The global market for tourism has just doubled, for many practical purposes. And that is only one of the changes that the tourist industry will be absorbing over the next ten to 20 years.
Around the world, the cost of travel is falling, while the middle class is becoming generally more prosperous and eager to go places. At the same time, demographic trends, changing values, and other developments are helping to bring some highly profitable turmoil to this segment of the hospitality industry.
Two long-standing trends will remain unchanged as far into the future as we can see: growth and globalization. Tourism is expanding rapidly, with more travelers every year and a wider variety of destinations and activities.
The world’s travel and tourism industry is going through some grim times of late. The worldwide recession that begin in 2008 has consumers frightened, and frightened people cut back on elective travel. We described the early results in Chapter 2: In the
hotel occupancy rates for 2009 are expected to come in at just 58.3 percent,
the lowest in two decades. In the U.S. Caribbean,
hotel bookings were off 30 to 50 percent by November 2008, with even grimmer
results expected in 2009. Cruise bookings are down, and cruises are going at
fire sale prices. Even Disney says early-2009 reservations are off 10 percent
at its theme parks. Managing director Simon Hargreaves of the Travel Trust
Association estimates that the travel sector has shrunk by 1 to 5 percent in
2008 and will do so again in 2009.
Fortunately, bad times never last. As we have said, the recession should be passing by mid-2009. Travel will take a while longer to recover, because consumers will need some time to be sure the worst is over and because job growth will lag GDP growth. Yet, by 2010 they will be climbing out of their storm cellars and beginning to explore the world again.
That is important, not just to the industry, but to the global economy. Travel and tourism is the fifth or sixth largest industry in the world, adding more than $2 trillion to the global GDP in 2008, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), and providing jobs for nearly 73.7 million people—and that is just the industry’s direct impact. Add in suppliers and other industries that depend on travel and tourism, and the total impact is closer to $6 trillion—nearly 10 percent of the world’s GDP—and 238 million jobs, or more than 8 percent of global employment.
Those numbers will be rising rapidly in the years ahead, just as they have for most of the last half-century. Once the recession is over, travel and tourism are expected to grow by more than 4 percent annually. In a pre-recession forecast, WTTC predicted that by 2018 the global travel market would add nearly $10.9 trillion annually to the world’s GDP. Employment will not grow quite as quickly, but according to the report travel and tourism should support some 296 million jobs around the world by 2018. Given the recession, we would put these targets back to 2021. It still represents solid growth after the lean times have passed.
Looked at another way, in 1950 the travel industry recorded just 25 million international arrivals. (That includes both business and vacation travel, but personal travel regularly makes up about 80 percent of the total.) In 2001, arrivals were up to 693 million—and even that is just the beginning. By 2020, forecasters predict that there will be 1.5 billion, a solid majority of them vacationers. If the recession delays that target by a year or two, this still will be a time of steady, profitable growth. And the grimness of 2008 will be long forgotten.
Places to Go, Things to Do
The tourism market
expands when potential travelers have more disposable income, and throughout
the developed world, and much of the developing world, they generally have had
it. In the
more than 20 percent of households had annual incomes over $100,000 in 2007. They
spend United States
0nearly half again
the national average. And 57 percent of these affluent consumers have purchased
a luxury travel product over the last year. The number rises with income. Among
households with incomes over $150,000, 64 percent have bought luxury travel
products; over $200,000, the number is 68 percent. Similar trends are seen
and other relatively prosperous regions. When people have money, they spend it
on travel. Japan
Given so many economically comfortable travelers, countries
Brazil to Malaysia and Chile
have been working hard to attract their share of tourist dollars. Over all,
they have been extremely successful, not just bringing in the wealthy, but
attracting middle-class travelers as well. Heavy promotion, together with the
spread of lower-cost tour packages and discounted air fares, have opened elite
destinations to less wealthy tourists. Where Yemen Fiji,
Tahiti, and—for more adventurous tourists—the
Antarctic, once were playgrounds of the rich, merely-comfortable vacationers
are now flocking to them. Cruise lines, too, are seeking middle-class
customers, with great success. At the same time, relatively untraveled lands
are fast building tourist industries. Nepal,
Vietnam, Malaysia, Dubai,
all are drawing visitors, especially from within their own regions. South Africa
This same ability to spend has inspired a host of new
tourism products aimed at the relatively well-off. “Theme” and “total
immersion” travel experiences aim to provide guests with a complete escape from
their daily routines. Old-fashioned dude ranches have been joined by French
cooking classes in French chateaux, so-called “adrenaline vacations” like
race-car driving schools and bungee jumping in New Zealand, sailing on a
clipper ship, and research expeditions to tropical rainforests. One of the
hottest markets is for “destination weddings,” where the entire wedding party
Mexico or the Caribbean for an all-expenses-paid marriage celebration.
