Start your 2020 travel journey one step ahead of the rest





Here, on the edge of a new decade, the 'travel experience' is evolving. Where travelers once sought brief encounters with the spectacular, they now seek genuinely meaningful and long-term fulfillment. Now more than ever, travel is becoming a function of life-long wellness - and not something which happens simply 'over there.' We've seen trips and itineraries become increasingly focused on spiritual and bodily betterment; whether through creativity, sustainability, or wellness. The most powerful iterations of this trend don't trade in ephemeral events. Rather, they chart a deeper course; where 'experience' is synonymous with transformational fulfillment, and where individual trips are part of life-long journeys. Lasting change is quickly becoming the new currency in luxury travel. The 'journey' has broken out of its silo. It's here for life.

70% of global consumers prefer to spend on an 'experience' over buying goods.


Orientated around self-actualization, this welcome evolution of the 'experience economy' is something travelers are quickly taking to. This is highlighted in recent Euromonitor International figures, which highlight how 70% of travelers now favor an immersive, fulfilling experience over a more fleeting 'thing'.

There is a growing connection between experiential travel and improved wellbeing. 2020 will see travelers leveraging ever-deeper experiences to fuel personal growth and take greater control over their health.

"The proliferation of the experience economy has seen a greater demand for blockbuster trips. People see through shallow experiences and have a greater nose for the genuinely authentic. What's more, they're going further afield, and that's really been fueled by the sheer ease of discovering new and more nuanced experiences."

- Tom Marchant
Black Tomato co-founder



In 2020, travelers will prioritize their needs. They'll begin to ask, 'Why am I traveling?' Rather than just, 'Where?' Seeing through the superficiality of to-do lists, they're instead finding moments for themselves within planned windows of disconnection, allowing proper time to think expansively, on their feet, in the moment, and within the context of their bodies. This heralds the arrival of the realistic digital detox. Travelers are embracing JOMO (the joy of missing out) rather than falling victim to nomophobia (the fear of being without your phone). They're letting curiosity guide the way and relishing each moment as it happens - even if that means going joyfully off piste. You cannot stage-manage a moment of emergent beauty, but you can create the conditions for its ripening. Ultimately, there is a growing appreciation for personal reflection and finding a real breathing space in a world that's always turned on and never turns off. Unconstrained by the pressure of 'doing it all' and 'ticking it off,' travelers are - gladly - letting their minds and imaginations wander.

Travelers are seeking a more personalized experience where living in the moment means listening to body, mind, and soul, rather than following crowd-sourced ratings on digital devices.

"Part of travel should be about talking, learning, engaging, and being inspired by a place. Whilst technology may assist us in this, I don't believe it will dominate how, or where, we choose to go. It's a great enabler, but we're going to start seeing places, destinations, and experiences encouraging people to place their emphasis simply on 'being there'. When you're in the moment, you have room to properly think."

- Tom Marchant
Black Tomato co-founder

"To be able to fill leisure intelligently is the last product of civilization."

- Bertrand Russell
British Philosopher

69% of consumers prefer offline communication.


70% of consumers admit to staying connected to work on vacation.





In the year ahead - and well beyond - travelers will connect with the natural world more meaningfully, and more directly, than ever before. From forest-bathing, with its soul-enriching passages into ancient woodland, to astrotourism, where travelers will journey to places where the night sky is revealed in its greatest splendor. This isn't about 'disconnecting' from the bustle of modern life; rather, it is about stripping away the strategies of padding and distraction we deploy simply to 'get by'. Purer travel might look spartan, but it is about feeling more - not less. Recent Euromonitor International research shows that some 80% of the global population lives under light-polluted skies. In response, travelers are seeking out destinations where they can find clean air, open skies, and nature unbound. Sometimes, the simplest way to get back our night vision is to turn off the lights.



There's a discernible growth in the number of travelers prioritizing deep relaxation. We have seen an appetite for experiences and destinations that help to promote calmness, whether by absorbing unpolluted Peruvian cosmology alongside an Andean shaman or letting silence talk in the unbroken quietude of the Dolomites and Lake Garda.

