Trending Buzz Words

Oliver Batten

Oliver Batten

Lead – Destination Strategy & Sustainability

How Set-Jetting, Gig-Trips & Flight-Shaming are influencing travel.

These hottest travel trends are just some of the buzz words that I came across at the recent Destination Australia 2024 conference

So to start… let’s lay out what they actual mean:

  • Set-jetting: a growing trend of tourists being inspired to visit a location purely based on where the TV show they’re watching is set in. Take ‘The White Lotus’ as an example, where tourists have flocked to Sicily’s eastern coast in the hopes of emulating the life of their favourite characters from the show.
  • Gig-trips: Tay Tay’s (Taylor Swift) recent Eras Tour around Aus says it all. With major airport’s facing their busiest days since pre-covid, and airlines rushing to add more flights to cater for demand “aka Swiftie mania”, travellers will happily spend the big bucks to go and see their favourite superstar. 
So what’s the insight? 

One thing is very clear – people are absolutely choosing experiences over destinations. Whether it’s the experience of feeling like you are a movie star on the set of The White Lotus’ latest episode, or the guaranteed memories of 96,000 Swifties singing “Shake it Off” at the top of their lungs, it’s the travellers desire for that unique and memorable experience that is leading the decision-making process for their next holiday. 

So on one hand I’m hearing travellers are absolutely still willing to travel (and fly) for these experiences, however I’m going to throw another buzz word into the mix that suggests an opposing travel trend – “flight-shaming”. 

  • Flight-shaming: It’s pretty self-explanatory, however flight-shaming is a term that came out of Sweden many years ago to describe the unease about flying experienced by environmentally conscious travellers. 

This was another term mentioned by Phillipa Harrison, Managing Director at Tourism Australia, at the Destination Australia 2024 conference – flagged as a potential issue for Australia in the future as a long-haul destination. It’s also a term that has had some traction in Europe with evidence such as Germany’s Green Party aiming to make domestic flights obsolete by 2035. 

How do these trends intertwine you ask? 

Well… as people become more flight-conscious they are likely to become very selective when it comes to their travel priorities. For many travellers, these set-jetting and gig-trip experiences may just offer those truly unforgettable memories that make it worth the flight!

So as people continue to fly for their Tay Tay concerts or to feel like a movie star, there is an opportunity for collaboration between the public and private sector to make sustainable travel a reality. 

A recent article by SKIFT and Visa called ‘Accelerating Sustainability in Travel and Tourism’, touches on this and unpacks the “say-do gap” – the gap between what travellers say and do in regards to sustainability. While a large percentage of travellers intend to make greener travel decisions, a much smaller percentage are willing to spend more on these sustainable options. The three common barriers identified in the article are: the high cost of sustainable travel, lack of information about sustainable choices, and lack of credibility around sustainability claims.

There isn’t space in this blog to try and address all three of these barriers, but I encourage you to read the article above. 

To me it starts with providing travellers with clear, easy to access information on sustainability – making it easier for them to make sustainable choices. The report mentions that “67 percent of travellers who searched for sustainable options had trouble finding information, and 51 percent stated an active desire for more information on sustainable travel options.”

So, in an ode to my last blog post, keep it simple and avoid being boring. Informing travellers of their sustainable choices early in the customer journey will assist in bridging the say-do gap and will inspire them to travel more consciously. 

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