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Trend Alert: Top Activities for 2021

Our Booking Data Reveals Next Year’s Most Popular Activity Types

The events of 2020 provided a sharp reminder that nothing is guaranteed. With distant adventures out of the question, we turned closer to home and found a renewed appreciation for the experiences waiting just outside our doors. While we have become experts at seeking out activities that are safe enough for our enjoyment right now, we still can’t resist looking ahead.

So, we asked ourselves: What types of activities will we seek out in the new year?

To answer this question, we consulted FareHarbor’s own booking data to gain deeper insight into the top activities for 2021. From summer to winter, oceans to mountains, leisurely to adventurous — these are the activities we will see trending throughout the new year:

1. All About Experiences: Exhibits & Attractions

Local attractions like aquariums, museums, and zoos provide a delightful combination of entertainment and education, while new measures such as reduced capacity and strict sanitation policies provide peace of mind for guests. Before COVID-19, attraction bookings already accounted for roughly half of all bookings seen across the tour, activity, and attractions industry. With the added help of creative adaptations like drive-through experiences and timed entry, attractions operators have proven they’ll continue to innovate to ensure you and your family can share new experiences together.

2. Just Add H2O: Boat & Water Activities

Few activities spell “adventure” quite like the open water. The natural lack of crowds makes most water activities an easy way for you to get out there while staying safe. By operating in small groups and private charters, boat tours gain a significant advantage in keeping up with the latest safety guidelines. Many travelers plan to spend time fishing, kayaking, scuba diving, sailing, and snorkeling in 2021, especially as temperatures start to warm up in the spring and summer. Experiences on the water are popular all across the United States’ coasts, major lakes, and throughout Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico, and Australia.

3. The Chill Factor: Snow-Powered Excursions

Winter is always the perfect time to escape to the mountains or enjoy a wonderland of fresh snow, and 2021 will be no different. Experiences like snowmobiling, dog sledding, and skiing will prove that snow-powered and socially-distanced easily go hand-in-hand. With measures like limited group sizes and plenty of space to spread out, many winter activities are ready to adapt to keep travelers safe. We anticipate the steady popularity of dog sledding tours in Alaska, snowmobile tours in Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana, and ski adventures in Colorado, Idaho, Utah, New Mexico, and Minnesota to continue to increase this year.

4. Sights, Camera, Action: Outdoor Adventures

With the proven health benefits that being outside can bring, it’s no surprise that the demand for all things outdoors will only gain more traction in 2021. Adventure activities like hiking, horseback riding, ziplining, and ATV adventures are most popular in locations like Utah, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Arizona, and British Columbia. But you don’t have to travel far or live in close proximity to a national park to get outside! Sightseeing tours will continue to be enjoyed through many modes of transportation, from the comfort and safety of your own vehicle to a stroll or roll on your own. We will see the continued shift in 2021 toward private and self-guided sightseeing tours, allowing you to discover new destinations and cultures on your own terms, with the help of pre-planned routes and expert tips, of course! With 97% of people learning more about local businesses online than anywhere else, you might even be surprised at how many adventure and sightseeing activities are available “near you!”

Throughout this pandemic, we’ve seen that resilience is directly tied to success and that the most adaptable operators have been the most successful. Through solutions like private tours, drive-through experiences, and adherence to health and safety guidelines, tour and activity operators continue to find creative methods to provide the experiences travelers are looking for while keeping them safe. In 2021, this will be more important than ever as people start to plan their future adventures.

For more resources on how to market your offerings during this time, check out FareHarbor Compass.