Sustainable Horizons: Elevating experiential tourism for elite clients

Jun 22, 2023 | Events, Marketing Advice, News, Press

The International University of Monaco and the Cluster Yachting Monaco, in partnership with the Monaco Capital of Advanced Yachting, hosted the 3rd edition of the UHNWI Insight Summit on . This year they covered several hot topics for UHNWI-client-facing and yachting professionals.

This year’s key theme was “Sustainable Horizons: Elevating experiential tourism for elite clients.”

It was a great workshop that provided valuable insights into the yachting industry’s transformation and its ability to stay ahead of the curve in the face of stiff competition from other luxury travel businesses.

Stay tuned as I uncover fascinating insights into the world of ultra-high net-worth individuals, their preferences, and their pursuit of unique, immersive experiences. From their travel destinations to their expectations, you’ll get a glimpse into the world of elite clients and the trends that shape their lifestyles.

So, let’s dive in and discover the fascinating world of sustainable horizons and experiential tourism for the ultra-wealthy.


Welcome to the overview of the UHNWI Summit entitled “Sustainable Horizons: Elevating experiential tourism for elite clients.” This summit focused on the exploration of sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11) and life below water (SDG 14) and how experiential learning can be applied to the tourism and hospitality industry for the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) for 2030.

Pic: Pexels

Overview of the Ultra High Net Worth Individual (UHNWI) Summit

The UHNWI Summit delved into the significance of experiential learning as an effective teaching strategy for the ESD for 2030. The study emphasised the need for educators to fully comprehend the SDGs and societal transformation to implement the ESD effectively. Experiential learning in real industry settings was found to be valuable for students, as it allowed them to engage with and solve real-world problems.

The summit acknowledged limitations in its methodology and suggested future research should focus on the implementation of the ESD for 2030 in different industries. It highlighted the importance of sustainable development and experiential learning in shaping the future of the tourism and hospitality industry.

Key takeaways from the UHNWI Summit

The UHNWI Summit provided valuable insights into the world of ultra-wealthy individuals and their preferences in travel and experiences. Key takeaways include:

  • Population Distribution: There are four million people worldwide with assets between $5 million and $50 million, with only 140,900 considered ultra-wealthy with assets exceeding $50 million.
  • Global Distribution: The United States, China, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and Japan have the highest number of ultra-wealthy individuals.
  • Shared Lifestyles: Ultra-high net-worth individuals share similar lifestyles and participate in the same global markets for luxury goods.
  • Seeking Unique Experiences: UHNW travellers have high expectations and seek precision, personalised service, and top-tier experiences. They have the financial resources to pursue unique, immersive experiences and are willing to create new opportunities if they don’t already exist.
  • Variety of Experiences:  UHNW individuals are interested in outdoor adventures and popular destinations include New Zealand, Iceland, Norway, and Rwanda. They may take helicopters into remote areas or stay at exclusive estates with private planes for exploration.
  • Fashionable Destinations: UHNW travellers also visit fashionable destinations like St. Moritz, Aspen, Gstaad, St. Barths, the French Riviera, and Mykonos.
  • Travel as a Status Symbol: UHNW individuals consider travel as a currency of status and value bragging rights, but they typically share their experiences in person rather than on social media. Whether it’s dining at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Paris, attending exclusive events like the Cannes Film Festival, or exploring hidden gems in remote corners of the world, UHNW travellers are always on the lookout for exceptional experiences. They engage in activities that allow them to connect with the local culture and create lasting memories. While they may have the means to document their travels on social media, UHNW individuals often prefer to share their experiences in person, adding an element of exclusivity to their adventures.
  • Client-centric Viewpoints:  Companies must adapt to client-centric viewpoints pre-, during and post-purchase, especially post-purchase.  Communication and marketing should cover all touchpoints.
  • Megatrends for UHNWI management:  Morality, door-to-door service.
  • The Impact of AI:  By 2025, 75% of all service interactions with UHNWI will be via AI.
  • Differentiation From Outside Yachting:  Four Season Yachts has branched out from global luxury hotels, restaurants and private aviation with FS Yachts, built by Fincantieri. Their onboard configurations offer flexibility (95 cabins, 175 pax, 200 crew) with 10 F&B options, spa with 14 treatment rooms.

Pic: Unsplash

Experiential Learning in the Tourism and Hospitality Industry

Exploring SDG 11 and SDG 14

In the UHNWI Summit, the focus was on two Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): SDG 11, which emphasises sustainable cities and communities, and SDG 14, which focuses on life below water. The summit aimed to explore how experiential learning could be applied to the tourism and hospitality industry for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) for 2030.

The study conducted during the summit found that the ESD for 2030 could be effectively adopted to address global crises.

Click here to access research citations for further reading on this topic.

Luxury and Sustainability

Over 90% of all mentions of sustainability online are linked to positive emotions (joy, repeat customers etc).  Luxury consumers are looking for tangible evidence that sustainability is a part of a business’s supply chain: carbon neutral, energy efficiency, environmental foundations.

Watch the IUM YouTube stream here:

Hero image: Anna Demianenko

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