It’s always gratifying to know that what you are writing about and commenting on has significance and makes a fairly accurate forecast of things to come. In my last article, I spoke about two of the top Travel and Tourism trends that are predicted for 2024, these being Solo Travel and a continuation of the growing global commitment to Sustainable travel. Sustainable travel is something that I wrote quite extensively on in 2023 and I, for one, am very pleased to see great progress in this area and a continuing awareness, especially amongst the young, of ensuring that their travel plans align with global sustainability. So what of a few other trends for 2024? Well, the experts predict that there will also be significant leanings towards travel experiences that embrace culture, nature and seeking bucket list destinations. That sounds like a recipe for a trip to South Africa to me!
Cultural travel experiences
There is a growing global travel trend towards seeking rewarding cultural exchanges and getting to know more about another country’s indigenous population’s arts, crafts, religious beliefs, culinary offerings and much more. Without a doubt, this is one of the most rewarding things about international travel and I wrote about the pleasure I derived from it and its importance in 2023. The great thing about the growth of this trend is that we in South Africa offer so much in this area. Not only is this the cradle of humankind, but we are the “Rainbow Nation”, a melting pot of cultures and very differing indigenous people. It has always been one of our most endearing attractions and will now be even more so.
Seeking Mother Nature in a bucket list destination
Another trend that is reported to be a favourite for 2024 will be simply getting closer to nature. The travel pundits call this “Digital Detoxing”, a trend that aligns with Solo Travel and involves simply getting as far away as possible from a world that is ruled by technology, populated by crowded urban areas and riddled with stress. Once again, South Africa offers the perfect peace that is found in bush-breaks, in our mountain escapes, our beach escapes and even enjoy the beauty of our semi-dessert regions of South Africa.
Let’s strive collectively to be the best
Generally speaking the forecast for travel and tourism in South Africa is a glowing one, the beginning of which we are seeing right with bumper year-end tourism figures being reported in most of our tourism hotspots. One thing I have learned however, as one with much experience in the industry is never to become complacent and rest on one’s laurels. The COVID pandemic was a hard lesson learned on how rapidly fortunes can change and we in Travel and Tourism must, while the going is good, continue to train, nurture and reward our people so that they in turn will strive to make SA one of the best destination in the world.
I wrote in 2023 on the issues surrounding security and the vital importance of eliminating tourists’ bad experiences with this and the Dept. of Tourism and the hospitality industry must continue their efforts to get these issues under control. As a nation, I hope we will strive to be as hospitable as possible, remembering the vital role that tourism plays in our economy. Having happy tourists are our biggest advocators and this can mean a better life for every one of us in the long term, so as I have written many times before, the collective effort is what makes an industry and a country great – and 2024 will be no different!
Thank you to all who have supported Travel and Tourism in any way in 2023 and I hope these articles have shed some light and useful insights into where we have been and when we are going. After all, hindsight has been foresight for travel trends in 2024!
All travel safely and have a blessed Christmas and wanderlust-full new year!
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER