Demand for boozy ‘party package’ holidays was already declining pre-pandemic in terms of both demand and supply. Fears of infection and the process of organising group travel will further delay recovery. It is likely that demand will never fully return as both individuals and destinations are drifting away from this unhealthy party concept.

Operators and destinations that typically cater to the ‘mass party concept’ need to carefully reconsider their product and promotion in a post-Covid-19 era amidst changing consumer behaviours.

Boozy party holidays are less desired by young generations and destinations

Respondents aged between 16-24 and 25-34 (covering Gen Z and Millennials) in GlobalData’s Q3 2019 consumer survey were the most likely to take an alternative holiday with a specialised focus on areas such as adventure/sport, wellness/medical, sustainable, gastronomical and cultural. The concept of the 18-30 package holiday first emerged around the 1970s and pre-pandemic it was already clear that ‘Generation Hashtag’ (combination of both Gen Z and Millennials) desired more authentic and transformational travel experiences. This is far different to a booze-filled getaway that has been typically associated with younger generations in the past. 18-30 holidays typically catered for those that were not married and on the search for ‘sun, sand and sea’, not particularly featuring the authenticity or culture of a destination in their visit.

Many destinations that were once known as party havens have adjusted their tourism strategies to appeal to more responsible travellers post-Covid-19. Examples can be found in actions from respective destination marketing organisations (DMOs) in Amsterdam, Prague, Mallorca and Barcelona, these destinations are all aiming to adjust their destination images by encouraging more sustainable tourism post-Covid-19.

Covid-19 has accelerated many changes for the travel sector

Covid-19 has accelerated many changes that were already happening across the travel sector. Party package holidays were already declining in popularity both in terms of demand and supply pre-pandemic and this is another area where Covid-19 will accelerate change.

The re-opening of venues that hold mass crowds including nightclubs, events and festivals remains uncertain. Thailand’s Bangkok is renowned worldwide as an ultimate party destination, but its government recently closed 196 nightlife venues throughout April amid a new Covid-19 breakout. Whilst this move is not permanent, demand for nightlife is likely to be reduced in the long term due to ongoing fears surrounding the pandemic.

Many destinations are simply focusing on how to resume domestic and international travel safely. The concept of welcoming mass groups of boozy tourists, all adhering to social distancing rules seems extremely hazy and potentially off-putting for destinations, which means the recovery of this type of tourism seems a long way off.

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