Lonely Planet Writer

Chocolate-making, sunrise yoga and street food safaris: experiential travel is on the rise for 2017

A leading British booking agency has found that a sense of adventure amongst travellers is becoming ever keener, with destinations and hotels investing in experiences to show off their country’s natural assets, authentic culture and people.

Experiental travel is on the rise for 2017. Image: Kuoni Travel UK
Experiental travel is on the rise for 2017. Image: Kuoni Travel UK

Worldwide holiday company, Kuoni Travel UK, has found evidence of the rise of experiential travel throughout its business, ranging from chocolate-making in St Lucia to sunrise yoga on a sandbank in the Maldives. Street food safaris in Vietnam and classes in cooking like a local in South Africa are examples of how destinations around the world are creating fresh appeal for modern travellers.

Experiental travel is on the rise for 2017. Image: Kuoni Travel UK
Experiental travel is on the rise for 2017. Image: Uncharted Africa/Kuoni Travel UK

“We’re seeing creativity like never before in the tourism industry – everything from star-gazing platforms to dining for two on a private sandbank,” says Derek Jones, Kuoni’s managing director. “Travel has never been more exciting. January and February is always the peak period for holiday sales, so at this point in the year we’re able to see some clear patterns emerging for the year ahead. ”

Experiental travel is on the rise for 2017. Image: Kuoni Travel UK
Experiental travel is on the rise for 2017. Image: Kuoni Travel UK

Other findings by Kuoni, which specialises in luxury travel, include that value-for-money remains key for travellers. The demand for all-inclusive trips is on the rise as people look to lock down their holiday costs before they travel.

Experiental travel is on the rise for 2017. Image: Kuoni Travel UK
Experiental travel is on the rise for 2017. Image: Kuoni Travel UK

While the Maldives tops the list of best-selling destinations for premium travel, there has been a noticeable upturn in demand for trips to Mauritius, MalaysiaBorneo, Canada and South Africa. A new direct flight from the UK to Costa Rica has resulted in it being one of the fastest-rising long-haul destinations, with sales up 310% on last year.

Experiental travel is on the rise for 2017. Image: Kuoni Travel UK
Experiental travel is on the rise for 2017. Image: Kuoni Travel UK

There is still demand among British travellers for premium short-haul holidays, with Greece seeing a 30% increase in sales since last year. Elsewhere in Europe, Croatia is a star performer, with the kuna exchange rate offering great value for travellers.

Experiental travel is on the rise for 2017. Image: Kuoni Travel UK
Experiental travel is on the rise for 2017. Image: Kuoni Travel UK

Canada makes its first appearance in Kuoni’s top 20, moving up four places into 19th position. This has been helped by the publicity surrounding its 150th anniversary of confederation, and its “cool not cold” tourism campaign to draw attention to its culinary scene, vibrant cities and wild adventure in its national parks.

Experiental travel is on the rise for 2017. Image: Kuoni Travel UK
Experiental travel is on the rise for 2017. Image: Kuoni Travel UK

“It’s very clear that travel has become integral to people’s lifestyles and thirst for travel is still very much there,” says Derek Jones.

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