"The World of Travel in 2020" study (done by Cendant Travel Distribution Services) explores the attitudinal, social, economic, cultural and technological drivers that will affect consumers in key travel markets and shape the future global travel trends.
The seemingly futuristic date of 2020 is just 15 years away - close enough to merit careful consideration for those involved in the travel industry. According to the study, over the next 15 years an increase in consumer confidence, coupled with a desire to satisfy individual tastes, will significantly reshape vacation aspirations and frequency. "The World of Travel in 2020" study predicts that travelers, young and old, will challenge traditional vacations as they seek, on average, up to four very different experiences a year. A passion for "doing" rather than "having" will double the number of consumers flying by 2020, according to the study. A key finding of the "The World of Travel 2020" report is that, in order to capitalize on these consumer requests, the industry needs to move from selling travel components to assembling complete end-to-end travel experiences.
Other global travel trends include the following.
The WTO estimates that by 2020 the average traveler will be taking up to four vacations a year in an expansion of the current trends in tourism for more short breaks. According to the study, over the next 15 years people will increasingly want to be differentiated by what they do, not what they buy. This will drive a desire for experience-driven travel.
Luxury will no longer equate to the most expensive. The global travel trends towards inconspicuous consumption will mean that luxury will equate to the things money can't buy, such as spending time with a child or partner, or pursuing a passion. As a result, affluent consumers will increasingly incorporate ?extremes of value? into a vacation. They are likely to combine pampering with personal development and purchase vacations based on emotional, not financial values.
In response, travel companies will have to redefine their luxury offers. For example, the study points to an expected increase in authentic cultural encounters, or anthro-tourism, as more consumers look for the opportunity to experience different cultures first hand.
Seventy seven percent of people believe that life moves at a faster pace these days. Streamlining the travel process to minimize travel stress will hold much higher appeal to the time-poor traveler of 2020. "Seamless travel" providers will become more important as consumers demand more time-convenient flights, the ability to check-in and have a boarding pass before getting to the airport, better connections, on-line visas and either a waiting private car transfer or a "good to go" rental car without a line and paperwork at their destination.
Changing family structures will have important implications on product and cost structure. The changing nature of family life will have significant implications on the future of travel. Within the next 15 years, we can expect to see more flexible travel formats and cost structures to suit different family compositions: for example, a single mother traveling with her friend and her two children, or grandparents with a single child. The growth of the aspiring "3rd Age Traveler" will also drive a series of new, dynamic travel products for a generation who reject the passive vacations so often targeted at them. As a retired population, which is younger and fitter than ever before, they do not wish to be labeled as old. Rather, they see this third stage in their life as a ticket to a huge array of affordable, active, exciting travel experiences.
There will still be demand for less specialized vacations from families and individuals with lower disposable incomes - and in particular, by a new wave of affluent, middle-class consumers from China, Brazil, Russia and India. However, the study also predicts that even the low-key beach vacation will need to incorporate exciting, self-improving, educational or cultural elements to meet the new aspirations of the 2020 tourist.
The World Tourism Organization forecasts that international tourism will continue growing. By 2020 Europe will remain the most popular destination. Since e-commerce has taken off on the internet, tourism products will become one of the most traded items on the net. Among the other global travel trends the WTO also mention the Technological Improvement. It is likely to make possible air-ship hotels, based either on solar-powered airplanes or large dirigibles. Underwater hotels, such as Hydropolis, expected to open in Dubai in 2006, will be built. On the ocean tourists will be welcomed by ever larger cruise ships and perhaps floating cities.