The pandemic has changed nearly everything including how we travel, which is today’s super exciting (and important) subject.
How are the tourism boards, travel agents & everyone and everything in between taking the last two years into their own hands to learn and make changes to accommodate the shifts in the industry so we bring in a new and improved era of luxury travel?
At the opening of ILTM Africa (Specialist Luxury Travel Exhibition) they unpacked these topics and I’m here to give you an overview of what you should know, so you can be a part of the movement too!
Since you're reading this, you must be like me - having caught the travel bug and itching for some travel therapy! So let me start by transporting you with the written word to the Vineyard Hotel where the event was hosted on the most beautiful day in April, and where my travel spark became a flame.
Not far from the city is one of the most environmentally-friendly, progressive hotels in Cape Town. Over two-centuries old, this hotel is just as beautiful on the inside as the outside. Built in the 1800’s, you can see how they’ve seamlessly paired the English style roots with a contemporary interior, without losing any of the estate’s authenticity. The outside is lusciously green with flowers + trees framing the hotel with a breathtaking view of table mountain, and bonus, they have a resident tortoise that roams the grounds.
We started off the event in the private conference room where specialists in different fields shed light on what they see for the future of luxury travel. To keep things punchy, I’ll share bulletpoints I jotted down throughout the seminar - this is what really stood out for me and opened my eyes, and I love that the industry is going to be focusing on these points going forward:
MORE HEALTH CONSCIOUS MENU OPTIONS | vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian (new term for me) menu options.
SCRATCH KITCHEN | no frozen or processed foods used in preparing meals.
LOCAL SUPPORT | to keep up with demand, restaurants will be supporting local farms for fresh ingredients with hopes to expand into having their own self sustaining gardens.
LAST MINUTE BOOKINGS | due to the pandemic, the majority of people who usually book travel plans 6 months in advance are now only booking 1-2 weeks in advance, which has travel agents and luxury experiences re-working their terms and conditions to make it as seamless as possible for the customer.
PRIVATE IS THE NEW LUXURY | people are leaning more towards private room options like villas or boutique hotels with more private sectioned off rooms + amenities.
MEANINGFUL EXPERIENCES | there is a growing demand for more purposeful experiences while on vacations such as planting trees, beach clean-ups, restoring coral reefs, etc.
SUSTAINABILITY | while in yesteryears, the majority of travellers were booking based on what a travel company, hotel, etc would share to the public, now people are researching a bit deeper and they want to support experiences/companies that share the same purpose when it comes to sustainability, whether that be through recycling, materials being used, menu options, etc.
It became clear to me that travellers are becoming more conscious of their decisions while travelling, while still being spontaneous. An interesting combination that has brands and companies needing to operate at top form, so that everything from their first to their last impression is purposeful and exceeds expectations.
I think that’s a win-win for everyone.
Buzzing from all the exciting things the travel industry in Africa has planned, Diamond Works (one of South Africa’s most well-known diamond destinations) had non-alcoholic bubbly waiting for us — but our drinks were sparkling a bit more than usual... Diamond Works had placed a lookalike diamond in every glass with one of them being REAL!!
After finishing our bubbly you would make your way over to the diamond-authentication booth, where they confirm if the gem waiting for you at the bottom of your flute was real or faux!! This amplified the tone of the whole event - a really special touch!
With the short but sweet event coming to an end, we enjoyed vegan canapés + desserts (the dessert table was a piece of art - done up with a dry ice feature + lots of foliage), acro + ballet dancers for entertainment, and stands from local beverage companies keeping us deliciously quenched, all while getting to network + chat with fellow travel enthusiasts and industry leaders — all with the same purpose of making it the best luxury travel experience for Africa YET!
For more information on the companies mentioned:
Diamond Works: @TheDiamondWorks http://www.thediamondworks.co.za
ILTM Africa: @iltm_events https://www.iltm.com/africa/
The Vineyard Hotel: @vineyard_hotel https://www.vineyard.co.za