By Lauren Basra

The effects of the COVID crisis have left us wary about travelling. The endless requirements and restrictions placed on international travel sucked the joy out of it.

However, the time for worry and stress is finally passing, and the common thread in the trends for 2023 is that it is time to book your next getaway without feeling the pressure or fear! 

Here are 3 upcoming trends in the tourism market that should inspire you this year to get on that plane and find your perfect relaxation.

 1. Vacation Spending Is On The Upturn!

Many of us faced financial difficulties during the pandemic, and the limiting lockdowns etc., apparently affected the tourism industry, according to Nexion Travel Group. Now the numbers of average spending are finally returning to what they were pre-covid. 

This means that people have shifted their opinion on the value of a holiday. It can be argued that all the death and restrictions caused a need for freedom and luxury as we all realised that life is too short to waste on saving for a rainy day. Why wait for the rain when you can fly off into the sun, right? 

According to industry expert and president of Nexion Travel Group, Jackie Friedman, total holiday spending has substantially increased this year, with the trend projected to continue. Friedman says, “I think people now realise the value of experiences. You take something away from people, and they realise how important it is”. 

This sentiment is echoed by David Kolner, the executive vice president of Virtuoso, who states the data shows 2022 as being 7% up on 2019 in agencies’ projected revenue, which will continue to climb in 2023. 

In other words, the data shows that we are all spending more because we have shifted our mentality to believe we truly deserve it, especially considering what we have all gone through! 

2. Booking In Advance Has Returned To Vogue

There will always be a trend for spontaneous travel bookings. But, in recent years, the lack of security when booking a trip meant that you could not book months in advance as there was a possibility that your intended destination would go into lockdown or your airline would cancel flight after flight. This was the case for my sister, who was trying to visit her boyfriend in Switzerland in 2020. The long separation and continuous cancelled flights mean she is still wary of booking anything too far in advance. 

However, tour operator Collette’s research shows that customers are booking trips further out from their departure date and taking longer trips too.

Jaclyn Leibl-Cote, Collette’s President and chief brand officer, says, “Booking patterns for 2023 are looking a lot more as they did in 2019. And I think that is evidence of far more confident consumers”. 

The confidence in airlines and tour operators may be resuming to pre-pandemic numbers, but there is another trend in 2023 that would be prudent to be mindful of: Airlines and vacation companies have not learned from the pandemic and have a long way to go in terms of staffing and quality of service. 

However, you can be assured that the days of rebooking, rebooking and cancelled holidays appear to be behind us.

3. Paying That Little Extra For The Sustainable Choice

With the world becoming more cognisant of the effect global travel has on the environment while recognising the need to support local economies that rely on their tourism markets, a trend of sustainable travel has emerged. 

Virtuoso’s recent poll of 300 affluent travellers in March of 2021 indicated that 82% of respondents felt that the pandemic made them want to travel more responsibly in the future. And 75% of those polled said they will willingly pay more to travel responsibly if they are sure their money is being used well. 

The need to travel sustainably is presented well by the hospitality expert Jeff Sirota from J.MAK Hospitality, who sums up the feeling just right when he says, “It makes you as a guest feel good that, ‘Hey, I’m not just spending money to pamper myself, but I’m actually doing something that is giving back to the community where I’m staying.” 

An easy way to find sustainable choices would be to check out various charities and companies that make their USP finding global sustainable tourism options, such as Sustainable Travel International, a partner company of Virtuoso. 

In short, global travel is back on the menu for 2023, and I couldn’t be more excited! Having already travelled to St Lucia this year, I can attest to how easy and freeing it feels to explore the world once more. I encourage you to jump on the next plane, train or automobile leading to your own nirvana!