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TripAdvisor Announces Experiences, Tours, and Activities Trend Report for 2018: Travellers expand horizons, while iconic sites remain wildly popular
TripAdvisor reveals 2017-2018 trends in experiences

TripAdvisor®, the world’s largest online provider of bookable experiences, tours, and activities, today shares its top travel trend report for the experiences segment. TripAdvisor bookings data revealed that iconic sites remain wildly popular, while travellers are expanding their horizons and bringing growth to new, non-traditional and experiential categories.


Iconic landmarks and sites remain the most-booked by travellers globally...

Travellers are becoming increasingly interested in new experiences, but they’re still loyal to the world’s most iconic sites. In 2017, the most-booked experiences globally were a combined skip-the-line pass for the Vatican Museums, St. Peters, and Sistine Chapel, the Chicago River Architecture Cruise, and a skip-the-line pass for a walking tour of Ancient Rome and the Colosseum. Bookable options for The Sagrada Familia, Eiffel Tower, and the Empire State Building also featured in the top ten (full list below).

...while cultural categories - like food tours, cooking classes, and historical and heritage experiences - are seeing bookings skyrocket

Globally, travellers are expanding their horizons, and several categories grew quickly in 2017.  Historic and heritage experiences (such as a Charleston Harbor History Tour and a Tour of Historic Fenway Park) saw the most growth (+125% in bookings), and culinary is a clear trend: cooking classes and food tours both appeared among the top five categories, each with 57% bookings’ growth. By gross booking value, food tours saw the most growth in 2017.

Travellers around the world are increasingly opting out of line-ups

Skip-the-line access at some of the world’s busiest landmarks and sites (like the Colosseum) appeared in both the most-popular and fastest-growing lists for global travellers.  

Fast facts on skip-the-line experiences:

  • Two of the three most popular products in 2017 were skip-the-line, and likewise for four of the ten fastest-growing experiences in 2017.
  • TripAdvisor lists more than 1,200 skip-the-line tickets globally, with options at some of the most popular sites in the world, including the Eiffel Tower, the Sagrada Familia, and the London Eye.

Guides and operators added 30,000 new experiences to TripAdvisor last year, increasing the number of available experiences, tours, and attractions by 50%. New options range from entry tickets for famous sites to cooking classes, day cruises, and multi-day adventure tours. Options are expanding quickly, and a trolley tour of Newport's famous mansions, a combination tour of Tulum's ruins and snorkel trip in the cenotes, and a full-day tour of Abu Dhabi from Dubai are among the most popular new experiences.

“We’re seeing more travellers balancing their itineraries with a mix of classic sightseeing and more unique local experiences,” said Laurel Greatrix, director of communications. “Of course travellers heading to Rome want to explore the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel, but they’re also booking experiences like food tours to enhance their trip, and see the city like a local.”

“Travellers are also being more economical with their time,” Greatrix continued. “Skip-the-line tour options are among the fastest-growing tours in the world, allowing travellers to see more than just the back of someone’s head.”


The world’s most popular experiences: 2017, global travellers

Ranked by 2017 booking count totals

  1. Skip the line: Vatican Museums, St Peter’s, Sistine Chapel
  2. Chicago Architecture River Cruise
  3. Skip the line: Ancient Rome and Colosseum Half-Day Walking Tour
  4. Rome Hop-On, Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour
  5. Priority Access: Barcelona Sagrada Familia Tour
  6. Eiffel Tower Summit: Priority access with host
  7. Warner Bros Studio: The Making of Harry Potter with Luxury Round-Trip Transport from London
  8. Empire State Building Tickets
  9. Murano, Burano, and Torcello half-day sightseeing tour
  10. Tuscany in One Day Sightseeing Tour

Australia’s most popular experiences: 2017, global travellers

Ranked by 2017 booking count totals

  1. Ancient Monuments of Rome Tour with Skip-the-Line pass
  1. Eiffel Tower Summit Priority Access with Host
  1. Katherine Gorge Cruise in Nitmiluk National Park
  1. Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) Tour with Optional Entry Ticket to the National Sports Museum
  1. Margaret River Winery and Brewery Day Trip plus Gourmet Winery Lunch
  1. Full-Day Hobbiton Tour from Auckland
  1. Skip the Line: Gaudi's Casa Batlló Ticket with Audio Tour
  1. Darwin Harbour Sunset Cruise with Optional Buffet Dinner
  1. Worimi Sand Dunes Quad Bike Tour
  1. Gion Walking Tour by Night

Fastest-growing experience categories: global travellers, 2017

Ranked by year-over-year growth in total bookings count

  1. Historical and heritage tours (+125%)
  2. Sunset cruises (+86%)
  3. Private day trips (+79%)
  4. Snorkeling (+70%)
  5. Kayaking and canoeing (+67%)
  6. Sailing trips (+61%)
  7. Catamaran trips (+60%)
  8. Food tours (+57%)
  9. Cooking classes (+57%)
  10. Museum tickets and passes (+54%)

The most popular new experiences (added in 2017): global travellers

Top-booked products new to TripAdvisor in 2017

  1. Eiffel Tower Summit Priority Access with Host
  2. Ancient Monuments of Rome Tour with Skip-the-Line pass
  3. Skip the Line: Gaudi's Casa Batlló Ticket with Audio Tour
  4. Skip the Line: Arc de Triomphe Including Terrace Access
  5. Skip-the-Line Florence Accademia Gallery and Michelangelo's David Ticket
  6. Full-Day Tour of Abu Dhabi City From Dubai
  7. Fast Track Seville Guided Tour into Alcazar
  8. Jewish Quarter Anne Frank Walking Tour in Amsterdam
  9. Field Museum of Natural History Admission
  10.  San Antonio Zoo General Admission

Methodology: Fastest growing experiences and categories are based on year-over-year growth in bookings from 2016 to 2017. Most popular new products are based on experiences added between April 2016 and April 2017 and ranked by bookings between April 2017 and December 2017.