Two thirds of Canadians are going off the beaten path for 2024

A new survey by British Airways reveals that one in five Canadians are planning to travel more than ever before in 2024. 

Notably the pandemic has made more than half of all Canadians want to travel more (58%). 

A third (33%) of Canadians plan to explore new destinations and tick places of their ‘must visit’ list in the new year. While less frequent travel with longer holiday duration both domestically (23%) and internationally (23%) seems to be important going into 2024.

Going off the grid

Immersing in new cultures (29%) and trying new experiences for the first time (18%) are important criteria for Canadians planning their next adventure.

Almost two thirds (64%) plan to go off the beaten track to less touristy destinations when they plan their news years travel, with 1 in 10 planning to attend a major entertainment or sporting event.

The regions that Canadians plan to visit the most next year are Europe (42%), North and South America (28%) and Africa (13%).

Exploration and adventure are the top priorities when planning trips in 2024 (43%). More than 1 in 10 Canadians (12%) wanted to ditch their tech altogether and opt for a digital detox.

Social media influence

Social media remains a key influence for Canadian travel (28%), whereas film and TV locations proved to be the biggest influence for Americans planning their travel (22%).

However, of those Canadians planning travel to the UK, 52% say they have been influenced by actor Ryan Reynolds, and his ownership of Wrexham AFC.

For the winter 2023/2024 season, British Airways operates twice daily flights between Toronto and London, with daily flights from Montreal and Vancouver to London. Customers can connect to over 65 countries from British Airways’ home at London Heathrow.

Hiking Italy’s most heavenly route

I’m sitting along a wooden table overlooking the dramatic cliffs of the Amalfi Coast, feasting on freshly-made goat cheese, deep-fried fritters, roasted tomatoes and eggplants, while sipping on homemade red wine with a group of fellow travellers from around the world, when an impromptu concert breaks out.

Nino Aversa, one of the guides leading my small hiking trip, has joined goatherd Antonio Milo, the owner of the charming stone-built farmhouse who prepared our meal, and the pair start singing and playing instruments, tapping their feet along to the rhythm.

Although Milo, who takes care of some 100 goats on site, only purchased the farmhouse several years ago, he comes from a long line of goatherds. Travelling daily to milk the goats and oversee the property, he was inspired to expand the venture to provide a true farm-to-table experience for guests. There’s no fixed price menu for hikers who stumble upon him, and he works with local hiking outfitters to feed their group tour bookings as a side business.

Although I don’t understand the words, as they’re serenading us to the tune of O Sarracino, an old Neapolitan folk song, I can’t help but think: I’m so glad I wound up here.

A mere few days earlier I was destined to be doing a day trip to the island of Capri instead, but due to rough waters, the journey was cancelled.

With a gap to fill in my agenda, I serendipitously found a guided tour with Sorrento Hiking to the famed Path of the Gods hiking route online and immediately locked it in. After a last minute pit-stop to a nearby mall to procure some appropriate hiking attire, I was on my way. 

The Sentiero degli Dei, or Path of the Gods as it’s known in English, is a stunning trekking route along the Amalfi Coast that provides an amazing vantage point over the picturesque towns of Praiano and Positano.

Long before it became a popular hiking route, the trail was developed centuries ago as a mule-track to link the dairy farms with the towns along the coast. While there are several different options to hike along the Path of the Gods, their recommended route goes from Bomerano to Nocelle, which Aversa describes as “walking between heaven and earth.”

There are no guardrails along the route, just steep drops that almost induce vertigo if you stand too close to the edge.

In the car transfer over to the beginning of the trail from Sorrento that morning, my other passionate guide, Giovanni Gargiulo, inquired about what I’d heard about the difficulty of the path. Much to my dismay, when I shared that I’ve read it’s an easy-to-moderate hike, the German tourists in the backseat chimed in that everything they’ve read contradicted that. 

“It’s definitely more of a challenging route,” Gargiulo confirmed, but then quickly reassured me that we could take it at our own pace. 

