diversity may require more in-house innovation for optimizing backend processes and technology.
  • Emergence of multiple niche startups: Early-stage startups would see sustained and potentially increased funding, while funding for startups in the later stages would plummet. This could lead to an exit wave across later-stage startups due to bankruptcies. At the same time, a wave of new, more diversified, startups could emerge that aim to tackle a variety of niche problems in the industry, such as core technology elements. The result could be an even broader but more fragmented ecosystem of new industry players, leading to higher levels of innovation throughout the industry. Travel companies could acquire distressed startups, at lower valuations, which would boost in-house innovation and allow incumbents to provide new offerings.
  • Travel startups golden 20s: In this scenario, travel startups across all growth stages and categories would see continuous increases in funding and growth. There would also be an increase in larger investments aimed at developing technology and core industry processes such as AI-enabled fulfillment, and disruption management. Innovation could flourish across the industry. In this fast-growing landscape, competition for funding would intensify and investors’ expectations around performance could increase. At the same time, collaboration would become more complex due to the diversified landscape of partners and suppliers. Established businesses would need to build in-house innovation capabilities organically or acquire them. Differentiation would become more difficult and several leading incumbents may be replaced by new challengers in the market.

However the future pans out, support for startups can boost innovation and strengthen the travel and tourism value chain, for all participants.

Giuseppe Genovese is a consultant in McKinsey’s Dallas office, Evgeni Kochman is an associate partner in the Frankfurt office, Vik Krishnan is a partner in the San Francisco office, and Nina Wittkamp is a partner in the Munich office.

The authors wish to thank Karel Dörner, Markus Berger-de León, Patrick Naef, and Christian Dominka, for their contributions to this report.

The authors also wish to thank Hollis Thomases, a senior research analyst at Phocuswright, Chetan Kapoor, a research analyst Asia Pacific at Phocuswright, and Johannes Reck, CEO of GetYourGuide.

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2024 will be huge for astrotourism—here’s how to plan your trip

One report estimates one to four million people will travel to see this year’s solar eclipse—but it's not the only cosmic event happening this year.

Constellations and comets. Solar eclipses and the aurora borealis. The cosmos are alive with wonders. Eclipses were mentioned in Assyrian cuneiform tablets as early as 763 B.C. and Han Dynasty documents since 90 B.C. Similarly, the aurora borealis was observed by Assyrian astronomers around 679-655 B.C. and documented by Aristotle between 384 and 322 B.C.

While solar eclipses and the northern lights get the most attention, comets, meteor showers, and other spectacular night sky events happen all year round. Traveling to destinations specifically to stargaze is called astrotourism, and it’s been gaining momentum over the past decade. The 2017 solar eclipse further increased interest, with more than 216 million people attempting to see it , making it one of the largest recorded audiences for any scientific, athletic, or entertainment event.   Plus, the growth of dark sky parks and reserves (designated areas with minimal light pollution) has made it easier for people to engage with the cosmos.

Here’s why 2024 will be huge for astrotourism and where and when you should look up.

The year for astrotourism  

2024 could bring the best auroras in 20 years , including in regions that don’t typically see the northern lights, such as Arizona , Arkansas , and Virginia . Alex Filippenko , an astrophysicist and professor at the University of California, Berkeley, says the strength of this year’s northern and southern lights is because the sun is nearing a maximum in its roughly 11-year solar activity cycle, expected to peak in 2025. He adds that the total solar eclipse that will take place on April 8 will also be visible in many parts of the U.S., and it will be the last one to occur here until 2044.

In April, the enormous 12P/Pons-Brooks comet will streak toward the inner solar system, becoming so bright that it may be visible to the unaided eye. Nearly three times the size of Mount Everest, the comet will align with the eclipsed sun on April 8 and swing by Jupiter on April 12 before reaching peak brightness on its way to the sun on April 21.

( This Swedish overnight train takes you straight to the northern lights .)

