INDUSTRY OUTLOOK

Backroads Announces 2022 Travel Trends and Gears Up for Busiest Year Ever

Backroads | December 28, 2021

Backroads, the leader in active travel, announced their forecast for top travel destinations in 2022 based on advance bookings and inquiries. Europe is at the top of many travelers’ lists next year, with huge demand for trips in Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Croatia, Greece and Iceland. Many newcomers to active travel are booking adventures already, especially easygoing Dolce Tempo tours, and e-bikes are continuing to become more popular with guests of all ages. Backroads is anticipating that most of their North American trips will sell out once again, in line with the 2021 trend of strong interest in US National Parks and luxurious domestic adventures. As this eventful year comes to a close, Backroads is finishing strong and poised to have their biggest year ever in 2022.  

Backroads’ 2021 year-end highlights include:
  • Backroads had its best year of all time in the US in 2021. Domestic bookings were up 45% compared to 2019, the last pre-pandemic benchmark year, and virtually all US departures sold out. 
  • The number of first-time travelers with Backroads nearly doubled over 2019, as people incorporated their newfound passions for walking, hiking and biking into their vacations.
  • Top-selling trips in 2021 included Canyonlands, Yellowstone, Maine, San Juan Islands, Alaska, California Wine Country, Hawaii, Santa Barbara & Ojai, Crater Lake, Vermont and Yosemite in the US, and Croatia, Iceland, Greece, France, Portugal and Spain in Europe. 
  • Luxury experiences close to home saw a surge in popularity. Backroads' new Aspen tour (which includes three nights at the iconic Hotel Jerome) sold out immediately, as did the company’s Newfoundland adventure, which features lodging at the famed Fogo Island Inn, and its California Wine Country Walking trip with lodging at luxurious hideaways Montage and Solage.
  • Popular with travelers around the world were Backroads' Dolce Tempo tours. These easygoing walking, multi-adventure and e-biking trips completely sold out in 2021 and are booking quickly in 2022.
  • Adventure travel featuring invigorating activity in wide-open, natural spaces was hugely popular with travelers of all types, including families, couples and solo travelers.

Based on advance guest booking and inquiries, Backroads is anticipating the following trends for 2022:
  • More than 30% of guests on multi-adventure and biking trips will opt for e-bikes, which are custom-built for Backroads and included in the trip price.
  • Europe will continue to see pent-up demand manifesting in sky-high bookings, with all the European countries that opened early and were popular in 2021 seeing strong traveler interest. Top-selling countries include Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Croatia, Greece and Iceland.
  • North America, which had its biggest year ever in 2021, will continue to be popular with travelers looking to stick close to home.
  • US National Park trips will again completely sell out.
  • Demand for travel in all parts of Canada from Banff to Newfoundland is skyrocketing. 
  • Family travel is up across all family segments: Teens & Kids, Older Teens & 20s and 20s & Beyond.
  • Bookings for easygoing Dolce Tempo adventures will maintain their threefold increase compared to 2021, as travelers of all fitness levels look to spend active time outdoors.
  • Active River Cruises will book up quickly with Bordeaux, Danube and Portugal’s Douro leading the way.
Working in active, outdoor travel continues to appeal, with more than 450 Backroads Trip Leaders and Field Staff returning next season for a 90% retention rate. The company expects to hire close to another 350 additional Trip Leaders from 6,000 applicants for jobs in 2022.

“If there’s one thing we’ve learned during our two years of operating trips during the pandemic, it’s that things change rapidly, Spring, summer, and fall are a long time away when it comes to COVID-19. We’re monitoring government responses to the latest surge and keeping a close eye on border reopenings and local policies.”

-Tom Hale, Backroads Founder and President.

Regardless of what happens this winter, 2022 is shaping up to be an incredible year for adventure travel. Based on what we saw in the summer 2021 season, we expect travel in Europe to come back strong, with France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Croatia topping the list of travelers everywhere,” said Hale. “People are eager to get back out exploring, and active travel is the way they want to go. Whether it’s on a bike or an e-bike, hiking or walking, with family, friends or solo, we anticipate next year to be Backroads' biggest year ever.”  
  
About Backroads     
Backroads was founded in 1979 by Tom Hale and has been a leading innovator in active and adventure travel for over 40 years. The company offers biking, walking & hiking and multi-adventure tours, small ship active cruises, private trips and family trips designed for three distinct age groups: Teens & Kids (typically 9-16), Older Teens & 20s (17+) and 20s & Beyond (adult kids through their late 20s). Backroads hosts thousands of guests each year—75% of whom are repeat guests or referrals from past guests—in hundreds of locations across the globe. For more information, please visit backroads.com, or call 800-462-2848.For more Backroads information, visit: backroads.com

Spotlight

Traveling involves a lot of preparation, but nowadays it is not that complicated to solve those matters anymore. With a smartphone in hand, you can take care of almost everything. The habit of planning the whole trip on the Internet is called "online tourism", and companies such as KAYAK, GOL, and MAPIE went along with the trend. Carolina Sass de Haro, a Brazilian specialist in the tourism sector, explained that in the E-commerce Brazil Forum 2018, stating that the term “online tourism” shouldn’t even be used anymore, as we cannot talk about tourism ignoring the online market.


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