Travellers are prioritising sustainability, taking workcations and constantly researching for their next holiday, Tourism Australia managing director Phillipa Harrison said today.
She outlined eight “emerging trends” for the year during the first day of the Australian Tourism Exchange in the Gold Coast. Several of these called out new ways people were travelling after the pandemic.
According to a combination of industry research and trend forecasting, Harrison said they could see where travellers were willing to spend when it came to trips overseas.
1. Premium and luxury come back strong
Despite the global cost-of-living crisis, Harrison said the premium and luxury travel industry was “doing incredibly well” in Australia, “smashing” pre-pandemic results. In fact, high-end tourism companies and products were spearheading the tourism recovery, Harrison said.
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2. Sustainability becomes essential
Research from a 2022 Tourism Australia report found 75 per cent of people want their travel to leave a light footprint and one-third of this group will forgo travel if they can’t do it carbon-free, Harrison said.
“It’s no longer a nice to have.”
3. Interest in nature, wellness and adventure continues to grow
Before the pandemic, travel that focused on the outdoors, adventure and wellness was already growing in popularity. Harrison said the demand for these types of experiences is seeing a new level of growth.
Many countries around the world have expressed similar sentiments, as the pandemic inspired a newfound awareness of physical and mental health, and travel that supports this.
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4. More people give digital nomadism a go
When working from home was the norm, some people were quick to take advantage of the freedom and work from holiday; a behaviour coined as “workcation”.
According to Harrison, this wasn’t just a passing trend, but a new way people are extending their holiday.
“The way we worked completely changed during Covid and we’re seeing a huge opportunity for us, because digital nomads have always been there but actually there are a lot more now.”
Since people can work for a few days while at a destination, Harrison said tourism companies were getting searches for “much, much longer stays”. Around 25 per cent of travellers are looking for trips of four or more weeks long, she said.
5. Travel planning has fundamentally shifted
Another major change Harrison said they had seen was how travellers were finding inspiration and information about their upcoming trips.
Now, research doesn’t just involve looking through brochures or going to a store, but instead constantly discovering and seeing new places through social media and the internet.
“People are always researching their holiday on their screens even if they don’t realise they are,” Harrison said, in what she called “always-on discovery”.