Alta blog

Alta Thoughts (February 2024)

By Rakesh Patel

The consistent message in most 2024 travel forecasts, was the robust return of Chinese tourists. So far, so good, looking at the Chinese New Year data. Led by domestic travel once again, total tourism revenues surpassed 2019 levels (2024 had one extra holiday day). And as international airlift improves, entry/exit trips were back up to 90% of 2019.

Given tougher domestic economic conditions though, tourists are spending about 9.5% less per trip vs 2019, according to Goldman Sachs. Given tighter budgets, short-haul, regional travel is popular, especially to ASEAN, where many countries now have visa-free entry. saw air bookings to the region jump 864% yoy, led by Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia.

Lastly, some travel trends within the data. Millennials are seeking authentic and personalized experiences, and the increasing travel influence of KOL (key opinion leader) content shared on platforms like Xiaohongshu and Douyin.

Below are a few of our recent thoughts posted on LinkedIn. As always, good to hear your feedback and exchange ideas. You can follow us directly on LinkedIn and go to our website.


This old-school building material could take over city skylines

There are more wooden high rise buildings taking root around the globe. The newly constructed $110m Sara Cultural Centre in Stockholm, Sweden, stands at 20 stories, and contains the aptly named “Wood Hotel”. Beyond the aesthetic appeal of a wooden building, why is this trend important?

The Sara centre claims that it will be carbon negative over its lifetime. This comes from 5,631 tons of carbon dioxide emitted through the whole construction and operation cycle of the building, which is more than offset by the 9,095 tons of carbon sequestered in the timber. This is in stark contrast to buildings globally being responsible for 39% of global emissions, according to the WGBC.

What Is next? Building codes are being amended in Europe and the US to allow higher wooden buildings, including updated fire safety standards. In the pipeline, are the 32-story Rocket and Tigerli tower in Winterthur, Switzerland, and the 50-story C6 in Perth, Australia. It’s blue sky for wooden buildings.


7 Top Travel Trends to Know for 2024

Will travel in 2024 build on the strong recovery we saw in 2023? Sure enough travel experts are enthusiastic, but there are some concerns out there, related to wars, a bumper election year, and natural disasters.

Having said that, the belief is that travellers will take these factors in their stride. North Americans will venture further than their “Roman Holiday” this year, with trip bookings to Asia up 3x versus 2023. And going the other way, the Chinese now out of lockdown, will rediscover their love for Europe.

This means that hotel room rates will likely rise again in 2024. AMEX travel analysis across 80 major cities forecasts overall rate rises globally, led by Paris +11%, London +9%, Singapore +7%, Chicago +13%, Mumbai +15%. On the positive side for consumers, AMEX expects air fare rises to flatten out.


The trends defining the $1.8 trillion global wellness market in 2024

How does McKinsey see the wellness market in 2024, and the areas for opportunities and disruption? Their latest report draws on a survey of 5,000 consumers in China, UK and US.

Macro first of all: the global market will be worth $1.8 trillion in 2024; 73-87% consider wellness a top priority; Gen Z and millennials are the most wellness-conscious (and done with “well-washing!).

Areas of growth and opportunity include: health-tech led by bio-monitoring and wearables, with AI adding personalization; healthy aging and longevity driven by demographics; sleep and mindfulness products that deal with mental strain; sexual health products building on the stay-at home pandemic growth.