2020’s Biggest Travel Trends


From slowing it down to luxing it up. Lynette Botha touches on some of the new year’s greatest travel trends. 

Explore The Lesser Known 

Overtourism – a negative impact of the travel industry – has led responsible travellers to pick more offbeat locations to visit.

According to Booking.com research, over half (54%) of global travellers want to play a part in reducing overtourism, while 51% would swap their original destination for a lesser-known but similar alternative if they knew it’d leave less of an environmental impact.

And 60% of global travellers would be keen to have access to a service (app/website) that recommends destinations where an increase in tourism would have a positive impact on the local community.

Consider taking the road less travelled: instead of Santorini, opt for Kefallonianever mind Paris, how about Lyon?; skip Lisbon, and head to Odeceixe.

An unexpected drawcard? The lesser-known spots are generally more affordable too (if a little trickier to reach). 

Take It Slow 

From extravagant rail trips and languorous cruises, when time is the greatest luxury in the world, slowing down is a delight. Move over FOMO, hello Slo-Mo!  

With its bygone-era feel and understated glamour, Belmond’s rail journeys are one for the bucket list. Crisscross acres of patchwork fields and craggy coasts through Ireland, or voyage to the heart of the Inca empire in Peru, all the while ensconced in a plush compartment, with all the bells and whistles, watching the world go by.

For an ultra-luxury cruise, six-star ships are the new status symbol. Explore the Mediterranean or the Galápagos Islands, the Caribbean or the Far East, all in an unhurried manner, enjoying the trip as much as the destination(s).  


Travel Well(ness) 

In an age where we’re all overworked, overtired, stressed out and often feeling unwell, it’s no surprise that the wellness tourism market is set to be worth over $900 billion by 2022.

The Global Wellness Institute defines wellness tourism as travel associated with the pursuit of maintaining or enhancing one’s personal wellbeing.

Wellness tourism brings the promise of combatting negative qualities and turning travel into an opportunity to maintain and improve holistic health.

Not to be confused with medical tourism, this type of travel includes yoga retreats, wellness journeys and travelling for the sole purpose of returning a little healthier, whether physically, mentally or emotionally (sometimes, all three).  

V Is For Vegan

As more and more people opt for a plant-based lifestyle – or at least dabble in vegetarianism – the demand for the travel industry to provide suitable options is increasing.

From in-flight meals to in-room amenities (how about some almond milk with those Nespresso pods?), travellers expect to be catered for. 

Resources and websites like Veggie Hotels and Vegan Hotels are ahead of the curve, providing a list of suitable venues that take herbivore’s needs very seriously, and vegan-only hotels are springing up everywhere from Australia to Italy.  


For The Love of (Local) Food 

People have long travelled for culinary delights – whether seeking out authentic soul food in Mississippi or attending the ultimate cooking course in Tuscany.

But more than the above, foodie highlights now include foraging excursions, farm-to-table tours, preparing a spread together with a famous chef, enjoying only local cuisine and securing a reservation at the most niche of restaurants.

According to Booking.com, an incredible seven out of 10 (71%) global travellers say that eating locally sourced produce is important to them when on holiday too – something that Western Cape boutique hotel Majeka House takes very seriously. 

Majeka Kitchen’s Lucas Carstens celebrates hyper-local ingredients, which give his dishes a distinct taste and texture of the Cape, by sourcing nearly all the produce for his contemporary cuisine within a 20-kilometre radius of the hotel.  

More Travel Trends On The Rise… 

Surf’s up 

With 2020 the first year that surfing has been selected as an Olympic sport, expect surfing destinations and tours to become more prominent.  

(Even more) responsible travel 

From carbon offsetting tariffs to plastic- and waste-free travel – it’s never been cooler to be kind to the environment.  

Multi-generational escapes 

Gran and grandpa, great auntie and all the kids – multi-generational travel is a trend that continues to dominate the tourism space. Family is everything, and group getaways continue to rise. 

Micro spaces, macro amenities and tech-savvy touchpoints 

As travel trends go, urban hotel rooms may be getting smaller, but their add-ons and in-room services are getting more inventive. From folding desks and high-tech room automations they’re equipped with everything.

The LAB lifestyle collection of hotels, for example, has introduced voice-controlled rooms (just say ‘close the blinds’ or ‘make me a coffee’ and it’s done), as well as colour-changing lights to suit your mood – plus it is 100 percent solar-powered.  

Wherever your travels take you and whatever trends you follow, let SAA get you to your next destination. Book your tickets with SAA today!



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