April 19, 2024

Adventure Awaits Journeyers

Discovering the World Anew

The Biggest Trends in Travel in 2024, According to the Pros

10 min read

Culinary tourism has boomed in recent years, topping $805.9 billion globally in 2022 — and it’s expected to keep growing. Travelers are eager to explore a destination through its restaurants, farms, and traditional ingredients and dishes in an ever-growing list of ways. Gearing up for next year’s adventures, we tapped travel and hospitality pros to learn what they expect to see in 2024. From hitting the road with a chef to unpretentious wine tasting and sustainable cocktails, read on for their predictions. 

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Wellness Tourism

“As we showcased in the 2024 Hilton Trends Report, travelers across all generations are more in tune with wellness and want to maintain their routines while on the road. Our newest lifestyle brand, Tempo by Hilton, was born from extensive research and careful consideration of the needs of the modern traveler who is prioritizing wellness on all fronts, whether that’s with our unique cocktail program that features spirited and free-spirited cocktails in equal measure or the partnership with Planet Water Foundation, whose AquaTower water filtration systems bring clean, safe water to communities around the globe.” — Adam Crocini, SVP, global head of F&B brands, Hilton

“Wellness tourism is escalating to be the fastest growing sector of the wellness industry for 2024, and food and beverage will be a big part of traveler’s experiences to detox while on vacation. Minibars that have a focus on functional wellness and dining menus that foster recovery and rejuvenation is a trend we see our travelers gravitating towards.” — Christos Seizis, general manager, Santo Collection, Greece

“Adaptogens and nootropics will be part of the diet for a growing group of mindful eaters, and less alcohol, caffeine, and animal proteins will be consumed in restaurants as the focus shifts to more mushroom-based ‘coffees’, ashwagandha cocktails, and seasonal vegetables.” — Tatiana Rosana, executive chef, Para Maria at Envoy Hotel Boston

“Wellness will be an entirely 360° experience, infiltrating every aspect of hotels in 2024. We’re opening Longfellow Hotel in Spring 2024, and in consulting with sleep experts Sleep Wise Consulting, we’ve uncovered some very interesting trends in the world of ‘functional cocktails.’ Whereas in the past, ‘wellness’ has been quite limited to hotel spas and turndown amenities, we’re seeing a larger emphasis on wellness throughout the hotel experience, inclusive of on-site meals and drinks.” — Tony DeLois, principal, Uncommon Hospitality, Maine

Unpretentious Wine Tasting

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“Travelers want an enriching wine experience without the intimidation or formality of buttoned-up tasting rooms and wineries. Monterey County’s wine experiences hearken back to the unpretentious charm of California wine of the 1970s, providing approachable and down-to-earth encounters amid the picturesque landscapes of rolling hills, farms, mountains, and coastline.” — Kim Stemler, executive director, Monterey County Vintners & Growers Association

Traveling with Chefs 

“In terms of immersive experiences — chef-led gastro trips. Where people can sign up to travel to a region with a chef, shop with and like a chef, cook with and like a chef, and have the opportunity to experience a different culture through one who creates delicious food for a living.” — Evan Hennessey, chef/owner, Stages at One Washington in New Hampshire

“People will continue to book experiences with chefs where they travel abroad and experience the food, wine, and culture of the destination — led by the chefs themselves.”— George Mendes, executive chef, Raffles Boston 

Dining with Locals

“From Prague to Crete, we’ve reached a point where travelers realize that history, culture, and tradition are just as important as flavors when it comes to what they consume. They not only want to eat locally throughout their trip, they want to eat with locals. Some of the most beloved experiences on our trips are activities where our travelers get to join someone for a meal in their home.” —  Tara Cappel, CEO and founder of FTLO Travel

More Immersive Culinary Experiences

“Experiential dining will continue to be big. Farm to Table, Farm to Flask, and hyper-local all fit this. I can go to Applebee’s in 150 different cities and get the same thing at each one, but when I sit down at a chuck wagon dinner, or I have a locally sourced ribeye on my plate, that’s a travel experience.” — Jim Walter, vice president of sales & marketing, Visit Cheyenne 

“Heading into 2024, we’re seeing greater interest in immersive experiences like cooking classes that allow guests to roll up their sleeves and learn skills they can take home with them. This is particularly true in places like Rome, where most travelers are already familiar with the cuisine, so they are looking for new ways to experience it.” — Stephen Oddo, president of Walks and Devour Tours, City Experiences

