Top 5 Future Changes We Will See In Tourism This Decade
Tourism is one of the hardest-hit industries during the pandemic, hence it can be daunting to even consider the future of the industry overall. However, during times of crisis, people collaborate and ensue a profusion of creativity to drive the industry forward. Alongside globalisation, changing marketplaces, technology and innovation, tourism businesses were already gravitating towards the consumer demands for a more sustainable, eco-friendly, experiential, personal and wellness focus future, but what else might happen for tourism this decade?
1. Hygiene revolution
Germaphobes will be happy with this one. All sectors, especially airports, cruises and accommodation will have a far greater emphasis on stronger hygiene and security standards. Currently at Singapore Changi Airport, thermal screeners are used prior for check-in; while Phoenix Sky Harbor International has incorporated UV-C light sterilisers underneath pre-security escalators to continually sterilise handrails. Whether there will be an overhaul in air-filtration, or an implementation of a touchless check-in service, you can't deny that airports will be adapting to a utopian hygiene standard for tourism. Unfortunately, the humble self-service buffet may also cease to exist in airport lounges, cruises and hotels.
2. Hotels – Co-working spaces
Setting the trend for the ever-changing workplace, hotels are slowly beginning to incorporate co-working spaces for flexible workers and freelancers. Integrating a dynamic space that optimises essential working facilities alongside the abundance of hotel amenities (e.g. food and beverage, pools, gyms, 'a cold one' etc), creating a playground for workers to balance quality work with recreational activities surrounded by like-minded entrepreneurs – completely redefining the traditional workplace. Operators like Two Space and Wojo are transforming the hospitality sector - setting up offices in hospitality environments instead of the typical mundane office spaces. This may be the next critical opportunity for hotels to expand their target market from travellers to the local community during this major tourism contraction.
3. Airbnb going back to roots
A relief for the hotel industry and local communities – but we’ll have to wait and see. Airbnb has brought in an array of options for tourists to experience tourist destinations. However, it has been criticised for losing touch with its core values of cultural exchange, prompting touristification in transforming quiet neighbourhoods into crowded Disneyland’s. Founder Brian Chesky anticipates to reform the business and reduce the listings greatly, and simply get back to basics.
4. Virtual Reality (VR) explosion
Virtual reality is still at its infancy, but with 5G rolling out and the increasing demand and adaption of businesses to operate virtually, it might be the combustion that ignites the fancy tech into the mainstream. From immersive hybrid events and tours to VR being used as a vantage point in the customer decision process of potential destinations, accommodation and tourist attractions. Companies such as 3DWalkabout will revolutionise the customer decision process for travel agencies, creating custom-built VR and AR visualisation experiences to influence destination choices.
5. Advancing Internet of Things (IoT)
IoT, meaning anything connected to the internet, will undoubtedly keep changing every industry indefinitely. IoT continues to push the boundaries in what we can do with technology. Inducing automation to reduce monotonous work in running a business, as well as personalising travel experiences everywhere. From being able to interact with your room to your specific demand in lighting, heating or ambience through voice control or smartpad; to any pesky briefcases with beacons for you to track down and locate. Currently, at the City Hub Amsterdam, the capsule hostel features a wearable electronic wristband for all guests to open doors, pour beers or change the mood lighting for your room -- Siri, play Rick Astley!
Travel as we knew before won’t come back the same, but that doesn’t mean we should be pessimistic for the future of the industry. Instead, be optimistic for a better, exciting and more sustainable future for tourism overall. What do you think will change?
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