More travellers are swapping the usual touristy spots for off the beaten, unique experiences.
Gone are the days when people plan their holidays on the most popular places to see, they instead visit the homes of locals, help underprivileged communities and try out the activities loved by the locals.
According to TrekkSoft’s Travel Trends Report 2019, travellers opted to purchase experiences over things.
It said that Skift Research’s 2018 U.S. Affluent traveller Survey ‘found that 67% of affluent travellers would rather spend their money on activities than on a nicer hotel, up 8% from last year.’
Sue Garrett, Flight Centre Travel Group General Manager, Product and Marketing, said people wanted new and different experiences.
“There is a definite experiential trend emerging this year as travellers look for something different.
“This includes beyond tick-the-box-tourist attractions such as Instagram walking tours led by locals or dining with locals offered by some of our tour operators,” she said.
Flight Centre will launch their Back-Roads Tours later this month.
These smaller group tours take the scenic back roads, offer boutique accommodation and authentic local experiences for travellers.
She said experiential experiences happen anywhere, whether it’s a visit to a home in Bangkok, taking a long boat down one of the canals or feasting at a local agritourism farm in Dubrovnik.
“Tour operators are now receiving requests for unique experiences from travellers who want to do something that is a once-in-a-lifetime. This is becoming more common among Millennials who want to explore the world and share their stories with others,” added Garrett.
Teresa Richardson, South Africa Managing Director of The Travel Corporation, said many tourists preferred off the beaten track experiences where they connected with the locals.
"Travellers want something more than just seeing the iconic sights of a city. Everyone who visits Paris sees the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, but there are many facets to Paris that people are to yet to experience. They want to see how families in that country live their life," she said.