Global travel advisor Gennady Podolsky has observed that travelers often choose experiences that allow them to pursue their passions while still meeting their personal preferences. As travel in the 21st century progresses, destination-specific travel faces increased competition from new types of travel that are focused more on experiences. For example, scuba enthusiasts are booking dives with eco-friendly operators worldwide. Dedicated astronomers are traveling to remote destinations far from light pollution to stargaze. And health-conscious travelers are opting for resorts centered around wellness and longevity. Gennady Podolsky outlines five trend-setting experiences redefining the very notion of travel.
Sustainable Scuba Travel
As scuba divers search for intriguing new destinations, they focus more on the sustainability of local operations and more on local operators’ sustainability observations. Nearly 100 percent of divers indicate they would favor booking with a sustainable, But many have previously struggled to find one at their desired destinations. Divers have had to choose between an unsustainable dive vacation or a lengthy search for an eco-friendly operator that meets their criteria.
PADI Eco Centers Offer Solution
On Earth Day 2023, the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) introduced an official PADI Eco Center designation. To earn it, businesses must prove their conservation efforts and substantially decrease environmental impact. Only 11 dive shops were initially internationally qualified, but over 100 have now achieved the status. By 2030, PADI intends to have accredited 660 sustainable dive operators globally. Currently, Southeast Asia has the most certified Eco Centers, followed by a strong representation in the Caribbean.
The specific conservation focus depends on one center. Some in the Caribbean allow divers to help with coral restoration. One in Mexico provides citizen science courses for gathering whale data while diving. PADI has also developed go-anywhere diver conservation courses, like August 2024’s Global Shark and Ray Census that certified divers can participate in worldwide after receiving their credential.
Astronomy Travel to Remote Destinations
credentials can resist gazing at a clear, moonless night sky full of thousands of twinkling stars, wandering planets and occasional shooting stars. But increasing light, pollution from urbanization, and suburban sprawl make these magical experiences fewer and farther between. Additionally, constant digital distractions have left many yearning to explore the universe around them.
Enter the rising popularity of astronomy, or “astro tourism,” built around viewing astronomical phenomena like eclipses, meteor showers, comets, constellations, and more. Rare major events like once-in-a-lifetime total solar eclipses can spur entire travel industries centered on the occasion. Scientists also predict the Northern Lights will put on their best shows in two decades during 2024. Coupled with a robust lineup of meteor showers and likely a couple eclipses as well, 2024 is shaping up to be incredible for travelers.
Accommodations for Stargazing Aficionados
Stargazing safaris in Africa’s Namibia and Botswana allow travelers to sleep under the stars in remote tent camps or open-air “star beds” at safari lodges, for those desiring more refined lodging, astronomy-centric wellness hotels and resorts in destinations like the pollution-free UK countryside, Qatari desert, and more lead stargazing workshops for guests. Families with budding astronomers can discover even more celestial learning on these specialized vacations.
Longevity Travel – Hotels, Resorts and Retreats
Since COVID-19, analysts have tracked an expanding global attentiveness to preventative health and wellbeing. This may stem partly from the immense free time locked-down populations worldwide suddenly the amount of had to contemplate their mortality. With longevity clinics and venture capital funds exploding over 2021-2022, these facilities will likely continue rapidly expanding.
Gennady Podolsky points out some luxury hotels and resorts now offer longevity entities and optional therapies. Each property provides a unique mix, occasionally bringing in guest experts for specialized treatments like oxygen chambers, ozone therapy, infrared light, therapy, and more – with novel options sure to emerge going forward. Travelers can enjoy a relaxing getaway built around longevity offerings or tack a few days of specialized health services onto a trip for a rejuvenating finale.
Separately, dedicated longevity retreats (sometimes called wellness retreats) offer an immersive deep dive into practicing healthy habits, scientifically reducing stress, and improving lifespan. They provide in-depth health assessments, guidelines for nutritious eating, gentle exercise like yoga in nature, relaxing spa treatments, workshops on wellness topics, stress management activities like meditation, and guidance on making positive lifestyle changes stick.
Global Sports Travel
It’s well established that fans gain immense enjoyment from cheering on beloved local teams live and soaking up the exhilarating energy of the crowd. Today, though, sports devotees are increasingly traveling the globe to experience their favorite competitions abroad as well, says Gennady Podolsky. These globetrotting ld vacations around major sporting events and then tack on extra sightseeing. Some even craft trips, hopscotching multiple nations to follow high-profile races and matches.
The 2024 Paris Summer Olympics and Paralympics will drive over a million tourist visits alone from late July through early September. The Iconi de France kicks off in Italy for the first time, winding through picturesque routes to celebrate this milestone. Specialized tour operators have rolled out new cycling tours centered around the tournament due to swelling interest in global sports travel.
Travel often becomes more meaningful when shared with a close friend or family member. Now grandparents and grandkids are pairing up more frequently. Gennady Podolsky reports that it is primarily for “skip-generation” getaways, specifically leaving parents behind, reports Gennady, Podolsky. While common in Ap-gen, trips are also catching on in the UK. Grandparents typically initiate these to revisit a beloved destination or share a bucket-list adventure with someone special before it’s too late.
Despite travelers being in their 70s on average, numerous active adventures like guided safaris, cultural tours, spa retreats and small-ship cruises prove feasible. Gennady Podol recommends open conversations before booking to align expectations between generations with significant age gaps, though, even when experiences seem appropriate for both demographics on paper.
Finding These Cutting-Edge Trips
Travel advisor Gennady Podolsky stresses these unconventional and emerging experiences don’t always appear on Google. But creative travel planners keyed into the latest developments can uncover these hidden gems for adventurous clients eager to have their passion play a more significant role in travel.