"Travelers are showing high enthusiasm for life-changing adventures far from home." - Brian FitzGerald, O.A.T. CEO.
Optimism is the keyword for the 2023 travel landscape as travelers embrace more distant experiences compared to 2022. Overseas Adventure Travel (O.A.T.), the leader in personalized small group and solo travel for Americans ages 50 and older, announced its top 4 travel trends for 2023.
"Travelers are showing a high level enthusiasm for life-changing adventures far from home, often on their own," said Brian FitzGerald, Chief Executive Officer of O.A.T. "It's a genuine priority for travelers to connect and engage with people from other cultures, and to find ways to give back to communities they visit."
O.A.T. Top 4 Travel Themes for 2023:
1. Africa – Travel to Africa is seeing a resurgence. Botswana, Morocco, and Egypt top the list of popular 2023 trips at O.A.T. In 2022, travelers were more focused on Europe.
People who dream of visiting Africa -- whether on safari on floating down the Nile -- continue to make up for time lost due to the pandemic. These motivated travelers don't want to put off visiting the continent any longer, and their sights are set on 2023.
2. Solos going strong – Women over 50, in particular, are heading out to see the world on their own. According to O.A.T., the number of solo travelers reserving for 2023 is up 24% compared to 2019. Overall, more than 60% of O.A.T. travelers are solos, and the majority are women.
"As a single traveler, you're driving everything," said O.A.T. solo traveler Muriel Forster. "That just gives you a great deal of flexibility. I overheard someone say, 'a once in a lifetime experience.' I thought, 'I don't want this to be once in a lifetime – I want this to be my lifetime!"
Solo travelers are drawn to trips with no single supplement, which can be hundreds or thousands of dollars. O.A.T. offers free single supplements on 92% of its single spaces in 2023.
3. Personalized travel – Travelers want the benefits of expert-led small group tours, but increasingly crave more than a one-size-fits all experience. 2023 will bring continued traveler demand to tailor trips with one's individual preferences. For example, many travelers prefer to arrive early at a destination before a tour starts so they feel acclimated.
At O.A.T., 87% of travelers personalize their trips by arriving early, staying later, adding a stopover at a popular international city, or combining trips. By comparison, just 75% requested personalization in 2018.
4. Regenerative travel – The idea that tourism should leave a destination better than it was before is gaining ground globally. In a nutshell, regenerative travel improves local economies while preserving local cultures and biodiversity. It benefits local people and allows destinations to improve, all while providing authentic experiences to travelers.
O.A.T., through its Grand Circle Foundation, supports projects focused on water, conservation, and renewable energy in the areas to which the company travels. The Water, Sanitation, Hygiene (W.A.S.H.) initiative helps improve the well-being of local people. Access to safe water, adequate sanitation, and proper hygiene education reduces illness and death, and increases socio-economic development leading to a reduction in poverty. The Foundation supports alternative energy sources to reduce carbon emissions and dependency on fossil fuels. Some schools add solar panels as an alternate source of electricity and to reduce operating expenses. Solar lights from the Foundation replace kerosene, reducing illness from soot and smoke and enabling students to study at night, leading to a better education.
O.A.T. provides travelers over 50 with impactful, intercultural experiences that help change people's lives. O.A.T. fosters an intimate and accessible experience, with groups limited to 16 travelers (average of 13) by land and 25 (average of 22) by sea.
ABOUT OVERSEAS ADVENTURE TRAVEL
Established in 1978, Overseas Adventure Travel (O.A.T.) is part of Boston-based Grand Circle Corporation's family of travel companies, which also include Grand Circle Cruise Line and Grand Circle Travel. In 1992, owners Alan and Harriet Lewis established the nonprofit Grand Circle Foundation to support communities in which Grand Circle works and travels, including some 300 humanitarian, cultural, and educational endeavors worldwide—among them, 100 schools, in 50 countries. The Foundation is an entity of the Alnoba Lewis Family Foundation, which has pledged or donated more than $250 million since 1981.
To learn more about O.A.T., please visit oattravel.com