“We’re seeing a trend in travelers who want more than just a plate at their meal – they want an experience. We’ve recently expanded our unique offerings to help create extraordinary memories around the table, such as our partnership with Revels in Hand, a London-based private theater group, which can turn your rental dining room into a stage.” – Michele Bayens, director of concierge, onefinestay

Experimental Cocktails

“In the beverage space, new trends including textured cocktails, over-the-top garnishes, and umami flavors will be prominent across menus, while new takes on classic ingredients like cinnamon, sweetened condensed milk, and black tahini will take form in creative ways.” — Scott Gingerich, vice president, restaurants, bars + events, luxury & lifestyle Americas, IHG Hotels & Resorts

Designer Ice 

“Designer ice will continue to be the ultimate luxury for hotels in 2024. At The Shelbourne, we’ve partnered with Serac Ice to revolutionize the role of ice in our cocktails. The specialized freezing and filtration process results in crystal-clear, flavorless ice that serves as a canvas for creative infusions and custom garnishes. Flavors, flowers, and fruits can be encased in the ice, which will come with a copper plate that we can use to imprint our logo into the ice cubes.” — Hector Gutierrez Gomez, bar manager, The Shelbourne in Dublin

Elevated Non-Alcoholic Cocktails

“In the new year, we expect an even greater demand from travelers looking to put their health first – starting with their sleep – and explore a more intentional approach to alcohol. This year at our wellness retreat in Rancho Mirage, California, we rolled out a new menu of NA cocktails following an increase in guest demand and to support our guests’ intentions for sound sleep, better recovery, and improved physical and cognitive performance.” — Dr. Vishal Patel, Co-president and chief medical officer, Sensei 

“An increased prioritization of mental and physical wellbeing has been a huge driver of the no-low abv movement. In response, Hyatt introduced its Zero Proof, Zero Judgment beverage program in late 2021 to ensure that anyone looking for non-alcoholic options when visiting our hotels and restaurants is met with understanding and empowerment through thoughtful beverage options. We have seen such a positive response from cultivating more inclusive offerings like Zero Proof, Zero Judgment (which has grown by 70% since launching in late 2021), namely the fact that non-alcoholic cocktails allow our guests to prioritize wellbeing without lessening the experience of enjoying a delicious and elevated beverage in a social setting.” — Miranda Breedlove, national director of bars, lifestyle operations, Hyatt

“Over the past 18 months, we have seen a huge increase in demand for mocktails at Rosewood Bermuda. We foresee this trend expanding across the hospitality industry over the next 12 months and are taking steps to expand our non-alcoholic beverage options in preparation for this surge.” — Serge Bottelli, director of food and beverage operations, Rosewood Bermuda

Destination-Focused Dining

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“As a brand firmly planted in our Caribbean roots, Sandals Resorts’ passion for immersing guests in the culture and unique flavors of our island homes is part of our DNA. Launching our Island Inclusive program has reimagined the all-inclusive experience by creating a path for guests to discover locally celebrated restaurants while supporting small businesses across the Caribbean — all as part of their stay. We are answering the call for locally driven all-inclusive experiences and connecting travelers with the soul of our destinations’ communities, from Curaçao to the Bahamas, and soon Jamaica, and beyond.” — Luke Mathot, VP of product innovation, food & beverage, Sandals Resorts International 

“We’ve noticed a growing appetite among our travelers for culinary experiences that emphasize locally sourced food and destination-focused menus. We’re embracing this through the introduction of our Global Fresh Fish Program and our collaboration with world-renowned Chef Masaharu Morimoto, unveiling his first-ever standalone restaurant at sea, Morimoto by Sea.” — Michael Stendebach, vice president of food and beverage, Holland America Line

The End of the Neverending Tasting Menu

“The concept of the 2-to-3-hour eating session is waning, and sharing with multiple taste sensations is happily coming into the fore. People want choices and don’t have the attention span to sit for hours. We’ll see a trend toward more sharing, collective plates, variety on the table inviting diners to explore.” — Jonathan Heath, head of the brand’s food & beverage, Six Senses

Hyper-Local Ingredients

“In a shift away from larger supply chains, chefs are redefining the local culinary experience by foraging and sourcing ingredients from their immediate surroundings. This movement goes beyond mere sustainability; it’s a celebration of the unique flavors, textures, and stories embedded in local ecosystems. For example, Jackson County, NC is the only place in the world where you can find Cherokee Key Limes, and the culinary team at ILDA has begun infusing the fruit in dishes and even making its own Limoncello.” — Nick Breedlove, executive director, Jackson County NC TDA

