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How the Rise of Experience Tourism is Changing Travel

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Travel has always been about experiencing different cultures. Many consumers today want more from their trips than just laying on a beach, visiting an overcrowded tourist site or walking through a museum. The modern savvy traveler wants more than the average tourist experience.

An increasing trend in the travel industry is experience tourism. This is where the traveler engages in a specific activity during their visit to the chosen destination.

The demographic most interested in experience tourism are millennials. This age group is putting off purchasing homes and many other material items in exchange for the experience of a lifetime. According to a Harris Group poll conducted in 2016, 72 percent of millennials prefer to spend their money on vacations or experiences.

There are several different types of experience tourism to choose from. Tour companies have been paying attention and are designing packages to accommodate these trends. In 2018, an increase began with booking these experiences and activities as part of the vacation experience.

MIllenial Travelers

Most Popular Experience Tourism Categories


These types of trips can be for people that travel to experience different types of cuisine. This is also known as Foodie tourism. The various options in this niche include street food walking tours, wine tastings, visits to specific restaurants, and even cooking classes in ethnic cuisine.

Foodie tourism

Culture Tourism

This is truly living like a local. In culture tourism, travelers can participate in local cultural rituals, or stay with locals in their destination to get the most authentic cultural experience. This can also include giving something back through voluntourism, where the visitor can contribute to the society by volunteering their time for a chosen cause or charity.

Heritage Tourism

Since DNA testing has become widely available and affordable, many are embarking on a quest to explore their roots with heritage or ancestry tourism. Many consumers have planned trips based on their DNA results. At the destination, they may visit museums and even attend a local cultural festival.

Adventure Tourism

If a consumer’s idea of the ultimate travel experience is an active outdoor adventure, there are many tour operators that are ready to help them fulfill their needs. The many examples of adventure tourism include zip lining, surfing, safaris and hiking. For the extreme adventure enthusiast, tours are operated in riskier activities such as skydiving and mountain climbing.

Dark Tourism

Dark Tourism is a kind of tourism that explores the macabre or darker part of world history. Examples of this include visits to World War II era sites such as concentration camps like Dachau or Auschwitz. Some brave souls like to explore catacombs located underneath cities like Paris, where you will see stacks of bones from overflowing 17th century cemeteries. Tourists interested in natural disasters may visit the ancient city of Pompeii to explore the ruins and view the citizens entombed in the ash from that fateful day in 79 AD.

Catacombs in Paris

Luxury Experiences

Luxury experience travel packages are available to those that want and can afford the best. Consumers can spend some time in luxurious hotel rooms or homes that differ greatly from where they currently reside. This market also concentrates on a personalized experience, where the traveler communicates their specific preferences or needs to the property which arranges all details before arrival.

Wellness Tourism

is a rapidly growing travel trend. In 2017, the wellness market grossed approximately $639 billion USD and is predicted to grow about seven and half percent yearly through 2022.  Spa experiences can be arranged for those who want to spend time pampering themselves. They can schedule various spa and beauty treatments and even a couples massage. India has become the forerunner destination in the wellness tourism sector. In India many venues offer yoga classes, meditation specific retreats and many other wellness programs.

Each traveler out there has their own idea of their ultimate travel experience. The days of dull and ordinary vacations are long over. As the travel experience trend continues, the industry will see more consumers from all age and economic groups seek their own unique travel experiences. Now that the pandemic is winding down, people will be eager to come back into travel with more passion for the experience than ever before.

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This article originally appeared on

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Wednesday 21st of April 2021

Interesting to experience travel and tourism in so many different ways. Think I’ve been doing it wrong all these years ;-)


Wednesday 21st of April 2021

I love the idea of experience tourism versus just going to a place and sitting at a resort (I can do that closer to home). I love immersing myself in a new place and soaking in the experience

Kashlee Kucheran

Wednesday 21st of April 2021

We couldn't agree with you more! :D


Monday 19th of April 2021

Now that I'm in my 70s I look back and wish I had done things like this but I was to busy defending out country to even think of it.


Monday 19th of April 2021


It's never too late to start. I'm not much younger than you but pre-pandemic my wife and I had been doing this annually and if I can, you can too. Given the higher risk of Covid complications that our age brings, you and I need to choose destinations and activities wisely, but age is no barrier. Hope to meet you on the road sometime.