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LUXURY TRAVEL AND YACHTING TRENDS OF THE FUTURE

Gamma Destinations

Our Luxury Travel and Yachting Trend Report has been designed to be a resource and a foundation for trend-based strategy for the next five years of luxury travel. Over the next few years and beyond, high-net-worth explorers will increasingly be avoiding over-crowded “Alpha Destinations” such as Machu Picchu in Peru, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Uluru in Australia and famous peaks such as Mount Everest and Kilimanjaro. With China likely reopening in 2023, opening the flood- gates to a vast outbound travel market, as well as the rise of the middle classes in Asia (by 2030, 13% of Singaporeans are expected to be millionaires), competition to see the world’s most recognisable destinations (spurred on by social media promotion) will become fierce. Even “Beta Destinations” such as Bhutan, Rwanda and Antarctica will start to become overly busy at certain times of year.

Pelorus has always been a leader in seeking out the “rare” and “extraordinary” so is well-placed to cater to the rising demand for new discoveries. As luxury travellers dream of even more extreme adventures, there is a greater opportunity to devise trips to emerging Gamma Destinations that offer an array of entirely new experiences. For the worldly wealthy who have “seen it all before”, there will be a growing appetite to see previously unheard of or overlooked countries. There will even be a thirst among a particularly curious minority to set foot in new frontier destinations such as Socotra in Yemen.

Aerial View Waterfall in Papua New Guinea

“Our logistical and operational excellence allows us to operate in environments and destinations that are as of yet unexplored. Our coalition of expert guides and operators allows us to give our clients the very best experiences, but it’s also important that in these far-flung locations we encourage our clients to travel with respect for the environment. This is something that’s at the heart of what we do – working and engaging with the local community to give back.”

Geordie Mackay-Lewis
Co-founder and CEO of Pelorus

Feeding an addiction to crossing new frontiers, what are the Gamma Destinations of tomorrow that Pelorus will be taking clients to? Located on the Atlantic coast of Central Africa, Gabon has more than a dozen under-the-radar national parks that are rich in wildlife, which will be complemented by the construction of high-end eco camps (with more being announced in 2023). Another African country that is quietly on the up is Chad, which features volcanic mountains, windswept deserts, petroglyphs and rock paintings. Enabling clients to experience the barren UNESCO-protected Ennedi Massif in comfort, Camp Warda is the first semi-permanent tented camp to open in the region.

Due to their lack of accessibility, many Gamma Destinations will be best explored by yacht, something that Pelorus excels in thanks to its own dedicated yacht division. Examples of some of the most unreachable places that Pelorus will facilitate trips to include Papua New Guinea in the southwestern Pacific; the Mergui Archipelago, off the far south coast of Myanmar; the Andaman Islands in the northeastern Indian Ocean; and the Nicobar Islands in the eastern Indian Ocean. Mackay-Lewis, says: “Yachts are an amazing asset that can act as a base from which to explore. They open up so many opportunities as it allows travellers to gain access to areas and experiences that are otherwise inaccessible.”

CASE STUDY: SAUDI ARABIA

By 2030, Saudi Arabia plans to become a major international tourism destination, with an ambitious target of 100 million inbound visitors per year. This will be no mean feat for a Gamma Destination that only began issuing tourist visas in 2019 – and since autumn 2022, people from the UK, US and EU have been able to easily get one on arrival.

Central to the country’s transformation will be a slew of mind-blowing “giga projects” (such as “smart city” Neom) that will firmly put Saudi Arabia on the map as an emerging luxury travel destination. And with the help of partnerships with key travel companies such as Pelorus, who believe in the power of tourism as a force for good, travellers from around the world will soon be able to discover that this multifaceted destination offers so much more than they assumed.

Although alcohol will remain off limits, more liberal resort enclaves are being developed for travellers to relax and rejuvenate (women will be able to wear swimming costumes, for example). Even in the rest of the country, women (both locals and visitors) no longer have to be fully covered with an abaya and headscarf. The dress code is far more relaxed than you’d expect but people still need to dress modestly.

From next year, a major draw will be the Red Sea Project, which is already well underway. The first resorts to debut will be from Rosewood and Ritz-Carlton Reserve. By the end of 2023, there will be a total of 16 hotels representing every major luxury brand, from Six Senses, Edition and St Regis to SLS, Fairmont and Raffles. Providing easy access to the destination, the Red Sea International airport will also be opening in a matter of months. Local airline Saudia is also planning to operate flights from Neom to London.

Interestingly, in preparation for a future without oil, Saudi Arabia is investing heavily in sustainability and regenerative tourism – in the case of the Red Sea Project, which will encompass an archipelago of 90 islands (just 22 of which will be developed), initiatives will include mangrove restoration, floating coral nurseries and a 100-hectare Landscape Nursery for the cultivation of more than 15 million plants. John Pagano, CEO of Red Sea Global, says they are “creating a world-leading barefoot luxury destination which will soon serve as a gateway to one of the last undiscovered places on the planet”.

History and culture will also play an important part in the experience of visiting Saudi Arabia. For more adventurous travellers, itineraries could include a visit to the UNESCO-protected site of AlUla, an ancient walled city on the Arabian Peninsula that was once a major outpost on the incense, spice and silk trade routes. Sitting among dramatic wind-blasted sculpted sandstone edifices, there are abundant archaeological sites to explore.

Travelling across vast, dusty plains by camel, helicopter, Land Rover or dune buggy, visitors will also witness the rock tombs of the ancient Nabatean city of Hegra, led by a dedicated historian. Described as the “world’s largest living museum”, activities will range from ziplining, quad biking through canyons and stargazing, to private dinners on date farms and sleeping desert camps.

Travel Bucket List Saudi Arabia

“Being part of Vision 2030 presents a unique opportunity to develop a sustainable tourism model in the youngest and fastest-growing tourism market in the world. Done correctly, we will apply lessons learned from developed markets and influence the direction of travel.”

Geordie Mackay-Lewis
Co-founder and CEO of Pelorus

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