Africa Travel Week
Luxury Travel

5 Luxury trends in 2021

There is a light at the end of the tunnel for the travel and tourism industry – the industry that has arguably endured the hardest knock as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to current surveys and studies, including one conducted by IHG Hotels & Resorts, over half of people claim to have re-booked or are planning to re-book trips that they were forced to cancel last year. Furthermore, countless hopeful jetsetters are keen to take advantage of the unmissable savings on offer by various travel suppliers around the globe.

So, with leisure travel slowly on the road to recovery, what are some of the luxury travel trends that everyone can look forward to, in particular? Here are 5 to watch out for.


Travellers are set to steer clear of close quarters in an effort to reduce their risk of coming into contact with the virus. Social distancing and plenty of fresh air are both guaranteed when spending a luxurious holiday in the great outdoors. As such, glamping is high up on the list of potential getaways for travellers. From deluxe glamping cabins to fancy treehouses with all of the bells and whistles, this is a COVID-friendly luxury trend that is here to stay.

Exclusive-use property rental

Having a small, intimate, boutique property all to yourself can provide maximum peace of mind when travelling during the times of COVID. This is because exclusive-use property rental eliminates concerns surrounding mixing with other guests outside of your travel party. Numerous guesthouses and safari retreats are aware of these concerns and offering excellent deals on exclusive-use rental should visitors feel more comfortable with this specific arrangement.


Since lockdown was first implemented a year ago, work life and home life have become exceedingly blurred, and 2021 will see workcations skyrocketing in popularity. They involve booking a getaway at a luxurious destination and firing up your laptop in a much more relaxed setting – possibly with a cocktail in hand – and enjoying deep tissue massages in between Zoom meetings. It is quickly becoming a solution for professionals to cope with mental health concerns and stress brought about as a result of the pandemic and its various restrictions, without necessarily having to take extra time off work. 

Secluded escapes

Tourist hotspots are no longer as popular as they used to be, primarily due to the fact that they are often bustling with tourists, thus making social distancing practically impossible. Because of this, classic sightseeing tours are on the backburner for now, with prospective travellers scoping out secluded escapes instead.

Travellers have their eye on exploring hidden gems and venturing off of the beaten path – fantastic news for smaller travel suppliers that could really do with the additional support right now.

Medical spa retreats

It is no secret that the pandemic has taken its toll on people’s health, both from a physical and an emotional perspective, which is why medical spa retreats are now taking centre stage. These retreats revolve around classic spa treatments but are also complemented with science-backed therapies. For example, holidaymakers might enjoy a soothing facial in the morning, followed by a visit to the onsite physiotherapist, dermatologist, or psychologist in the afternoon.

In short, ultra-luxe holidays that prioritise safety, social distancing, and optimal mental and physical health are getting the attention of prospective travellers from far and wide. While the pandemic is still very much upon us, it is reassuring to know that safe, COVID-friendly travel is indeed achievable. After all, for many, never has a holiday been more needed.

Africa Travel Week

Africa Travel Week (ATW) focuses on inbound and outbound markets for general leisure tourism, luxury travel, LGBTQ+ travel and the MICE/business travel sector as well as travel technology. Shows include: ILTM Africa, WTM Africa, EQUAL Africa, ibtm AFRICA, Travel Forward, Sports & Events Tourism Exchange and African Tourism Investment Summit.