New 2022 Trend Report Finds Outdoor Experiences Still Top-of-Mind

Viator has released its 2022 Trend Report, measuring booking trends made on its website from 2019 to 2021 to reveal the biggest trends that could be taking over in 2022.

2021 was a year that brought many back to travel again, and half of Americans name travel as the biggest highlight of their year. Many were more interested in outdoor experiences, with just under half (48 percent) of all Viator bookings made were for outdoor experiences.


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Forty-eight percent of people also booked closer-to-home experiences as they began traveling outside of their hometowns and expanding their comfort radius.

The demand for outdoor experiences rose exponentially compared to 2019. Water sports activities showed the highest percent of growth from 2019 levels, rising 311 percent in demand. Cruises, sailing or water tours rose 122 percent, while other outdoor activities rose 153 percent, proving once more that 2021 really was the year that Americans truly appreciated getting outside.

Meanwhile, others were more interested in personal growth, with classes and workshops growing 209 percent last year.

“It’s been a challenging couple of years for the travel and experiences sector, but there’s good news: travelers travel,” said Laurel Greatrix, Vice President of Communications and Brand at Viator. “The desire to experience new cultures, learn new skills, and create memories that last a lifetime. That’s why cultural and theme tours continue to be among the top categories, and the classes and workshops category grew by over 200%.”

Destination popularity also grew in North America especially, with demand for experiences in Tulum soaring a stunning 1665 percent! Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and Denali National Park all saw record numbers of bookings. Denali, which saw the lowest rise in demand, still recorded a 698 increase in bookings.

As we begin looking at the trends that will shape the rest of this year, Viator believes that 2022 will be a stronger year for travel than 2019, and that Americans will spend more on travel and travel experiences than in the past. It’s also expected that more travelers will travel by air now that the federal transportation mask mandate has ended.

“The uncertainty of COVID variants will certainly continue to drive demand for outdoor and regional experiences,” she added. “That said, as travel restrictions evolve and change, we’d expect that desire to experience and explore to grow beyond our borders. We’re already seeing more international destinations find their way back into the top 10, with cities like Rome, Paris, Reykjavik, Dubai, and London among the leading cities.”

The top destinations booked by Viator customers for 2022 made through January 11, 2022 are Oahu and Maui in Hawaii; Las Vegas, Nevada; New York City, New York; Rome, Italy; Paris, France; Reykjavik, Iceland; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Cancun, Mexico and London, England.

After two years without experiencing the fullness of life and traveling, experiential activities are going to be top-of-mind for many travelers, not just younger Gen Z and Millennial travelers who often lead the pack in their desire for immersive experiences, and travelers are most likely going to be willing to pay a little bit more for them, too.