From life-changing trips to slow travel, in part two of my Travel Trends series, I continue my reveal of how we will travel in the year ahead, talking to the travel experts and insiders to find out their predictions.
4. ‘MAKING UP FOR LOST TIME’ TRAVEL
Huw and Rossella Beaugie, founders of luxury villa company The Thinking Traveller, say that it will be those ‘once in a lifetime’ trips which will have the big draw this year.
“The events of the pandemic have made travellers all the more appreciative of being able to travel freely when we can,” they say. “Travellers missed out on key milestone moments last year, so in a bid to make up for lost time we will see ‘once in a lifetime’ trips taking precedent. People will want to put in the miles to reconnect and we’ll see big reunion trips with loved ones as people revaluate what’s important.”
“Our villas are perfect for luxury multi-generation and group trips, with our homes sleeping up to 24 guests. We also offer a whole host of life-enhancing experiences, from helicopter rides over Mount Etna to eco snorkelling in the Aeolian Islands; from Greek dance lessons on Lefkada to cookery classes with Michelin-starred chefs.”
Occupying a private position above the sea and the wooded hills of southwest Zakynthos, Villa Artelia is one such place. The hill-top hideaway may be secluded but it is still in reach of sandy beaches, crystal-clear coves, welcoming tavernas and character-filled villages, all ideal for guests to explore. The owner’s estate also includes an organic vegetable garden, vineyards, stables, and a manège which is home to rare horse breeds, including the golden Akhal Teke from Turkmenistan, which guests can ride if pre-arranged.
Personalised travel-planning company Essentialist also predicts the rise in ‘bucket list’ trips. “Many members are planning far-flung journeys for 2022,” it says, “African safaris and Asian destinations, such as Indonesia, Myanmar and Bhutan, are top of the list.”
Joan Roca, CEO and founder of Essentialist comments: “Seeing an increase in bookings has given us a positive outlook on the future of travel. Members are more comfortable visiting large cities, less concerned about the exclusivity of their stays and more interested in the location of them. Members are booking multiple trips at the same time and planning large ones for 2022. It’s encouraging to see this continued growth demand for travel, as we look into 2022 and beyond, and we’re happy to be able to provide meaningful experiences for passionate travellers.”
Meanwhile, wildlife and adventure specialist, Gane and Marshall, is also upping the ante in 2022 with a range of thrilling, new itineraries that will give travellers the opportunity to spread their wanderlust wings, following two years of curtailments.
New experiences include exploring Chile’s spectacular coastline on a new expedition cruise from Patagonia, getting a fix of Japanese culture at a hyper-modern hotel in the country’s Mie Prefecture, taking to the skies on a private helicopter excursion during a Tanzania safari or spending Christmas 2022 crossing the Arctic Circle at sea.
Gane and Marshall turned 30 years old in 2021 and took the opportunity to refresh its commitment to responsible travel. Measures include a pledge to commit 10 per cent of pre-tax profits to environmental causes, donations to local initiatives, support for local communities, and more.
Meanwhile, The annual ‘Travel Trends’ report from travel technology leader Amadeus also sheds some light on a new era of globetrotting with pent-up wanderlust driving future travel trends
“The trip of a lifetime is no longer wishful thinking. After dreaming of freedom for the past two years, people are finally beginning to release their pent-up passion for travel, with substantial increases in searches for trips to once-in-a-lifetime destinations,” says Amadeus.
From flight searches up by one third to Tanzania, a country famous for safaris, to flights doubling to cities close to the home of the Incas – Machu Picchu, Amadeus is seeing a boom in demand for statement tourism.
5. SLOW TRAVEL AND IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCES
After a stop-start year for everyone, specialist travel company Discover the World suggests that there is more interest in “travelling less but taking more time out when you do”.
To tie in with this demand, it has introduced a month long exploration of Iceland with its Go Slow and Savour in Iceland trip. This 28-night self-drive trip features self-catering accommodation, taking travellers across the country all while spending time in each region to savour its unique landscapes and activities to the full.
In addition, Discover the World has launched a dedicated ‘Work Away’ programme throughout the Nordics, to give clients the flexibility to relocate the ‘working from home’ concept to a temporary home office in Sweden, Finland, Norway or Iceland, staying at a range of self-catering accommodation with good Wi-Fi and that all-important stunning location.
Meanwhile, it’s no surprise that slow travel start-up Byway’s forecast on holidays for this year include a growing interest towards a slower pace of travel, with dynamic journeys and stop-offs along the way.
“With the return of travel after years of restrictions, holidaymakers want to make the most of every second they’re away. This, coupled with the fact that the pandemic has made 61% of travellers want to travel more sustainably, signals a shift in the ways people will travel in the future,” says Cat Jones, founder of Byway.
“We’ve seen a 600% increase in the number of people taking our slow travel holidays since April,” she continues. “Our customers are citing the desire for travel experiences that allow them to savour each moment, pausing in a variety of places to connect with local cultures and ecosystems for high quality, authentic and sustainable experiences. There are noticeable parallels with the slow food movement. Slow travel is already taking off, and we expect the acceleration of the slow travel movement to be one of the defining trends of 2022.”