"There's something really magical in experiencing utter silence. Astrotourism, and the pursuit of natural silence, is an amazing thing and is slowly becoming a huge world movement."

– Tom Marchant
Black Tomato co-founder


Living beneath light-polluted skies has been proven to damage both our physiology and psychology. To combat this, the pursuit of transformative mind-body healing will be a major drive in 2020; with travelers going 'back to nature' to absorb the learnings of the wilderness, before transferring these back to their hectic urban lives.


34% want nature and outdoor activities on vacation.


65% agree that mental wellbeing is the meaning of "being healthy".




The new year will see travelers seeking ever deeper relationships with their food than in previous years. A region's cuisine is a lens into its culture and a driving force for tourism. 2019 saw a shift toward food-inspired travel that is set to grow apace in 2020, as visitors are craving a greater connection to the people behind their dishes; experiencing the journey of a plate from field and farm to table.

Travel and tourism in 2020 will be increasingly tailored toward seeing an area through the eyes, and stomachs, of local tastemakers, restaurateurs, chefs and winemakers; and of the people who are keeping the culinary traditions and innovations of their destination alive.

Travelers seek a human connection behind the food that's put on their table. Increasingly, they want to explore the kitchen, the farm, the field, and the mountainside beyond it. This offers the opportunity to build a deeper, more emotional connection to a place, enabling travelers to venture beyond the fleeting moment of taste and to understand the story of the people and place behind it.

Travelers in 2020 can expect eateries, bars, food stalls, and restaurants to offer a greater understanding of the people and culture behind the food and drink they serve. They can expect to spend meaningful time with chefs and food producers – both inside the kitchen and out. This is in part thanks to the emergence of the farm-to-table movement, and the popularization of shows such as Somebody Feed Phil and the documentary depth of Chef's Table. This trend - in search of the place behind the plate - is reflected in Black Tomato's own Tasting Notes itineraries, and with its Eater Journeys collaborations. Now more than ever, travelers want to eat intelligently and authentically, and to sample the nuances of local culinary scenes and emerging trends.

64% of high-income consumers over the global average are interested in exploring farming/food producers to fulfil their culinary desires.




2020 will see a growth in travelers establishing repeat connections to people and places that have captivated them before, ditching 'tick box' tourism in favor of putting down roots, and creating a home away from home. Visitors are building a rapport with a place's culture, community, and food across multiple, sustained visits. Travelers now realize it's the best way to discover a destination's nuances and, over time, to feel like a local.

Coloured buildings in Sweden, Stockholm


More travelers than ever before are prioritizing an immersion in local culture above shopping, arts, and heritage. 2019 saw over twice as many Black Tomato clients doubling down on a favorite destination as in 2016. 2020 will see further growth in visitors recognizing that while exploration of the world is encouraged, there is enormous value in rediscovery.

Two people walking in the street


"There's a thirst for feeling like a local. Increasingly, travelers are interested in connecting with local people and cultures in a personal way, rejecting the anonymity of a speeding visit. This contains the idea of building a strong link to a place, becoming a part of the community, and giving back, so when you go back each year it starts to become a sort of second home."

- Tom Marchant
Black Tomato co-founder

41% more high-income consumers over the global average look towards volunteering and giving-back holidays.



Tom Marchant Profile Image
TOM MARCHANT Black Tomato co-founder

Tom Marchant is the co-founder of award-winning, tailormade luxury travel company Black Tomato. Recognised as an innovator and leading authority in the industry, Tom founded Black Tomato in 2005 with the aim of creating a business that reflected the needs and personalities of clients for whom the existing travel market offered nothing unique.

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EUROMONITOR INTERNATIONAL Market research provider

Euromonitor International has an extensive network of in-country analysts that provide the depth of local business information required in today's international business environment. From sizing market sales to understanding future product demand, their research expertise covers a robust range of B2C and B2B industries.