Updated on January 30, 2024 by Axel Hernborg

Axel Hernborg

Luxury travel has been traditionally associated with expensive accommodation and first-class trips. However, this industry has evolved significantly over the last few years, now incorporating unique and extreme experiences, such as those offered by the adventure tourism market or the rising space tourism industry.

In 2022, the global luxury travel sector was valued at nearly two trillion U.S. dollars, and experts predict a growth of approximately 6% by the year 2032.

Below are some key trends in the luxury travel industry:

The pandemic and the industry

COVID-19 caused unpredicted challenges in the travel industry all over the world. Travellers were forced to cancel their trips as the majority of countries were locked down.

  1. Despite the initial shock, the luxury travel market rebounded faster than expected, with a projected CAGR of 7.7% until 2030.
  2. : While classic destinations retain their charm, travellers are increasingly seeking off-the-beaten-path experiences, with emerging destinations like Oman, Rwanda, and Bhutan witnessing significant growth.
  3. Holistic wellness has become a core motivator, with luxury wellness retreats experiencing a 21% increase in bookings worldwide.
  4. AI-powered travel advisors, VR tours, and smart-home automation are enhancing every aspect of the journey, creating seamless and personalized experiences.
  5. The industry is catering to increasingly specific desires, with segments like adventure aficionados, culinary connoisseurs, and cultural cravers driving demand for specialized experiences.
  6. Eco-conscious practices are no longer a niche, but a mainstream expectation, with 73% of luxury travellers now choosing sustainable accommodations.
  7. Baby boomers, with accumulated wealth and time, are seeking multi-generational travel experiences, creating a new market segment with unique needs.
  8. Solo luxury travel, particularly among independent women, is on the rise, with a 28% increase in bookings since 2020.

The prime locations for luxury travel

  1. Oman saw a 35% increase in high-end tourist arrivals in 2023.
  2. Rwanda and Bhutan are emerging as luxury travel destinations due to their unique experiences and cultural immersion opportunities. Rwanda’s mountain gorilla trekking experience costs an average of $15,000 per trip.
  3. Bhutan is known for its cultural immersion and sustainability practices, with an average spend of $5,000 per trip.
  4.  Luxury cruises to the Arctic and Antarctic are also gaining popularity, with a 20% year-on-year growth in bookings observed by Silversea Cruises.
  5. In research of 2023, it is stated that private islands are also becoming increasingly popular, with a 45% increase in private island rentals since 2020.
  6. Maldives, Belize, Mexico and Canada are some of the most popular destinations for luxury travel in 2024.

Changes in the luxury travel industry

  1. The luxury travel industry has rebounded to pre-pandemic levels and is thriving, with a global market value of US$1.2 trillion in 2021 and a projected Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 7.6% until 2030.
  2.  Changing consumer preferences, influenced by social media, have heightened demand for destinations that are deemed “Instagram-worthy,” increasing awareness and interest in more remote and unique locations.
  3. It is suggested that destinations that are deemed “Instagram-worthy” have become increasingly popular among travellers. This trend has led to a rise in demand for more remote and unique locations that offer a unique experience to travelers
  4. While luxury still demands a premium, travellers now seek experiences that offer genuine value. A McKinsey & Company report (2023) states that 72% of luxury travellers prioritize authenticity and personalisation over mere extravagance.
  5. Holistic wellness is no longer an add-on but a core motivator. Global Wellness Institute data (2023) shows a 21% increase in bookings for luxury wellness retreats worldwide
  6. Eco-conscious travellers are driving demand for responsible tourism, with a 73% preference for sustainable accommodations, according to a survey by Booking.com
  7. AI-powered travel advisors are also becoming more popular, with the market expected to reach $1.5 billion by 2025, according to Grand View Research.
  8. Virtual Reality (VR) tours can also preview destinations before booking a trip, helping travellers make more informed decisions about where to go and what to see.
  9. The luxury travel market has been evolving to cater to the changing needs of travellers. Luxury hospitality brands have been offering branded residences that provide expert service levels for long-term living or residency.
  10. The demand for luxury residences has increased due to the flexibility of work routines, making it more popular for people who work and would like to live in a different city. For instance, Nobu hotels are opening their first branded residence in Toronto this year, which will feature their signature design and attitude 1
  11. Travellers are seeking areas that offer services designed to cater to their bodies and mental health. The Chenot Palace Weggis is a luxury travel destination that stands out for its recovery and energising program.
  12. The luxury travel market has been adapting to the new normal by launching various plans that are tailored to meet travellers’ unique demands. For example, Abercrombie & Kent, a luxury travel company, added a plan for wildlife lovers in 2021 where they get to go on private jet journeys all around the world.
  13. According to a report by Luxury Gold, a tour company that specializes in exotic travel, there has been an increase in the demand for luxury travelling journeys by train by 17%. The report also anticipates luxury train transport to become a popular pastime for discerning travellers in 2022.

