Brighter Thinking

Transformative Travel – an opportunity for transformation and a continuing trend for 2018

Due to our busy lives, more consumers are seeing holidays as time to reflect. Cue the latest trend in tourism: Transformative Travel.  

Transformative Travel is about giving us the chance to check in with ourselves, engage with something ‘meaningful’ or seek a richer experience. This might be a yoga retreat, a walking holiday or a course where you can hone your skills in cooking or painting – anything that provides the tourist with opportunity for ‘meaningful transformation’.

In January 2017 the Transformative Travel trend was picked up by Vogue magazine, which published an article entitled ‘Why Transformative Travel will be the travel trend of 2017’. More recently the trend was covered by Style magazine (‘Why transformative travel is the next luxury trend’).

Transformative Travel is another form of ‘Experiential Travel’, where tourists explore unusual places, learn from different cultures and hope they can use their experience for the greater good. This is at the heart of Responsible Tourism. As more organisations are looking for creative and unique ways to engage with, and communicate responsible or sustainable tourism, we recommend a focus on how we can encourage the travel industry to engage with Transformative Travel. This new trend represents a real opportunity for all of us, both to make Responsible Tourism mainstream and also to drive sales.

Perhaps, as a start, this is an opportunity for tour operators to rebrand/position existing products and services. However, if the trend continues, it makes good business sense to engage further and adjust marketing to reach those who we regard as ‘Eco-Lux’ clients – ethically-minded tourists with a desire to have real holiday ‘experiences’, and who have plenty of disposable income. 

Our top tip for tour operators wanting to reach this market is to consider listing some itineraries/experiences with an OTA such as Responsible Travel (RT). RT has spent years growing traffic to its website and has built a huge database of Transformative Travellers, all looking for similar experiences – a quick win if you have not considered them before.   

We will leave you with Vogue’s top 9 transformative destinations and one of my personal favourites, Formentera, in the Balearic Islands.

  1. Bali, Indonesia
  2. Tulum, Mexico
  3. Oaxaca, Mexico
  4. Marrakech, Morocco
  5. Kauai, Hawaii
  6. Ojai, California
  7. Mount Shasta, California
  8. Lake Titicaca, Peru
  9. Ibiza, Spain
  10. Formentera, Balearic Islands  


Article Author: Trudi Pearce

Partner – Marketing & Responsible Tourism  


Useful Links

If you would like to read more about Transformative Travel, we recommend you read Jeremy Smith’s book ‘Transforming Travel’ available on Amazon via the link below:-


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