Travellers look to make up for lost time in 2023: American Express

American Express’s latest survey revealed that nearly a third of respondents (30%) have four or more vacations planned this year, in an effort to make up for time lost to the pandemic.

More people are planning to take three to four vacations this year to make up for time lost to the pandemic

According to its 2023 Global Travel Trends Report, travellers are being influenced in their choice of destination by four key trends:

  • The Rise of “Set-Jetting”: popular movies, TV shows and social media are inspiring people to travel to places they see on-screen, like Italy, Paris, and London
  • Delicious Destinations: from top restaurants to local favourites, to cooking classes, people are choosing their next destination based on what they will eat
  • A Wellness Wave: restorative vacations are becoming more popular as travellers prioritise self-care and mental and physical health
  • Travelling Off the Beaten Path: travellers want to discover hidden gems and support the local communities they are visiting

More than half of travellers (52%) from places like the US, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Japan, India, and the UK say they plan to take more trips this year than they did in 2022, with another 50% saying they plan to spend more money on travel in 2023.

When asked about their travel priorities, 84% of Gen Z and millennials would rather take a dream vacation than purchase a new luxury item, and 79% agree they prioritise travel when setting their budgets. Nearly one-third (29%) of respondents acknowledge that one of their motivating reasons to travel in 2023 is to make up for lost time.

Hong Kong remains a drawcard
Asia is a “preferred continent” for 24% of global travellers, particularly with Gen Z and millennial travellers. Among respondents who want to travel to Asia, 20% said Hong Kong is on their list for 2023. The city is a popular destination for people travelling solo or with their friends. Bleisure travel, a trend combining a work trip with an extended vacation, still plays an important role for Hong Kong. Surveyed respondents said that Hong Kong remains one of their selected destinations in Asia for travel, alongside Singapore, India, Japan, Thailand and Malaysia.

Walter Liu, head of the Asia region for American Express remarked: “We are seeing travellers prioritising personalised itineraries built around their passions – from planning an entire vacation for a single dinner reservation to getting the perfect video for their social media.”

Pop culture and social media influence
For young travellers, 75% say they have been inspired to travel to a specific destination because of social media. 70% of Gen Z and millennials agree that they have been inspired to visit a destination after seeing it featured in a TV show, news source, or movie, while 46% of the same group say they have been inspired to travel to a destination because of Instagram.

All for the food
Food is also a draw for many respondents – from visiting top restaurants and local favourites, to taking a cooking class, food greatly impacts where people travel. 81% of respondents agree that trying local cuisines is the part of travelling they look forward to the most. For Gen Z and millennials, 66% agree that they get most of their eating-while-travelling inspiration from social media, while another 47% say that they have planned an entire trip around visiting a specific restaurant.

Caring for own well-being
In addition, prioritising self-care is leading to a rise in restorative vacations. 73% of respondents agree that they are planning vacations to better their mental, physical, and emotional health this year. Gen Z and millennials (60%) shared that they go out of their way to book hotels that offer spa and wellness services.

Mingling with the locals
Finally, travellers want to discover hidden gems and support the local communities they visit, with 85% of respondents hoping to visit a place where they can truly experience the local culture, and another 78% interested in going on vacations that support local communities in 2023.

The full American Express Travel 2023 Global Travel Trends Report can be viewed here.

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