For seven kilometres, the hike seemingly did a never-ending loop, complete with steep hills and descents. Gruelling at times, the frequent stops to admire the views from the top reminded me why I set out on this path in the first place.

By the time we reached the farmhouse, I was eager to enjoy a home-cooked spread and taste some well-deserved vino. 

Driving back in the car Gargiulo asks how I enjoyed the hike. It wasn’t the path I’d originally set out on, but it’s one I’m glad I took.


This story first appeared in the Winter 2023 issue of OFFSHORE. To read the digital issue, click here. 


A tourist’s guide to loving Vietnam

I had some initial apprehension upon learning that I’d be checking into a ‘junk boat’ for the next two nights. But upon seeing my home on the water, I quickly discovered that unlike the sound of the name, it’s actually not a shabby way to spend the night. 

In fact, these sleeper ships, which range from basic bare bones boats to luxurious yachts, are the perfect gateway to experiencing Vietnam’s postcard-worthy Halong Bay, where 1,969 unusually shaped tree-covered limestone islands and islets jet out from the water.

After we stashed our luggage in our onboard rooms, tour guide John Tran began leading our small group of travellers on the Classic Vietnam itinerary with Canada-based tour operator, G Adventures. He describes it as a more “off-the-grid kayak excursion” to explore several remarkable caves along the UNESCO World Heritage site. With the job title of CEO — that’s Chief Experience Officer — he says he’s “in charge of facilitating life-changing experiences.”

Topping the list on today’s adventure are a visit to Trong Cave, where the ceiling is covered in stalactites and gives way to impressive views of the area’s famous towering limestone islands, and Trinh Nu Cave, which can best be described as an outer-worldly natural attraction. Although there were many other junk boats around our boat, we have these fascinating spots to ourselves. 

The next morning, we set out bright and early after a hearty breakfast on a mission to climb the nearby Ti Top island. Although all the islands in Halong Bay are uninhabited, Ti Top features a pagoda at the top offering visitors a bird’s eye view of the surrounding area. 

It’s a balmy 43°C out as we slowly conquer the 400 steps to reach the top, but the view surpassed my expectations. While I’d seen countless pictures taken from this exact spot, it didn’t prepare me for how vast the area is. Dripping in sweat and high on adrenaline for making it to the top, we take advantage of our own photo opportunities, before climbing down the steps for a refreshing reward: taking a swim at the sandy beach at the bottom of the island’s shore. 

Coffee and culture collide in Hanoi

Earlier in the week, we headed to Hanoi Food Culture for a lesson in making a local specialty known as egg coffee. The restaurant is a G Values Fund project, an initiative where former G Adventures tour leaders can open their own businesses with low interest loans through the tour operator.

“These are funds that we set up for former CEOs. When they’re tired of guiding our tours but they still want to be involved with the company, they can apply for a low interest loan and start up a business of their own as local suppliers,” explains Jenna English, global purpose specialist for British Columbia & Northern Territories at G Adventures. After interacting with travellers day in and day out, she says CEOs often see the need for what kind of businesses are lacking in an area through their tour experiences.

While setting up the egg coffee demonstration, co-owner Lap Nguyen explains how he shifted gears to launch the restaurant. “I used to be a CEO, running tours on the road,” Nguyen says. “One day, my wife called me when I was in Siem Reap and said that she had cancer so I decided to quit the job and come back here.”

Through access to funding from the G Values Fund, Hanoi Food Culture was born. While we’re here for a coffee demonstration, the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner and hires students as its main staff. “The story of the egg coffee — it’s a Hanoi specialty. Hoi An and Saigon also have egg coffee, but they’re not the original, Hanoi is the place where the egg coffee came from. Egg in coffee, it seems very weird right?” he says, noting that the dish is indeed made with egg yolks. “It started over 100 years ago. If you go to any coffee shop and ask, ‘hey, what’s the recipe?’ They never want to share with you, but here we want to share it with you. It’s a million dollar business idea when you go home.”