The market drivers for luxury travel

  1. Baby Boomers are seeking multi-generational travel experiences and have accumulated wealth and time to do so. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), there has been a 17% increase in luxury travel spending by Baby Boomers compared to 2019
  2. An increase in the areas with internet access is driving a lot of online research regarding the planning of luxury travel.
  3. millennials are entering the luxury travel market with a passion for cultural immersion. According to a report by Deloitte in 2023, millennials now represent 40% of global luxury travellers.
  4. According to a report by Straits Research, the luxury travel industry has been growing at an unprecedented rate in the last few years on account of increasing spending power, growing middle-class population, debouching luxury trends, and expanding luxury hotels
  5. The report  states that the online marketing strategy and strong internet presence of travel agencies such as TripAdvisor, Zoover, and Black Tomato Group drive the market growth
  6. According to a report by Allied Market Research, the global luxury travel market was valued at $638.2 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach $1650.5 billion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 8.9% from 2022 to 2031.
  7. The luxury travel market is also being driven by an increase in the number of solo luxury travellers seeking unique experiences and authentic destinations
  8. According to a report by Skyscanner, the solo travel service market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.1% from 2023 to 2030.
  9. Solo travellers, particularly independent women, are embracing luxury travel. A Virtuoso report (2023) reveals a 28% increase in solo luxury travel bookings by women since 2020..

The segmentation of the luxury travel industry

  1. According to Amadeus, a global research and technology provider, the luxury travel market can be segmented into six travellers “tribes” of the future defined not only by their level of wealth but also their behaviours and travel intentions2. These tribes are: Cultural Purists, Digital Avant-Gardes, Social Capital Seekers, Reward Hunters, Obligation Meeters and Ethical Travelers
  2. The luxury travel market is segmented into types of tours, age groups, types of travellers, and regions. As per types of tour, the market is categorised into customised and private vacations, adventure and safari, cruise/ship expeditions, small group journeys, celebration and special events and culinary travel and shopping
  3. The safari and adventure segment is seeking massive growth as there is an increase in demand for nature-based holidays.
  4. According to a report by Global Market Insights, the size of the luxury tourism market is expected to grow at around 16% CAGR from 2021 to 2027, due to rising disposable income worldwide. The report also states that Singapore’s luxury tourism market is set to register more than 22% CAGR through 2027, with the growing popularity of its safari park contributing to market expansion.
  5. The night safari is a prominent attraction in the country, attracting more than 1.1 million tourists every year
  6. The luxury cruising sector is continuously growing as people seek more and more extremely personal experiences.

References

  1. https://www.statista.com/topics/11552/luxury-travel-and-tourism-worldwide/
  2. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2021/04/05/high-flyers-what-the-future-has-in-store-for-luxury-travel/
  3. https://luxurycolumnist.com/best-luxury-destinations-worldwide/
  4. https://www.tripstodiscover.com/luxury-vacations-around-the-world/
  5. https://www.animalsaroundtheglobe.com/top-10-luxury-travel-destinations/
  6. https://luxurycolumnist.com/best-luxury-family-destinations/
  7. https://luxurycolumnist.com/best-luxury-destinations-worldwide/
  8. https://www.deloitte.com/global/en/Industries/consumer/perspectives/future-of-luxury-travel.html
  9. https://www.veranda.com/travel/a45035358/travel-trends-2024/
  10. https://luxurycolumnist.com/luxury-travellers/
  11. https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/travel-logistics-and-infrastructure/our-insights/tourism-in-the-metaverse-can-travel-go-virtual
  12. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2021/12/29/the-outlook-for-luxury-travel-in-2022/
  13. https://www.alliedmarketresearch.com/luxury-travel-market
  14. https://livewelltraveloften.com/how-different-generations-travel/
  15. https://www.tripplo.co.uk/online-travel-booking-statistics-and-trends
  16. https://www.roller.software/blog/millennials-travel-trends-and-statistics
  17. https://straitsresearch.com/report/luxury-travel-market/
  18. https://solotravelerworld.com/about/solo-travel-statistics-data/
  19. https://elitetraveler.com/travel/experiences-travel/luxury-solo-travel
  20. https://www.danacommunications.com/luxury-travel-market-segmentation/
  21. https://news.itb.com/topics/news/luxury-tourism-market-growth/