Flight Centre Travel Group’s luxury retail brand, Scott Dunn, has offered insight into the motivations, interests and trending destinations for luxury travellers. While the UK-based luxury leisure travel business doesn’t have a presence in the local region (its offices are in the UK, US and Singapore), many of the trends of their HNW audience are likely to strike a chord with those of Aussies and Kiwis, or at least be of interest.
Also tomorrow, 31 January, marks the 12-month anniversary that FCTG revealed it had acquired Scott Dunn for $211 million.
In 2024, Scott Dunn found that meaningful moments are at the heart of travellers’ wishlists, and the act of slowing down to explore further and for longer is influencing this year’s travel trends.
From the glamour and leisurely indulgence of rail travel to France taking centre stage, the group rounded up the top luxury travel trends for 2024, and married that intel with booking data over the past year to establish its list of what and where people are travelling to.
Rail and Sail Renaissance:
For many, meaningful travel equates to slowing down and enjoying the journey as much as the destination. The romance and nostalgia (not to mention low carbon footprint) of travelling by high-glamour rail and epic boat journeys is becoming increasingly popular for Scott Dunn guests.
The return of the Eastern Oriental Express to Malaysia’s rails is top of guests’ wishlists for 2024, while cruise considerers are also beginning to dominate the travel landscape. From remote Antarctic expeditions on board the Silver Endeavour to a cultural and culinary journey through the Amazon on board an Aqua Expeditions vessel, this is cruising for the most discerning of travellers.
Health to Self:
Taking the opportunity to travel whilst fit and able was a key outcome of this year’s survey, and getting active outdoors ranked at the top of respondents’ travel wishlists. In 2024, Sri Lanka’s rich tapestry is predicted to be high in demand for these meaningful trips. From embracing the healing powers of indigenous medicine and Ayurvedic practices to embarking on a guided hike along the newly opened Pekoe Trail – a 300km walking route that winds through Sri Lanka’s Central Highlands – the island is set to be a top destination to visit for wellbeing in 2024.
The Extended Stopover:
With 45% of respondents planning to take longer holidays and 38% planning to take more holidays in 2024 than this year, getting creative with indirect flight routes to maximise each trip is part of the in-the-know magic available to Scott Dunn’s guests. An imaginative flight route provides the opportunity to explore two destinations for the price of one airfare. Gateway destinations to watch in 2024 are the Philippines en route to Australia and South Korea as a pre-Japan stopover.
A surge in decision-making fatigue combined with a continued desire to get the best value possible from a luxury holiday means that travellers are more eager than ever to experience all-inclusive offerings. Bookings for full-board safaris and all-inclusive luxury lodges are on the rise, as guests take full advantage of the amenities included, from gourmet à la carte dining and personal butler service, to guided excursions and local community visits.
40% of respondents are planning a holiday to celebrate a milestone occasion in 2024 – from anniversaries to birthdays, and honeymoons to family reunions. In fact, the number of multi-generational family groups travelling with Scott Dunn has doubled in 2023 compared to 2021 and increasingly, Scott Dunn has witnessed nostalgia playing an important role in the location choice.
The survey revealed grandparents wanting to share their special memories of a destination, and with age ranges spanning from eight to 80 with a variety of interests at play. From reunions at an incredible private home in South Africa to epic parties in private Scottish castles with bagpipers, roaring fires and flowing whisky, or even snorkelling in Belize followed by a gourmet dinner on a private yacht, these milestone occasions deserve a memorable experience
Vive la France:
With France projected to become the most-visited country on Earth in 2025 and voted the #1 destination to visit in 2024 by Scott Dunn’s guests, the French destination experts at Scott Dunn have relaunched their collection of hotels and experiences across the country. Particularly exciting for history enthusiasts, who, in commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the D-Day Landings this June, can explore the beaches of Normandy by vintage military vehicle.
Meet the Masters:
Travel for Scott Dunn’s guests is not just about discovering a destination, it’s about enriching their lives through new ideas, connections and experiences. Luxury travellers are more eager than ever to learn from local experts during their travels, whether that’s exploring the Vatican after-hours with an art historian, practising French over a glass of wine with a local legend in the Medoc, or learning to track animals in the wilds of Tanzania.
As experts in family travel, Scott Dunn has spotted a growing trend of teenagers’ choice trips. The content children absorb on TikTok and YouTube continues to influence the destination choice for the next family holiday, with Iceland trending for 2024.