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What will Tourism in 2030 look like?

Imagine walking into an airport in 2030, where facial recognition is your passport. Where all you do is drop your bag at a single point, knowing its embedded smartchip will automatically route it to the right plane. Where on boarding, you are greeted by name by the humanoid flight attendant, who has your favourite drink at the ready. And as you settle into your seat, within an hour of leaving home, you can with a touch of your finger settle right back into your augmented reality office.

How much of a fantasy do you think this is?

I recently co-authored a paper on the Future of Work in Africa. And the deep dive we took into how major technology trends are going to dramatically change the face of work by 2030, showed that this seemingly fantastical future is not so far off at all.

Which got me thinking about the Future of Tourism, and what that will look like over the course of the next ten years.

Digitisation of the customer experience

While you may think I am exaggerating with my prediction of humanoid flight attendants, the reality is that the service industry is already being impacted by robots. From Dubai’s robocop who also helps tourists, to Singapore’s robodog who helps enforce social distancing. And HSBC's robot receptionist Pepper, who identifies visitors using facial recognition, sends alerts for meetings and even arranges drinks.

Covid has also accelerated the adoption of both high-tech (robot) and low-tech (phone/iPad) contactless solutions to replace high-risk human interactions in hotels, restaurants, airports etc. And we are going to see an exponential increase of contactless solutions coming into play throughout the customer journey.

What does this mean for you?

What this move to low-touch means is that there is going to be a concurrent increase in the value placed on high-touch interactions. This is an area where tourism businesses will really be able to set themselves apart in the future of tourism.

Augmentation of work and play

What about flipping open an augmented office? Peter Diamandis predicts that by 2030 the world will be connected via an ultra-low-cost, lightening-speed spatial web that will drive the acceleration of augmented reality (overlaying the digital world directly on top of the real world). We are already seeing the beginning of this with the large number of new wearable and VR devices that are coming to market each year at lower and lower costs.

Covid has already accelerated the creation of virtual experiences with many museums and destinations creating virtual walk-throughs. The immersiveness of these types of experiences is only going to increase exponentially going forwards. To the state where you will be able to feel as if you are literally experiencing the Colosseum or the Louvre.

What does this mean for you?

What this means is that travellers are going to be less enticed by seeing the sites. Cookie cutter trips are going to lose their appeal. While demand will grow exponentially for completely tailored and intimate experiences that are designed around real and immersive human connection.

Changing travel demographics

2030 is not only going to bring with it changes in how we travel, but also in who will be doing the travelling. Today everyone is focused on the Chinese market as the most lucrative travel market to capture. But by 2030, China will be the world's most aged society with a declining population. While in contrast, Africa will be the youngest growing society in the world with 1 billion of its 1.7 billion people being of working age. Which means the numbers of African travellers will be burgeoning year on year. Driven by a young, mobile and increasingly affluent middle and upper class market (click here to learn more).

What does this mean for you?

By 2030, it is predicted that 1 in 5 consumers globally will be African. And this market will be spending over $260 billion on hospitality and recreation. What this means is that you need to start thinking now about developing a strategy to attract this market before you lose out to your competition.

Want to learn more? Have thoughts to share? Reach out to me here.

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