Travel Trends Uncovered: How People Will Travel in 2021

Frida Kops   ● 10 min read
This article forms part of a weekly newsletter series that’s sent directly to travel industry professionals every month.
Want to be the first to receive it straight to your inbox? 

We can no longer look to the past for what has worked before, especially when it comes to marketing campaigns because the needs and desires of travellers have changed.

Therefore it’s no surprise that one of the biggest questions circulating the travel industry at the moment is…how will people travel in 2021?

I identify the emerging travel trends to enable travel companies to plan ahead effectively.

Let’s get started.

Here's this week's roundup:

The Best Holiday Destinations For 2021

Condé Nast Traveller’s demographic of luxury travellers are being tipped to explore 21 destinations across the globe next year. The article highlights “what’s certain is that [travellers are] going to be travelling more thoughtfully from hereon in. But perhaps, also, more gleefully.”

Aside from the destinations themselves, what I’ve found interesting from this article is understanding why these particular destinations have been recommended. 

In my opinion, the key takeaway is the type of travel experiences people are seeking next year. According to this article there are seven.

Arts and culture 

  • South Africa: Offers a fresh new art scene with new artist-run spaces, biennales, and fairs.
  • East & West Sussex, England: Luxury lodges, vineyards, and galleries.
  • Helsinki, Finland: For the cultural scene and architecture.
  • Accra, Ghana: For arts, music and fashion.
  • United Arab Emirates: For the minimalist architecture.
  • Yorkshire, England: For heritage artists such as Henry Moore, David Hockney and Barbara Hepworth, plus local sculptors, painters and illustrators.


  • Guyana: For indegous-led conservation.
  • Costa Rica: For continuing to be at the forefront of sustainable tourism and eco-initiatives.. 

Amazon Rainforest: Includes staying in local houseboats, camping and visiting indigenous villages and community schools.

travel trends
Image Courtesy of: Condé Nast Traveller

Local Community 

  • Vietnam: For community-based tourism
  • Dominican Republic, Caribbean: Hotels are using local craftspeople and incorporating healing traditions of the region’s indigenous people.
  • The Kimberley, Australia: The Camping with Custodians project enables Aboriginal communities to carry out guided tours on their land, operate art galleries and campsites.


  • Charleston, USA: Re-emerging “as a place that thoughtfully confronts its truthful narrative” with tours that focus on the city’s challenging past. It’s also where the International African American Museum will be located in 2022.

Oaxaca City, Mexico: A hub for food, textiles and artisans.

travel trends
Image Courtesy of: Condé Nast Traveller


  • Chania, Crete, Greece: Described as a “quickly expanding scene that’s luring in expert palates”.
  • Shetland, Scotland: Fishing is the Shetland islands’ most lucrative industry where haddock, lobsters and mussels occupy the surrounding waters.
  • Slovenia: For michelin-starred food.

Under-The-Radar Locations

  • El Hierro, The Canary Islands – an alternative to Gran Canaria and Teneride.
  • Guyana – as well as paving the way for its conservation efforts, tour operators Original Travel and Pioneer Expeditions have witnessed a noticeable increase in demand for trips to these “underrated” destinations. 
  • The Berkshires, USA – an alternative to the Hamptons.
  • Accra, Ghana – a rising destination for its energy and arts scene.
  • Melides, Portugal – “think of Melides as Joshua Tree or Byron Bay before anyone else caught on; a remote creative haven untrammelled by travellers.”
travel trends
Image Courtesy of: Condé Nast Traveller

Adventure Travel

  • The Kimberley, Australia: For sea life, heli-hiking, and camping.
  • Pulau Merah, Java, Indonesia: For sports and adventure activities such as surfing and hiking. A prime destination for social distancing.

So regardless of whether the destinations you serve are listed above, or luxury travellers are your target audience, it’s possible to use the travel preferences emerging from this article to adapt your marketing material.

For example, could you include in your product descriptions some insights into local gastronomic experiences or create a story around an emerging arts scene?

5 Trends That Will Change The Way We Travel After Coronavirus


  • As expected, domestic tourism will be the first to recover.

Sustainability Paradoxes

  • With many travel businesses fighting to survive, it begs the question whether environmental and sustainable practices will move lower down the list of priorities when travel does begin to recover.
  • In the above article, we see evidence that travellers are seeking out travel companies that promote sustainability and conservation. It therefore remains to be seen if those businesses who respond to this are rewarded with an increase in bookings.
travel trends
Image Courtesy of: Condé Nast Traveller

Wilderness Seeking

  • This trend goes beyond safari holidays. Travellers next year will be seeking out rewilding and conservation holidays, such as Argentina’s Iberá Estuaries. It’s an indication that travellers are looking for ways to contribute and “give back” to the environment.
  • Copenhagen is responding to this travel trend already by building artificial islands that will introduce more green space for picnics and fishing.