This story first appeared in the Winter 2023 issue of OFFSHORE. To read the full version, click here


Four Seasons Private Residences to open in Istanbul

Four Seasons Private Residences Istanbul is a new project featuring 82 homes comprised of penthouses, a sky loft, garden suites and apartment residences that will welcome residents in 2024.

Located at the meeting point of the Ulus, Etiler and Levent neighbourhoods, Four Seasons Private Residences Istanbul will be located next to the city’s best upscale shopping districts, renowned culinary destinations and dynamic entertainment options.

About Four Seasons Private Residences Istanbul

The new Private Residences will feature a modern, yet classic design. Spread across four blocks, Four Seasons Private Residences Istanbul will offer an array of floor plans, each complete with premium finishes, open concept living spaces, and intelligent building design.

Along with elevated and elegant design throughout, the residences will also feature electric vehicle charging stations, 24-hour surveillance, noise-cancelling technology and insulation, under-floor heating and environmentally friendly VRF air conditioning.

Onsite amenities exclusive to Four Seasons residents will include a kids play room and young adults room; indoor swimming pool with an outdoor garden deck; multi-purpose room perfect for meetings, events and entertaining; and a private cinema.

Wellness amenities will provide residents with rest, relaxation and rejuvenation, including a sauna and steam room, spa facilities for private treatments, state-of-the-art fitness facilities, private yoga and Pilates room, and golf simulator suite.

Bahamas bound: life on the island beyond swimming with the pigs

It’s my first day in Grand Bahama — the northernmost island of the Bahamas archipelago — and I’m already ignoring the age-old advice not to be lured into a complete stranger’s house.

Tempted by the promise of a home-cooked meal, I’m here to meet Colette Williams, a host with the Bahamas’ Ministry of Tourism’s People-to-People program, which is all about pairing travellers with a local ambassador for an authentic Bahamian experience. 

“I think that’s what I was made to do — just to welcome people to our sun, sand and sea,” said Williams, who has been a host with the program for 19 years.

“I love people. I feel that if I can make one person have a memorable experience of the Bahamas, I would not have lived in vain, so my goal is to make sure everyone has a memorable experience of my home and to share the authentic experience of Grand Bahamian hospitality.”

Colette Williams

Bringing authenticity back

In her backyard, Williams proceeds to set up an elaborate spread of stewed chicken, steamed fish, peas and rice, warm potato salad, baked macaroni and cheese and homemade iced tea. Today’s batch is infused with hibiscus. A yellow tablecloth spread across the dining table echoing the words Bahamas matches her blue dress, which also has the words Bahamas printed all over it. 

Williams, who formerly worked in the hotel industry, said tourists rarely get a chance to see how Bahamians live.

“You can drive around the tourist route and never even see a house,” she said, noting that she enjoys sharing authentic Bahamian dishes with visitors. “When you get food in a hotel, it isn’t as authentic as home cooking. There’s no cooking like home cooking. You put a face to the food, there’s a story behind it.”

The immersive program pairs interested travellers with locally-vetted ambassadors who are matched based on various interests.

“It’s a program that’s been in place for more than 40 years,” Latia Duncombe, Director General of The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation, told Offshore. “It’s a day in the life of a Bahamian. You’re moving away from the commercial, touristic components and you’re getting immersed into culture — whatever the local does is what the visitor does. It is true culture; it’s who we are as a people. It’s being prepared to share that authentic element of being a Bahamian, something you can’t find anywhere else in the world.”

Connecting with locals

Thirteen kilometres off the shore of Grand Bahama, I’ve connected with another Bahamian resident who is just as passionate about the destination and sharing his knowledge.

Although the Bahamas is known around the world as the place where tourists can come to swim with pigs, I’m here for a different kind of wild encounter — to meet the man known as the pied piper of stingrays.

From the moment Keith Cooper of West End Ecology Tours steps off the boat at Sandy Cay, a dozen stingrays with names like Stubby, Hard Wire, Lunatic, Scratch, Big Momma and Little Momma, instinctively swarm him.

