“I do believe that what inspires people to explore the world stays the same forever. So we shouldn’t look for inventing something new; we should realise that the things that people travel for are what we’ve always travelled for and just do the best version of that for the audience today.”
– Pavia Rosati, Founder and CEO of Fathom
Disillusioned by fly-and-flop holidays and contrived resorts packed with tourists, people originally turned to experiential travel in search of authentic cultural experiences and emotion-fuelled connections. But now, almost a decade after the term was coined, what does the future of experiential travel look like?
After a year that brought the Zika outbreak, Brexit, a highly controversial US presidential election, terror attacks in Nice, Brussels, Berlin, Jakarta and Istanbul among others, and several deadly shootings worldwide, you might be forgiven for considering the outlook bleak. While the real world becomes an ever more daunting place to be, the virtual world is creating opportunities to experience other cultures and landscapes without leaving the comfort and safety of our own homes – which begs the question: will experiential travel survive?
If the Founder and CEO of Fathom, Pavia Rosati, is to be believed, the desire to explore the world will always exist – it’s a case of discovering the “best version” of experiential travel that meets the needs of the contemporary traveller. So that’s what we set out to do at the PURE Press Roundtable, when we asked eight senior travel editors and writers to share their predictions for the emerging travel trends set to be big news in 2017.
The seven trends identified – Transformational Travel, Safe Havens, Back to Basics, Hands-On, Sharing Economy, Virtual Reality and Travel Unplugged – share a common theme: namely the hunt for ‘real’ in a post-truth world. In today’s hyper-connected society, travellers crave simplicity and tangibility on both a physical and emotional level; but, despite the perceived negatives of living in a digital age, perhaps the most interesting observation is the way in which digital innovations transcend virtual boundaries to aid this hunt for authenticity.
Overall the message is optimistic: it’s clear that not only our press influencers, but also travellers themselves consider experiential travel a crucial tool in rebuilding spirits and economies, encouraging confidence and empathy, and inciting positive change. Armed with invaluable insights, now it’s up to those in the industry to prove it.
To find out more, download the full report.
Katie Palmer is Senior Creative Executive for Beyond Luxury Media.