Travel is slowly coming back, but it looks a little different. From slow travel to socially distanced experiences, we asked a few industry insiders for their take on the biggest travel trends for 2022

Staying Close to Home 

With much of travel halted for the last two years, many of us found ourselves rediscovering the cities we live in. Staycations became a staple, and camaraderie within our local communities was rekindled as support for independently owned businesses became more important than ever.  

“In the wake of the global pandemic, we believe there will continue to be a focus on domestic and ‘close to home’ travel as we move into 2022," says Roland Fasel, Chief Operating Officer of Aman Hotels & Resorts. 

Making it Count 

On the other hand, with the long-awaited introduction of travel lanes, another travel trend for 2022 will see an increase in longer, more meaningful trips, and fewer weekend dashes to nearby destinations. 

"Many people haven’t been able to travel in a long time and therefore have an increased budget to ensure their next trip is as stress-free and worthwhile as possible, wishing to enjoy nature, fresh air and bucket list experiences,” says Fasel. 

Linda Petrie, founder of Petrie PR, which specialises in luxury hotel clients such as Aman, Hyatt and Soneva, agrees. "It is no longer simply about a hotel stay, but truly immersing [yourself] in a destination, its culture and integrating the benefits of overall health and wellness," says Petrie. "We are also seeing priority placed on longer stays—family and friends reuniting over several weeks to make up for lost moments and time together." 

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The Rise of Slow Travel

As air travel remains complicated, alternative modes of transport will get their fair share of the spotlight as travellers embrace the romance of slow travel, be it by train, on long luxurious cruises or leisurely road trips. 

“In the wake of post-pandemic travel, and as demand for greener alternatives to flying and travel experiences are on the rise, we expect interest in long distance train journeys will continue to grow," says Arnaud Champenois, senior vice president and global head of brand, marketing and communications for luxury hotel group, Belmond.

Champenois adds, "Belmond has been at the forefront of luxury rail journeys since 1982, when we restored a collection of old Orient Express carriages, returning them to the rails for travellers to experience the golden age of travel. The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is an extraordinary way to experience Europe—not only do you enjoy the magnificent views and sceneries of the European countryside, but you feel as if you travel back in time. It’s a true once-in-lifetime experience.”

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A Focus on Community 

Inspired by the important social justice movements of our time, 2022 will see an increased awareness and sensitivity in how we travel.

More than ever, hotels, airlines and tourist attractions will be held accountable for their approach to sustainability, as well as their impact on local communities, signifying a growing desire in travellers to do right by the people who call these destinations home.

Actress Susan Sarandon, who was recently made a global ambassador for Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, says ethics play an important role when selecting a hotel.  "The situation with their workers, how they treat their workers, that’s really important," she says. "Also, the community that surrounds the hotel that you have to be aware of and try to make sure that it’s a welcomed presence."

Socially Distanced Experiences 

While excited to see the world again, many travellers are opting to do so cautiously, with increased interest in remote destinations, private villas and socially distanced experiences such as private dining.

“We are definitely seeing an increased number of special requests from our guests, whether it be simply using our Luggage Free service or requesting details of travel to and from an Aman with the Aman Private Jet," says Fasel. "Guests who are willing to travel are opting to streamline the journey to mitigate risk, and once on property are choosing to dine privately in their suites, pavilions or villas in order to maintain this." 

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