Why will it matter in 2024? In 2022, UK marine ecology charity The Reef-World Foundation found that 95 per cent of divers wanted to book with sustainable operators, but struggled to do so. In response to this, the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (Padi) launched its Eco Center accreditation on World Earth Day (22 April) 2023, with the United Nations Environment Program and Reef-World itself. The steps required to earn this green status are so rigorous – including sharing evidence of conservation activities and a real reduction in environmental footprint – that Padi advised operators to allow at least 12 months to hit the criteria, taking us to… Earth Day 2024. After an initial figure of just 11 worldwide, there are now 100, and Padi has set a goal to reach 660 by 2030 – a 10th of its membership. “South East Asia currently has the highest density (more than 20), along with the Caribbean,” says Julie Andersen of Padi. So what does this mean for divers and their trips? “The type of conservation work done and reported on depends on the Eco Center,” Andersen explains. “Those in the Caribbean offer coral replanting programmes, key for regenerating coastlines. In Baja, Mexico, they’ve developed citizen science courses, collecting data for whale conservation.” There are also a number of new Padi courses being launched for any diver to take anywhere, including the Global Shark and Ray Census in August 2024, as well as the relaunch of the Coral Reef Conservation Specialty course before December. Becky Lucas
3. Home swapping
What’s the trend? Increasingly, discerning travellers are looking to stay away for longer stretches, while the rise of remote jobs post-pandemic means that working and living abroad has never been more appealing. The catch? Forking out on hefty accommodation fees while you’re at it. Enter home swapping: the perfect solution to guarantee yourself a (free) home abroad while you offer up your own in exchange – for weeks or even months at a time.
Why will it matter in 2024? As the cost of holidaying continues to climb, home swapping is an affordable alternative to splashing out on expensive hotels or Airbnbs. And while the concepts of couch surfing and house exchanges have existed for decades, several slick new platforms are redefining what home swapping looks like today. Twin City, which operates in cities as far-flung as Lisbon and Los Angeles, has curated a community of 1,100 plus carefully vetted users in just eight months. For an annual subscription fee of £150, members can find Twins to connect with through the platform, and are encouraged to exchange local recommendations for their city as well as their homes, enabling members to feel as if they’re swapping with a trusted friend rather than a stranger. Meanwhile, Kindred, a home-swapping platform where members rack up credits for each night that they exchange homes, raised $15 million in funding this year to expand operations across the USA and Europe, and currently has 10,000 plus homes in more than 50 cities. Members simply pay a cleaning and service fee for each stay, while the cost of the stay itself is free. Or skip out on membership fees entirely and head straight to TikTok, where Gen Z appears to be spearheading the home-swapping movement on social media. Inspired by cult film The Holiday, trending tags #houseswap and #homeswap have garnered more than 23 and 20 million views respectively, with users utilising the platform as a means to advertise their homes, discover like-minded peers to swap with and document their adventures along the way. Gina Jackson
4. Train stations are the new food destinations
What’s the trend? Train stations around the world are usually passed through as quickly as possible, having not been designed for commuters to stay and hang out. Nowadays, as travel delays increase and visitors want more local experiences, it pays for train stations to welcome travellers with shops, restaurants and bars for them to explore. In an effort to create a more dynamic visitor experience, historic train stations are being revamped, with bespoke food and drink offerings as an integral part of the redesign.