Isolation Holidays

  • Within nature and with minimal footprint.
travel trends
Image Courtesy of: Condé Nast Traveller

Dream-Trip Planning 

  • We’re already feeling this huge pent up demand for travel and for those fortunate enough to maintain full-time employment throughout the pandemic, there is also a larger-than-average pot of disposable income to be spent. Combine this with the sentiment that “life is too short”, then it explains why the blow-out bucket list experiences are what many travellers wish to do for their first trip in 2021.
  • Dream trip planning was also predicted by Alym Bhanji from East Africa Wild Adventures in an interview on the Get More Bookings Show. He’s witnessed a huge pent up demand to travel where his role has not been to sell, but to engage with and help prospective customers achieve their dream trip so that they feel confident, familiar and excited to book with his travel company…when they are ready. 

Which of these trends can your travel business tap into?

Travel in 2021: Key Trends to Keep in Mind

According to Tourism Review, travel companies should expect to see an uptake in multi-generational family travel and adults-only group holidays as people seek to reconnect with friends and family. Longer trip duration and organising more tours and activities within a single destination is also increasing in popularity. This stems from a desire to make up for the lost year of 2020 and seize opportunities to immerse in new experiences.

Longer trip duration seems to be a running theme in 2021 as it crops up in two other travel trends: workations and slow travel.

You may be familiar with seeing vacationers squeeze in work hours during their trip but as a result of flexible remote working these days, a new concept of workations is forming. If you’re interested in attracting this type of traveller (which would generally mean a longer trip duration), then offering high speed wifi and promoting flexible itinerary options to incorporate work days into the trip would be a good starting place.

travel trends
Image Courtesy of: Tourism Review

In my opinion, the trend of slow travel has come about because of two factors:

  1. A heightened appreciation of the world has naturally led to a desire to explore destinations at a deeper level, rather than rush through them to tick them off a bucket list.
  2. A greater awareness of the environmental implications of travel. Spending longer in one destination reduces a traveller’s carbon footprint as opposed to multi-destination trips or frequent short weekend breaks. 

This kind of slow travel in 2021 will also see travellers reconsider their mode of transport, potentially swapping planes for trains, where possible.

Want The 10xpress delivered straight to your inbox?

Don’t miss important news, reports, opinion and case studies in the travel industry!

Join our community of tour operators who are the first to receive this curated quick-to-read email series every month in their inbox.

Here are my top-tip articles:

6 Examples of Highly Converting Social Media Copy + 10 Tactical Writing Tips

Source: Databox

If you’re struggling to write copy for social media that gets engagement and click-throughs then you’ll find this article useful. It also provides helpful examples. 

How to write social media copy:


Educate your audience

  • If you’re linking to a blog article, then 2 – 3 sentences that act as a teaser with the link to the article in the caption is recommended.

Start a conversation

  •  What I’ve found to work particularly well is flat out asking for engagement, such as “leave your opinion in the comments below”. 
  • Asking a question or encouraging people to share their preference/experience/knowledge on the topic in the comments are other ways to start a conversation.

Create infographics

  • Want your content to go viral? People love to share useful or interesting infographics with others.

Use emojis 💪

  • At 10x Tourism, we like to use emojis at the end of the first sentence and as bullet points, and this article agrees.

Be relatable

  • Sharing a personal story often receives the most engagement on social media because it makes your brand relatable. For travel companies, this is an easy win because the trips you run are filled with stories. Speak to your tour guides and encourage their contribution too.
  • The best way to capture a reader’s attention on social media is to write an intriguing headline followed by a story that evokes emotions and conjures up imagery then end with a clear call to action.
travel trends
Image Courtesy of: Databox

Include a CTA at the end of each post

  • Using the call the action “tag a friend” is a clever strategy to fuel growth. It increases brand awareness by driving people to your account who weren’t originally following your brand. According to this article, “some of the tagged friends converted to followers and began tagging more friends within their social networks.” 


Focus the majority of time on the headline and ad creative

  • When users scroll through a social media feed the order of attention is this: Image > headline > body of text > click-through to your website. 
  • Therefore the headline and image are the most important elements of your post. 


Experiment with font generators

This is a great way to make certain parts of your copy stand out with a bold or italicized text. There are many free font generator tools online. I use Yaytext.

travel trends

Showcase your customers

  • Customer reviews are trusted by potential customers more than the voice of your travel company. Use quotes from past customers in your social posts, especially retargeting ads.


Be consistent

  • Whether you choose to post daily, twice a week or even once a week, algorithms favour consistency, and so will you customers.

Social Media Marketing Trends for 2021: Predictions From the Pros

In this article, 10 marketing experts share their predictions to help you plan out your 2021 social media marketing strategy. 

If Instagram is where your audience hangs out then you’ll want to consider tips #1 and #2 to maximise your presence on the platform following its recent move to become more search-friendly. Beyond Instagram, there are tips for Facebook ads, TikTok, YouTube and LinkedIn.

