It’s time for summer travel – WWD
Extravagant getaways, one-of-a-kind experiences and Netflix-inspired vacations are driving this summer’s tourism trends.
After two years where millions of people have not taken flights or vacations in general due to pandemic restrictions, many are rushing to visit their favorite countries or venture to refuges they have not just read or dreamed of. People are traveling more than ever to catch up in the past two years, with last-minute plans gaining traction for big trips, according to Artisans of Travel founder and chief executive Ashley Isaacs Ganz.
“Overall, luxury travel is back and ready to splurge. They want the best of everything right now. They want everything to be private. They privatize access to museums [or] sites. [Think an after-hours tour of the Uffizi in Florence followed by dinner in a private palazzo or a solo expedition to an archeological site or tombs in Egypt.] Many ask for private boat charters or jets. They are upgrading the room categories to superior suites. They bring friends and family members,” she says.
International flight prices jumped 31% from a year ago and domestic flight prices rose 25%, according to online travel booking site Kayak.com. Searches for international summer travel are more than 70% higher than last year, while searches for domestic flights are up 18%.
Rising travel demand, a 95% increase in fuel prices over 2019, and lower seat capacity for summer getaways don’t deter many. Airlines plan to carry 2.4 million travelers a day, according to Hopper’s 2022 Travel Guide. Despite skyrocketing airfares and hotel prices rising 36% from this time last year, people will be taking trips, with 24% flying for the first time since the pandemic swept away. is installed, according to Hopper’s Hayley Berg.
Besides Italy, Greece, Portugal and Spain, other European ports of call like Vienna, Prague and Budapest are in high demand, as are Dubai, Egypt and other parts of the Middle East, Ganz said. As parts of Asia and the Pacific reopen, places like Bali, Australia and New Zealand are bouncing back. Artisans of Travel’s “Greece by Yacht” tour, where guests spend the day on yachts and stay in high-end hotels each night, is one of the most popular getaways this summer. Many families book this trip, despite a starting price of $85,000 per person for two people or $51,000 per person for four people.
Pandemic streaming and binge-watching of “Emily in Paris” and “Call My Agent” is inspiring many trips to Paris, especially among teenagers. Shows often influence where people want to go to see decorative art sites or museums that have been renovated or recently reopened and featured in these series. “Inventing Anna” inspires others to hit Morocco, says Ganz.
Elise Bronzo, vice president of sales at Indagare, a membership-based travel and media company, agrees that many travelers are returning in droves to perennial European favorites like France and Italy. Others take a carpe-diem approach and plan à la carte trips like African safaris or treks in Patagonia, she says.
Undeterred by rising airfare prices due to fewer available flights, Indagare travelers have increased their travel budget by an average of 30% and extended their trips, streamlining the fact that they spent nothing on travel during the pandemic. Hotel budgets are also on the rise, with members spending around $1,500 per room each night, up from between $1,100 and $1,200 per night before the pandemic.
Five-day stays weren’t out of the question before COVID-19, but that’s not the case anymore. “The trip in 2019 had reached the era of fast fashion, where we feel that we are now going more into haute couture. Rather than trying to check things off their list of countries to travel to, they prefer to immerse themselves in one or even two countries, planning stays ranging from 10 days to a month,” says Bronzo. More distant localities such as Amelia Romano, Ischia, Sicily, Malta and Paros are attracting more and more interest.
Although many European countries and airlines are lifting mask mandates, travelers are advised to play it safe by maintaining mask protocols and hand washing, as the United States still requires a negative COVID-19 test for enter the country. Private aviation is increasingly popular in part due to the grounding of many airlines and limited options for short-haul flights to more distant locations.
“Convenience is the ultimate luxury,” says Bronzo. “Some of the innovations coming out in the months and years to come will be more user-friendly luxury short-haul flights to destinations with smaller airports like Asheville, NC and Palm Springs. Given the hassle of travel, private flying is becoming increasingly popular and those who can swing it are looking for bigger planes to ferry their friends.
In March, Bombardier delivered its 100th Global 7500 to VistaJet. With a list price of $75 million, the Global 7500 is the largest and longest business jet in the world with a capacity of 19 passengers and, in its fully equipped version, has a bedroom, a living room, a dining room (which can be used as a conference room), living room, kitchen, a bathroom with a shower cubicle and a shower room. Others, like NetJets, are also buying larger planes like the Global 7500, as well as the Global 5500 and Global 6500.
With many vacationers eager to cash in travel credits for trips that were booked in 2020 and 2021, good advance planning is essential for expensive trips like safaris, let alone exotic ones like Europe. “Europe is more popular than ever, but there are also some amazing places to visit in Africa. It’s important to look further afield to places like Morocco, which need our tourist dollars more than ever. So think in the fall in Marrakech, Egypt and many other far-flung places,” says Bronzo.
A larger base of people are looking for more experiential and meaningful trips compared to typical tourist outings, said Vacation With an Artist, or VAWAA, founder Geetika Agrawal. “The pandemic just totally accelerated that, because everyone had a project during the pandemic. Someone was making bread, someone was making art, someone was making music – everyone started hobbies.
Demand for the first quarter was the highest in VAWAA’s history and the summer is going similarly. Customers are more and more inclined to take off with family or friends to, for example, learn about stone carving in Mexico. It deepens connections with each other and with a local community, while allowing someone to pursue a passion, says Agrawal. VAWAA experiences range from $500 to $3,000 per person, excluding flights and accommodation. In some cases, people can stay with the artist for as little as $300 for a four or five day stay. These humble accommodations are part of the richness of experience that most VAWAA travelers are looking for, says Agrawal.