2024 Travel Market Trends & Forecast

It's that time of year when all the predictions for the next year or decade start to come out. Looking at all the data, sizing, and crunching the numbers, we at last look into our crystal ball, see the future of travel and determine where all the fun, culture, adventure, chilling, aweing, and ooing will happen. 

Scott Colgan

Fasten your seatbelt, turn your cap bill backward, and put your goggles on. Let's set our sights on 2024, where the travel industry is poised for an exciting and optimistic year... that is... if we read the tea leaves correctly. Despite the challenges posed by inflation, climate change, remaining concerns for COVID-19, and conflicts in various regions, the industry is working tirelessly to ensure travelers have access to safe, fun, and meaningful travel experiences. Here is a quick stat that gives a birds-eye view of the industry.

Healthy but less crowded, maybe

Year-over-year, inbound travel volume is slated to grow by 31% in 2023 and 18% in 2024, while inflation-adjusted spending is projected to grow. According to research, domestic leisure travel is trending to remain stable and grow slightly by about 2% in 2023 and 2024. So things are leveling off, which usually means we've arrived and found the happy medium where maybe the surge traveling of 2023 is behind us. 

Resilient and adaptable travelers

One of the most encouraging aspects of this resurgence in travel is the resilience and adaptability of travelers. People have shown a remarkable willingness to adjust their plans and expectations in response to changing circumstances, demonstrating a deep love and appreciation for the transformative power of travel. People got to have it! It opens our minds, broadens our perspective from the more miniature worlds we live in daily, removes us from the patterns we get stuck in, and connects us to the essence of life, growing and persisting beyond the edge, wherever that is for you on a personal level...

Yes, travel is getting personal in 2024

The travel industry has also adapted to the changing landscape by offering travelers more flexible and customizable options, from do-it-yourself tools to travel agents or platforms, transforming the industry for travelers, creators, and agents alike. These modernized hybrid platforms incorporate accommodation, transportation, reservations, and guided activities, all tailored to individual preferences. We've already entered a time when travelers have fantastic possibilities when planning a trip. Whatever you can dream up, you can turn it into a trip.

Oui Oui, Si Si and tell me something I don't know

According to recent forecasts, popular destinations like Italy and France will remain at the top of the list for international travel in 2024. However, travelers also seak out lesser-known places for a more unique and authentic experience. But, while Italy and France remain top destinations, other regions are gaining popularity. 

For instance... according to a report by Hilton and Ipsos, rest and wellness are top travel trends for 2024, with people seeking out destinations that offer relaxation and rejuvenation. Additionally, regions like Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, and South America are seeing increased travel interest as people seek new and unique experiences.

So many amazing places in the world have been largely unexplored, offering a special experience you don't want to miss. For instance, Oman's remote, storied islands offer a unique and enriching travel experience. Another example is Greenland, which offers stunning natural landscapes and wildlife that can't be found anywhere else. These destinations allow travelers to step outside their comfort zones and explore the world.

So, what kind of trips are people taking in 2024

Which brings us to take a look at five interesting travel trends that could inspire and influence your travel plans in 2024.

Transformational Trips: Trips designed to help individuals go through a transformative experience, whether spiritual, emotional, or physical.

  • A retreat to Bali to explore Balinese culture, mindfulness practices, and yoga.
  • A pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, Spain, to reflect on your life purpose and walk the Camino de Santiago.
  • An eco-volunteering trip to Costa Rica to participate in conservation efforts and learn about sustainable living.

Indigenous Travel: Exploring remote communities and immersing oneself in their culture and traditions.

  • A visit to the Amazon rainforest to learn from indigenous communities about their traditional healing practices, spirituality, and way of life.
  • An immersion into Maori culture in New Zealand, including a stay in a Maori marae, learning traditional arts and crafts, and experiencing a hangi feast.
  • A trip to the Navajo Nation in Arizona to learn about Navajo traditions, history, language, and art.

Slow Travel: Taking the time to enjoy the journey rather than rushing to the destination, using public transportation, and exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations.

  • A bike tour of Japan, taking time to explore rural areas, local food, and cultural sites along the way.
  • A boat trip down the Danube River, stopping in small towns and villages to experience local culture and traditions.
  • A road trip through the Scottish Highlands, taking time to hike, visit castles, and enjoy the scenery.

Wellness Travel: Focusing on health and wellness, including yoga retreats, meditation escapes, and spa getaways.

  • A meditation retreat in India, practicing yoga, meditation, and Ayurvedic healing.
  • A spa getaway in Thailand, including massages, detox programs, and healthy cuisine.
  • A hiking and wellness trip to the Swiss Alps, focusing on physical activity, nature immersion, and mindfulness practices.

Sustainable & Conscious Tourism: Choosing eco-friendly accommodations, reducing waste, supporting local businesses, and promoting sustainable tourism practices.

  • A stay at an eco-resort in Belize that supports conservation of the Belize Barrier Reef and educates guests about sustainable living.
  • A trip to Iceland that focuses on exploring the country's geothermal energy and sustainable practices, such as using renewable energy sources and reducing waste.
  • A tour of sustainable wineries in California that use organic farming techniques and promote conservation efforts.

What's all this about Sustainable Travel

Sustainable travel is also gaining popularity, with 69% of tourists planning to travel sustainably in 2023. Many sectors of the travel industry are responding with more sustainable options.

There has been a shift towards responsible and sustainable travel practices. People are now more conscious about the impact of their travels on the environment and local communities, leading to a rise in eco-tourism and ethical travel choices. This trend is not only beneficial for the planet but also allows travelers to have more meaningful and authentic experiences.

Even the industry is getting with the Sustainability program

The travel ecosystem is committed to creating more sustainable and responsible travel practices, ensuring that future generations can continue to enjoy the beauty and wonder of the world. From eco-tourism initiatives to sustainable transportation options, many exciting developments on the horizon will make travel more accessible and environmentally friendly than ever before.

And sustainable air travel is becoming an increasingly important focus for big carriers around the world. Many airlines are implementing practices to reduce their carbon footprint and environmental impact while offering customers affordable air travel. For example, some airlines invest in more fuel-efficient planes, utilizing sustainable aviation fuels, optimizing flight paths, reducing waste, and implementing green procurement policies.

Social Platforms Fueling Travel

And, of course, the ongoing expansion and addition of social media platforms have greatly influenced how people travel. With platforms like Instagram, travelers are constantly exposed to stunning destinations and unique experiences, inspiring them to embark on their adventures. This has also increased demand for personalized and immersive travel opportunities as people seek to capture and share their experiences online. This trend will only continue to move up and to the right with more platforms coming into the market that help travelers plan travel, and creators monetize their content into actionable trip blueprints for others to build their trips from. 

Don't forget your documents (Passports, Real ID, Visas)

As more people travel again, a heavy demand is being levied on institutions that process and provide paperwork for passports, Real ID, and Visas. So the trend is more demand and lead time required to get all your documents in order if you need them before traveling. It's important to note that visas and passports may take longer to obtain then in the past. Travelers should plan and apply for these documents up to six months before their trip to avoid delays or issues. Read Ravel's blog post on obtaining and renewing passports, visas, and real IDs.

In conclusion, as we look ahead to 2024, the travel industry is poised for growth and innovation. With so many new destinations and experiences, now is the perfect time to plan your next adventure. With a focus on sustainability and personalized travel, travelers can create meaningful memories while preserving the planet for future generations. So start planning your next trip today and join the movement towards responsible and sustainable travel. Happy travels!  Keep exploring, learning, and making a difference through your travels. There is always more to discover and contribute to in this world of endless possibilities.

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