We reveal the top travel trends for 2024

From gig tripping to 'Bleisure', we take a deep dive into the key travel trends for the North East for 2024

Travel Trends 2024

In an industry as dynamic as travel and tourism, staying ahead of trends is crucial for businesses and regions alike. A new year brings new opportunities so it’s important to know the trends and to stay on top of them all year round. As we step into 2024, the North East of England is poised to benefit from many travel trends, including gig tripping, business/leisure trips, luxury on a budget and dupes.

Despite lingering challenges posed by the effects of COVID-19 and the cost-of-living crisis, figures for 2022 revealed the North East’s tourism sector to be worth £5.4bn. However, the region continues to have the lowest international visitor numbers and spend of any region in England. It seems that although people are still travelling, they intend to spend much less than they might have previously. Nonetheless, the region holds immense potential to tap into current traveller preferences and convince people that we’re worth their money.

Gig Tripping

The concept of gig tripping – travelling elsewhere to see an artist perform live – has been named as Skyscanner’s number one trend of 2024. With an increasing number of global superstars, the likes of Taylor Swift and Beyoncé, announcing world tours, it’s no surprise that gig tripping is a priority for a lot of travellers in 2024. In a survey of US travellers, 60% of people would consider travelling overseas to see an artist perform if it was more cost effective. An Expedia survey found 30% of travellers would travel outside of their home city for a concert because tickets were cheaper elsewhere and 44% would use travelling for a concert as an excuse to visit a new destination. Relatively lower-profile artists playing in smaller locations were also found to give travellers more flexibility in their travel budget, which is great for areas like the Ouseburn, which have a thriving independent scene.

Cities in our region have already seen a boom in live music tourism thanks to high-profile acts, most notably in June when Sam Fender played St James’ Park in Newcastle the same weekend that Pink played Sunderland’s Stadium of Light, as well as Beyoncé at the Stadium of Light in May. With a host of popular artists set to play in the region including Doja Cat, Bruce Springsteen and even Girls Aloud, as well as more niche artists like Noah Kahan and Bring Me The Horizon, we can expect to see all kinds of tourists from far and wide who will be looking for places to stay, eat and visit while here. Gig tripping not only aids short-term tourism, but also the region long after artists have been and gone by increasing its visibility and setting it up as a fantastic location for live music.

Business leisure

One continuing trend is ‘bleisure’ trips – a combination of business and leisure. One noteworthy finding is that more than a third of Gen Z and Millennial business travellers have expressed they plan to extend business trips to enjoy leisure time alongside their work obligations. Bleisure travel trends have been on the rise since 2022 and offer destinations a lucrative opportunity to welcome tourists that may not have visited the city otherwise. Around 46% of global full-time and self-employed workers plan to have a business or bleisure trip in 2024 and 24% of global business travellers plan to travel with a friend or a family member on their business trips. One way to take advantage of this may be for hotels and restaurants to collaborate with local partners and offer deals, for example to conference delegates and others visiting for work-related purposes. Knowing when visitors are bleisure trippers is vital to catering to their needs and offering ways to unwind. NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau work to bring more conferences and events to our region – if you are a leisure provider or accommodation who wants to cater more or offer deals to business travellers, get in touch now at conventionbureau@ngi.org.uk.

Luxury on a budget

Research also shows luxury on a budget as an emerging trend for 2024. People having less disposable income doesn’t mean they want to compromise on holiday fun – Skyscanner has noted motivation from travellers to find luxury where they can and within budget, with 42% of travellers booking holiday homes with outdoor amenities they cannot afford at home or want to try before buying. For the North East, this presents ample opportunity to highlight its affordable and luxurious experiences. VisitEngland data has shown a 4% increase in intentions to take overnight domestic trips over the next year, but also plans to cut spending on accommodation (32%) and eating out (29%). Many travellers believe that fine dining is out of their budget, but restaurants like Blackfriars and Six @ BALTIC provide a fantastic, upmarket culinary experience without having to break the bank. Showcasing how our region can cater to a range of experiences and budgets not only attracts visitors looking for a one-time budget getaway but it may also encourage repeat visitors and word of mouth recommendations to friends and family.

Dupe destinations

Related to the idea of luxury on a budget, dupes, short for duplicates, refer to the concept of finding similar, affordable alternatives to popular products, big on TikTok in the worlds of fashion and beauty. By the same token, destination dupes provide travellers with the option of going somewhere different and less explored. Expedia found the top reasons for finding alternative destinations were affordability (61%), crowdedness (60%), and authenticity of culture (26%). With 1 in 3 people already saying they have booked a dupe, our region has the perfect opportunity to jump on this trend.

Newcastle has been compared to cities in the UK such as Liverpool, which was awarded Expedia’s official dupe to London. Similarities that could be focused on include museums and art galleries, the football stadium as well as the general city vibe and heritage, with the BALTIC, Laing Art Gallery and Biscuit Factory being great examples of art and culture in our city, St James’ Park and NUFC’s successes a perfect draw for fans of sport and football, and a number of heritage listed buildings and beautiful sights to cater for those looking for a city escape. Other cities in the region could also be considered dupes, such as Sunderland for Brighton, Durham for York and Northumberland and the Coast for Cornwall. While trends like dupes do rely in part on what’s ‘in’, there are several holidays that don’t really go out of fashion such as city breaks, beach escapes and going camping – things our region offers in abundance.

As we step into 2024, the North East is ready to harness knowledge of key travel trends to reinvigorate the tourism sector. Despite challenges from COVID-19 and other economic strains, the growth of the region’s tourism industry holds promise. Trends like gig tripping for live music experiences, the rise of bleisure trips combining business and leisure to increase spend, the demand for luxury on a budget and appeal of destination dupes offer numerous opportunities for the region’s growth. Notably, gig tripping has already proven successful in 2023, drawing tourists to high-profile events. The region can strategically position itself as an interesting alternative destination, showcasing its affordable luxury, cultural richness, and unique attractions to attract diverse travellers and foster long-term sustainability in the ever-evolving travel and tourism landscape of 2024 and beyond.


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