With American weddings now averaging $22,000, a three-day marriage weekend for
$2,500—guests pay their own way—can be awfully attractive.
Not all regions
benefit from these trends equally. The Europe and
remain the world’s favorite travel destinations, while Africa
is at best an also-ran. Here is a brief look at prospects for major regions of
North America—Not long ago, industry imagined that travel in this
region would follow its accustomed patterns. Nearly half of all international
tourism would occur between the United States and either Canada or Mexico,
while most of the rest would be made up by a steady flow of American tourists
to Europe and Europeans to the U.S. North America would remain secure in its
place as the second-largest travel destination in the world.
It has not worked out that way. Travel to and from the United States has remained depressed by the fear of terrorism and by the high cost of going to Europe when the dollar does not buy nearly as much as it once did. Recent demands by American security officials have further suppressed travel to the U.S. Entry rules now require that most visitors submit to being photographed and fingerprinted; eventually most also will have to carry a “biometric” passport that includes copies of their fingerprints and iris patterns. Since American authorities made it harder to enter the country, tourist arrivals have fallen to a level 30 percent from 2001.
This too shall pass. Once the recession is over, growing
prosperity in the
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
will sustain the expansion of travel within North America
at about 3 percent per year. Eventually, the United
States will find its way out of the morass of Iraq, the dollar will regain its exchange value,
and the tourists will find their way between North America, Europe,
and points East. Over all, international travel will grow by a bit less than 4
percent per year in this region, somewhat below the global average. Yet the
will continue to lead the world in spending on and earnings from travel. United States
Europe—The Continent too is
in for slower growth than its tourist industry has been accustomed to, even
after the current downturn has passed. Over all, tourist arrivals were expected
to expand by only 3 percent per year, bringing 717 million arrivals in 2020;
the recession will delay some of them to about 2022. Many of those visitors
will bypass Western Europe, the traditional
leader destination of choice. Both Northern and Southern Europe are in for
faster-than-average growth, as Asian tourists flock to Germany and Scandinavia, while others seek out
the beaches of the Mediterranean. However, the
fastest growth will be in travel to and from Central and Eastern
Europe, where Soviet domination crippled economies and kept travel
demand bottled-up for more than 40 years. By 2020, both Russia and the
will join the world’s top ten destinations for international tourism. Czech Republic
The Caribbean makes up only a small piece of the travel market, with just 3 percent of international tourist arrivals. Yet it is the overwhelming leader among cruise destinations, receiving nearly half of all cruises taken in the world. Credit this to balmy weather, spectacular beaches, a highly competitive travel industry, and proximity to the
, which provides no
fewer than 80 percent of all cruise passengers. None of these factors is likely
to change, so tourist arrivals in the United States Caribbean
should double between 1997 and 2013, and may nearly double again by 2022 or so.
However, there are natural limits to how many tourists can be packed into
relatively small islands. Sustaining this growth rate will require the speedy
development of resorts on relatively untapped islands. In the end, this could
homogenize the Caribbean experience and send
vacationers looking for less heavily traveled waters.
Central and South America, recognizing the economic benefits of greater tourism, have been positioning themselves as the natural destination for eco-tourists. This strategy will serve the region well in the next 20 years. From the lush rain forests of
Costa Rica to the Amazon
River Basin to the preserves of sea
elephants, seals, and penguins of Tierra del Fuego, South
America offers wonders to delight nature-minded vacationers.
Cultural attractions also abound in pre-Colombian ruins and Andean villages far
off the beaten path.
Developing these resources will not be easy, however. This region’s attractions have survived to be worth visiting largely because they are so hard to reach, and many of them will be unable to accommodate large numbers of tourists without being changed in essential ways. Nonetheless, once the world economy recovers, tourism to
South America can be expected to grow by nearly 5 percent
per year at least through 2020.
The Middle East does remarkably well on the international tourist market for an area with such a reputation for volatility and danger. Among all the world’s regions, it was the second-fastest growing tourist destination throughout the late 1990s. It will continue to grow in the years ahead, from 19 million tourist arrivals in 2000 to roughly 69 million in 2022.
