This was a year of shortages, rebounds, soaring fuel costs, war and high over all costs. Oh, and the World Cup too… So as 2022 winds to end, what can we expect in travel for 2023? A lot.
And there will be changes. Expect it to start as a list of contrasts: War clouds cover the east of Europe, hotel and air costs soar, the economy cools, and climate change becomes a major factor in travel.
Sustainable is the new luxury. Over-tourism is a negative in travel. From pollution to real social and economic damage and resentment — following the so-called bucket list may become just about as cool as smoking. And, just as bad for you. Look for the shift to sustainable, non-crowded and not over-touristed places. Sustainable tourism means giving something back to a place, and favoring places that preserve nature and community.
Industrial tourism. No, not making steel but learning how things get done, from wine and olive oil to furniture and pottery. It means supporting and learning skills, and includes industrial and agricultural sites peculiar to a specific location.
So long to the air B+B. After horror stories of bait and switch, and big crackdowns on operators, the momentum might now shift back to the hotel. No, not the big anonymous hotel, but the local hotel that has added new features to compete, all without the hidden fees and IKEA mattress that makes your back feel not so good.
Some may travel to make sense of things. See how the evils of slavery began. Understand the wrongs of colonialism. Others may seek out sites of past disasters, wars and struggles. Call it cathartic, call it educational — call it history. But it is already a thing.
With sky high air costs, massive lines at airports, and chock-full seats — look for the rise of the night train as a long distance alternatives to being at the airport 3 hours before a flight. As for cruises, they sail on, but climate, pollution and ship wide illness will cast a cloud on big boats and refocus the industry
Retiring and scouting. With health costs in the US on a steep upward curve, and the soaring cost of living versus a strong dollar — retirement or remote working abroad looks pretty good to many. And, after what is sure to be a brutal heating season, look for North Americans to look at milder climates as a place to spend the winter. This shift is based on cost of living, safety and gun violence, rising racism and hatred and a broken healthcare system in the US.
Climate will be a major game changer too. Hurricanes, droughts, fires and storms will reshape how we see travel. Sadly, there are few places to escape to, but new climate truths will have a massive impact, and fuel the trend of sustainable tourism.
Look for people to travel to escape — and spend more time with family. From hikes, to uncrowded beaches, to renting a villa — families need a break, and one where they can cook, be together and disconnect from the news, hatred, weather and all the other stuff that swirls around us. Similar times, small towns, comfort foods, and old fashioned fun are back, for those who can afford it.