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April 26, 2021

Travel Trends by Ashley Pearson

In 2020, travel is going to be about more than Insta-bragging. Next year, purpose and intention permeate everything – consumption for its own sake just isn’t cool anymore. Instead, next year’s big travel trends are distinctly green-minded, highlight the unsung destination and reveal new sides to old favourites.

So from eco-trips to off-season surprises – here are the travel trends you need to know about now.

The Trend: Going Green

Sustainable travel is the buzzwords for 2020.  Protecting the environment has moved from a fringe issue to becoming one of the leading factors in planning a trip. Millions of us have been inspired by Greta Thunberg to start taking action on climate change.  And although we are merely at the beginning of this shift, it is led by those who will shape travel in future. Airlines, hotels, tour operators, and car hire firms, along with a wide spectrum of businesses across the travel industry are participating in eco-initiatives such as allowing air travellers to purchase carbon credits when booking a flight or car hire companies that are now offering, and even specialising in, electrical vehicles. Next year will see an increasing number of hotels and resorts investing in sustainable technology, waste reduction and energy-saving initiatives.

Where to go:

Resting in a small fishing village between mountain and sea, Gennadi Grand Resort in Rhodes is artfully designed with eco-sensibilities in mind. A synthesis of form, function and scaled structure,  Gennadi Grand Resort operates under a BMS (Building Management System) comprising of leading innovative energy management technology. Slanted roofs simultaneously minimise sunlight reflection whilst optimising the microclimate conditions, with energy-saving glass panels, and forward-thinking recycling practices.

The all-inclusive Emerald Maldives Resort & SPA just opened and is already paving the way for sustainable travel. Set on Ra Atoll in the Northern Maldives archipelago, the project, which sits on a natural lagoon and wrap-around reef, was spearheaded by architect Edward David Poole – and each stylish villa is environmentally sustainable in practice. Rather than imported timber, long-lasting langhi langhi leaves have been used to build the villa canopies, replaced every 6-8 years rather than every 2 years which the norm for Maldivian resorts is. Each villa is also kitted out with solar panels, discretely tucked away, powering the entire island’s hot water, and the resort is home to a Chef’s Garden from which, the majority of herbs, spices and salads served on the island are sourced.

The Trend: Purpose Led Travel

Aiming to counteract the negative impact flying has on the environment, travellers in 2020 want to make those emissions count. Reconnecting with loved ones, soul-enriching experiences, supporting local communities and adding to the greater good is a major focus for travellers in the year ahead. Very much in line with eco-travel is a need for purpose. Aiming to counteract the negative impact flying has on the environment, travellers in 2020 want to make their emissions count. Reconnecting with loved ones, soul-enriching experiences, supporting local communities and adding to the greater good is a major focus for travellers in the year ahead.  Travellers in 2020 want to feel as if they are making a difference even when away on holiday.

From participating in coral regeneration projects in the Maldives, picking up trash on local beaches, building schools in India– there is intention and purpose inspiring the experience.

Where to go :

Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi teaches guests and actively encourage them to participate in regenerating the coral reef and improving sea life as part of an underwater art installation and coral regeneration project.  Designed by acclaimed British eco-artist Jason deCaires Taylor, guests are led through the living installation by the resort’s resident marine biologist before planting their own coral as part of their effort to reinvigorate local sea life.

The Trend: Off-Season Surprises

Savvy travellers in 2020 know that some hotspots are superior offseason.  For example, spring is the perfect time of year to enjoy the secluded coves and beaches on Ibiza before the madness of summer kicks off. Coastal paths are blooming with blossoms and the legendary beach bars are laid-back, not packed. And while tourist numbers subside and the flight costs fall, Mallorca’s balmy temperatures remain long into the Autumn.

Where to go:

Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay just launched a range of ultra-personalised experiences which lets visitors experience Ibiza (or My-Biza) in their own way. Picnics are delivered to scenic spots, and Bali-bed butlers can bring everything from iced towels to turmeric shots and fresh sushi rolls.  There are one-to-one diving expeditions with a marine biologist and bespoke yacht trips to showcase the island’s insider spots and prettiest bays.

