Re-imagining the 2024 Travel Bucket List

From TV-show-inspired binge travel to following your music heroes across the globe, travel for 2024 is all about the inspirational experience

Forget predictable planners – it’s time to reinvent adventure with the hottest 2024 travel trends. From binge-worthy holidays to artful escapes, culture-rich journeys beckon this year.

But it’s not your cookie-cutter cultural travel. Think Netflix, Swifties, and chasing new galleries and restaurant openings across the globe.

“Immersive pop culture expeditions rank among the most interesting 2024 travel trends,” says Antoinette Turner, Flight Centre South Africa’s General Manager. “Destinations featured in shows like The White Lotus and Taylor Swift’s fans, willing to travel far and wide to see their hero perform live, have continued igniting tourism surges, a phenomenon we expect to persist as fans emulate on-screen and on-stage experiences.”

Chasing screen magic
This February, filming for the award-winning HBO series The White Lotus commences across Thailand for Season 3. Experts anticipate the show could again boost bookings and travel when new episodes debut. After Season 1’s Hawaiian setting, featured resorts saw 425% web traffic spikes. Sicily’s Season 2 site faced months-long sellouts after appearing on-screen.

Flight Centre’s ‘South Africa’s Year in Travel 2023’ whitepaper showed ever-popular Thailand bookings surging 108% in late 2022. As the show’s popularity persists, Thailand may again see booking spikes when new episodes debut.

Industry analysts have dubbed this ‘the White Lotus effect’ – a trend of screen magic transforming tourist inflows that seems likely to continue.

“We’ve seen first-hand how shows can spotlight destinations and drive booking surges,” adds Turner. “Past seasons sparked booking spikes across multiple lodging locations, so Thailand and beyond will likely see new waves of The White Lotus travellers captivated by the latest plot’s scandalous backdrop.”

Beyond The White Lotus effect, Paris anticipates tourist surges following Emily in Paris Season 3. Though Netflix has yet to confirm an exact release date, the show resumed production on 19 January, 2024.

The City of Light expects a wave of travellers channelling protagonist Emily Cooper as she continues her romantic and career escapades against iconic Parisian backdrops. Much like after the last season debuted, US travellers booking Parisian sojourns surged by 32%.

Addams Family reboot Wednesday also spurred interest in its backdrop of misty castles and remote woodlands. The show’s gothic Romanian settings have inspired some travellers to pursue similar broody escapes. Location scouts have already infiltrated the town of Bucegi, invading the quiet mountain village in search of Wednesday landmarks.

Period romance Bridgerton also resumes production for its third season. As the record-breaking Netflix series films across Bath’s stunning Georgian streets and London’s leafy royal parks, fervent fans are expected to flock to Regency-era estates and squares hoping to spot or emulate the cast.

Music fest meccas
Yet Hollywood won’t solely shape 2024’s travel landscape. Live events have rebounded post-pandemic, spurring concert getaways as travellers chase artists. Music festivals and concerts are increasingly motivating travel plans.

Per Skyscanner, 44% of US vacationers grab last-minute domestic flights to attend nearby gigs. 18% are booking flights abroad to catch global music events. Between ages 25-34, 34%-50% already have music-led 2024 trips planned focused on concerts, festivals, and performances.

Massive world tours like Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour promise to drive new waves of music travel too. Per research group Economic Impact Net, Tay Tay’s Tokyo performances alone stand to generate a staggering $228 million revenue for the Japanese economy.

Her 85-date stadium romp across the US and Europe is anticipated to be 2024’s biggest tour. Such extensive schedules intersect with multiple fan locales, inevitably catalysing bookings in associated hub cities.

Jetsetters should anticipate in-demand lodging and transport across performance destinations as other major concert tours follow Swift’s lead. In short, book early!

Artful escapes and foodie allure
As art and culture regain mindshare, a vibrant African scene tempts travellers eager for creative and culinary immersion.

“Africa’s burgeoning art scene scales global ranks, especially South Africa’s Zeitz Museum and Cape Town’s exceptional galleries,” says Jack Ezon, Embark Beyond founder.

In a fusion of art and food, Stellenbosch’s famed winelands provide a flavourful backdrop for exceptional escapes. The Stellenbosch Outdoor Sculpture Trust (SOST) has an outdoor photography exhibition on the streets of Stellenbosch until March 2024, showcasing fine art photographs by African masters.

Beyond this exceptional showcase, visitors can also indulge in leisurely farm-to-table feasting across Stellenbosch’s vineyards and weekend markets. With bountiful seasonal produce, settings like Babylonstoren or atmospheric local markets promise gourmet adventures amidst stunning scenery.

For urban artistic allure, the art-inspired voco Johannesburg Rosebank hotel offers insider perspective with resident Art Butlers guiding guests through a dazzling array of 750+ contemporary works – a world-class gallery experience for South Africa’s creative capital.

Looking beyond Africa, Singapore also promises abundant cultural openings in 2024, blending artistic diversity with famously rich cuisine. There’s a new opening almost every month in this cultural hotspot! Flight Centre data reveals Singapore as a top 10 destination ranked among South African travellers’ top overseas spots in 2024.

Reimagining the Musts
Bid adieu to one-size-fits-all itineraries. Reinvented wishlist’s promise more unexpected adventures ahead this year. So, whatever inspires you to travel, grab it and go!

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