Keith Cooper

“They’re touching my leg with their sensors because they know who I am, they remember who I am and because of the special bond I have with them. They trust me as much as I trust them,” he said, adding that stingrays often get a bad rep for being dangerous. “More than 9,000 visitors have participated in the Stingray Experience Tour and no one has ever been stung by a stingray… when the protocols are followed, guests will have one of the most unique encounters with marine life they have ever experienced.”

Before launching West End Ecology Tours, Cooper stumbled upon the stingrays by accident during a fishing expedition in 2006. “During the stopover, I discarded unused fishing bait over the side of the boat and within minutes the boat was surrounded by 15 stingrays feeding off the bottom of the shallow water where the boat was anchored at the beach,” he explained.

Since then, he’s returned to the spot to study the stingrays. In 2009, Cooper turned it into a business that now offers multiple tours, including snorkelling trips to underwater boat wrecks and reef fishing experiences. The Stingray Experience Tour remains his best-selling excursion.

According to Cooper, stingrays can display sentient behaviour and will show off their unique personalities. “There are two alpha female stingrays that dominate the fever. Big Momma is the most dominant member of the group and often displays her displeasure when too many rays come near me during the introduction and demonstration phase of the tour,” he said, noting she’ll use a decoy tactic to draw the other stingrays away so that she can consume the fish provided during the demonstration phase.

Another stingray, Hugger, got its name from the “hugs” she gives Cooper upon approach. “Guests watching from the boat are awestruck when they observe Hugger sitting in my lap, waiting patiently to receive a fish,” he said.

It’s Junkanoo time 

On Nassau, New Providence, where major resorts like Atlantis, Goldwynn Resort & Residences, Sandals Royal Bahamian and Baha Mar are located, Arlene Nash Ferguson has made it her life’s mission to showcase the longstanding Bahamian celebration known as Junkanoo. 

Based in her childhood home, the Educulture Junkanoo Museum is lined with colourful displays and costumes displaying the evolution of the cultural affair. A former British colony from 1629 to 1973, in the Bahamas, Junkanoo began roughly 200 years ago, when members of the African diaspora, including enslaved Bahamians, were granted three days to observe Christmas.

Arlene Nash Ferguson

“They said, ‘let’s use these precious three days to recreate our festivals from home. It’s time to renew the spirit and just in case anybody tries to stop us, we will wait until the night and off we go,’” said Nash Ferguson, who has been taking part in Junkanoo since she was four years old. 

Although the residents of the time were mixed by culture, she said the festivals wound up sharing several things in common, including instruments like goatskin drums, bells and elaborate costumes. “When you covered your face, it symbolized the presence of our ancestors,” Nash Ferguson said. “In these isolated islands, leaves, feathers, shells, seaweed, anything Indigenous becomes your decoration.”

Nash Ferguson shared that costumes continue to be made from paper as an original sign of defiance because in the time of slavery on the islands “by law people were not permitted to learn to read and write.” More than just a tradition, she said Bahamians are passionate about Junkanoo and work on their costumes all year long in their spare time once the theme for the following year’s festival is announced. Typically, the costumes are made using a cardboard base that’s covered in layers of tissue paper and often include elaborate headpieces.

“Two hundred years ago in the dark of the night at Christmas time, Bahamians said ‘Man, we survived, let’s celebrate life’ and they told their children never to forget,” she explained. “And ladies and gentlemen, right up to Christmas gone, we who are their children, we continue to do it. Today, we call it the Junkanoo festival — at 10 o’clock Christmas night we shut down Bay Street, hit the road dancing, still to the music of drums and bells.” 

After outfitting my small group of travel companions with cowbells, whistles and drums, Nash Ferguson led us into a practice run of a Junkanoo simulation.  

“The costumes are magnificent; we have worked months on them and we can’t wait to get out there to show them off. We’re going to out music and out dance every other group because we are going to win,” she said, before blowing her whistle loudly. “Line up, everybody ready? Who we is? Junkanoo! Bark like a dog. Woof, woof.”

