The last couple of years have obviously hit the travel industry hard. International travel decreased globally by 70% in 2020 vs. 2019, and was still down by 37% between January and September 2022 vs. 2019.

But if we look forward, we can see that demand for travel still exists. Global tourism is set to increase by 30% this year, and while that’s still below pre-pandemic levels, it’s much healthier than it has been. 

In this blog post, we look at eight travel trends to watch out for in 2023, explore what these trends could mean for the travel industry workforce and give you our top tips for landing your dream role in travel.

8 travel trends in 2023

Before we dive into this year’s travel trends, it’s important to note that the impact of the pandemic continues to evolve, and these trends may change as the situation unfolds. That said, this is what we predict for travel in 2023…

1. Increased demand for sustainable travel

Sustainable travel is on the rise, and that will continue through this year. Why?

Firstly, as awareness about the environmental impact of travel grows, more people are seeking out eco-friendly options and with the effects of climate change becoming more apparent, travellers are increasingly concerned about their carbon footprint and the impact their travel has on the environment.

Governments around the world are also implementing policies aimed at reducing the environmental impact of travel, encouraging the development of more sustainable tourism options.

To meet both consumer preferences and government requirements, the travel industry is responding to the growing demand for sustainable and eco-friendly travel options by developing new products and services that meet these needs, including eco-friendly accommodations, sustainable tourism activities and environmentally responsible transportation options.

2. Growth of digital solutions

Technology-driven solutions can make travel more convenient, efficient and enjoyable. We live in a digital world, and the travel industry is fulfilling this need with solutions such as:

  • Mobile travel apps
  • Online platforms that allow us to search and compare prices and book our trips
  • Contactless travel, such as digital boarding passes and automated check-in systems
  • Smart luggage that’s equipped with GPS to track bags 
  • Artificial intelligence, from chatbots for customer service to personalised travel recommendations and real-time language translation

3. Expansion of virtual and augmented reality

Virtual and augmented reality technology will increasingly be used to provide travellers with immersive experiences, from virtual tours of destinations and hotels to interactive maps and guides.

VR and AR will help create a more informed and confident travel decision and provide an engaging and interactive way for travellers to learn about and explore new places.

Not only that, but travellers with mobility issues, or those who are unable to travel due to physical or financial constraints, will be able to experience new places and cultures.

This type of tech can also be used to train travel industry staff and educate travellers about the various aspects of travel, from cultural sensitivity to emergency preparedness.

4. Emergence of new travel destinations

As travel restrictions ease, new destinations are emerging as popular travel spots. Factors driving this trend include the rise of remote work, increased accessibility and growing demand for adventure travel.

In 2023, we’ll be seeking out more remote and less-travelled destinations, such as small islands, remote beaches, and mountain retreats, now that more of us are able to work from anywhere. 

Additionally, improved transportation infrastructure, including the growth of low-cost carriers, is making new destinations, like Medellin in Colombia and Da Nang in Vietnam, more accessible and easier to reach.

And adventure travellers are seeking out new and challenging destinations, such as extreme sports destinations like Wanaka in New Zealand, off-the-beaten-path hiking trails such as Chiang Mai in Thailand and remote wildlife habitats like Bolivia.

5. Emphasis on personalised, unique and experiential travel

Experiential travel, or travel that is focused on unique, authentic and personal experiences, has become increasingly popular in recent years, and this trend will continue in 2023. There are several reasons for this:

  • The desire for more meaningful travel experiences that allow us to connect with local cultures and communities, rather than just visiting tourist attractions.
  • Experiential travel can provide opportunities for personal growth, such as learning new skills, facing challenges, and building self-confidence.
  • It also allows us to disconnect from the digital world and focus on the present moment, which can be a welcome change from the fast-paced and connected lifestyle many of us live.
  • Activities and experiences that are outside of our comfort zone provide a sense of adventure and excitement.
  • We can create lasting memories and form deeper connections with the places we visit, resulting in a more meaningful and fulfilling travel experience.

6. Greater safety and health measures

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to greater focus on health and safety measures in the travel industry, which has had a significant impact on the way people travel. 

This will impact travel in 2023 with enhanced health and safety measures, more caution and risk awareness around these measures, a shift towards domestic travel (more on that below) and the rise contactless travel options, such as self-catering accommodation, car rentals, and e-ticketing, to reduce physical contact with others.

Travellers will also seek out destinations and activities that prioritise their health and wellbeing.

7. Growing popularity of hybrid travel models

Hybrid travel, or the combination of both traditional travel and remote work or remote learning, is becoming increasingly popular. It offers greater flexibility, can be more cost-effective than traditional travel and offers a better work-life balance.

Additionally, the ability to work remotely and explore new destinations can lead to increased productivity, as we have the opportunity to work in different environments and gain new perspectives.

8. Increase in domestic travel

With international travel restrictions and uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have turned to domestic travel as a safer and more accessible option. In fact, total domestic expenditure is forecast to expand by 11.5% in 2023.

But it’s not just because of the pandemic. Domestic travel is often more affordable than international travel, making it a more attractive option for those who want to save money or who have been impacted financially by the cost of living crisis.

Domestic travel can also offer greater flexibility, as itineraries can be more easily adjusted.

What do these trends mean for the travel industry workforce?

The travel industry trends are having a significant impact on the travel industry workforce leading to several changes across the sector, not least job losses and restructuring following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The rise of contactless travel has led to a decrease in demand for certain roles, such as customer service representatives and check-in staff, as more processes are automated.

Conversely, the increased focus on health and safety measures has led to a growth in demand for roles such as health and safety specialists, as well as increased training and support for existing employees.

As the industry evolves, employees may need to reskill or upskill to remain competitive in their role. This may include training in new technologies, such as virtual and augmented reality, and health and safety protocols.

Finally, the trend towards hybrid travel models may lead to an increase in remote work, which could have implications for the travel industry workforce, including greater flexibility and the need for new skills and tools.

6 tips to help you land your dream role in the travel industry

Are you looking for a new role in the travel industry? Here are six tips to help you:

  • Gain experience

Want to get your foot in the door? Gain experience in the travel industry through internships, volunteering or entry-level positions. This will give you a better understanding of the industry and increase your chances of landing a job.

  • Build a network

Attend events, participate in travel industry groups and connect with industry professionals on social media – building your network on LinkedIn is a great place to start.

  • Stay up-to-date with industry trends

Read industry publications and attend webinars or conferences. This will help you understand the current state of the industry and the skills and experience that are in demand.

  • Focus on health and safety

Emphasise your experience and knowledge in health and safety measures, as this is a growing area of concern for the travel industry.

  • Be flexible and adaptable

The travel industry is constantly evolving. Be open to new opportunities and be willing to reskill or upskill as needed.

  • Consider remote work options

The trend towards hybrid travel models may lead to an increase in remote work opportunities within the industry.

  • Update your CV

Your CV is the passport to your professional future. The right one will bypass the technology and the initial five-second human scan to earmark you for your target role in travel.

Want to find out more? Contact us for an initial chat.