There is no denying that it is getting harder to switch off in our increasingly connected lives. Research shows that Australians are spending roughly 10 hours a day glued to screens and that number is even higher for Gen Y and office workers. With that in mind, it really is no surprise that the number of Aussies seeking out ‘digital detox’ holidays has increased significantly. SeaTrek Sailing Adventures, a boutique cruise company operating two traditional wooden pinisi boats across eastern Indonesia, has observed this growing trend first-hand.
“We have never had internet connectivity on our boats, and we intend to keep it that way. And the ‘digital detox’ concept is something we feel very happy to be able to offer our guests 100% so they can get away from the constant information overload that dominates our daily lives.” – Michael Travers, Head of Marketing & Communications at SeaTrek Sailing Adventures
Albeit a relatively new travel trend, new research indicates that the concept of the ‘digital detox holiday’ has evolved in recent years. Australians have moved beyond desiring the mere relaxation and escapism offered on ‘black zone’ trips and now appear intent on acquiring new skills and behaviours that they can return home with. This is particularly true for families looking to strengthen bonds and create memories on holiday.
“We see it with families all the time. Kids who would normally be head down in their devices are now socialising and talking with their families and other guests in a way that many don’t anymore. They have forgotten how, but if you remove the connectivity and fill their time with loads of great activities like snorkelling, swimming and searching out Komodo dragons then they forget all about it and start being a family again, especially at mealtimes when there’s so much to talk about. It’s a beautiful thing to see.”
Some tour companies might feel backed into a corner when it comes to providing their guests with internet connectivity during their travels. It’s one of those ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ scenarios. While more and more customers are purposefully seeking out ‘dead zone’ experiences, there will always be customers who want this service too. And with many businesses now viewing social media as the ‘new word-of-mouth’, it is pretty attractive to imagine their guests snapping, sharing and inadvertently promoting their business at every possible moment.
SeaTrek is not too concerned about this.
“Our guests live in the moment having real experiences with their fellow guests in real-time. That’s the only way to leave stress behind and start to unwind. Call us old fashioned, but that’s what holidays have always been about, right? There’s time for sharing when you get home.”