1706375566 New keys and trends for choosing a vacation in 2024

New keys and trends for choosing a vacation in 2024: Japan and Portugal, the most sought-after destinations

The big headline for the tourism industry almost writes itself: In 2023, tourism will finally overcome the side effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The world has reopened its borders and according to the latest data from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), there were 975 million international travelers between January and August last year, which makes them predict that 2023 will end with a recovery of 90% of the levels before Health emergency. However, the data is mixed: while the Middle East improves its results compared to 2019, thanks to the development of new destinations and the celebration of major events, Asia and the Pacific only reaches 62%, again characterized by a huge decline in the northeastern countries and a later reopening of travel destinations.

“The year 2023 was a turning point for the tourism industry. For the first time, we are seeing a decline in accommodation volumes before the pandemic,” says Pilar Crespo, regional director of Booking.com in Spain and Portugal. According to their data, reservations through their platform increased by 15% in the third quarter of last year compared to the same period in 2022 and by 24% compared to the same period in 2019. And to the (very) small extent that It is now 2024 and expectations are rising rapidly. “Travel demand from Spaniards increased by 39% in the first days of 2024,” says Ángel Guirado, Skyscanner travel expert, based on search volume on the platform in the first week of the year.

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Now it's time to ask yourself what the top travel destinations will be in the coming months. “The happy city of Olbia in Sardinia is top of mind for Spanish travelers. And strangely enough, it coincides with the destination whose prices have fallen the most in the last year. The same thing is happening in other places like Ho Chi Minh City and Boston,” explains Guirado. Japan and Portugal are the only countries to place two destinations on Skyscanner's most searched list; Osaka and Tokyo for the Japanese country and Ponta Delgado and Faro for the Portuguese country. What is noteworthy is that this classification does not mention the Caribbean, an area that has become a haven for many due to closed borders and high prices for flights to Asia.

Crespo also points to the ever-present importance of European capitals. “Eight of the ten cities in the top 10 are European. Specifically, Edinburgh, London, Vienna, Copenhagen, Brussels, Budapest, Prague and Istanbul are the most popular travel destinations next year. However, Bangkok and Marrakesh are at the top,” he points out. As far as trends go, there's room for the Mexican city of Mérida or the eternal Buenos Aires. Also other long-distance destinations such as Rotorua in New Zealand; Panglao in the Philippines and Cairns in Australia.

View of Lagoa do Canario on the island of San Miguel (Azores).View of Lagoa do Canario on the island of San Miguel (Azores). Alexandre Balas (GETTY IMAGES)


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More expensive tickets

There is undoubtedly one crucial element when planning a trip, and that will be even more present in 2024: price. According to a study by the Mabrian platform, which identifies the areas with the highest price increases in Northern Europe, Southern Europe and the Mediterranean and Asia, flight costs have increased by an average of 31%. This factor is highlighted in a survey conducted by Skyscanner: three in ten respondents say they feel somewhat or very overwhelmed when booking their trips, and 59% of them cite price as the main reason. “It is one of the classic barriers to access to travel and not only affects access, but also influences the days of stay, the average expenditure or the consumption of services, be it gastronomy, excursions, etc.,” explains Iván Méndez, executive director of the Nationaler Association of Travel Agencies (UNAV). This changes behavior so that people save and no longer have to stay at home. Tourism intelligence platform ForwardKeys points out that fewer, albeit longer, trips are being taken, while off-season trips are also increasing, facilitated by the rise of hybrid jobs or to closer or cheaper destinations. “Almost half of Spaniards, 49%, plan to choose destinations with prices lower than in their place of origin,” says Crespo.

The charm of the north

As inflation and rising prices affect the tourism sector, climate change also has an impact – dates like 2023 are the warmest year on record, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). From Booking they point to a change in trend in this sense, which will also increase as a high percentage of travelers (56% according to their surveys) plan to use their rest days to escape the heat. It is not for nothing that, according to eDreams, five of the ten travel destinations that grew the most in Spain in 2023 are in the north of the peninsula: A Coruña, Bilbao, Oviedo, Vigo and Santander.

The rise of these destinations also suggests a search for less saturated enclaves. “Avoiding overcrowding is one of the main arguments for choosing one location or another and is one of the five fundamental reasons that determine the final choice,” says Méndez. According to data from the Skyscanner report, 89% of travelers believe that the same destinations are repeated over and over again across social networks and traditional media such as television and cinema. “It seems clear that there is a general feeling of fatigue towards the most visited tourist attractions,” concludes Guirado.

Urban art in Olbia (Sardinia). Urban art in Olbia (Sardinia). Imago / Alamy / Cordon Press

“Gastro” and music tourism

“Travellers are increasingly looking for cultural discoveries and personalized experiences,” says Guirado. Gastronomic experiences, whether through visiting a specific restaurant or discovering the region's gastronomy, continue to increase. But the main player in 2024, according to the experts surveyed, is music tourism. Amadeus examined the impact of concert announcements from groups and singers such as Coldplay or Taylor Swift on search volume and bookings. In the latter case, they assure that the performances scheduled in February 2024 in Melbourne and Sydney have significantly increased the volume of reservations, with an average weekly growth of 446%.

Additionally, the commitment to more personalized travel continues this year, highlighting the search for affordable luxury. A trend that some airlines such as Emirates, Qatar Airways, Air France or KLM have joined by offering a wider range of business fares to make them more accessible and avoid packages.

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