It’s that time of the year when I start thinking about some of the things I have written about over the past year to see which of these things have emerged to be common travel trends and even more importantly, which are looking like they will be very definite travel and tourism trends in the coming new year. Two travel and tourism trends that are looking like they will grow in 2024 (and beyond) are Sustainable travel and Solo travel, the former of which I have written about many times and the latter being something fairly new but growing rapidly. In both cases, they clearly show a burgeoning desire amongst travellers to connect .
Sustainable travel – still growing
As global weather anomalies continue to convince us that global warming and our carbon footprint are not to be ignored (I wrote about the effects of weather anomalies on travel and tourism a couple of months ago) people care now more than ever about how they travel and what they leave behind. In that previous article, I very clearly made the point that visiting our game preservation areas in South Africa is one of the best ways to ensure that (at least after you have flown there) you are contributing to nature and leaving no carbon footprint behind. A great article I read from Mahlatini echoes this and sums it up beautifully, “In a time where we can see many brands across all industries ‘green-washing’, luxury safari tourism has long been based on the principles of regenerative travel, conscious of the delicate ecosystem between humans and Mother Nature.”I really need say no more and can only be grateful for the wonderful return of international travel and tourism to these areas which I have no doubt will continue to be a growing trend in 2024. It is not only because of sustainability that I believe this though, but also due to another, more recent, but now rapidly emerging travel trend – Solo travel.
Solo travel – a growing trend
Not surprisingly, following the solitude we were forced into during the COVID pandemic, many people found this therapeutic and this has since led to a growing trend for Solo travel. The Solo Traveller site reported for 2023 a 36% increase in single-traveller flights compared to 2022 and interestingly 84% of all 2023 lone travellers were women. This is not only about travelling solo, however, but generally involves visiting very remote destinations with fellow solo travellers. Many peoplesimply prefer to avoid crowds and not be overwhelmed by other tourists, although it is preferred if some other people are around, so in most cases it is not about total solitude
Favourite destinations globally would be places like the Horn of South America or the Galapagos, and of course, remote cruises are a favourite, but once again South Africa competes so admirably as we offer beautiful remote hideaways like Augrabies Falls and the vast, scenic coastline of the Wild Coast. Private Safaris are also a favourite with solo travellers, and as Mahlatini put it, “this ‘no compromise’ approach to how travellers spend their time is part of the reason a safari is the ultimate solo trip. An African safari by nature strikes the perfect balance between recharging and meditative ‘me time’, but offers communal game drives and dining so they never feel isolated”.
We all need to reset There is simply no better way to reset than to be alone in the vast, yet warm embrace of Mother Nature. South Africa offers so much to every kind of traveller, but to the solo traveller and to the traveller who wants to ensure that their footprints will not enhance the carbon footprint we offer something unique and special. Watch this space for my last article of the year, when we will once again revisit the year that was and what has moulded a few other travel and tourism trends for 2024. Travel safely and happy holidays!
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER