Skift Take

Travel is not getting any cheaper, as significant price increases across specific categories of experiences over the last four years, highlight the interplay of various economic, social, and market factors.

Experiences have seen a significant increase in pricing, with gains averaging 18% over the past four years. This is according to data analysis from two marketplaces for tours, activities, and attractions: GetYourGuide and TicketLens.

Recent analysis conducted by TicketLens shows that prices for tours and admission tickets worldwide increased by an average of 18% between June 2019 and June 2023, with Turkey seeing the highest price hikes globally. Dubai’s Burj Khalifa saw a massive 154% price jump in the past four years.

In the U.S., the rise has been slightly higher than the global average at 19%. The study covered various popular travel experiences in 27 countries.

GetYourGuide looked at bookings by its customers to see the average costs travelers have been paying, and also found an 18% increase. Charmaine Chua, Head of Optimization at GetYourGuide, attributed the increase to factors such as tourism’s post-pandemic rebound, recent inflation patterns, and a shift in consumer spending towards experiences.

Pricing Rise for Luxury Experiences and Notable Attractions

Data highlights shared by TicketLens showed:

  • Turkey was the destination to record the most significant price increase for experiences globally, with an average of 35% – or $31 – more in 2023 compared to 2019.
  • Miami recorded the biggest hike at 27% – or $21.40 – rise in cost for local tourism attractions in the U.S.
  • Attraction with the biggest increase: Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building in Dubai, saw a massive 154% jump in price for a package with skip-the-line entry, gourmet meal and transfer at $873.85 in 2023. In 2019, the price was $344.27
  • The London Eye in the U.K. saw a 59% increase for a private ride since 2019, costing $910.08 in 2023. 

Pricing for attractions checked by Skift varied slightly, and may have been affected by exchange rates.

“Moreover, all prices used in this analysis stem from the TicketLens database, which functions like a search engine and compares price listings from different sites, so prices from the official sites may vary too (and be more stable). The example of the London Eye Private Ride was the highest price listed in the TicketLens database June 2023,” added Blöcher.

Rise in Pricing Suggests Scarcity of Skilled Guides

GetYourGuide pricing increases based on average bookings across its range of 75,000 bookable experiences revealed trends in the following categories:

  • Walking Tours and Multi-Day Trips showed the highest price increases at 34% and 51%, respectively.  

“This reflects the increased cost and ongoing scarcity of highly-skilled independent guides, many of which changed careers during the pandemic out of necessity due to lack of demand,” said Chua. 

  • Adventure and Boat Tours had lower increases at 10% and 14%, attributed to higher price points and faster post-pandemic recovery. 

“This sector saw a faster recovery during the pandemic,” said Chua, “Given their typical group size and outdoor setting, consumers felt safe booking these experiences sooner than comparable products in busy city centers.” 

  • Entry Tickets to Attractions and Museums remained the lowest, according to GetYourGuide data, at 10%.

It reflected the nature of suppliers, many of which are public institutions and more concerned with preserving and promoting cultural heritage than commercial development, said Chua. 

The rising costs of tours and activities over the past four years reflect a complex interplay of economic, social, and market factors. Skift recently reported that disposable income, adjusted for inflation, is growing at some 3% this year, the same as the trend line before 2020. U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis data showed that 2023 is “back to the old normal” in terms of earnings and savings growth. And while travelers might be over the splurge phase of the travel recovery, the appetite for unique experiences and iconic attractions remains high.

Skift reached out to Tripadvisor’s Viator for similar price-increase comparison data, but a company spokesperson said it was unable to assist, at the time of publishing.


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Tags: dubai, experiences, london, pricing, tour operators, tours and activities, Travel Trends

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