Come August, the annual Perseid meteor shower returns, scattering a flurry of up to 60 shooting stars per hour. On September 17,   Saturn will converge with the moon and do so again on October 14 and 15, November 11, and December 8. This spectacle will be visible to unaided eyes shortly after sunset, though binoculars could make the silvery lunar glow and giant yellow planet appear even more impressive.

Greek ruins on a hill, at sunrise, with a gigantic, full moon close to the horizon

Planning your own astro adventure

According to a report by the Great American Eclipse , an estimated one to four million people will travel to see this year’s solar eclipse. In response, travel companies are rocketing into astrotourism.

In 2021, Black Tomato launched a series of bespoke eclipse experiences, including adventures to Argentina and Patagonia and luxury private yacht trips in Antarctica . Wilderness Travel , a California -based adventure company, has offered expert-led eclipse trips for 20 years.

Texas-based Jean Ann LeGrand, who has seen eclipses on several Wilderness Travel trips, says, “the moment is ethereal—the personal excitement, the solar drama, the atmospheric changes; it’s as if you are being drawn in and cloaked in an experience of being made one with the sun.”  

Some of the best cities to view the eclipse in the U.S. are Austin and Dallas , Texas; Cleveland , Ohio; and Rochester and Niagara Falls , New York. Indianapolis has planned events at the Indianapolis Speedway, Children’s Museum, and zoo, where animals are expected to react to the sudden loss of light.

( The best places to see the 2024 total solar eclipse .)

August’s Perseid meteor shower is best seen in the Northern Hemisphere. For prime views, head somewhere dark, clear, and far from light pollution and threats of wildfires . Popular places for stargazing and meteor watching are Colorado and California, but to avoid the crowds (and potentially ash-filled skies), consider lesser visited dark skies in Nebraska or South Carolina .

Auroras are much harder to plan for in advance says Filippenko, but nights around the new moon are better than bright full-moon nights. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also offers a map that helps you determine whether or not the lights will be visible from your area.

Top spots to see the aurora borealis in Europe include Finland , Scotland , Iceland , and Norway , because they experience many hours of darkness. The southern lights illuminate the skies over the southern tip portions of Tasmania, Australia and New Zealand . But some of the darkest skies won’t be spotted from land. Rather, they’ll be found far from light pollution, in the middle of the ocean. Consider a cruise that passes through northern regions like Greenland and the Canadian Arctic .

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article travel and tourism

Image: Bigstock

Adventure Awaits: Ride the Tourism Wave With These ETFs

Moderating inflation levels and rising expectations of the Fed cutting interest rates three times in 2024 paint a favorable picture for the tourism industry.

Additionally, projections for an increase in international travel and an uptick in global passenger traffic surpassing the pre-pandemic levels propel the prospects of the industry.

Falling Interest Rates to Boost Consumer Spending

According to the CME FedWatch Tool, the interest rate may fall to 5-5.25% in June, supported by a likelihood of 65.8%. Further, the rates are estimated to fall to 4.25-4.5%, boosted by a probability of 30.3%. A fall in the interest rate may lead to increased discretionary spending by consumers, thereby bolstering the tourism industry.

Global Air Traffic Set to Surpass Pre-Pandemic Peaks

According to the World Airport Traffic Forecasts’ 2023-2052 report, as quoted on the Business Traveller , global air passenger traffic is anticipated to achieve a milestone by the end of 2024, reaching 9.7 billion and surpassing the pre-pandemic levels.

The forecast indicates a doubling of the global air passenger traffic by 2042, with domestic numbers expected to reach 10.6 billion and international traffic to reach 8.7 billion.

According to ACI World director, General Luis Felipe de Oliveira, as quoted on ACI, with global passenger traffic reaching 9.7 billion by the close of 2024, the forecast suggests a doubling by 2042 and a remarkable 2.5-fold increase by 2052.

