The World Classroom: From ancient history to marine biology, demand grows for holidays with a learning focus

The World Classroom: From ancient history to marine biology, demand grows for holidays with a learning focus

From perfecting yoga poses on the beach to joining literature festivals at sea, worldwide travel company Kuoni has seen an increase in bookings for people who want to blend their time away with learning a new skill or take part in an experience which broadens their knowledge and understanding of the world.

In Sri Lanka alone, bookings for cultural excursions with hands on experiences to try something new, from learning to cook local dishes to tea picking are up 12% year on year.   

A desire to broaden horizons and try something new is now one of the motivations to travel with 34% of people citing this as the reason for a change in their booking habits, according to a new report form worldwide travel company Kuoni.

The travel industry is responding by introducing ever more creative experiences which bring to life subjects beyond the classroom from ancient history to marine biology, with everything in between.

New research commissioned exclusively for Kuoni reveals 70% of people believe their reasons for booking a holiday have changed over the years with almost half (46%) saying this is due to more variety on offer with a wider choice of activities, workshops and retreats. 

Almost three quarters had been on at least one holiday as an adult where they had the opportunity to learn something new, agreeing that holidays are instrumental to lifelong learning. 

And 60% of adults said they had learnt something new on holiday as a child, with more than half believing that their childhood experience had improved their life as an adult. 

Parents are also seeing the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone and bolster their children’s education by choosing family holidays with opportunities to learn something about the world.

From a gladiator workshop in Rome to seeing hydrothermal activity first hand at the drive in volcano in Saint Lucia, selecting a holiday destination that allows their children the opportunity to learn a new skill or understand new cultures and environments is important for many parents. 

Being away from home with a sense of freedom is the main reason why 38% said that they did not feel embarrassed to try something new on holiday. 

Top 10 learning experiences are:

  1. Conservation, eg coral reef planting, turtle rescue, safari experience 
  2. Photography
  3. Cookery
  4. Diving or snorkelling
  5. Watersports, eg kayaking, waterskiing, sailing
  6. Mindfulness
  7. Dancing
  8. Yoga
  9. Tennis or other sports
  10. Pilates

“From special interest trips to improve photography skills to eco-centres dedicated to learning about marine life,  we’re seeing more innovation than ever from hotels, destinations and cruise lines which are all investing in this area to appeal to new markets and to attract repeat business,” said Wendy Kenneally, Kuoni’s commercial & operations director.

“We’re seeing a thirst for exciting new workshops, classes and excursions not just from the family market – but for adults of all ages, from twenty-somethings to those in their seventies, who want to pursue their interests, take time out and try something different in new surroundings.” 

Editors’ note:  The Worldwide Travel Report from Kuoni was published on 25 February and can be downloaded here 

For more about the World Classroom trend visit