From ‘Group Therapy’ to ‘Frontier Tourism’, Black Tomato has identified seven trends defining the future of luxury travel. Jenny Southan reports
In 2024, luxury adventure travel company Black Tomato predicts that “journeying with a sense of purpose” will be the over-arching motivation for wealthy clients in the year ahead.
“With ever increasing demands on our time, and feeling a responsibility to make our travels truly count, more than ever travellers want to create positive and lasting change, in both destinations visited and in their own lives – with rich experiences, to reflect and draw on months and years later,” the company said in a statement.
“What we’ve uncovered from our team’s extensive research out in the world and from listening to and analysing what inspires our clients’ desires for future travels, is that the feeling a trip ultimately evokes, greatly informs the destination booked.
“For groups of family and friends craving togetherness, joyful journeys which strengthen bonds and connection are prioritised. For others, honing in on passion points, which are singular and specific, is a powerful motivator. 2024’s trends are unified by our firm belief that travel has the power to change us, and others, for the better.”
Families are increasingly seeking shared activities such as crafting or playing sports to bring them closer together. Black Tomato says: “What starts as a passion point, evolves into something the whole family can commit to experiencing together in their travels, bonding them in a meaningful way. We’ve received feedback from clients that exploring a shared passion between generations can even alleviate some of the angst oft associated with the teenage years.
One of the company’s “See you in the Moment” trips takes families to Japan, where they can master the art of the ninja by taking part in real-life training held in the hallowed halls of Asakuso Dojo. Other popular Black Tomato “Field Trips” provide the opportunity to learn how to sculpt limestone alongside a renowned craftsman in Puglia or study sustainable food practices with a pioneering farmer in Copenhagen.
Black Tomato reports that private group bookings continue to be a dominant trend. Between 2019 and 2022, reservations for eight or more people have increased 35 per cent, meaning groups now account for 30 per cent of Black Tomato bookings.
This burgeoning trend spurred the company to launch (in October 2023) “See You in the Moment”, Black Tomato’s take on friction-free bespoke group travel, with over 35 rare and remarkable travel experiences aimed at inspiring groups of loved ones to come together for a seminal shared moment.
An evolution of Black Tomato’s pioneering and transformational travel services like “Get Lost” and “Bring it Back”, its new “See You in the Moment” concept taps into the psychology of travel, and is designed to deliver lasting impact. In an increasingly disconnected world, bonding over unforgettable shared experiences fosters a profound sense of belonging and togetherness, and delivers a lasting connection, as these “moments” become part of a group’s shared narrative.
In 2024 and beyond, a rising number of travellers are turning to Black Tomato for help planning trips based on nostalgic journeys their family members or close friends have taken in the past. The company says: “This is less to do with tracking one’s ancestral heritage; instead, it stems from a longing to retrace a loved one’s steps through a new lens.”
Recently, a client took inspiration from a photograph of their grandparents holidaying in Lake Como, and then asked Black Tomato to create a trip with their partner, which would allow them to map out their own course inspired by the grandparents’ documented travels.
The company says: “We designed an itinerary with ample time for reflective ‘deep breath’ moments, and ultimately the feedback from this client was that by recreating the trip, they felt they were more present, engaged and excited about the places they visited given the personal connection. Ultimately, in coming across many lanes of memories, they’d forged a deeper connection to their family history, each other and the destination.”
When it comes to wellness, Black Tomato says people are realising they need to “do less to be more”. It has called this shift “reductionism”, and says that specificity is key.
“Rather than embarking on a dramatic overhaul that’s challenging to uphold, we believe that lasting transformation begins with addressing one key pillar of wellness, which is manageable to maintain,” says the company. “Taking a ‘less is more’ approach makes goals targeted and accessible, and once the building blocks are ingrained into daily life, this sets the foundation for addressing other areas for improved wellbeing.”
Black Tomato reports a surge in tailored travel experiences, from breath workshops, and mind-expanding psilocybin retreats, to sleep clinics and mediation masterclasses. Brands such as Six Senses and Joali Being are leaders in the more micro, personalised wellness space.
Wealthy clients are increasingly seeking silence to “soothe their soul”, says Black Tomato. In a world increasingly polluted by noise and bustle, it’s a rare luxury to find absolute peace, and while remote travel builds on a trend the company identified several years back, there’s been an evolution, in pursuit of finding genuine solitude.
National parks, where the only audible sounds are the stirrings of nature, are particularly popular locations for silence seekers. In fact, there is even an organisation called Quite Parks International, which has built a movement to preserve the silence of the national park systems. Namibia’s Skeleton Coast is another special place for solace.
Bookings for Black Tomato’s temporary “Blink” camps, set up in some of the world’s most remote locations, have grown by more than 40 per cent since 2021, and the company also says its “Get Lost” service (where clients are sent to mystery destinations) has seen an uptick in popularity in recent months.
Modern Day Pilgrimages
For worldly gourmands, food has become deified, and coveted dishes such as a particular type of ceviche served at a remote family-run restaurant in Peru, or a certain honey that has been lauded for years in Sicily, are driving people to travel to the places they’re able to eat them.
Black Tomato can organise for clients to travel to the wine region of Pueblo Eden, dubbed the “Tuscany of Uruguay” by chef Francis Mallman. For those with a passion for mixology, the company also sells the James Bond-inspired “Assignment: Europe”, which includes an exclusive vintage martini masterclass using ultra-rare spirits to recreate the truest expression of a Vesper martini.
Stemming from a renewed ambition to chart new courses and paths, “Frontier Travel” sees clients discovering somewhere new, and confronting their own perceived limits. Trips could range from camping under the stars somewhere undiscovered, or hiking an ancient trail. This isn’t about making history by marking a world-first, but rather embracing individual challenges, both mental and physical.
Black Tomato highlights Peru, where clients can navigate the otherwise inaccessible Ancient Valley of the Incas by raft, aided by extraordinary campsites set up along the way (part of the “See You in the Moment” offering under “The Challenge” category).