Tourism is opening up. Cannabis is being legalized state by state. The time is ripe for Cannabis Tourism. Last week, The Cannabis Tourism Association International (CTAI) hosted its second virtual event of 2021 for members and others including tour operators, hoteliers, cannabis professionals and folks who are just plain interested.
Attendees had the opportunity to learn more about current travel trends and insights from presentations that shed light on a growing business sector with unlimited possibilities. In addition to the educational portion of the event, entitled Cannabis Tourism Current Landscape, attendees were able to network and foster relationships with like-minded individuals.
Brian Applegarth, Chairman and Founder of the CTAI discussed the fastest growing travel trends and how seamlessly they dovetail into the cannabis travel landscape. Millennials are expected to represent 50% of all travelers to the USA by 2025, he reported. Most of these travelers are tech-savvy and are comfortable using apps. Travelers are seeking out innovative wellness experiences and these destinations are evolving to serve the canna-curious. The very nature of cannabis zeroes in on personalized hospitality with a focus on human experiences to balance out technology.
Brian outlined the dominant sectors in Cannabis Tourism. Basic Cannabis 101 Education tops the list. Other notable sub-groups are retail shops (dispensaries), farm visits, lounges, cafes, delivery, spas, tour operators, events and conferences and CBD massage.
According to the San Francisco Travel Association, U.S. tourism is estimated to hit $2.4 trillion annually by 2028. Adam Sacks, President of noted research organization Tourism Economics and keynote speaker at the CTAI virtual event, supported Brian’s presentation from the viewpoint of tourism in general, drawing relationships between what’s going on in the economy and how individuals are responding in light of the current recovery. His optimistic data shows 80% of travelers are ready to get out there and explore right now. In fact, in the first three weeks of June he reports, travel is “only” down 28% relative to 2019 levels.
Among Adam’s educated crystal ball predictions is that we have seen a “spring bloom” in Q1 of this year and it is turning into a summer mini-bloom. Only 25% of stimulus checks have been spent and travelers are saving at historic rates. These lead to a massive $2.5 trillion war chest for the travel industry. Even domestic leisure trips show a recovery of 91%, he reports. International travel is taking a bit longer but that recovery in the UK, Canada and Mexico is closest at hand. And what is most hopeful is the recovery of US destination website searches have recovered to 2019 levels.
What does this mean for CannaTourism?
The planets are aligned for continued success. With a strong economy, a pent up desire for travel, increased legalization and de-stigmatization, Cannabis related travel and experiences are poised for success. For more information on membership and opportunities visit www.cannabistravelassociation.org, follow on Facebook and Instagram.