Digital detox holidays are on the rise

Darren Cartwright
(Australian Associated Press)


A well-earned break in the future may mean more than a family heading to the coast as demand for ‘digital detox’ experiences gain momentum.

James Cook University professor of tourism Philip Pearce says off-the-grid holiday options are growing more popular around the world.

A study on digital-free tourism – where internet and mobile signals were either absent or digital technology use was controlled – shows ‘black hole’ accommodation is gaining traction.

“There is recognition in the industry of the ‘new escapism’ where people not only want to stay away from the physical home environment but disconnect from the digital world of routine work and social life,” Prof Pearce said.

Digital ‘black hole’ resorts have become luxury vacation choices in the UK and USA and ‘digital detoxing’ holidays are new selling points for many isolated island destinations.

Researchers analysed media references over the past decade and the digital free experiences were first offered as an up-market product targeting the high-end travel market.

“The first references we found on the topic of digital-detox holidays were a single article from 2009 and another the next year. Serious media coverage of digital-free holidays started in 2011,” Prof Pearce said.

However, whether it becomes a viable business and within the price range of the average worker remains to be seen.

“It’s not yet clear if this kind of tourism will be profitable for many commercial operators. We only know there has been a rise in media coverage which may indicate a growing industry phenomenon,” he said.


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