Nature Travel

Trends / Wellness
Patchareeporn Sakoolchai
Sandra Michalska
Oct 4, 2022
We collectively turned to the outdoors and nature when we were told to stay away from people during the pandemic. We took long walks in the woods, went jogging in the park early in the morning, and started to notice the little things and beauty in our natural surroundings. At the same time, many stories in the media highlighted the benefits of leaning into nature for nourishment.1 This renewed admiration for nature has endured, and the travel industry is right after consumers to benefit from it. Our latest VisualGPS research on visuals used by the travel industry shows that nature and wildlife imagery has doubled in popularity over the last years, while cityscapes are in decline.

If the rediscovery of nature continues, that is also because today's context is far from more serene than during the outbreak. Our VisualGPS consumer survey reveals that looking at the future—and the present—is stressful. More than half of the global population thinks that it’s difficult to keep up with the pace of today’s world, and 58% feel anxious when thinking about the future. During turbulent times, nearly half of global consumers are prioritising their mental health more than ever.  At the same time, consumers are increasingly wellness seekers. 67% are interested in exploring new and different wellness practices. There is a close connection between mental health, wellness, and nature. In Europe, for example, visuals that show people at peace in nature elicits feelings of happiness for 80% of respondents with 63% agreeing that these visuals show a healthy state of mind. It performs best for Gen Z (59%), Men (57%) and Gen X (56%). It's not a surprise then, that the travel industry responds by choosing visuals featuring relaxation in nature. What is quite new though, is nature’s enticing sense of scale.
Solace in Nature
Large angles and immersive perspectives. Lone figures wandering through vast expanses of nature, walking down empty beaches, or standing in front of nature's grandeur, with arms stretched towards the sky or simply contemplating. The colour palette is mesmerising but less saturated than a few years ago. Instead of blue skies and turquoise water, few clouds can be seen here and there. While the travel industry still taps into postcard visuals focusing on destinations, there is an increase in the more contemplative vision of our relationship with nature. This more intentional approach is fully in line with consumers' desire to put more attention on what counts: 84% look for ways to celebrate the good things in their lives. Even though they are anxious about the world’s current and future state, they seek escape in simple, if not universal things—and turning to nature is not only about wanting to be somewhere else but escaping space and time entirely.
What’s next? Space and Health
Traditionally, wellness and travel scenarios were symbolised by yoga and spa treatments. Getty Images' travel customers continue to focus on both, yet the settings are different than in previous years, as we increasingly see yoga groups outdoors, immersed in nature. From finding inner balance, visual expression shifts toward finding balance with our environment. Also, the activities are more nature‑driven. Hiking, biking, and bathing in mountain lakes are increasingly go‑to scenarios for travel and wellness brands. The scenery and seasons are also more varied, reflecting better the diversity of the natural world. In addition to sunny beaches, there is an increase in autumnal mountainscapes, soft and inviting valleys, dense forests. Nature’s presence is more tangible, super‑sensory, and we expect it to feature prominently in travel and wellness experiences going forward—from micro‑adventures or spa treatments to celebrating wildlife on a bigger scale. In times of the great re‑evaluation and quiet quitting, we will increasingly crave space, nature and a slower pace. 
Plant-Based Indulgence