The end result is a far cry from the organized rhythm of an actual parade, but we give it our all, joining in with off-beat drumming and what could only be described as tone deaf whistling. What we lack in musical ability, we make up in spirit and effort.


This story first appeared in the Winter 2023 issue of OFFSHORE. To read the full version, click here.

Five trends upscale travellers are embracing for 2024

Global travel agency network Virtuoso says that its clients are prioritizing travel, despite inflation and global unrest. They remain insatiably curious and willing to pay for new experiences.

These findings come from the company’s 2024 Virtuoso Luxe Report, which included input from 2,000 travel advisors who shared their extensive knowledge, professional experience and client requests to offer insight into 2024’s top trends.

Five luxury travel trends

The Luxe Report identified five key trends upscale globetrotters are embracing in 2024.

New places

While preference for European favorites remains, the desire to visit dream destinations, under-the-radar locations or the drive to be “first” to a destination, has luxury travellers increasingly intrigued by the unexplored. The cultural richness of reemerging travel must-sees such as Japan offer unique itineraries for those seeking a departure from the norm.

Time to celebrate

Post-pandemic festivities continue with celebration travel making the list of top trends for 2024. Travellers are committed to sharing life’s most important moments with loved ones – travel with immediate family and multigenerational travel are also among the top trends.

Respecting the plant

Travellers are hyper-aware of the fragility of the world. Virtuoso advisors say clients are pushing geographical boundaries to witness nature in its pristine form for fear it will diminish or become inaccessible.

Greece, Morocco and Hawaii are also top-of-mind for travelers who want to support destinations recently impacted by disaster while remaining respectful of their recovery.

Small ship cruising

Favouring less-crowded, more intimate settings, small-vessel cruising is on the rise. River cruises remain popular for the casual atmosphere, proximity to major cities and wide-ranging itineraries.

Popular routes include the Danube River, Mekong River and the Nile. Adventure cruising is also trending due to increased accessibility to places like Antarctica, 2024’s leading adventure destination. And yacht charters are on the rise, offering privacy, flexibility and a customized experience.

Custom comfort

Increased demand for custom trips made easy, from exclusive-use experiences to booking half days at hotels to fit their needs, has today’s traveller maximizing comfort. Their desire to leave nothing to chance has increased motivation for using a professional travel advisor to simplify bookings and enhance the overall experience.

On a trip to Coastal Mississippi, explore 100KM of the best seafood

Indulge your senses and embark on a delectable journey along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, where culinary creativity meets coastal, southern charm.

From sizzling grills featuring unique seafood combinations to the elegant ambiance of fine dining establishments, Coastal Mississippi has become an epicenter of delight. Across the three vibrant counties along the coast of Mississippi, culinary masters blend local flavors with international flair – creating a symphony of tastes that reflect the region’s distinctive style.

“Across our 62-miles of shorelines, there are many culinary gems including flavors from around the world,” said Judy Young, CEO of Coastal Mississippi Tourism. “From fresh-caught seafood to international cuisine and southern favourites, visitors have an array of options to choose from.”

World class seafood

Nestled on the serene banks of the Jourdan River, Jourdan River Steamer offers an enchanting dining experience, combining vintage elegance with contemporary culinary artistry.

With its panoramic views of the river, guests can indulge in a menu featuring fresh Gulf Coast seafood and other culinary delights, such as Royal Red Shrimp, Snow Crab and more.

Hook Gulf Coast Cuisine portrays culinary excellence on the Gulf Coast, offering a remarkable dining experience that seamlessly blends coastal charm with gourmet innovation. Located in Pass Christian, this restaurant boasts a menu brimming with locally sourced seafood, featuring fresh catch escabeche, pecan crusted mangrove snapper, seared Tuna, and more – all capturing the region’s rich culinary heritage.

Southern favourites

Inside a beautiful replica of an 1820s style historic home featuring salvaged bricks and a grand central chimney, The Chimney’s Restaurant in Gulfport is known for its fresh seafood & steak dinners.

Travellers can gaze upon the lush greenery, majestic oaks, and Gulfport waterfront – all while enjoying an extensive menu of southern comfort favorites and chef specialties.