Surging Revenues to Spark Growth

Per Statista , the global travel & tourism market is poised for substantial revenue growth in the upcoming years, with revenues anticipated to surge to $927.30 billion. The market is expected to expand at a yearly pace of 3.47%, leading to a market size of $1.06 trillion by 2028.

Among the sectors driving this growth, the hotels market stands out as the largest, which is forecast to reach a market volume of $446.50 billion by 2024. The hotels market is anticipated to witness a surge in users to 1,397.00 million by 2028.

Per CBRE, revPAR is anticipated to achieve 3% year-over-year growth, propelled by the sustained recovery in inbound international travel, a robust performance in the meetings and group events sector, and persistent demand from leisure travelers.

Moreover, the trend of upscale hotel outperformance is predicted to persist in 2024, with luxury and upper-upscale RevPAR projected to escalate 3.8% and 3.7% year over year, respectively.

ETFs in Focus

According to Moodie Davitt Report , a doubling of global passenger traffic within the next two decades is estimated, marking a milestone, wherein China is anticipated to supersede the United States as the leading aviation market.

Furthermore, emerging economies like Indonesia, Turkey and Thailand are positioned for substantial growth, reflecting their rising significance in the global aviation landscape.

Below, we highlight a few ETFs for investors to increase their exposure to the tourism market.

Amplify Travel Tech ETF ( AWAY Quick Quote AWAY - Free Report )

Amplify Travel Tech ETF seeks to track the performance of Prime Travel Technology Index NTR with a basket of 33 securities. The fund has gathered an asset base of $89.4 million and charges an annual fee of 0.75%.

Amplify Travel Tech ETF has major allocations to the United States (37.6%), followed by Australia (11.9%) and China (10.8%). The fund has gained 998% over the past three months and 7.12% over the past year.

Defiance Hotel Airline and Cruise ETF ( CRUZ Quick Quote CRUZ - Free Report )

Defiance Hotel Airline and Cruise ETF seeks to track the performance of the BlueStar Global Hotels, Airlines, and Cruises Index with a basket of 62 securities. The fund has gathered an asset base of $35.1 million and charges an annual fee of 0.45%.

Defiance Hotel Airline and Cruise ETF has major exposure to the United States (61.98%), followed by the U.K. (8.84%) and Japan (5.14%). The fund has gained 13.52% over the past three months and 18.21% over the past year.

ALPS Global Travel Beneficiaries ETF ( JRNY Quick Quote JRNY - Free Report )

ALPS Global Travel Beneficiaries ETF seeks to track the performance of the S-Network Global Travel Index with a basket of 77 securities. The fund has gathered an asset base of $6.3 million and charges an annual fee of 0.65%.

ALPS Global Travel Beneficiaries ETF has major exposure to the United States (65.63%), followed by France (10.95%) and Japan (7.42%). The fund has gained 14.71% over the past three months and 12.18% over the past year.

AdvisorShares Hotel ETF ( BEDZ Quick Quote BEDZ - Free Report )

AdvisorShares Hotel ETF employs an active strategy, seeking to achieve its investment objective by investing at least 80% of its net assets in securities of companies that derive at least 50% of their net revenues from the hotel business. The fund has a basket of 27 securities and has amassed an asset base of $4.1 million. BEDZ charges an annual fee of 1%.

AdvisorShares Hotel ETF has major exposure to the United States (82.57%), followed by China (10.02%). The fund has gained 12.99% over the past three months and 17.16% over the past year.

U.S. Global Jets ETF ( JETS Quick Quote JETS - Free Report )

U.S. Global Jets ETF seeks to track the performance of the U.S. Global Jets Index tracks with a basket of 51 securities. The fund has gathered an asset base of $1.28 billion and charges an annual fee of 0.60%.

U.S. Global Jets ETF has major exposure to the United States (73.46%), followed by Canada (5.42%) and Japan (2.62%). The fund has gained 20.07% over the past three months and 2.19% over the past year.

