Most rich consumers plan to spend more on travel next year

A majority of wealthy travellers continue to prefer spending on experiences over goods, study finds

Rochtaine Koh Samui in Bophut, Thailand, one of South-east Asia’s most prestigious private luxury retreats. PA
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Global luxury travel is leaning more towards conscious tourism, wellness and meaningful human connections, according to a report released earlier this week Tuesday at the International Luxury Travel Market trade show in Cannes, France.

A majority of wealthy travellers continue to prefer spending on experiences over goods, found the report by American Express in partnership with Altiant, a luxury market research company.

Almost 60 per cent plan to spend more on travel in 2023, compared with only 10 per cent who say they will cut back.

The findings are based on Altiant’s survey of 1,200 high-net-worth individuals and affluent travellers in 14 countries in parts of Asia, Europe and the Americas during the second half of 2022. As such, it predicts which pandemic behaviours are sticking and which are vanishing alongside global entry restrictions.

Health and safety rank as the No. 1 factor in choosing a destination, a concern that looks here to stay post-pandemic. Safety includes both security concerns and fear of discrimination at a destination. Wellness remains a key driver in holiday planning for 61 per cent of respondents.

The message of a more sustainable and climate-conscious tourism industry coming out of the pandemic is resonating with luxury travellers, the results show. Just over 25 per cent indicate that the environment and sustainability are important to them, with the percentages higher for those under 35.

More than 70 per cent of respondents overall further state that seeing carbon emissions data on their flights or holiday picks is very or somewhat influential in their booking decisions.

But here is the conundrum: When they were asked what the deciding factors are in booking their next holiday, sustainability of a hotel ranks only seventh out of 14 options, evidence that the consumer intention-action gap persists when it comes to sustainable travel.

What is for sure: Domestic and regional trips will stick around in 2023, but the desire for more international travel will dominate, according to half of respondents who are now prioritising an overseas holiday over a backyard trip.

Up to 52 per cent plan to visit Europe, 41 per cent will visit the Americas, and 25 per cent plan to travel to the Middle East or Africa.

Additional results from the survey:

  • Fifty per cent of respondents say they'll continue to make up for lost time and live out their extravagant travel dreams and bucket lists. However, 49 per cent indicate a mind towards flying less and staying longer.
  • Forty-five per cent plan to take more eco-friendly trips next year, and that number jumps to 81 per cent for Chinese travellers. A little more than half are willing to pay up to 20 per cent extra for sustainable holidays.
  • The preference for relaxing holidays continues — beaches and city breaks.
  • Wealthy travellers from the Americas are expected to be the most bullish on spending.
  • Two thirds of respondents plan to use a travel adviser, with flexibility and insurance cited as the primary reasons.
Updated: December 09, 2022, 3:30 AM