Part of this growth can be attributed to the development of attractions, like the spectacular Bibliotheque in
and the Al Arab Hotel in ,
where the seafood restaurant is reached by submarine. And even European
tourists have begun to make their way to resorts on the Dubai Red
Sea. However, the single biggest asset the region has to offer is
Islam. Around the world, 1.3 billion Muslims look to the Middle
East for inspiration and spiritual leadership. Many of them are
beginning to look there for luxury vacations as well. In 2001, some 42,000
Indonesian tourists visited Qatar,
Yemen, and other
destinations in the region, and the flow of Indonesian tourists to the is expected
to grow by about 7 percent per year. Gulf states
Africa south of the
Sahara has it all—all but tourists, that is. Sun-baked,
surrounded by beaches, with a continent full of exotic wildlife, Africa still
manages to attract only 4 percent of the world’s international tourists, and
nets just 2.5 percent of the profits—and more than a third of these go to the
desert lands of Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria in North Africa, not the lush
southern region. Even with natural resources to recommend them, the combination
of deep poverty and political instability is a hard sell.
This will be slow to change.
has Beijing’s approval as a destination for
Chinese tour groups, and South Africa’s
Sun City is building a market among Asian
tourists seeking a resort vacation closer to home than more traditional
destinations. Yet over all growth in tourism to Africa will average about 5.5
percent over the next 15 years, according to the World Trade Organization, and
nearly all of that will occur north of the Sahara,
where growth rates are in double digits. So far as we can find, no one even
bothers to estimate the growth of tourism in equatorial and southern Africa.
40 Percent of the World
Just a few years ago, the international tourism industry in effect served less than 20 percent of the world’s population, the roughly 1 billion people who lived in the
United States and Europe
and about 120 million Japanese. Other regions might provide interesting
destinations for wealthy tourists from the industrialized countries, but as
sources of international tourism they might as well have not existed.
China and India in particular had more than 2 billion potential tourists in theory—populations of about 1.1 billion people in China and just under 1 billion in India—but essentially none in practice. Both national economies had been virtually stillborn, thanks to excessive regulation and centralized planning by governments philosophically opposed to free enterprise. As a result, neither country had a viable middle class to pay for vacation travel and related services.
also heavily restricted its citizens’ movements outside the country; no
international tourism was allowed until 1978. China
In both countries, these conditions are changing rapidly. In 1978,
opened its economy to small private ventures such as crafts operations and
family-owned restaurants. Over the years, a vibrant market economy has evolved,
the Communist Party has begun to admit the capitalists it once despised, and China has
joined the World Trade Organization. China , for its part, has been
chopping away at the endemic red tape and corruption that had hobbled business
development throughout the world’s largest democracy ever since it gained
independence in 1947. India
The results have been remarkable.
China’s GDP quadrupled by 2000 and is now
growing—according to ’s
official figures—at between 8 and 10 percent every year. The Indian economy has
grown by an average of about 6 percent per year since 1990. In both countries,
the middle class is expanding rapidly. At the end of 2003, one study found that
19 percent of Chinese—247 million people—qualifies as middle class, and their
numbers were growing by 1 percent per year. In Beijing , there were more than 300
million in the middle class, and their numbers were growing even faster.
“Middle class” does not mean quite the same thing in Asia as it does in the
West—a net worth of $18,000 to $36,000 makes a Chinese family middle class,
while in India this group spans yearly incomes with local purchasing power
equivalent to anywhere from $20,000 to $600,000. In any case, many of them can
afford to travel abroad—an estimated 85 million in India alone. China
Many of them do, and many more are doing so each year. An estimated 4 million Chinese vacationed outside the mainland in 2001, 10 million in 2003 (one estimate puts the number at nearly 12 million in the first eight months of the year), with 16 million projected for 2005.
growing as well. In 2000, an estimated 4 million Indians vacationed abroad,
spending about $380 million. By 2005, an estimated 10 million will follow them
to Europe, India Australia, ,
and places closer to home. New Zealand
To date, these still are relatively small markets. By way of contrast, Americans made 144 million international flights in 2000, a large majority for tourism, before the September 11 terrorist attacks temporarily inhibited travel. Yet tourism from
are growing far more rapidly. The Pacific Asia Travel Association estimates
that Chinese spending for international travel will reach $100 billion by 2008.
