• 0
  • 0

The year 2023 stands as a remarkable milestone in the history of global travel, marking a period of vigorous recovery and innovation. Following the unprecedented setbacks of the COVID-19 pandemic, the travel industry has not only bounced back but has also begun reshaping the landscape of consumer travel experiences, meaning our travel SEO strategies also need to adapt.

With a surge in international travel and a shift in consumer preferences, this year has seen the emergence of new trends and technologies, signaling a significant transformation in how people explore and experience the world.

In the first nine months of 2023 alone, approximately 975 million individuals ventured abroad, underscoring a robust resurgence in global travel.

This resurgence, coupled with the adoption of cutting-edge technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) in travel planning and customer service, illustrates a pivotal moment in the travel sector. Major companies like

Expedia has pioneered the integration of AI, with features like a ChatGPT-powered travel planner, setting a new standard for convenience and personalization in travel experiences.

As the industry continues its upward trajectory amidst challenges like high inflation and geopolitical tensions, it stands at the threshold of a new era marked by economic opportunity and innovative travel solutions. This evolving landscape presents exciting possibilities for both travelers and businesses alike, as they navigate the dynamic world of travel in 2023 and beyond.

Continued Upward Market Trajectory

Despite facing challenges like high inflation and geopolitical tensions, the international tourism sector appears well-positioned to fully recover by 2024, signaling a new era of global travel and economic opportunity.

According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the sector is expected to regain almost 90% of its pre-pandemic vibrancy by the end of 2023.

2023 saw a significant upswing in global travel. From January to September, about 975 million tourists ventured abroad, a 38% increase from 2022, indicating a robust resurgence of the travel sector. This upturn has been particularly pronounced in the third quarter, with July setting a record for the highest number of international tourist arrivals since the onset of the pandemic.

The latest UNWTO data shows that international tourism has almost completely recovered from the unprecedented crisis of COVID-19 with many destinations reaching or even exceeding pre-pandemic arrivals and receipts.

The recovery trajectory varies across regions. The Middle East has led the pack, surpassing its pre-pandemic levels by 20%. Europe, the world’s largest tourist destination, has bounced back to 94% of its former glory. Africa is not far behind, with a 92% recovery rate.

The Americas have also shown substantial progress, reaching 88% of pre-pandemic levels. In contrast, Asia and the Pacific are recovering at a slower pace, achieving only 62% of their former tourist numbers, with disparities within subregions.

Several large source markets have reported increased spending on outbound travel, surpassing 2019 figures. Countries like Germany, the United States, and Italy have shown a marked increase in their spending, reflecting the global eagerness to travel again.

Despite facing challenges like high inflation and geopolitical tensions, the international tourism sector appears well-positioned to fully recover by 2024, signaling a new era of global travel and economic opportunity.

User Shift To “Dupes” & “Set Jetting”

In 2024, the travel industry is likely to be influenced by two notable trends: the rise of “dupes” and the continued popularity of “set-jetting.”

“Dupes” refers to the growing trend of travelers looking for more cost-effective alternatives to well-known destinations. A prime example of this is the increased interest in Taipei, Taiwan, as a more affordable option compared to the pricier Seoul.

Similarly, destinations like Pattaya in Thailand, Paros in Greece, Curacao in the Caribbean, and Perth in Australia are gaining traction as budget-friendly substitutes for Bangkok, Santorini, St. Martin, and Sydney, respectively.

Meanwhile, “set-jetting” is a unique travel trend that has been popular since 2023.

This trend involves travelers being inspired to research or book vacations to places they’ve seen in TV shows or movies. For instance, the TV series “Wednesday” led to a rise in searches for trips to Romania, and “Emily in Paris” has increased the allure of Paris as a travel destination.

These examples underscore the significant impact that media and entertainment have on travel decision-making.

At the tail end of 2023, conducted an in-depth analysis into changing Google Search behaviors around travel destinations.

The analysis reveals a notable shift in travel trends, projecting the top 10 destinations poised for significant growth in search volume over the next 12 months.

This list is led by Tunisia, predicted to experience a 41.36% increase in average monthly search volume, with its peak search period in June. Mexico and Morocco follow closely, with predicted growth rates of 37.7% and 33.64% respectively, and peak search interest in January.

These destinations, along with others like the Dominican Republic, Sri Lanka, Bulgaria, the Philippines, Malaysia, Cyprus, and Switzerland, each offer unique attractions, from historical sites and cultural festivals to scenic landscapes and beaches.

This variety suggests a diverse range of interests among future travelers.

Uptake Of AI By Travel Companies

AI has already begun to impact the travel industry, with companies incorporating it into various processes and marketing functions.

Back in April 2023 – Expedia launched a groundbreaking travel planner in their app, utilizing the capabilities of ChatGPT.

This feature recommends travel destinations and accommodations based on user interactions within the chat. It further simplifies the booking process by saving hotel options discussed during the conversation for easy access and booking.

It further simplifies the booking process by saving hotel options discussed during the conversation for easy access and booking. This integration marks a major advancement in how travel planning and booking are approached, blending AI technology with user-friendly interfaces.

Companies like Priceline, Airbnb, and have expressed their interest in incorporating AI to augment customer service and assist in trip planning. This growing trend highlights the industry’s acknowledgment of AI as a vital tool in enhancing customer engagement and service.

Artificial intelligence, through tools such as Bard, Search Generative Experience (in SERP and while browsing), and Prometheus will further impact how consumers discover destinations and brands, as well as plan trips and itineraries in their pursuit of new experiences.

Why These Trends Matter To Travel SEO

Changes in the market often reflect shifts in consumer preferences and behaviors. For travel marketing, understanding these changes is crucial for targeting the right audience with relevant offers. For example, the rise of eco-conscious travel or the preference for local experiences over traditional tourist attractions.

Understanding and adapting to these market changes is vital for travel marketers to stay relevant, competitive, and successful in attracting and retaining customers.

Disruption often comes hand in hand with technological advancements, such as Search Generative Experience. In travel marketing, leveraging new technologies like augmented reality, virtual tours, or advanced booking systems can give a competitive edge.


Data Sources/References

  • Digital Tourism Think Tank x Sojern State of Destination Marketing Study
  • – 2024 Destination travel trends (link)
  • Longwoods International Travel Sentiment research reports
  • 0
  • 0