Travelers are increasingly seeking experiences, whether it’s with nature, cuisine or a community. That’s according to Black Tomato’s Travel Report. Travelers now seek “genuinely meaningful and long-term fulfillment,” with Black Tomato adding it has seen trips and itineraries become increasingly focused on spiritual and bodily betterment. To note, Euromonitor International figures show 70 percent of travelers now favor an immersive, fulfilling experience over buying goods.
In 2020, travelers will continue to leverage ever-deeper experiences to fuel personal growth and take greater control over their health. One way that travelers will seek control over their health will be via “realistic digital detoxes.” According to Black Tomato, “travelers are embracing JOMO (the joy of missing out) rather than falling victim to nomophobia (the fear of being without your phone).” While 70 percent of consumers admitted to staying connected to work on vacation, Black Tomato adds there is a growing appreciation for personal reflection and finding a “real breathing space” in a world that is always turned on and never turns off.
Building on this, Black Tomato says a boom in nature-related trips can be expected. “Travelers will connect with the natural world more meaningfully, and more directly, than ever before,” it adds. Euromonitor International research shows that 80 percent of the global population lives under light-polluted skies, which is a likely reason that when they travel, they seek destinations with clean air, open skies and nature unbound. However, expect them to want to participate in forest bathing, taking in the night sky in Peru with an Andean shaman or simply taking in the silence in the Dolomites. “The pursuit of transformative mind-body healing will be a major drive in 2020,” Black Tomato adds. To note, 65 percent of consumers agreed that mental wellbeing is the meaning of “being healthy.”
Cuisine will be one way that travelers seek health and wellness, but it will also be a way that travelers connect with a destination. “A region's cuisine is a lens into its culture and a driving force for tourism,” Black Tomato says. “2019 saw a shift toward food-inspired travel that is set to grow apace in 2020, as visitors are craving a greater connection to the people behind their dishes.”
Expect travelers to continue seeking experiences with local chefs, restaurateurs and winemakers, although these experiences will go beyond the kitchen. Black Tomato says travelers are increasingly wanting to experience “the farm, the field and the mountainside” to build a more emotional connection with a destination. To note, 64 percent of high-income consumers are interested in exploring farming/food producers to fulfill their culinary desires.
Another way that travelers will build a stronger connection to a destination is by doubling down on their visits. Black Tomato expects travelers to ditch the “tick box” tourism in favor of finding a home away from home, adding it saw twice as many of its guests doubled down on a destination in 2019 as in 2016.