Here are some of the highlights:


Prediction #1: SEO Drives Organic Instagram Visibility

Travel companies should take advantage of Instagram’s new searchability functions. Using the search bar, users are now able to search for keywords, videos, and profiles. In essence, this means your posts have greater reach if you include keywords in your captions. 

Instagram needs an extra helping hand to categorize your account to your travel niche so ensure the content of your posts are relevant to your niche. In other words, if you are a safari tour operator then ensure your imagery and captions relate to this. 


Prediction #2: Reels Ignite Organic Instagram Exposure

Since the introduction of Reels, the number of views for Stories and Feed posts are 10 times less in comparison. If your travel business hasn’t already experimented with Reels (15 or 30-second videos), then now is the time to start!


Prediction #3: Brick & Mortar Stores Embrace the Shift to Online Shopping on Instagram

In-app purchasing on Instagram and Facebook means that the gap between ‘scrolling’ and ‘shopping’ has become significantly blurred.

Even if these functions aren’t possible or appropriate for your tour operator business, targeting travellers online is still crucial to increase revenue streams. If you haven’t already done so, your business ought to consider:

  • Setting up retargeting ads. This is even more essential if your tours and activities are of a higher price point or bespoke because the majority of your traffic won’t purchase on their first visit to your site. 
  • Refining your user experience because any inconvenience in a potential customer’s online experience can significantly reduce your conversion rate. Websites that aren’t mobile responsive, have slow load speeds or a clunky booking process will lead to higher bounce rates.


Prediction #4: Brands Must Humanize

Being transparent and authentic is how travel companies will gain the trust of travellers in 2021. 


Prediction #5: Facebook Advertising Success Is Tied to the Customer Lifecycle

To remain profitable and manage advertising costs, it’s advised that businesses accurately assess their customer life cycle and the average customer value. This allows you to know how much you can pay for a lead.

It’s also predicted that video ads will perform better than images. This could include Reels and GIFs too which are worth experimenting with.


Prediction #6: Facebook Ad Creative Becomes Less Static, Favors Positivity

Successful advertising campaigns in 2021 are likely to take on the following formats:

  • GIFs
  • User-generated content
  • Collages
  • Text-heavy ads (large, bolder text ads)
  • Adopting a lighter, positive mood.


Prediction #7: Personality Becomes Key to YouTube Growth

In order to stand out in a saturated market such as YouTube, travel businesses should become more personality-centric. For example, you could select someone to be the face of the brand or use your tour guides in videos. Whichever you choose, the key is to create a unique personality for the brand.

Covid Vaccine
Image Courtesy of

105 Reasons to Love Being a Tour & Activity Operator

Source: Checkfront

I can only imagine this year has truly tested your resilience and grit, and at times, made you question why you decided to start your travel business. I’ve included this article because it asks 105 tour operators what the best part of their job is. 

I hope that it offers inspiration and a reminder to bring meaning to your work. Here are a few of my favourite quotes.

“The best part of guiding people in the Canadian Rockies is getting to see the landscape through new eyes! It’s pretty amazing to share in their excitement and wonder! It’s amazing to see how someone’s eyes light up when you help them connect to the world around them.” Get Outside

travel trends
Image Courtesy of: Checkfront

“Every day is an entirely new adventure, not just for our guests, but for us as well. Even after so many years, I still get excited whenever a whale swims close to the boat, or we watch giant pieces of glacial ice come crashing into the ocean in front of us.” Northern Latitude Adventures

“It’s tempting to say the ability to make my own hours or spend my days outdoors engaged in sports that make me happy. But the best part is the absolute freedom running your own small business allows. We can come up with any mad idea and roll with it.” BigStyle

travel trends
Image Courtesy of: Checkfront

“I get super excited scouting new regions and talking to locals who are ready and willing to share their stories, culture and heritage and most of all, their house as a working space to help travellers create memorable experiences.” Pikala Bikes

“I love hearing the laughter and seeing the faces of our guests, especially the ones that are pushing their comfort zone.” West Coast Wild

Why do you love what you do?

A statistic I found interesting:

70% of destinations have lifted travel restrictions (UNWTO)

A question for you:

Which travel trend do you plan to use in your marketing and sales strategy next year?

Share your thoughts and comments on our Facebook and Linkedin page.

Did you enjoy reading the above?

The 10xpress is a monthly series curated exclusively for travel companies like you

Every month, I provide you with:

  • Reports, opinion, case studies and key findings that directly impact the tours and activities sector.
  • Educational articles to guide you through the changing world of online sales and marketing from industry leaders.
  • Tips and tools on how to improve your tour operator business, generate more sales and make your life easier.
Want The 10xpress delivered straight to your inbox?

Join our community of tour operators who are the first to receive this newsletter series every other Friday in their inbox.

You'll Also Like