Learning new skills, pillow-plumping robots and less crowds, please: Survey reveals the future of the travelling Brit

According to a new study commissioned by yacht charter company, Sunsail, to celebrate its 50th anniversary, 28% of Brits said they had experienced ‘rowdy’ tourists spoiling the peace whilst on holiday, and 59% said that over-tourism in other countries has or would put them off visiting a certain country.

And overcrowding was not the only thing on the minds of travellers. 40% said that what they wanted from a holiday had changed drastically, or a little bit, over the past 5 years, and 1 in 4 said they wanted to learn something new on a holiday.

The 35-44-year-olds in the group want adventure, with 32% ranking it in their top three priorities, alongside relaxation at 56% and fun for the kids at 33%.

43% of respondents said they think about how close to the sea/beaches they are when choosing where to go on holiday, but this doesn’t mean lounging on the beach all day.

AI powered travel

When it comes to where they thought travel technology is heading, the answers were everything from AI planners (16%) and solar-powered or AI-powered commercial planes (both 13%), to commercial space tour flights (14%), superfast ships (11%), and no air travel at all (5%).

39% would like to see instant translation earbuds in the future – that take in the audio from the person speaking and translate it back into your ear and 23% suggested solar-powered sailboats with AI navigation would pique their interest. Underwater luxury yacht excursions were not far behind this, at 14%.

What about the kids?

British yachtswoman and Sunsail ambassador, Dee Caffari MBE, also talked to the next generation to get their ideas and opinions: “We had a whole range of answers from artificial intelligence and technology that does the thinking for us, and to do all the procedures for us. There are no right or wrong answers; after all, this is the next generation that will innovate for the future, and I’m sure somewhere in the middle there will be our future in 50 years.”

Answers included:

“I’ll go on a massive cruise boat and have robots that do everything, like plump pillows.”

“I would have a VR headset on, listening to an electronic voice telling me what to do and where we were going.”

“Boats would be able to go underwater and then be like a flying fish being able to skim the water.”

“The sea will be pancakes and when you get on the boat there are butterflies that fly you into the air.”

Watch the kids in action here:

NAME: Dee Caffari – The next 50 years of sailing.

Video Link: https://youtu.be/TdE2pTxJpnM

NAME: Dee Caffari – Interviews our next generation of sailors.

Video Link: https://youtu.be/wiA29JdaQ04

NAME: Dee Caffari – The future of sailing and yacht design.

Video Link: https://youtu.be/ByPHQFZ9VGM

NAME: Dee Caffari – Teaching our future generation of sailors.

Video Link: https://youtu.be/etqMkF4VxT8

NAME: Dee Caffari – Sails with the next generation of sailors.

Video Link: https://youtu.be/0WdypLuBj1c

A more sustainable future

It is also clear from the results that sustainability is at the forefront of the traveller’s mind. 68% said it was very or quite important that holidays be made environmentally friendly, and 37% thought that renewable energy-powered airports were an intriguing concept for future eco-friendly travel.

34% liked the idea of wind-powered cruise liners with hydro-generators (powered by water instead of fuel to power the cruise liner to move in water), and 37% liked the sound of renewable energy-powered airports.

Caroline Barbour, UK Marketing Manager for Sunsail, comments on the results: “People are moving away from the typical sun lounger holiday and are looking for something a bit different, with a good balance of relaxation and adventure – they don’t just want one or the other. It is also interesting to see how sustainable energy and technology that focus on connecting us to others, such as translation earbuds, is a priority. I’m not sure how likely it is that the sea will be made of pancakes… but flying boats and pillow-plumping robots don’t seem completely out of the question!

For those who have yet to try it, a sailing holiday can tick all these boxes. You get to go off the beaten track and avoid the crowds, find hidden gems and places not accessible by land, and learn a new skill. Even better, you can choose whether you want to make an adventure of it, for example, booking a flotilla and sailing with others or going solo and kicking back to relax while an expert skipper takes charge.”

In 2024, Sunsail is celebrating 50 years of offering unforgettable experiences to sailing enthusiasts and adventurers, and in honour of this remarkable milestone, it is launching two brand-new, one-off flotillas in Lefkas and The British Virgin Islands (details and prices in notes to editor).

The one-week Lefkas 50th anniversary flotilla includes snorkelling amongst a plane wreck, exploring rocky cliffs, walking the sands of private beaches, visiting ancient fortresses and fragrant pine forests, and experiencing the Ionian’s most unmissable sights with a group of new friends.

Meanwhile, the BVI 50th anniversary flotilla promises swimming with turtles, white sand beaches, and friendly waterside bars in the stunning British Virgin Islands. Both flotillas will offer a mix of discovery, adventure, and companionship for those who want the ultimate holiday this year.

For more information about Sunsail, or to book on the exclusive 50th anniversary flotillas, visit www.sunsail.co.uk or call +44 (0) 330 3321170 to speak to a friendly Holiday Planner.

An online survey was conducted by Atomik Research among 2,008 respondents from the UK. The research fieldwork took place on 13th – 15th December 2023.