Explorism is the new tourism

Thursday, 29 January 2009 20:34


RESEARCH by tour operator Kuoni has confirmed that today’s travellers are looking for much more personal fulfilment from their holiday than just a two-week package in the sun.

They are looking for an enriching experience to complement and enhance their lifestyle every time they go away.

The company’s 2009 Longhaul Report combined research gathered directly from its customers and also from the expert views of its product managers to look at not only where people travel, but why.

In terms of where people travel, results show that: The Maldives was the top-selling longhaul destination in 2008. Its paradise islands scattered across the Indian Ocean, it’s the embodiment of barefoot luxury. It looks set to maintain its top slot for 2009 as well.

Runner-up was Thailand, its diversity encouraging a wide range of travellers to visit. New properties, such as the boutique Andaman White Beach located on one of the finest, most secluded beaches in Phuket, has been added for this year.

In third place was Egypt, which is ideal for tailor-made holidays with its culture, history, year-round sunshine and fascinating cruising.

Other destinations in the top 10 include America, Sri Lanka, Dubai, China and Hong Kong, Kenya, Singapore and India.

Looking ahead, New Zealand and St Lucia are new entrants into the top 20 for 2009 and Kuoni has also identified Kenyan safaris, high end five-star and three-star all inclusives in Mauritius and luxury beach and spa hotels in Thailand are the ones to watch.

To discover more about why people travel, the company conducted research among 1,400 customers in December, asking them what they wanted from a holiday, what they did to prepare for their trip, what activities and experiences they chose while they were there and what influences the holiday had on their lifestyle when they returned.

Questions were grouped under three key motivators – stimulating the mind, nurturing the body and soothing the soul.

Key findings of the Mind, Body and Soul research concluded that: Customers are looking for more than simply visiting a destination to tick it off the list. When asked what was the primary reason for taking a holiday, the majority of people confirmed that they now want more active participation, with 26 per cent choosing stimulating the mind as their first choice and 33 per cent picking nurturing the body.

Under the stimulating the mind banner, the highest rated activities were visiting local cultural events, wildlife excursions, seeing the sites with an expert and museum and gallery visits.

For nurturing the body, it was spa and beauty treatments, walking and hiking, regular and extreme sports and using the gym, with Thailand, the Maldives and the Caribbean taking the top slots.

For those looking to soothe their souls, sampling the local cuisine, chilling out on the beach, reading and enjoying local music were the key drivers, while the Maldives, the Caribbean and Thailand again earned the highest votes with their focus on simple sophistication or ‘simplistication’ proving irresistible.

For more information and reservations, call Kuoni on 01306 747008 or visit www.kuoni.co.uk


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