The Spanish word for sapphire, Zafiro hotels are pretty and surrounded by shades of blue. Zafiro Palace Hotels are all tucked away in different corners of Mallorca, making them the perfect base to explore some of the off-season gems such as family-run wineries. The cooler autumnal temperatures work for cyclists and hikers as well as culture lovers
The Trend: Getting Personal

Good or bad, in today’s digital world, everyone from Facebook and Google, to hotels, airlines and ride-sharing companies, know more about us than ever before. This level of personal knowledge extends to all aspects of our lives: we personalise our grocery orders, get suggested music and podcast playlists are aligned to our tastes.  In 2020, hoteliers are working harder than ever before to make travel feel personal  – from bespoke toiletries and breakfast smoothies to personalised tasting menus and bespoke local experiences. Our world is personal, and we want to travel to be too.

Where to go:

Personalisation extends to the spa at Es Saadi Marrakech Resort, which offers a bespoke, all-botanical PHYTO hair treatment designed to cleanse, condition and revive hair with a selection of products uniquely designed your own hair type.  A detailed analysis with a micro-viewer magnifies the hair up to 600 times, and you can kick back and relax in the resort’s Oriental Thermae hydrotherapy circuit while your hair is beautifully restored. This can be followed by a professional blow out in the resort’s on-site (and very glam) Dior Institut.

The Trend: The Unsung Hero

Everyone is talking about the rise of the ‘second city’ in 2020 – the lesser-known destination over the typical and touristic. In fact, according to Booking.com, over half (54%) of global travellers want to play a part in reducing over-tourism, while 51% would swap their original destination for a lesser-known but similar alternative.

For example, in 2020 travellers are likely to forgo Dubrovnik and instead head to Šibenik, one of Croatia’s oldest historical towns, with its dreamy deep-blue seascapes, and travellers in Turkey will discover Datça, in southwestern Turkey, a pretty peninsula with pine-forested coastline and a crystal-clear cove that is a blissful haven from the bustling crowds of nearby Bodrum.

Where to go:

Lesser known than its cousins Dubrovnik and Split, Šibenik is yet to be discovered by much of the outside world.  Set in an area of natural and unspoiled beauty, D-Resort Šibenik, with its sleek interiors of pure white concrete, glass and wood, makes a very stylish statement on this part of the Dalmatian coast.

An insider’s alternative to the bustle of Bodrum, Datça, is home to one of Europe’s finest hotels – D Maris Bay. Its natural beauty must be seen to be believed. Perched just above the place where the Aegean meets the Med, this stunning retreat offers great dining, five secluded beaches and an enormous infinity swimming pool carved into the edge of a cliff.

The Trend: Learning from Locals 

In 2020 travel is less about poolside lazing than broadening personal horizons and getting under a destination’s skin. And in terms of nailing this trend – learning a traditional skill from a local is a two-for-one. That means things like Himalayan hikes lead by local climbers and mindful yoga retreats in Morocco.

Where to go:

On the Istrian peninsula, a charming region of quaint hilltop villages, Adriatic waters and dense oak forest, visitors will find the foodie holy grail: the Istrian white truffle. Now, the skills passed down through generations of truffle hunters are there for guests to learn.  Keen learners will gain a new appreciation of these beauties when invited to join locals on forages, finishing off the day with a joyful lunch of truffle-infused delicacies and local wines.

The Trend: The Alt Bucket List

Big-ticket travel wonders have had their moment in the sun, 2020 is about curiosity and a point of difference. After all, watching the sunrise over the Egyptian pyramids alongside hundreds of selfies stick-wielding tourists is just not the life-changing experience you were hoping for. Next year, visitors will seek out bucket list destinations that go beyond the norm. So rather than trekking up Machu Picchu, savvy travellers will explore Peru’s incredible rainbow mountain in the Andes; steering away from the northern lights in Finland, 2020’s travellers will discover Cambodia’s bioluminescent beach and soar in hot air balloons over ancient Anatolia.

 The Trend: Solo Travel 

Next year solo travel shows no sign of a slowdown. One is a whole number – and 2020 will see more solo travel than ever before, as people of all ages strive for adventure and embrace freedom.

