The last decade saw its fair share of developments in the tourism industry. The world’s first double bed flight was launched, e-tourism rose in popularity, and the internet completely replaced the traditional travel agent through online booking sites.
Nobody could have predicted before 2000 how drastically the traveling experience would change. This begs the question -what’s in store for us in the future? Based on emerging industry trends, here are 4 predictions for the near future.
Visa Free Travel
The European Union is famous for two things: having both the cheapest and most expensive traveling locations in the world, and for visa-free traveling between member countries. But the EU will soon lose the latter distinction, as several countries have dropped their visa requirements to such an extent that it makes them virtually visa-free.
The most prominent of these is China, which recently lowered its Visa requirements in order to boost tourism. While the country limited visitors to a stringent process that relied on invites by registered agencies, it has greatly relaxed these limitations. Other Asian countries such as Sri Lanka are also following suit.
With the increasing rate of globalization, many experts predict that the world will become unified, using one language and a single passport, essentially removing visa requirements altogether. Good news for all those who wanted to visit North Korea!
On Spot Reservations
With the emergence of online ticketing and hotel reservation websites, many travelers have started planning their entire itineraries online. These companies have now started focusing on the on-the-go market sector, with several offering mobile apps for travelers.
One prominent feature of these mobile apps is detecting nearby vacant hotels using GPS technology. This has led to many adventurous travelers booking a flight at the last minute and arriving at the destination without any pre-planning. With complete hotel and city guides available online, expect a decline in reservations in favor of on-spot reservations.
No Tourist Zones
A very interesting statistic is that developing countries are now forming the highest percentage of outbound tourists, with China taking the lead at around 56million people a year. An influx of tourists at culturally significant structures such as the Taj Mahal in India will force many governments to start restricting the entry of tourists, creating no-tourist zones. Even today, some countries such as the Republic of Myanmar have set a quota on inbound visitors.
To Infinity and Beyond
Perhaps the most predicted event is the transition of tourism to outer space. While there are just 8 people who have experienced ‘space tourism’, many companies such as Virgin Galactic and X Cor have started development on space shuttles that can take people on the trip of a lifetime.
The MSRP on one ticket is about $100,000 at the cheapest, but with increasing competition and technological advancements, space tourism could soon be a viable option for the average person.