In Bay St. Louis, travellers can visit The Sycamore House, a pair of 19th-century Acadian cottages on the National Register of Historic Places, for delectable dinner, brunch, and dessert options. Chef’s Stella LeGardeur and Michael Eastham have curated a menu to tempt every guest with dishes like their savory crab meat and mushroom cheesecake.

To plan your perfect Coastal Mississippi culinary escape,
visit coastalmississippi.com to learn more.

These are our best 7 gifts for travellers this year

From stocking stuffers to thoughtful statement pieces, here are our top picks for gift giving this holiday season.

Entertaining all’Italiana

Life of the party

 

Throw the perfect holiday party with a little help from Eataly. Stuffed with high-quality ingredients like balsamic vinegar of Modena, essentials for cooking a restaurant-worthy risotto, decadent chocolate truffles and of course, a traditional panettone, the Entertaining All’Italiana gift box is the perfect present for the hostess with the mostest. — $189.90, shoptoronto.eataly.ca/

Messenger muse

 

For travellers on the go, Espe’s River messenger bag is a stylish solution. Female-owned and designed in Canada, all of Espe’s vegan leather pieces retail for under $100. The River messenger bag is available in black or tan and is outfitted with antique bronze hardware. Decked out with plenty of pockets and zipper closures, plus an adjustable shoulder strap, this unisex bag provides plenty of storage for securing your valuables while adding a smart and practical look to any outfit.

— $98, espe.ca

Winter wedge

 

Cougar’s Villa boot is a super lightweight, easy-to-wear wedge. The boot is available in four beautiful shades in sizes six through 11: cream, almond, cognac and black. Always waterproof, the boots will keep your feet snug up to -24 C, making them an ideal choice for both fall and winter. The polar plush lining ensures your feet stay dry and warm, while an anti-slip rubber outsole provides protection against wet or icy conditions.

— $200, cougarshoes.ca 

Believe in Miracle

 

Sick of compromising on your skincare routine while on vacation because of size restrictions? This customized collection contains a four-week supply of five essential skincare products (cleanser, serum, toner, day cream and night cream) in 15 and 30mL containers. All of Miracle 10’s products are fragrance-free, paraben-free, not tested on animals and are made in Canada. Perfect for frequent jetsetters or for those simply looking to try out a new line, these collections conform to airline carry-on regulations and fit neatly into your purse or luggage. 

— $145, miracle10.com

Suit up

 

Look smart season to season. Perfect to pair with pants or layered on top of a dress, the Veronica Beard Dickey Jacket is a versatile wardrobe staple for any occasion. Available in sizes 00 to 24, the jacket comes in black or navy with gold or silver statement buttons. Made of a cotton and polyester blend, the relaxed fit allows for comfort and flexibility, while the shoulder pads add a touch of drama.

—$780, veronicabeard.com 

Sweet dreams

 

After a long day of travel, there’s nothing like a good night’s sleep. Henrie is a new, Vancouver-based, female-founded luxury pillow brand. Their signature adjustable pillow is filled with a blend of chopped memory foam and premium kapok, a natural fluffy fibre. Suitable for all bodies and sleeping positions, the Henrie pillow also features a removable, organic 450 thread count cotton outer cover that’s machine washable and each pillow comes with a storage bag to keep any excess pillow filling. 

— $199, henrie.com 

Set the table 

 

Come home to a good meal — and dine in style! Meticulously crafted in Portugal, the charcoal grey dinnerware set by Canadian cookware company, Kilne, is a beautiful, 16-piece addition to your kitchen. Handmade of recycled clay, each piece is slightly imperfect, giving off a rustic chic feel. Dishwasher safe, each plate and bowl is also oven-safe up to 250°C and freezer safe down to -20°C.

— $326, kilne.com

Jetsetter java

 

Pilot Coffee Roasters’ holiday gift set is the perfect stocking stuffer for coffee-loving travellers—and let’s face it, most of us are! The set includes a 300 gram bag of their signature holiday blend roast (cranberry, cinnamon and chocolate notes) as well as a one-of-a-kind ceramic cup in collaboration with Paule Vezina, who runs a local artisanal ceramics studio, Poterie Vez, in Quebec.

