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Authentic Experiences: The Rise of Experiential Travel in Australia

The Australian travel industry looks promising in 2024. With international arrivals tipped to return to pre-pandemic levels, local tour operators remain optimistic despite cost-of-living pressures. Up to 1 in 12 Australians work in our country’s second-largest service export. Therefore, this long-awaited tourism rebound can’t come fast enough.

To capitalise on tourism’s triumphant return, companies must consider one key trend. In this blog, we’ll discuss the rise of experiential travel in Australia.

Experiential Travel

Touted as the next big trend, experiential travel refers to immersive adventures fostering a deeper connection with each destination. Travellers no longer wish to settle for surface-level interactions like sightseeing tours and all-inclusive resorts.

As AAT Kings CEO Ben Hall told Australian Traveller: “Historically, people might have gone to a destination to see it and hear about it. But these days, they actually want to immerse themselves in it, discover it and understand it better.”

Authentic Cultural Immersion

Data backs this theory up. According to a Skyscanner survey, travellers are choosing cultural experiences over attractions. About 54% of respondents considered culture an important factor, while only 49% said the same about sites.

Millennials and Gen Z, who grew up in the digital era, have a keen eye for spotting inauthenticity. The younger generations value local guides and cultural immersion more than whirlwind sightseeing stints. Indigenous experiences have become sought-after among Australians from all walks of life.

Farm-to-Table Food and Beverages

Our bellies are a major driver behind Australia’s experiential travel boom. Thanks to a robust food and beverage industry, travellers needn’t settle for second-rate fare. Many foodies seek experiences based on culinary desires, with vineyard-hopping and restaurant tours on the rise.

The best experiential tourism providers placate tastebuds through authentic farm-to-table food. Also known as the zero-kilometre movement, this expanding gastronomic trend sees restaurateurs grow, harvest, and serve ingredients in the same location. Stalwarts like Harvest Newrybar and Husk (a paddock-to-bottle distillery) lead the charge in Northern NSW.

Nature-Based Adventures

Bucket-list attractions like Uluru and the 12 Apostles remain popular. But more travellers are seeking out experiential adventures in nature. From kayaking to hiking and downhill mountain biking, these activities enhance natural immersion.

And they’re not only for gung-ho outdoorsy types. Most nature-adventure experiences cater to people of modest fitness levels.

Health & Wellness

The health and wellness industry soared after COVID-19, with spas and bathhouses sprouting up to meet demand. Many hotels and wellness centres combine pampering with other experiential favourites, such as gastronomic getaways.

Another growing trend is building wellness centres in pristine natural settings. The multi-award-winning Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat, for example, owes much of its success to its pristine hinterland location.

Kiff & Culture: The Experts on Experiential Travel in Australia

Experiential travel is at the essence of everything we do. Rather than cookie-cutter sightseeing tours, we delve deep into our region’s rich cultural tapestry. We aim to deliver authentic and meaningful experiences that showcase the culture of Southeast Queensland and Northern NSW.

From cuisine to Indigenous and nature-based adventures, Kiff & Culture is your go-to experiential travel provider.

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