Future of travel

Global travel growth is expected to be high in the coming years but shifting geo-political tensions mean that the leisure industry must learn to be more forward thinking, agile and risk conscious and far better technologically enabled.
What is changing?


  • Tourism will surpass business travel in Europe (Europeans traveling among European countries and also to international destinations).
  • Growing middle classes and a digital revolution will make what seemed only a dream possible.
  • Destination services, personalisation, mobile bookings and peer-to-peer are expected to be the main disruptive forces in the travel industry over the next five years.
  • 106.3 million people (52.0% of internet users) will actually book travel online.
  • Travel companies are expected to embrace messaging services for customer service, bookings and payments as they did with social media.
  • Mobile bookings are expected to reach 35% of online travel bookings by 2018.
  • Consumers will soon always plan their travel door-to-door


  • Global growth will lead to an increase in the weight of various modes oftransport(larger planes, more high-speed trains, etc.).
  • 3D printers will play a huge role in new hotel development and operations.
  • Passenger and freight rail will form the backbone of the transport system.
  • Personal transport closer to home could be radically reshaped by the impending era of intelligent, electric and driverless vehicles.
  • Driverless cars will soon make car ownership a thing of the past.


  • A positive economic outlook and intra-regional liberalization will drive Asia Pacific air transport demand to increase 5.4% annually by 2033.
  • Anyone with a mere $75,000 to spare will be able to buy themselves some orbital space travel and a whole lot of bragging rights.
  • Capacity increases will likely cause prices to drop for short-haul business and long-haul economy airfares in the Middle East and Africa (MEA).
  • Ground transportation rates will likely be flat or slightly reduced in 2015 as a result of increased competition across multiple countries.
  • Demand for air travel services in the Middle East is anticipated to continue to increase significantly.
  • Demand from US companies with manufacturing facilities in Latin America will likely help create a seller’s market and contribute to mid- and upper-rangehotel property increases across the region.
  • Non-stop growth in hotel accomodation through to 2018 is expected.
  • Business travel will be perceived as more of an investment than a cost.
  • 90 percent of all airports will be able to provide flight status notifications through mobile and 65 percent will be able to provide real-time mobile information updates during travel disruptions.
  • Brazil will continue to stay in the international spotlight in anticipation of its next global sporting event in 2016.
  • An improving economy in the United States will likely cause price increases across all categories.
  • Economic growth and the expansion of China’s middle class will drive the country’s increase in demand for air travel services.
  • Ghana and CoteCote d’Ivoire are expected to benefit most from the rise of surfing tourism to Africa in the next five years.
  • China will become a key market for cruise companies.
  • Growth will be led by expansion in emerging markets such as China, India, and Brazil.
  • Business travel spending reached $1.1 trillion USD in 2013 and is expected to advance by 6.9% and 8.6% in 2014 and 2015.Traveling in particular is full of millions of annoyances that beacons, sensors, and other advances in mobile tech will soon help to squash.
  • Next-generation rolling stock and signal upgrades are expected to raise high-speed rail services in the excess of 320 kilometers per hour.
  • Rail services will be able to cross borders without delays or technical barriers.


  • Travelers expect airports to more effectively leverage the data they collect to enhance the airport experience.
  • Airline check-in desk clerks could end-up almost completely obviated by customer-facing technologies.
  • Digitisation of travel documents along with automation of transport-office processes could free up huge amounts of time for truckers to do their real job.
  • Better broadband could keep patients from having to travel hundreds of kilometers to seek services.
  • Amazon could pair information about a traveler’s intent with retail offers such as a GoPro camera to use while hiking or boating in Washington State.
  • Travel companies will need to be swift to embrace wearable electronics as part of their strategies targeting always-connected consumers in order not to lose ground to competitors.
  • Peer-to-peer dining websites are expected to follow in Airbnb’s footsteps.

Travel industry

  • A larger number of cities are expected to add higher hotel-related taxes for travelers.
  • Breakthrough technologies and new destinations will shape the global travel industry by 2024.
  • Travel companies will realize that true long-term business sustainability requires not only considering commercial needs.
  • Travel dynamics are positive but geopolitical uncertainty could cause disruption.
  • The extent to which cities expand will be determined by the extent to which travel times are reduced.

Virtual reality


  • Humans may yet travel to distant stars, but robots, rather than astronauts, will get there first.

Learn more
To find the sources and more resources on Shaping Tomorrow about the future of growth some of which were used in this Trend Alert. View Travel report.

Also, click here to find out how Shaping Tomorrow can help your organization rapidly assess and respond to these and other key issues affecting your business.


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