— $60, pilotcoffeeroasters.com 

This cruise line is now offering 22-day trips in South America

Bookings are now open for Holland America Line’s 2025-2026 South America and Antarctica season.

Featuring a series of longer cruises up to 22 days, guests can experience the region’s captivating blend of diverse cultures, breathtaking natural landscapes and rich historical heritage — including 16 UNESCO World Heritage sites and UNESCO Biosphere Reserves.

From November 2025 through March 2026, Oosterdam cruises between San Antonio (Santiago), Chile, and either Buenos Aires, Argentina, or Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Iconic sites

The itineraries offer once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for travellers, showcasing the iconic sites of South America like Iguazu Falls, Machu Picchu and Torres del Paine National Park, along with Antarctica’s memorable scenery and wildlife. 

Oosterdam sails in Antarctica

Holland America Line 2025–2026 South America cruises visit 16 UNESCO World Heritage sites and UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, including major tourism attractions like the Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu. 

Authentic experiences 

On South America and Antarctic cruises, Holland America Line brings local flavors on board. Guests enjoy fresh, locally sourced specialties such as Chilean salmon, stuffed empanadas, and world-renowned wines including Malbec, Carménère, Torrontés and more.

On immersive shore excursions, guests can visit an indigenous Emberá tribe, meet a real Chilean huaso (cowboy), learn to craft a traditional Panama hat or enjoy an intimate dinner at an Argentine “closed-door restaurant.”

For more information, visit hollandamerica.com.

Luxury market to hit €1.5 trillion in 2023—and travel is a big factor

The global luxury market is projected to reach €1.5 trillion in 2023, an 8-10 per cent growth over 2022, setting a new record for the industry and proving its unparalleled resilience.

These are among the findings of the latest Bain & Company report with Altagamma, the Italian luxury goods manufacturers’ industry association. Spending on experiences, particularly, recovered to historic highs, fueled by a resurgence in social interactions and travel.

Despite challenging macroeconomic conditions, the market registered robust growth of 11-13%, at constant exchange rates. This is consistent with last year’s growth rate and translates to a ~€160 billion increment in spending across luxury categories.

Amid pronounced geopolitical and macroeconomic shifts, the luxury market has proven unparalleled resilience this year. The key segment, personal luxury goods, has experienced continued growth in 2023 and is projected to reach €362 billion by end of year, 4 per cent higher than 2022 at current exchange rates.

European tourism rebounds

The study shows global luxury tourist purchases have nearly reached pre-pandemic levels, with untapped potential remaining in many areas.

Europe has enjoyed a progressive pickup in tourism, driving growth across countries, with long-haul resort locations attracting high spenders alongside key luxury cities. Even if local aspirational customers were impacted by macroeconomic instability, stable top-customer pools maintained positive momentum contributing to market growth.

American tourism dwindles

Alternatively, the Americas have seen a deceleration throughout the year, posting an eight per cent drop from 2022, as widespread uncertainty continues to impact aspirational customers’ spending.

Top customers remain confident but have maintained their spending abroad, as the US dollar remains strong against the Euro and price differentials favor oversea purchases.

Other regional trends

 

Saudi Arabia is accelerating, attracting investments of major luxury brands; and Australia has provided fertile ground for growth.

Mainland China posted a strong performance after its first quarter reopening but slowed progressively as new macroeconomic topics arose. Hainan is poised to grow as a bright luxury hub, set to become an entire duty-free island by 2025. 

Japan is booming, thanks to sound local customers and the weak Yen, favoring touristic inflows. Conversely, South Korea is facing a challenging year, with unfavorable macroeconomic headwinds impacting local consumption and strong currency leading tourists to buy elsewhere.

Southeast Asian countries experienced positive momentum, thanks to strong intraregional tourism and growing interest from local consumers, especially in Thailand.