“Travelers from all around the world are seeking authentic dining experiences that showcase local and regional flavors and the culture.” — Kyung Soo Carrol, chef at The Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Beach

Sustainability Remains Center Stage

“With the changes in our world in the last four years, the culinary preferences of our guests have changed as well. We see the trend for 2024 for dishes to be healthy and simple with a favorable impact on the environment.” — Manuel Fernandez, executive chef, Amangani

“Zero waste drinks, with the help of techniques such as the use of house-grown ingredients, fermenting, and pickling, will take center stage. Here at Apéritif Bar, we have a greenhouse/garden on-property that I take guests down to select herbs and spices which will be used in the cocktails.”  — Panji Wisrawan, head mixologist at Apéritif Bar, Viceroy Bali

“Plant-based seafood is increasing in popularity as a sustainable way of eating seafood.” — Danny Girolomo, executive chef at Wit & Wisdom, The Lodge at Sonoma, California

The ‘No Menu’ Menu

“People looking for more immersive culinary experiences by way of no-choice menus where they feel like they are really in the world of the chef and their thoughts. Consumers want to experience a region the way a chef sees it. People are looking to be a part of the experience, not just watch it from afar, which is why there’s been a steady increase in interactive chefs’ counters.” — Evan Hennessey, chef/owner of Stages at One Washington, New Hampshire

“Gen Z is one fussy diner coming into play; they have been brought up with hipster parents who are already particular about their food. Gen Z will be taking a menu then asking you for a dozen substitutions — hyper-customization, they know food, sustainability, ethical everything, and they know what they want.” — Jonathan Heath, head of the brand’s food & beverage, Six Senses

Foodie Field Trips

“We’re seeing the growing demand for “Foodie Field Trips” in Cashiers, NC, where visitors have the opportunity to forage their own ingredients and take classes in bread baking, cheesemaking, the art of butchery, coffee, craft cocktails, and distilling, culinary gardening, over-fire cookery, and so much more.” — Nick Breedlove, executive director, Jackson County NC TDA

Better Kids’ Meals

“Healthy children’s food options will shine in 2024. We need to have better alternatives to chicken fingers and french fries on every kid’s menu. Not that there’s anything wrong with them, however, it’s important to offer thoughtful and educational menu items for the youngest diners.” — Nathan Beriau, executive chef, Montage Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina

Alfresco Dining

“We’ve gotten many more requests over the past year or so that bring nature into their dining experiences. For example, we recently added floating breakfasts to our offerings since we saw an increase in requests as well as private lunches in our on-property garden and a scenic picnic at a ‘secret’ river on property.” – Juanita Grizzle, Sales and Marketing, The Tryall Club, Jamaica

Traveling to Learn About Local Ingredients and the History of Food

“We are seeing more guests really interested and intrigued about the sustainability and provenance of the produce that they are enjoying in restaurants. Guests traveling want to enjoy and learn about the local produce – where it has come from, who the supplier is and really learn from their incredible knowledge.” — Tom Kitchin, chef/owner, The Kitchin, Edinburgh

“We have seen that travelers are increasingly drawn to the culinary heritage of destinations, yearning to understand the local ingredients behind each meal – such as pandan leaves and wild betel. Initiatives like the field-to-fork movement offer them a journey into sourcing practices, highlighting the process of weaving responsibly sourced ingredients into the rich tapestry of the local cuisine.” — Valerio Pachetti Gast, executive chef of One&Only Desaru Coast, Malaysia

“We have also seen a desire from our guests to learn more about the origins of Whisky and the historical journey it has taken. To pair with this interest, we are looking to bring a more interactive experience, highlighting the significant role Braemar and the surrounding Glens have played in this road to the modern dram!” — Mark Shedden, Bertie’s Whisky manager, Fife Arms, Scotland 

“We are seeing our guests not only want to enjoy fine cuisine during their travels but want to dive even further and learn more about the traditions, practices and ingredients that make up these dishes and honor the destination. We see cooking and sharing meals as an invitation into one’s home and traditions – a practice that connects us across cultural boundaries.” — Jean-Claude Messant, managing director, Royal Mansour, Morocco 

Trolleys and Tableside Preparations

“For a while now, food has been trending towards more casual and comforting experiences. I expect that this year we will see that start to shift a bit towards more opulent and refined experiences — cooking that includes tableside preparations, carts, and a bit more excess.” — Eric Leveille, executive chef  at Lacroix at The Rittenhouse, Philadelphia

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