How has travel changed in the past 18 months? And how will our post-pandemic psyche affect how we travel in 2022? Following on from part one of this series (published with Forbes yesterday), I talk to industry experts to reveal further trends on the horizon for the year ahead.
The events of the past two years have undoubtedly heightened the importance of mental and physical wellbeing. In 2022, with fewer restrictions in place, many people will seek to reverse the effects of the past two years on their minds and bodies. Medical spas, in particular, are now offering targeted retreats to help people recover.
Situated in the Swiss Alps, Chenot Palace Weggis, for example, offers a Recover & Energise programme, which aims to reduce stress, recharge the body and restore vitality, by combining detox treatments with clinically-proven and patented neuroscience technology. The programme encourages the body to restore its natural rhythms, reduce chronic stress, improve restorative sleep, and optimise energy levels – the ideal solution for a post-pandemic health reset.
The retreat has also recently launched a state-of-the-art ‘Molecular Lab for Optimal Living’ – which utilises ground-breaking epigenetic technology to analyse gene activity, determine biological ageing status and prescribe a personalised treatment plan to optimise wellbeing and health. It’s the closest thing to turning back the years.
Booking.com also identifies the growing trend of wellness in its latest research, which involved more than 24,000 travellers across 31 countries. It identified that travel itself is one way to help mental and physical wellbeing.
“More so than daily exercise or mindful meditation, getting away on vacation will become the form of self-care in 2022, with over three-quarters of people affirming that travel helps their mental and emotional wellbeing more than other forms of rest and relaxation,” says the report. “After more than a year of ever-evolving travel restrictions, the important benefits that travel has on health and wellbeing are now being acknowledged, with nearly two thirds saying they didn’t realize how important travel was to their wellbeing until it was no longer an option, and 84% saying that having a vacation planned has a positive impact on their emotional wellbeing.
Rebecca Jackson, marketing manager at holiday home company Perfect Stays says that: “2022 will be the year we rekindle our love for travel, indulge and immerse ourselves in the cultural bustle of the world again and bring our fantasies of relaxing on sandy white beaches to life.”
One main area the brand identifies as a growing trend is culinary travel. “Food will be one of the central motives for travel next year with holidaymakers looking to revel in local cooking classes, street food and discover food at its source, by visiting local vineyards or take part in fishing trips,” says Rebecca.
“We’ve also noticed a significant increase in the number of people requesting private chefs during their stay, with some customers booking this experience over 12 months in advance.
“Fiona Were from Chef Fiona NZ, who we work with closely through our concierge service, suggests this is due to the flexible and personalised nature of having a private chef. She says that people like the idea of a totally bespoke menu created and cooked just for them in the comfort of their holiday home. Guests can choose from non-restrictive menus and special diets are catered for, without anyone feeling like they’re the odd one out.
“What’s more, guests don’t necessarily just want to opt for a simple family dinner, instead more people are wanting to really indulge in 2022 and opt for more tasting and celebratory menus.”
Hilton also identified the trend in its just-published travel trends report, ‘The 2022 Traveler: Emerging Trends and the Redefined Traveler’, in which the hotel brand looks at the impact that Covid has had on travel. “Culinary trips are expected to be in higher demand than ever before,” it says.
Adam Crocini, senior vice president and brand head, Food & Beverage Brands at Hilton, states: “People right now are actively seeking out culinary experiences when they go on vacations. When visiting our luxury and resort properties, guests are especially interested in food tutorials or private chef lessons on how to create local specialities like the best curry or fresh pasta.”
At Hilton’s Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, tailored culinary experiences include piazza-making for children and hands-on experiences in the Glow kitchen, where guests can create a garden-to-table dish.
Boutique group touring company Cox & Kings has over 260 years of experience arranging high-quality travel to the world’s most captivating destinations. One trend it is forecasting for the year ahead is the rise in demand for trips which will take travellers off the beaten track.
“As travel ramps up to return with a vengeance in 2022, many travellers are looking to experience the once in a lifetime trip slightly off the beaten track,” says the company. “They’re looking to travel with experts like us for extra reassurance.”
Among its highlights is its Primates of Uganda trip. “Uganda is a wildlife wonderland, home to the likes of hippos, hyenas, tree-climbing lions, countless rare birds and – most famously – mountain gorillas. This tour of Uganda’s national parks puts our primate cousins front and centre, with guided gorilla trekking and chimpanzee walks, on top of unforgettable safari experiences on land and water.
Travellers can encounter the endangered mountain gorillas of t he Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and experience a chimpanzee trek at the lesser-visited Kibale National Park.
Its Colours of Kyrgystan trip is another memory-making experience in which you can discover the spectacular landscapes of one of Central Asia’s most picturesque countries. From the white peaks of the Tien Shan mountain range and the deep-blue of Lake Issyk-Kul to the striking red cliffs of Djety-Oguz and the green alpine meadows of Chon Kemin valley, the tour explores the country’s most colourful highlights and the nomadic lifestyle of some of its inhabitants. It’s all about new horizons.