(Disclaimer: This article has been written with the assistance of Generative AI. However, the author has reviewed, revised, supplemented, and rewritten parts of this content to ensure its originality and the precision of the incorporated information.)

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Moscow plans measures to woo tourists, Foreign Tourist Card in the offing

Moscow, Russia

To woo tourists from across the world, the Moscow City Tourism Committee is taking several measures and to address payment-related issues the Russian government is planning to come out with a virtual ‘Foreign Tourist Card’, that will enable cashless payments for various services.

During the Covid pandemic, the tourist flow to Moscow had dropped significantly. However, the number of Indian tourists visiting Moscow is slowly witnessing an uptrend and with tourist-friendly measures like e-visa, this number is likely to grow in the coming months.

“We are still on our way to restore the flow of Indian tourists in Moscow like it used to be before the pandemic. Before the pandemic, there was very steady growth like 12-15 per cent on a y-o-y basis,” said Bulat Nurmukhanov, Head of International Cooperation Division of Moscow City Tourism Committee.

Travelling to Moscow has now become easier as tourists from India and 54 other countries can apply for an electronic visa to enter Russia from August 1, 2023.

Moreover, initiatives like the Foreign Tourist Card will help address payment-related issues, after the departure of MasterCard and Visa from the Russian market, Bulat said.

“There is an initiative by the Federal Government of Russia to develop a ‘Foreign Tourist Card’. The initiative is under process, and some legislative documents have been amended in order to make this card possible.

“The idea behind this card is that a person back home in India can remotely apply for this card and then he/she can transfer money from the personal bank account to this bank account,” Bulat added.

This will be a virtual card and this will be issued to the person back home. This card will address the payment-related issues of foreign tourists in Moscow.

To give more travel options to tourists, in March this year, Russian flag carrier Aeroflot increased the frequency of its flight services on the Delhi-Moscow route to seven times a week against four weekly services earlier.

India and Russia “in principle” agreed to revise their bilateral air services agreement earlier this month, allowing Russian carriers to operate up to 64 flights per week from 52 to India.

Russian carriers are allowed to operate these flights to six Indian cities, Delhi, Mumbai, Goa, Kolkata, Amritsar and Ahmedabad.

“We are really looking forward to the Indian Airlines to restore their flight connections to Moscow. Right now only Aeroflot is operating flights between Delhi and Goa. However, there are some other options available from Dubai to Moscow,” Bulat said.

In a bid to tackle the language barrier that makes arriving in and navigating in a new country quite intimidating, there are seven tourist centres across Moscow. It also has a call centre for foreign tourists in case they need any help, Bulat said.

“We are working on translating the city navigation into English. Our businesses are really active and quick to respond to what the market requires,” Bulat added.

Source: PTI

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Travel | Rick Steves’ Europe: Saints and sustenance in…

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Travel | rick steves’ europe: saints and sustenance in spain’s santiago de compostela.

Tiny percebes – barnacles – are a local specialty in northwest Spain.

Whenever I’m in Santiago de Compostela, in the northwest corner of Spain, I have a three-part agenda: See pilgrims reach their goal in front of the cathedral, explore the market, and buy some barnacles in the seafood section – then have them cooked for me, on the spot, in a café.

I make a point to be on the town square facing the towering Cathedral of St. James at around 11 in the morning. That’s when scores of well-worn pilgrims begin gathering for the daily Pilgrim’s Mass, a triumphant celebration marking their completion of the Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James) – a 500-mile hike from the French border.

Since the Middle Ages, humble hikers have walked these miles to pay homage to the remains of St. James in his namesake city. Their traditional gear included a cloak; a pointy, floppy hat; a walking stick; and a gourd (for drinking from wells). The way is marked with yellow arrows or scallop shells (a symbol of the saint) at every intersection. Doing the entire route from the border to Santiago takes about four to six weeks. I’ve never met a pilgrim who didn’t think the trek was a life-changing experience and well worth the sweat.

