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‘Sportcations’ and ‘boomerang tourism’ are the travel trends to watch out for in 2024

Sporty types are driving travel trends this year. (Nielson Beach Clubs)
Sporty types are driving travel trends this year. (Nielson Beach Clubs)

Dreaming about your next holiday? As you plan your summer 2024 getaway, these travel trends might provide some inspiration.

Sporty and adventurous travellers are driving modern trends this year, according to a new report by Nielson Beach Clubs, as well as a growing desire to spend more time with family.

British holidaymakers are also increasingly looking for vacations that offer experiences beyond lazing on the beach and dining out, as activities and adventure in order to create new memories take priority.

A particular sport that has exploded in popularity in the US is also starting to permeate British culture: pickleball. It is reportedly the UK’s fastest-growing sport, and more people are looking to play it while they travel.

The report also highlighted how the cost of living is affecting how we go on holiday. With prices of everyday items increasing on what feels like a day to day basis, many British adults are turning to their parents for summer holidays abroad to save on costs.

Commenting on the report, David Taylor, CEO at Neilson, tells Yahoo UK: "Our trends report certainly confirms lots of practices we've seen in the last few years.

"'Boomerang Tourism' came as no surprise to us, with the cost of living rising, we see lots of families coming to Neilson resorts to enjoy each other's company and get that quality time in, whilst in a beautiful and sunny setting.

"There's truly something for everyone, whether a water sports person, or happier on land, a Neilson Beach Club holiday caters for everyone who would like to do more than lie on a sunlounger on holiday.

"People are increasingly using their time away from work to not only recharge their batteries mentally but stay in shape physically. We call this 'Switching Off by Switching On' and this is representative of the 'Relactive Holidays' trend we see today and we expect to continue to grow."

He adds: "We know lots of people are committed to workout regimes when at home - so why leave this behind when you go on holiday? Besides, doesn't that glass of rose always taste better once you've been active and earned it?"

These are the top 2024 travel trends, according to Nielson Beach Clubs:

Sportcation

A “sportcation” is a portmanteau of “sporting vacation”, which sees holidaymakers taking part in activities while learning a new skill.

The report reveals that nearly two-thirds (65%) of Brits think it is important for their holiday destination to have a range of activities that all generations can participate in and enjoy.

In addition, nearly half (42%) of Brits said they would like to learn a new sport while on holiday, and 41% of those surveyed said this interest is because they can’t try certain sports as easily while at home.

Picklecore

Pickleball is picking up pace in the UK, with 38% of people interested in playing the sport while on their travels.

To meet demand, Nielson Beach Clubs plans to quadruple the number of pickleball courts it has this year.

Pickleball is reportedly the fastest-growing sport in the UK, having already exploded in popularity in the US. (Nielson Beach Clubs)
Pickleball is reportedly the fastest-growing sport in the UK, having already exploded in popularity in the US. (Nielson Beach Clubs)

Mark Petchey, Nielsen Beach Clubs Racket Sports Ambassador, said: "We have seen a rise in holidaymakers wanting to get more out of their holiday and get active - either by learning a new skill like Pickleball or even bettering their skills and technique with a sport they’ve played for years, like tennis."

Boomerang tourism

Despite the rising cost of living, demand for holidays remains as high as ever - and some people are finding ways around it by turning to their parents.

This trend sees a rise in adult children re-joining their parents for summer holidays abroad. More than half (54%) said they would join their parents on holiday if they offered, with a similar percentage saying they would do so because their parents would cover the cost for them.

It comes as the UK sees a surge in “boomerang kids”. The rise in young adults moving back in with their parents because they can’t afford their own home has increased, according to the Office for National Statistics - boomerang tourism is an extension of this.

Relactive personality

“Relactive” is the combination of the words “relaxing” and “active”, and reflects the number of people who just can’t seem to sit still while on holiday.

Sunbathing isn't quite enough for a growing number of travellers, according to a report. (Neilson Beach Clubs)
Sunbathing isn't quite enough for a growing number of travellers, according to a report. (Neilson Beach Clubs)

Although the idea of snoozing on a beach is attractive, in reality, more than a third (35%) of Brits said they can’t relax while sunbathing.

In fact, 29% said they feel most relaxed when they are being active. It might sound counterintuitive, but Nielson Beach Club reported they saw an increase to 91% of holidaymakers taking part in multiple activities while on their break.

Ally Blacllock, operations manager, said: "With more and more people incorporating fitness programmes into their daily routine, we redesigned our fitness offering in 2023 to provide a better blend of cardio, strength and conditioning and holistic classes.

"On the back of these changes, we saw a 14% increase in Beach Club guests participating in fitness classes and it is now our second most popular activity after stand-up paddle boarding."

Repeat retreat

Upon returning from a holiday, most of us feel like we need another one - and more than a third (34%) of Brits are jumping straight into planning their next getaway.

The report found a rise in people booking next year’s trip within one week of returning home, with 38% of respondents saying this is because they want to have something to look forward to.

Solo moon

Young Asian woman carrying suitcase and holding smartphone on hand, walking in airport terminal. Ready to travel. Travel and vacation concept. Business person on business trip
Travelling solo is becoming more conventional. (Getty images)

Finally, travelling solo is becoming more popular as people put their own wellbeing and goals first. This also reflects the rising trend of solo dining, where people are increasingly taking themselves out to restaurants they’ve always wanted to visit without waiting on anyone else to go with them.

While doing things solo might have seemed unconventional in the past, more than two-thirds (69%) of Brits said they would now consider going on holiday by themselves.

More than half (57%) of respondents said this is so they can do whatever they want instead of having to stick to someone else’s itinerary, while 45% said they would travel along to experience new things.

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