Experiential travel has become quite common among regular travellers as they are constantly looking for that something new to do and see.
It has also become a prerequisite among those who travel less frequently, who are after life-changing emotive experiences that will last forever.
Ramesh Jeenarain, MD at World Leisure Holidays SA chats to us about this buzzword and the top experiences trending amongst travellers worldwide.
Also known as immersion travel, experiential travel provides an opportunity for people to connect a little deeper with their destination either through its history, people, culture or the activities that are available.
The trend has compelled the industry to be more attuned to trends and what travellers are asking for, offering more customised holiday packages that merge leisure with enlightenment.
Here are a few of the hottest trends hitting the travel scene:
A cultural immersion
Guaranteed cultural experiences are things that holiday-makers look for when booking a holiday. They want more than just a holiday, they want to learn a new skill, eat with the locals, sharing their perspectives and understanding their way of life is extremely important.
They are still willing to pay for luxury accommodation, provided that they are guaranteed a deeper experience than just having a towel-twisted swan and a mint on their beds at night.
This trend has been around for a while and continues to become more popular. For those who are not in the know, a babymoon is a trip a couple takes prior to the arrival of their baby - almost like a final exhale before their lives are changed (for the better) forever.
These holidays are generally taken during the second trimester when mommy is in the safe-zone and still feeling energetic enough to somewhat explore. That said, generally babymoons aren’t taken too far from home (so a holiday in Mauritius, a mere four-hour flight from Johannesburg would be the ideal location). While they do want to experience new things, such as a pottery class or yoga session on the beach, for example, these holidays are generally meant to be relaxing and comfortable.
Golfing holidays have become very popular among wellness and sporting fraternities. These vacations combine experiencing (often multiple) destinations coupled with playing new golfing locations. These trips are planned well in advance, sometimes as far as a year ahead and involve a mixture of golf and experiencing attractions and activities.
The shopping spree
There is no doubt that shopping will be done when you’re on holiday, but there is a new trend where people are planning their holidays around shopping. The objective of the trip varies from person to person but the general trends lean towards supporting local merchandise and underprivileged economies, travelling to purchase quality, custom-made suits at an affordable price and collecting artefacts from unique countries. These trips are well researched and methodically planned, yet thoroughly enjoyed, because who doesn’t like shopping?
People have generally become more focused on their health and wellbeing, physically, mentally and spiritually. It has, therefore, become trendy to chase the wellness experience, whether it be yoga and meditation retreats on a beach, hiking up to a temple or scuba diving in serene waters. People want to find balance and get in touch with themselves more than ever before.
Whether you have been thinking about an experiential holiday or have just been convinced that the next one will be different, be sure to look into resorts that offer a good mix of relaxation on the beach, pools, cocktail bars and restaurants with a menu of unique experiences to also inspire you.