At journey’s end, hikers complete their pilgrimage by stepping on the metal scallop shell embedded in the pavement at the foot of the cathedral. I just love watching how different pilgrims handle the jubilation.

To stand in front of the cathedral’s stately facade is the hiker’s dream. Routinely, pilgrims ask me to take their photo and email it to them. Then they say, “I’ve got to go meet with St. James,” and as has been the routine for centuries, they head into the cathedral.

Santiago is a city built of its local granite. Most people picture Spain as a hot, arid land, but the Atlantic northwest of Spain enjoys far more precipitation than the interior (Spain’s northwest corner is home to a temperate rainforest, an hour north of Santiago). Rain off the Atlantic has colored Santiago’s granite green with moss.

Two blocks away from the cathedral, Santiago’s public market is thriving, oblivious to the personal triumphs going on at St. James’ tomb. There’s something basic about wandering through a farmers market early in the morning anywhere in the world: Salt-of-the-earth people pull food out of the ground, cart it into the city, and sell what they’ve harvested to people who don’t have gardens.

Dried-apple grandmothers line up like a babushka cancan. Each sits on a stool so small it disappears under her work dress. At the women’s feet are brown woven baskets filled as if they were cornucopias – still-dirty eggs in one; in the next, greens clearly pulled this morning, soil clinging to their roots. One woman hopes to earn a few extra euros with homebrews – golden bottles with ramshackle corks – one labeled licor café (coffee liquor), the other, orujo casero (homemade grappa).

I see rickety card tables filled with yellow cheeses shaped like giant Hershey’s Kisses…or, to locals, breasts. This local cheese is called tetilla to revenge a prudish priest who, seven centuries ago, told a sculptor at the cathedral to redo a statue that he considered too buxom. Ever since, the townsfolk have made their cheese exactly in the shape the priest didn’t want seen carved in stone. You can’t go anywhere in Santiago without seeing its creamy, mild tetilla.

Stepping farther into the market, I notice spicy red chorizo – sausage in chains framing merchants’ faces. Chickens, plucked and looking as rubbery as can be, fill glass cases. Fisherwomen in rubber aprons and matching gloves sort through folded money.

There’s a commotion at the best stalls. Short ladies with dusty, blue-plaid roller carts jostle for the best deals. A selection of pigs’ ears mixed with hooves going nowhere fills a shoebox. Neat rows of ears, translucent in the low rays of the morning sun, look as if someone had systematically and neatly flattened a basket of conch shells.

From one vendor I buy percebes (barnacles) at a third the price I’d pay in a bar. I get a little less than a half pound and hustle my bag over to the market café. There, Ramón and Julia boil them for a small fee. Feeling quite like a local – sipping my beer so early in the morning – I eagerly wait for my barnacles to cook.

Then comes the climax of my morning: Julia brings my barnacles, stacked steaming on a stainless-steel plate, as well as bread and another beer. I’m set. Twist, rip, bite. It’s the bounty of the sea condensed into every little morsel…edible jubilation in Santiago.

(Rick Steves (www.ricksteves.com) writes European guidebooks, hosts travel shows on public TV and radio, and organizes European tours. This column revisits some of Rick’s favorite places over the past two decades. You can email Rick at [email protected] and follow his blog on Facebook.)

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Like Jewels, Will Travel

Gem- and jewelry-themed tours and excursions mix treasure hunting with adventure and cultural experiences.

A color illustration of a hand holding a martini glass, a jeweler and elements related to travel, jewelry and mining.

Text by Amy Elliott

Illustrations by Ben Pearce

Last year, when Roberto Ruiz visited the Carbonera mine in Querétaro, Mexico, he cracked open a grapefruit-size piece of rhyolite with a hammer. When he looked inside, “it was like finding a fire fossil,” he said during a recent phone interview from his home in San Antonio. Inside was an orangey-red fire opal that he likened to a flame, forever preserved in the sphere of igneous rock.

Mr. Ruiz and his wife, Erika Rodriguez, are among the few people who have traveled to the mine, a desolate spot located in Carbonera in central Mexico, a destination that’s well off the beaten tourist track, some 20 miles from the nearest city. Their journey was especially unusual as neither is in the gem trade: Mr. Ruiz is a corporate attorney and Ms. Rodriguez works in digital marketing.

But they are among a growing number of travel enthusiasts seeking unusual, hyper-specific vacation experiences that offer an insider’s view of the gem and fine jewelry industries, and a number of businesses are responding to the demand accordingly.

Mr. Ruiz said the idea of visiting an opal mine was appealing for a few reasons, starting with his lifelong fascination with gemstones and minerals.

The mine’s remote location in the rocky, semidesert wilderness (where snakes and scorpions are not uncommon) was also compelling: Ms. Rodriguez said she and her husband are usually inclined toward travel focused on outdoor adventure, from hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru to rock climbing around Krabi in southern Thailand.

“We had also gone to the American Museum of Natural History in New York and saw an opal from Querétaro, and Roberto is originally from there,” Ms. Rodriguez said. “We found out something that we didn’t even know existed and we became interested in learning how the opals are extracted — and meeting the people who were doing it.”

But a traveler cannot just show up at a mine and start digging. It requires a guide, someone well connected to the mine owners and well versed in what to expect: dirt and dust; lots of walking; the occasional explosion at the site; and, at times, security risks. Given their knowledge of the terrain, guides keep an ear to the ground for rumblings — both geological and political — and respond accordingly to keep travelers safe.

The couple arranged the trip through Carlos Torres, an acquaintance from New York who is a gemologist, commercial gem buyer and consultant. He had piqued their interest with tales of the mines he has visited, particularly on trips with his business partner, Laurent Massi, who has taught gemology at several institutions and now is the owner of the Neogem consultancy in Paris.

Mr. Torres and Dr. Massi have organized gem mining trips not just to Mexico, but also to destinations such as Colombia (for emeralds), Thailand (for rubies) and Brazil (for Paraiba tourmaline). Last fall, they started the Gem Odyssey , a business to structure similar gem-hunting expeditions as all-inclusive travel packages that start, on average, at about $3,700 per person, not including airfare.

Gem Odyssey itineraries are tailored to jewelry enthusiasts who are not industry professionals — offering plenty of education and explanation, while avoiding “inside baseball”-type industry talk. The trips typically span nine days, with at least three of those days spent at a mine site.

The founders say the schedules can be customized to include experiences such as tequila tastings or visits to local artisan markets; any given trip might include a mix of accommodations, with upscale hotels near the airports or central cities and more rustic facilities in the mining areas.

But his clients don’t come for the niceties, Mr. Torres said. “They like the idea of getting mud on their hands.”

And, he added, after receiving instruction in mining safety, they become part of the process: “They see the drilling, how the dynamite is used for extraction, and they get to experience breaking the stones and checking for gems.”

Dr. Massi, who also was on the phone interview with Mr. Torres, said that “witnessing the birth of a gemstone is not something anyone can do and see at home in their garden. We try to give them an experience, and see a part of a country, that they could not get access to on their own.”

Digging For Tourmalines

Perhaps it is not surprising, but gem- and jewelry-themed travel is a trend especially relevant to the tastes and inclinations of high-net worth individuals — people with at least $1 million in liquid assets — according to Milton Pedraza, the founder and chief executive of the Luxury Institute, a consultancy specializing in luxury consumer research with offices in New York and Florida.

Mr. Pedraza said the sophisticated traveler has “seen it, done it.” So, he said, when someone has the opportunity to access an exclusive experience in a far-flung part of the world, “it makes your life more unique,” he said,“and everybody wants to be seen as authentic, unique and genuine.”

The designer Pamela Hastry is connected to such clients through Morphée , her jewelry company in Paris, and the lectures that she regularly hosts in and around her hometown, Brussels. She also conducts private tours of Place Vendôme in Paris, a center for high jewelry, and of the Diamantkwartier, or Diamond Quarter, in Antwerp, Belgium, one of the jewelry industry’s oldest and most prominent diamond centers.

In November Ms. Hastry is planning to take a group to Namibia, in southern Africa, to discover the country’s beautiful tourmalines (while also making a stop at a mine that produces chrysocolla, an unusual blue-green type of chalcedony). Organized with Destination, a luxury travel agency in Belgium, the 10-day itinerary includes at least one night in a tent near one of the tourmaline mines (€8,986 or about $9,711, without airfare).

“You’re going to live — and dig — like a miner for a day and a half,” Ms. Hastry said.

Damien Van Bellinghen, the founder of Le Club des Etoiles, a business and social club in Brussels, has one of the 15 reservations for the Namibia trip. Mr. Van Bellinghen, who went on one of Ms. Hastry’s private tours of Antwerp’s diamond district, wrote in an email that he looked forward to discovering how gems are extracted, getting to know the miners and exploring the country through the lens of a jeweler.

“The types of trips that Pamela Hastry organizes plunge straight into the heart of where the most marvelous jewels come from,” he wrote. “Such visits can only be made if you are accompanied by someone who has ‘insider’ knowledge and, above all, who has the trust of the local people. And we’re lucky enough to enjoy it.”

The Royal Treatment

If you do find a gem during one of these mine trips, can it be used in a piece of jewelry? Both Ms. Hastry and Mr. Torres of the Gem Odyssey said that they could facilitate a purchase, although they noted that the item purchased would have to comply with international import/export regulations.

But some gem-loving travelers don’t want to dig for their treasures. They would rather a holiday centered on history, sightseeing and shopping for finished pieces of jewelry (with posh accommodations and amenities as a bonus).

“You can tour some cities very easily through the lens of the history of fine jewelry and jewelry-making,” said Camilla Davidson, who is head of destination management for Britain, France and Ireland at Red Savannah , a luxury travel agency in England. “And that would still enable you to see so many of the destination’s highlights.”

For example, the agency offers a tour of London called Couture and Crown Jewels, an extravagant option for jewelry enthusiasts with deep pockets ($550,000 for two people, without airfare). It offers a private tour of the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London and dinner in its White Tower; a four-night stay at the Raffles London at the OWO; and tickets to a West End show. And it includes a $125,000 credit toward a jewelry purchase at Humphrey Butler, an antique and estate jeweler.

Ms. Davidson said she developed the package in response to the world’s fascination with British royalty and was inspired by the idea of connecting a visit to the Crown Jewels to an exclusive jewelry shopping experience.

Humphrey Butler and his namesake business were a natural fit for the itinerary, she said: “He has the most impeccable collection and he as an individual is completely charming, exceptionally discreet, and just great fun to be around.”

Jewels at Sea

For some jewelry collectors, a travel experience that plays to, or enhances, their level of connoisseurship, is most appealing.

“Whatever their interest is, they want to learn more,” said Mr. Pedraza, the luxury consumer specialist. “So they make an adventure or journey out of it.”

One such example might be the Spotlight on Fabergé package offered by Regent Seven Seas Cruises in collaboration with Fabergé, the Russian heritage workshop known for its bejeweled eggs, which in 2009 moved its headquarters in London.

The first such excursion aboard the Seven Seas Grandeur liner is scheduled for July. Josina von dem Bussche-Kessell, Fabergé’s creative director, explained that the cruise is designed for “clients who care about art and culture and would happily sit for an hour or so to learn about the history of Fabergé’s royal clients then and now.”

