Heritage travel is a type of travel that might be becoming increasingly popular as we head out of the worst of the pandemic and as countries worldwide begin loosening pandemic-related entry restrictions.
This type of travel is defined as travel that brings someone closer to their roots. Whether it be traveling to a country that a traveler’s grandparents or even parents were born and grew up in or traveling to a country that a traveler has little knowledge about but knows it was where their ancestors came from, heritage travel is a deeply emotional experience that combines cultural immersion with a traveler’s own heritage.
Americans especially find heritage travel important, since so many are descended from immigrants from all across the world. A new survey conducted by Priceline surveyed over 1,300 adults across the country in late January and found that advisors and travelers should familiarize themselves with this burgeoning trend.
One in three Americans (34 percent) believe that heritage travel is a meaningful way to travel. It’s more likely that it’ll be a popular trend for younger generations under the age of 55. Travelers 18-34 years old reported the highest desire for heritage travel at 38 percent.
About one in five Americans also believe that heritage travel is an important bucket list goal, though only 22 percent of Americans have actually taken a heritage trip. Again, the two younger generations (those younger than 55) are most likely to have taken a heritage trip (both at 26 percent). Only 15 percent of those 55 and older reported taking one.
Of those who’ve taken a heritage trip, 49 percent reported feeling a deeper connection to their past and their roots, while 25 percent said they learned more about themselves during their trip. Twenty-six percent of travelers report that their heritage trips were some of the best trips they’ve ever taken.
Americans who are interested in taking a heritage trip are most likely to go abroad to do so, with 68 percent agreeing, probably because so many Americans can trace their heritage to other countries. But another surprisingly high answer were domestic heritage trips, at another 60 percent, showing that Americans also desire to connect with more modern heritage, too.
Americans desire destinations that have some sort of significance to their family’s personal history (33 percent) and that allow them to meet with a genealogist or do on-site research to learn more (29 percent). Cultural experiences and sightseeing would be the general focus for most American heritage travelers (45 percent), while 43 percent would spend the majority of their trip researching, reconnecting with extended family and more.
Some destinations are already beginning to promote themselves as heritage travel destinations. Germany, for instance, knows that an estimated 40 million Americans consider themselves of German descent and it’s created a microsite just for people to learn about the country’s heritage travel, including genealogical resources and more.
Travel advisors should be aware that more travelers might come to them for advice on heritage travel this year and what to expect from heritage travelers.