25 Aug 2023Read of the weekRead of the week: travellers plan trips around tattoos

The latest travel trend to take over social media? That’d be tattoo tourism. As tattoos continue to grow in popularity people are planning ink-centric holidays, which speaks to the changing nature of travel as tourists seek out local insiders for culturally authentic and immersive experiences.

J’Nae PhillipsJ'Nae Phillips is an Insights Editor at Canvas8. After an early career working in fashion and media, her passion for culture and journalism grew and she made the transition to writing and editing full-time. She specialises in fashion, trends, cultural shifts and all of the good stuff that gets people talking.

A trend has emerged among Gen Y and Gen Z travellers - 'tattourism'. More than just a passing fad, this behavioural shift involves planning and booking holidays around tattoos, with adventurous travellers going the extra mile to get inked by renowned artists from different corners of the globe. The convergence of social media and the tattoo industry has played a significant role in fueling this trend, making it easier for artists to amass large followings as well as creating a space for tourists to curate trips around tattoos.

While the concept of getting a tattoo to commemorate a journey is not entirely new, the current generation of travellers is taking it to the next level. Nearly half (46%) of young people older than 18 have tattoos, and as they age they are more likely to get inked. As the desire for unique experiences takes precedence in their wanderlust pursuits, Gen Y and Z travellers are increasingly adopting a 'locals-first' approach. In this context, tattoo artists have become more than just skilled professionals; they are gatekeepers to authentic experiences during holidays.

Through the lens of tattoos, travellers can delve into personal heritage and explore local cultures in a meaningful and immersive way. Tattooing traditions often carry deep-rooted significance in various societies, making the process of getting inked an intimate journey into the essence of a particular community or region while abroad. Moreover, the travel industry has taken note of this burgeoning trend. Companies like Virgin have started offering curated tattoo experiences aboard their cruise ships, recognising the growing demand among travellers to incorporate tattoos as part of their holiday adventures.