What’s Trending in Travel This Year
January 10, 2024 by Hidden Doorways
Everywhere we look it seems what’s timeless is trending. Explore rejuvenating properties that reveal the secrets of enduring wellness and longevity, embark on eco-transparent tours that highlight sustainable practices, and discover the authentic charm of hyperlocal destinations, rich in cultural heritage.
Wellness Wisdom from the Blue Zones
The Global Wellness Institute predicts wellness tourism to hit $1.3 trillion dollars by 2025. Destinations that home in on the deeper elements of wellness will reap the rewards, looking at experiences to positively contribute to a longer, healthier, and happier life.
But to really do wellness justice, you’ll want to dive headfirst into Blue Zone travel — the five global locations where people live longer and healthier lives, and where it’s expected wellness travel to seriously spike. Journey to The Hive or Villa Avellana and you’ll be close enough to explore the wonders of Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula. Make the most of a cultural exploration during your stay that plunges you into true Costa Rica, away from the main tourist hub, to understand and appreciate the country’s most colorful traditions.
Japan’s Okinawa is another Blue Zone escape, historically known as the ‘island of longevity’. Halekulani Okinawa offers an Escapes program designed by Dr. Masashi Arakawa of Ryukyu University – a leading expert in wellness tourism research — to provide meaningful insight into the island’s wisdom of longevity.
Thailand’s Kamalaya resort is another for your Blue Zone bucket list. Its life-enhancing ‘Blue Zone Retreat‘ is enriched with Thai wellbeing practices and the ‘Power 9’ Blue Zone Principles, teaching you how to weave them into your day-to-day life to make better decisions and aid long-lasting health and happiness.
The idea here is about inviting guests behind the scenes to not just say your destination is sustainable but to seriously show it. Sustainable tourism is on the up, big time. The New Statesmen reported that the search term ‘sustainable travel’ grew by 142.6% between April 2019 and April 2022, and hotels worldwide are getting savvy to the fact, coming up with ways to be greener and to then go the extra mile to prove just how planet-conscious they are.
Behind-the-scenes experiential tours are fast becoming an offering on the world’s best eco-resorts. Head to French Polynesia, for example, where luxury resort The Brando offers its back-of-house Green Tour that shares the scientific studies and innovation efforts that make for a climate-positive stay. From educating on sea water air conditioning to walking its organic gardens to get insight on its restaurant ethos, you’ll get to see it all.
Similarly at Southall Farm & Inn in Tennessee, they love for guests to join on their working farm tour to learn how it sits at the heart of all they do. Innovative farming methods that take as little from the planet as possible to focus more on giving back yes, but also a visit to nearby Lake Mishkin is on offer where you’ll learn of its irrigation promise as well as its wildlife residents. Ask to see their Apiary too — there are over four million honeybees at Southhall in a bid to protect the population and their future viability.
And over at Turtle Bay Resort in Hawaii, one of their most popular eco experiences is a trip to its 468-acre Kuilima Farm – the island’s first farm-to-resort operation. Not only does the farm serve Turtle Bay and its guests, but it provides enough produce for all of the North Shore community, growing local Hawaiian crops as well as medicinal plants. Travel that invites you to root around, quite literally!
Hyperlocality: Stepping Further Off the Beaten Track
And finally, let’s get hyperlocal. While the hero hotspots are going nowhere, hotels on quieter isles and in more remote settings are growing in appeal to give travelers a more off-grid experience with access to real people and real culture.
New luxury resort Gundari, for example, is soon opening on the Greek island of Folegandros. With just 600 island dwellers and little by way of typical tourist attractions, to holiday here is to experience Greece as it used to be – unspoiled, uncrowded, and unhurried.
Portugal’s Herdade da Malhadinha Nova guarantees a destination free from overcrowding being set in the endless Alentejo landscape where the only background noise is birdsong and a gentle breeze.
Two hours from Barcelona lies Mas d’en Bruno, a five-star boutique resort on a historic estate in the heart of Priorat that counts mountains, vineyards and a single hilltop village as its neighbors, allowing you to completely disconnect from life’s noise, tune into local life, and immerse fully in this up-and-coming wine region.
Or consider Playa Grande Beach Club in the Dominican Republic. Far away from the all-inclusives of Punta Cana, this whimsical property is nestled on a mile-long stretch of powdery white sand beach on far less explored north coast of the country.