The Grandeur, which was launched in November, has its own 1,600-piece art collection, including a Fabergé egg in an ocean theme with blue guilloché enamel, diamonds and pearls, called “Journey in Jewels,” which was commissioned by Regent Seven Seas. (The meetings on the commission actually led to the cruise collaboration.)

The 11-day voyage is scheduled to depart from the Civitavecchia port in Rome and to include destinations such as the Sicilian city of Taormina; Ibiza, Spain; and Nice, France, ending in Monaco (from $12,999 per person, including airfare).

The programming is to include Fabergé expert-led lectures, screenings and master classes, as well as shore excursions attuned to the participants’ interests in the decorative arts. As Ms. von dem Bussche-Kessell sees it, such a floating symposium — a kind of sleepover camp on a luxury scale — effectively creates a community for people who share a common passion.

Mr. Pedraza said that was an important incentive for certain travelers: “They love to engage with the product while meeting people who are their peers and who come through trusted brands and curators.”

And the return home is just as important as the journey itself, especially with a glittering souvenir to show friends and family.

“You get to demonstrate your expertise,” Mr. Pedraza said, “The experience has made you an insider.”

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Moscow plans measures to woo tourists, Foreign Tourist Card in the offing

The number of indian tourists visiting moscow is slowly witnessing an uptrend and with tourist-friendly steps like e-visa it's likely to grow in coming months.

To woo tourists from across the world, the Moscow City Tourism Committee is taking several measures and to address payment-related issues the Russian government is planning to come out with a virtual 'Foreign Tourist Card', that will enable cashless payments for various services.

Moscow plans measures to woo tourists, Foreign Tourist Card in the offing (Photo by Alexander Smagin on Unsplash)

During the Covid pandemic the tourist flow to Moscow had dropped significantly. However, the number of Indian tourists visiting Moscow is slowly witnessing an uptrend and with tourist-friendly measures like e-visa this number is likely to grow in the coming months.

"We are still on our way to restore the flow of Indian tourists in Moscow like it used to be before the pandemic. Before the pandemic, there was very steady growth like 12-15 per cent on a y-o-y basis," said Bulat Nurmukhanov, Head of International Cooperation Division of Moscow City Tourism Committee.

Travelling to Moscow has now become easier as tourists from India and 54 other countries can apply for an electronic visa to enter Russia from August 1, 2023.

Moreover, initiatives like the Foreign Tourist Card will help address payment-related issues, after the departure of MasterCard and Visa from the Russian market, Bulat said.

"There is an initiative by the Federal Government of Russia to develop a 'Foreign Tourist Card'. The initiative is under process, some legislative documents have been amended in order to make this card possible.

"The idea behind this card is, a person back home in India can remotely apply for this card and then he/she can transfer money from the personal bank account to this bank account," Bulat added.

This will be a virtual card and this will be issued to the person back home. This card will address the payment-related issues of foreign tourists in Moscow.

To give more travel options to tourists, in March this year, Russian flag carrier Aeroflot increased the frequency of its flight services on the Delhi-Moscow route to seven times a week against four weekly services earlier.

India and Russia "in principle" agreed to revise their bilateral air services agreement earlier this month, allowing Russian carriers to operate up to 64 flights per week from 52 to India.

Russian carriers are allowed to operate these flights to six Indian cities -- Delhi, Mumbai, Goa, Kolkata, Amritsar and Ahmedabad.

"We are really looking forward to the Indian Airlines to restore their flight connections to Moscow. Right now only Aeroflot is operating flights between Delhi and Goa. However, there are some other options available from Dubai to Moscow," Bulat said.

In a bid to tackle the language barrier that makes arriving in and navigating in a new country quite intimidating, there are seven tourist centres across Moscow. It also has a call centre for foreign tourists in case they need any help, Bulat said.

"We are working on translating the city navigation into English. Our businesses are really active and quick to respond to what the market requires," Bulat added.

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