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Luxury Travel Market Exclusive Insights & Commentary

In recent years, the travel industry has witnessed explosive growth and is now worth trillions of dollars. This is reflected in the flourishing luxury travel market, with more people eager to enjoy bespoke adventures and exclusive experiences that take them beyond first class.

Keep reading as I explore some of the evolutions we’re seeing in how luxury travellers are choosing to enjoy their holidays.

Group of people round a large dinner table cheers cocktail and wine glasses

Image: Ultimate Driving Tours

Luxury travel: in the billions and growing

In 2024, the global luxury travel market is worth an estimated $15.72 billion (USD). According to recent forecasts by Global Market Insights (GMI), the market will continue to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.9% until 2033, when it is predicted to reach a staggering $74.38 billion.

There are multiple drivers for this growth, including a shift towards customised and exclusive holidays. It’s the increasing demand for unique experiences that is likely to sustain this rise over the next decade.

A handful of freshly foraged truffles

Image: Ultimate Driving Tours

Wellness and culinary adventures are on the rise

As the luxury tourism market grows, so does an emphasis on travel that promotes wellness. People are looking for destinations and experiences that actively contribute to their feeling of wellbeing, which may involve fitness in the form of hiking or cycling, or more indulgent spa visits and wellness treatments.

The appetite for culinary adventures is also growing. These are often experiences designed for savvy ‘foodies’, going a step further than fine-dining and wine tastings. For example, truffle hunting in Tuscany is always a winner on our Italian tours. Here, our guests engage in the exclusive and secretive truffle hunting process with local experts, before their forages are turned into a scrumptious dinner before their eyes.

We also add special touches to our dining and lifestyle experiences to make them even more unique and memorable. So, when we dine at the iconic Restaurant Paul Bocuse in Lyon, our guests are invited into the kitchen for an exclusive behind the scenes look at the culinary masters at work in a two-star Michelin restaurant.

Ultimate Driving Tours guests pose for a photo in front of supercars.

Image: Ultimate Driving Tours

Social sharing has become a key part of the journey

Sharing holiday snaps is no longer reserved for after the event. Sharing all aspects of a holiday through video and photography via social media is now an intrinsic part of the journey.

The desire to experience luxury tourism and post attractive content to channels such as Instagram, YouTube and Facebook is reported to be another driver of the global luxury travel market growth, particularly among millennials.

At Ultimate Driving Tours, we bring professional videographers and photographers along for the journey to capture incredible moments every day. The videos and images are always stunning and make for an engaging way for guests to relive their tour and all its magic. It’s another layer of immersion that we’re thrilled to offer our guests through social media.

Fashionably dressed guests enjoying cocktails on an Ultimate Driving Tours tour.

Image: Ultimate Driving Tours

Our take on how luxury tourism is evolving

Having been involved in the luxury travel market for more than a decade, we have seen significant evolutions in how people want to experience luxury.

True luxury lies in carefully curated journeys

Everybody is different and this means that a lavishly priced holiday is not an indicator of true luxury – no matter how many five-star hotels are involved.

To us, true luxury lies in being able to totally relax, safe in the knowledge that everything is taken care of for you.

Hotels, dining and activities are naturally given the utmost consideration, although an exceptional holiday experience requires keen attention paid to the tiniest details. For example, how much luggage a guest travels with. It may seem trivial, yet travelling with three bags instead of one can have a big impact on your experience – for example, transport in popular destinations often has extremely limited luggage space, and having to lug a bunch of bags around will quickly sap the fun out of your day. This is the kind of detail we meticulously plan for.

Panorama of an alpine lake with al fresco dinner setting

Image: Ultimate Driving Tours

Finding true hidden gems requires expertise

The truth is that travel is now an open book and finding hidden gems in 2024 is very difficult. Google ‘hidden gems’ with your destination, and you’ll soon realise that many places are no longer as exclusive as you had hoped.

Curating bucket-list holidays requires expertise – somebody who knows the destination intimately and can recommend real hidden gems. This is why it is sensible to seek an experienced travel advisor who knows you and the destination inside out, rather than a local travel agent who may simply be designing your itinerary based on the latest online articles and trends.

Because let’s face it – when you invest in a luxury holiday, you expect it to be perfect. Nobody wants to return to the same place over and over again because you didn’t quite nail it the first time.

A happy group of Ultimate Driving Tours guests with scenic backdrop.

Image: Ultimate Driving Tours

The new ‘roaring twenties’ mindset is growing

Over the last decade in the luxury tourism market, we have seen some subtle shifts in our guest demographic. We are now welcoming more guests in their 40s, which reflects the investment older millennials are making in their travel experiences.

While traditionally, many waited until retirement to take those once-in-a-lifetime trips, people are increasingly enjoying their success as it happens, which often means taking more holidays and investing in grander trips. I also think the pandemic still plays a part in the mindset – many travellers are feeling the urge to make up for lost time after being unable to travel for extended periods.

A lone blue supercar on an epic alpine road

Image: Ultimate Driving Tours

Seeing oneself as the main character in the adventure

Modern luxury travellers are often influenced by their favourite films, TV shows and books, which inspire them to seek out experiences that put them closer to the action. It’s all part of being the protagonist in one’s own adventure, whether that’s an experience fit for an action movie or visiting a location from a favourite Netflix series.

For example, many of our guests are big James Bond fans and giving them the opportunity to drive an Aston Martin along the same alpine roads as 007 on our small group tours provides them with a real sense of adventure and fantasy.

Of course, media-inspired travel also brings downsides – namely saturation. For example, we are less inclined to travel to the gorgeous city of Dubrovnik in Croatia because it has become something of a tourist trap after its starring role in Game of Thrones.

Two red Ferraris approach a tight corner on a supercar tour

Image: Ultimate Driving Tours

Go ‘Beyond First Class’ with an award-winning luxury adventure

If discovering more about the luxury travel market has inspired you, then we have the experiences to satisfy your wanderlust. Whether it’s weaving through the Swiss Alps like Bond or enjoying a completely bespoke tour designed just for you, join us to go beyond first class and experience tailor-made travel at its finest.

Romantic trips, family holidays or epic solo adventures – nothing is off limits. If you want to learn more about our bespoke luxury holidays, talk to our friendly travel concierge team today.

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