Where to go:

Set just at the edge of the ancient village of Uçhisar, Argos in Cappadocia is a place that everyone should see at least once in their lifetime.  With panoramic views of the hot air balloons that drift across the sky each morning at sunrise, this 2000-year-old network of ancient ruins, caves and underground tunnels are home to an unforgettable heritage-style hotel retreat.

Next year solo travel shows no sign of a slowdown. One is a whole number – and 2020 will see more solo travel than ever before, as people of all ages strive for adventure and embrace freedom.

Where to go:

Newly restored, the iconic Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor in Siem Reap, reopened its doors last month with a series of curated solo journeys inclusive of everything from cruising on a Vespa through the ancient temple at Angkor Wat, art classes with Siem Reap’s illustrious local artists, and a Khmer Culinary Discovery tour lead by local foodie insiders.

The Trend: Up-Skilling Escapes 

With learning holidays more popular than ever, holidaymakers in 2020 are increasingly looking to take more home than a tan.

Where to go:

With this in mind, Nobu Hotel Marbella will offer guests the chance to learn sushi making from their Nobu-trained chefs along with iconic Nobu dishes such as Miso Black Cod. Visitors can learn how to mix music with a professional DJ in the famous LA Suite nightclub or become a masseuse at the world-class Six Senses Spa, and there is even a holiday workshop in content creation/ photography taught by an award-winning local photographer.

Go for gold with an Olympian in 2020. ‘Our Retreat’ offers a once in a lifetime experience to snowboard with two-time Team GB Olympic snowboarder, Aimee Fuller, who will host a six-day retreat in January 2020. Across the year, Our Retreat will host four, six-night Chamonix retreats which are ideal for solo travellers seeking adventure, where skiing and snowboarding are complemented by yoga, meditation, mobility sessions and healthy, nutritious meals.

The Trend: Ancestry Trips

Fuelled by genealogical curiosity and affordable at-home DNA testing —ancestry trips, pilgrimages, genealogy tours -are one of 2020’s fastest-growing areas. Travellers want to track down their newly found roots.

Where to go :

As 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, next year many whose ancestors fled Eastern Europe will be rediscovering Poland.  With nearly a dozen hotels set to open in Warsaw, the Polish capital is evolving as a vibrant travel destination.  Dynamic and distinctive, the new Nobu Hotel Warsaw opens in spring 2020 in the heart of this historic city -and will most likely be a magnet for those seeking to turn the page on a troubled history.

The Trend: Travellers Not Tourists 

A beautiful lobby, spacious rooms and inviting restaurants are no longer enough, hoteliers need to be storytellers, crafting a narrative with authentic, local experiences as the plotline. 2020’s holidaymakers want to immerse themselves in a new culture – disconnecting from their own life whilst connecting to the lives of others.

Where to go:

Visitors to VIE Hotel Bangkok will do more than sit dutifully each evening in a dimly lit hotel restaurant – they can eat as locals do and explore Bangkok’s best street food hotspots by night, including a Michelin-starred vendor, aboard the hotel’s tuk-tuk with a resident gastro-guide in tow.

Whilst, at SO/ Bangkok the ‘City Guru’ concierge is on hand to create tailor-made tours and recommendations for the best-hidden gems and things to do in Bangkok; whether guests are interested in discovering the local art scene, the finest restaurants, bars and live music venues, or shopping in quirky boutiques.

The Trend: Foodies Take Flight 

Epicures are on the move in 2020 as people are letting their palates lead the way.  Taste travellers will increasingly revel in a portfolio of famous restaurants which are culinary destinations in themselves.

Where to go: 

In 2020 Velaa Private Island in the Maldives will introduce a series of fine wine and dining events billed as the greatest meal in the world.  Curated by the world’s most influential winemakers alongside a clutch of Michelin-starred chefs – guests will enjoy the finest wine labels in the world alongside once in a lifetime cuisine.

The Nobu Restaurant and Bar at the brand new Nobu Hotel Barcelona is a sky-high dining destination high up on the 23rd floor. An airy escape from the rambling streets of Barcelona, this incredible new restaurant boasts breath-taking views in every direction from the floor-to-ceiling windows. Guests can tantalise their taste buds at the city’s first Nobu restaurant featuring signature Nobu flavours infused with local flare, all masterfully executed by Nobu’s culinary masterminds.

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