Immersive experiences are part of this trend and when it opens next year, the The Red Sea Development Company’s (TRSDC) Desert Rock resort in Saudi Arabia will provide just that. Carved into a mountainside, and offering panoramic views of the canyons below, guests will literally be able to immerse themselves within the landscape.
“Since the inception of the Desert Rock project, creating a development that combines luxury, sustainability and an immersive experience for our guests has been at the heart of it all,” said John Pagano, TRSDC’s CEO. “We cannot wait to welcome guests to enjoy a stay at this unique property.”
Inspired by dramatic mountains, volcanoes and wadis, Desert Rock will feature 48 villas and 12 hotel suites. A variety of accommodation styles will be available, from ground-level dwellings to crevice hotel suites, found midway up the mountain.
An impressive feat of engineering, a select number of rooms will sit within the excavated rock-scape, giving stunning views of Saudi Arabia.
“Desert Rock offers a ‘never before seen’ opportunity for guests to connect physically and metaphysically with one of the most dramatic desert landscapes in the world,” said Chad Oppenheim, founder of Oppenheim Architecture, the design and planning firm behind the concept. “Our key intention when designing the resort was to build with the land, not on it, and to be mindful of the stunning nature elements that already exist at the site, amplifying its natural beauty.”
The unique rock formations included in the resort architecture were produced by a series of cataclysmic seismic events thousands of years ago, and so the architecture has been designed to keep this natural beauty while also reducing energy consumption, supercharging the ecosystem, and regenerating native flora. This innovative architecture model combines nature and sustainability as one.
The resort features state-of-the-art facilities, including a world-class spa and fitness centre, remote destination dining areas as well as a feature lagoon oasis. Visitors will be able to hike with members of the local community who will provide educational tours of the area. Dune buggies will also be on hand to hire as part of the site-wide activities program, making it the idyllic holiday destination for those seeking adventure and relaxation alike.
6. PINDROP TRAVEL
In Original Travel’s recent client survey, 63% of respondents said peace and quiet was an important element of a holiday, with 31% saying they valued it even more since the pandemic started.
With the rise in popularity of meditative apps, such as Calm and Headspace, meeting this need at home, Original Travel is keen to be the first tour operator to meet the need in travel and as such has launched Pindrop Travel.
The new collection of itineraries – so tranquil you could hear a pin drop – includes a six-day road trip of Norway’s remote Lofoten Islands, remote camping in Australia’s Kakadu National Park, forest-bathing in Japan and joining sunrise prayers with Buddhist monks in Ladakh. Each itinerary celebrates serenity and offers an escape from the almost ever-present noise of modern life.
The Road Trip of Norway’s Remote Lofoten Islands, for instance, takes travellers around Norway’s remote Lofoten Islands, an archipelago joined by a ribbon of roads and bridges. You’ll explore tiny fishing villages, hike the hills, kayak the coastline and stay in rorbuers – converted fishing huts on stilts over the water.
7. THE RISE IN PRIVATE AIR TRAVEL
Air Partner, the global aviation services group which dates back to 1961, says that it has seen a rise in travellers booking private jet travel for the first time over the past year. Originally founded as a school for military pilots converting to civilian flying, Air Partner’s private jet and charter business has flown high profile, high net worth clients around the globe for the last 60 years.
“More travelers will seek private aviation services for both business and leisure travel needs, specifically individuals who started flying private for the first time in 2021,” it says about the year ahead.
“Understandable cautiousness around touchpoints during a journey has made private jet travel an attractive option for many who have booked for the first time, while the inconvenience of ever-changing travel restrictions combined with entry requirements differing from country to country is mitigated by the flexibility and personalized, bespoke service that private jet travel offers,” says Kevin MacNaughton, managing director Charter, Air Partner.
“As a result of the pandemic, we’ve seen a sizable increase in travelers turning to private aviation for the very first time,” says Vincent Kavanagh, Air Partner’s US senior vice president of Sales. “The market is currently going only one direction – up. Next year, we are expecting continued growth based on numerous factors; one being the current complications of flying commercial.”
Meanwhile, following the successful launch of its ‘Private World’ experiences last year, private aviation company VistaJet has unveiled its new shortlist of ‘Private World’ journeys to transport travellers to some of the world’s most exciting destinations, providing them with exclusive experiences in 2022 and beyond.
Partnering with travel experts and properties, such as experiential travel companies Pelorus and Based on a True Story, as well as Kisawa Sanctuary in Mozambique, VistaJet aims to offer travellers the ultimate luxury holiday experience.
From exploring the depths of the Great Bahama Bank by submarine to tracking the endangered Mongolian snow leopard in the Altai, these new experiences offer incredible bespoke adventures.
“As privacy and safety continue to be vital for global travellers, the demand for private flights continues on an upward trajectory,” says VistaJet. “We organised over 9,000 flights in Q3 2021, an increase of 35% against last year and up 19% on pre-pandemic figures. And as clients prefer to travel with more of their friends and extended families, passenger numbers are also registering a 23% surge.”
What’s more, the changes in private travel habits do not stop there. VistaJet says its members are requesting longer trips to reach destinations further afield across the globe, many of them choosing to embark on big adventures and far-flung expeditions – on a quest for new, thrilling and memorable moments.