Does Mr Raven have the power to predict the next moves in travel? After being in escapade-obsessed circles with friends in high places, a grandmother who danced the tango with the Onassises in Buenos Aires in their glory days, a father who swept me away from New York to India as a kid, where I learned how to waltz at a wedding in the presence of a Maharajah, all the way to present day where I create stunning, if I may say so, editorials and digital content that put a spotlight on destinations for the young high society, and countless luxury hotels in the world on publications in the Middle East, Japan and the USA, well I have to say that my prediction would probably be a little more seasoned than an average guess. One thing I have learned over the years, when it comes to predictions, you have to always follow the money.
Will wanderlusts with strong spending power triple their travel plans with a vengeance in 2023? I do think so!
Business and first class flights were nearly sold out in all of 2022, given that most airlines have cut down their fleet, and there’s of course the hype of the FIFA World Cup that added to the direct-sales of flights from and to Qatar, one or the world’s travel hubs. Let’s also consider some top destinations like Bali, Thailand, The Caribbean, and almost all of the Americas lifting their travel restrictions in the summer of 2022 — yes, there’s that. But there’s a big number of people who are still paranoid and afraid to hop on long-hauls, first class or not. That number however is slowly moving down as social media has been taken over by countless travel-inspired reels and images. This digital influence that affects our decision-making has somehow brought a positive impact on the lives of the afraid. How? Well, through constant inspiration, beautiful visuals, more often a filtered take on the lives of people we know, can relate to, follow, adore, love or hate. That overload of picture-perfect moments, fake or not, trumps fear. So for once, we are seeing a positive impact of social media, not to mention that it has driven the economy of travel back to the skies. Not only was the fear of travel kicked out of the scene, but it also revived a whole lot of jobs. So the next time you see a friend’s sparkling holiday video on Instagram, before hating on it, think about how many jobs did the travel industry lose during the pandemic, so yes, double-tap that. Inspiration is contagious, not just in the world of travel, but in all aspects of life.
All of the above is an impressive feat considering there were still staffing and operational constraints, not to mention closed borders in some destinations. While we’re thrilled to see the new dawn of travel and tourism rebounding. Rental car shortages, packed European capitals and sky-high airfares were just the start. Will travel in 2023 be as overwhelming? I’ve gathered some inside info to give you my take on what travel trends to expect in the Year of the Rabbit.
Sadly, inflation is making an impact on all travel plans, but that’s not enough to stop anyone who hasn’t travelled all year from booking a flight to destinations where their currencies are standing strong. Our friends at the US Travel Foundation has forecasted an increase in travel spending in 2023 compared to 2022 (or 2019, for that matter). As a frequent flyer, expect full flights and plenty of tourists at popular travel spots.
Here’s my prediction. Far-flung destinations like Iceland, Greenland, Antarctica, French Polynesia, Chile and the Easter Island, Maldives, Seychelles, Mustique, New Zealand, Rwanda, the Serengeti, and other destinations with minimal private jet landing restrictions and requirements, but have access to high-calibre and well-curated cruises, will be flocked by the elites. From the Arab world most especially. I already know some families, two of which are from royalty, who just took off for an expedition with an army of chefs, aboard their private ship to the far away.
For the global middle-class and those who have money but don’t want to go crazy on the spending department, Southeast Asian destinations like Bali, Thailand, Philippines, Cambodia, where the beaches are stunning and the Euro is bangin’. It’s almost predictable. We also know that these destinations hold some of the most beautiful, luxury resorts in the world. As for Americans, in its own category, there will be a lot of stateside travel. Keeping it local will be an ongoing theme for the majority, except New Yorkers. A true Manhattanite would drop dead on the street if they couldn’t at least pack their bags and get out of the US once a year.
The “new money” will flock to destinations like Bhutan, where luxury is muted but felt in the air through the serenity, and not having to bump into Australian backpackers. Bhutan gives a sense of peace at a price tag. Fact of the matter is, people with new money who are new to luxury travel love the feeling of old money, that’s what they aspire for, and Bhutan exudes old money charm.
Here are some places to look out for, and I predict, will be the next “new money hotbed destinations” for 2023: Fiji, Mauritius, Japan, the island of Corfu in Greece, and the Argentine and Peruvian Andes. After a dizzying saga of countless dinners and afternoon teas with editors and acquaintances who truly splurge on travel, these destinations are prominent on our 2023 calendars. You’re welcome.
For more travel reads, click here.