Article

Sweet Escapes: 7 Travel Trends For 2024

February 13, 2024

Rebecca Godfrey standing in front of CN Tower

If 2023 was all about the recovery of global travel demand, this year travellers will be more intentional than ever about choosing authentic experiences and destinations that align with their values and break with routine.

CBRE Tourism Consulting’s Rebecca Godfrey walks us through the top tourism trends she’s watching for in 2024.

Customized Experiences

Artificial intelligence (AI) captured mainstream interest in 2023. This year Godfrey expects to see broader adoption of AI tools in the tourism industry.

“AI will play an important role in trip customization and planning,” she says. “Forward-thinking companies are already embracing this, making the experience more seamless for potential visitors.”

Tripadvisor recently launched a new AI-powered planning tool. Users indicate a preferred destination, trip length, purpose and activities. The tool then suggests accommodation options and a full itinerary, including top-rated restaurants and activities.

“Like a travel agent, AI will provide tailored recommendations and take some of the stress out of trip planning,” Godfrey says. “That way travellers can spend less time searching for landmarks and more time enjoying their trip.”

Living Like a Local

Tourists are looking for authentic experiences to immerse themselves in the local culture. Companies such as Kindred, a home-swapping platform, give visitors a taste of life as a local at minimal cost.

Businesses are catering to this trend by showcasing local culture in key tourist locations. Toronto has revamped its gateways, Pearson International Airport and Union Station, to feature restaurants such as The Hearth, helmed by Scarborough native Lynn Crawford; LEE Kitchen by Toronto-based celebrity chef Susur Lee; and Roywoods, a local Caribbean-cuisine group.

Montreal is looking to transform the Old Port’s Hangar 16 into a tourist destination with attractions that celebrate local culture and give a nod to the area’s heritage as an industrial port.

Travel trends at Pearson Airport
Restaurants at Toronto Pearson Airport

Travelling Sustainably

Sustainable travel will be top of mind for eco-conscious adventurers, including corporate travellers looking to limit their company’s carbon footprint. Hotels and attractions can demonstrate their commitment to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) principles by adopting green building standards and sustainability programs. Travellers who select these products and experiences over other options send a message regarding the importance of sustainability to their lifestyles.

“Aligning with travellers’ values will help hotels and attractions stand out,” says Godfrey.

Companies like Basecamp Resorts, known for its virtual check-in option, are embracing sustainability as part of their brand. A portion of Basecamp profits goes to One Tree Planted, an organization overseeing reforestation projects in Alberta and B.C.

Regenerative Tourism

Going hand in hand with sustainable travel, regenerative tourism seeks to minimize the negative impacts of travel while benefiting local communities.

Destination Canada recently launched the Tourism Corridor Strategy Program, a pilot project focused on developing key regions for international tourism.

Destination Canada will consult with communities to understand their needs and develop corridors for tourism in ways that bolster the local economy.

“Regenerative tourism is good for residents, businesses and visitors,” says Godfrey. “It ensures future generations can enjoy our top destinations for years to come.”

Rebecca Godfrey in Union Station
Rebecca Godfrey at Union Station

Accessible Attractions

Godfrey expects to see a push for accessible attractions in 2024. Ensuring destinations are safe and functional for all will attract a wider range of tourists. Organizations like Canadian Workforce Innovation (CAN WiN) are working with attractions to make their experiences accessible to as many people as possible, including staff.

One example is Toronto’s CN Tower, which recently achieved the Rick Hansen Foundation’s Accessibility Certified Gold standard by implementing several initiatives such as braille restaurant menus, wheelchair access to EdgeWalk, and universal washrooms. The Tower has tripled its retail business by considering physical enhancements from an accessibility lens.

Creating accessible experiences also includes optimizing websites with inclusive language, accessibility standards and various language options.

“Breaking down barriers ensures everyone can enjoy destinations,” says Godfrey. “It also has knock-on benefits for attraction owners.”

Digital Nomadism

The work from anywhere trend will continue to gather momentum this year, but Godfrey says it won’t just be about combining leisure and business travel. “Digital nomads are looking for accommodations that can seamlessly adapt to work and play, with more options for long-term stays.”

Founded in Montreal, Sonder converts obsolete office and condo buildings into short-term rental spaces ideal for workers. These rooms have Wi-Fi, outdoor space, 24/7 concierge and fitness facilities, enabling travellers to shift from business to leisure as soon as they’re off the clock.

Integrated Wellness

Watch for wellness-focused attractions to expand beyond remote all-inclusive resorts and retreats and into cities in 2024.

Another Canadian-based innovation, Othership is leading North America in its efforts to curate social wellness experiences in downtown cores, with two locations in downtown Toronto and a new one opening in Manhattan this Spring. In addition to saunas and ice baths, Othership offers guided spa journeys and alcohol-free social events to connect members and promote wellness.

“We’re integrating wellness into our daily lives,” says Godfrey. “It’s exciting to see how companies are finding innovative ways to offer us a respite from our busy daily schedules. The benefits of unplugging and destressing no longer have to be limited to going on retreat!”

Getting to trendy places might feel harder and more expensive than ever, but new technology and experiences are making these travel destinations even more exciting and accessible than ever once you’re there!

Recent Insights

Stay In The Know

Subscribe today and join hundreds of professionals who get the latest blogs delivered straight to their inbox.