By 2020, according to the World Trade Organization, an army of 100 million
Chinese will fan out across the globe, replacing Americans, Japanese, and
Germans as the world’s most numerous travelers. That same year, 50 million
Indians are expected to tour overseas. Japan
Nor is all this travel one-way.
be not only the world’s largest source of tourists, but the most popular
destination as well, with 130 million arrivals in 2020. The 2008 Olympics in China Beijing will hasten this trend, but they are only part of
a massive effort to improve ’s
attractions and infrastructure. Both the government and many private tour
operators are working to develop scenic, cultural, historical, and religious
sites as tourist destinations, and China
has announced a plan to train 100,000 tourism specialists over the next ten
years. The reward for all this effort will be an estimated 40 million new jobs
in the tourist industry. Beijing
Yet it is Chinese and Indian vacationers who are beginning to reshape the map of world tourism. Although
Europe remains the planet’s favorite
travel destination, and the top draw for Asian tourists with time on their
hands, those out for a quick shopping trip or just a few days off are heading
for places much closer to home.
Europe, castles, the Autobahn, and
snow are clearly big draws for many Chinese tourists. Scandinavia is hosting
waves of tourists from the PRC, and Chinese vacationers racked up some 600,000
overnight stays in
in 2003, a number that was expected to double by 2008. Nearly all belonged to
approved tour groups; individual tourists still were not allowed there without
a personal invitation and a German visa. Germany
Indian tourists are spreading out a bit further. Shopping holidays in
Dubai, which is
duty-free, and packaged tours to Paris, London, Switzerland,
all are attracting visitors from the Subcontinent in large numbers. Austria
However, many more Asians are spending their vacations within the region. More than 7 million mainland Chinese sought R&R in
Kong last year, roughly as many people as the territory’s native
population, and that probably is just the beginning. This year, 1 million
Chinese tourists are expected to visit Thailand,
while 900,000 will travel to Malaysia
and 700,000 will go to .
For Indian tourists, Vietnam Hong Kong, Singapore (again duty-free), and all
attract shopping trips and quick get-aways. Malaysia has been a major draw for
cultural tourism, though the expanding communist insurgency has begun to
discourage travel there. Recently Nepal has gained popularity for
inexpensive beach vacations. Sri Lanka
With so much tourist business at stake, many countries are working hard to attract the new Asian travelers. All of the Scandinavian countries have opened tourist offices in
China, and has recently negotiated a
memorandum of understanding that allows Chinese tour groups to visit. Cuba South Africa is marketing Sun
City and other resorts to Indian customers. Nepal is promoting no fewer than five new
destinations in .
And the India Australia and New Zealand tourist offices have mounted
campaigns to draw visitors from both India
and . China
This is a trend seen throughout the world. As travel and tourism expand, new destinations and new attractions are opening up rapidly all over the world. From small villages in
to five-star resorts on the beach in , the world’s tourists will
have a growing smorgasbord of destinations to visit. In the years ahead, not
even the most experienced and jaded travelers will be able to feel they have
seen it all. Morocco
Key Trends for Tourism
2. Population of the developed world is living longer.
Each generation lives longer and remains healthier than the last. Since the beginning of the twentieth century, every generation in the
has lived three years longer than the
previous one. An 80-year-old in 1950 could
expect 6.5 more years of life; today's 80-year-olds are likely to survive 8.5
more years. Life expectancy in United
Japan, and is
now over 75 years for males and over 80 for females. A major reason for this
improvement is the development of new pharmaceuticals and medical technologies
that are making it possible to prevent or cure diseases that would have been
fatal to earlier generations. Medical advances that slow the fundamental
process of aging now seem to be within reach. (This is a controversial issue
within the medical community, but the evidence appears quite strong.) Such
treatments could well help today’s younger generations live routinely beyond
the century mark. Switzerland
Assessment: Demographic trends such as this are among the easiest to recognize and most difficult to derail. Barring a global plague or nuclear war—wildcard possibilities that cannot be predicted with any validity—there is little chance that the population forecast for 2050 will err on the low side.
Implications for Tourism: Older, but still vigorous travelers will be a growing market for international tourism. Well into their 70s, they will retain their youthful interest in pastimes such as skin diving, hiking, and other low-impact activities with high “experience” value.
Nonetheless, facilities will require senior-oriented conveniences, such as larger signs with easy-to-read type, door handles that can be operated easily by arthritic hands, and fire and security systems that flash lights for the hard-of-hearing.
Club Med and its competitors will become “Club Medic,” with nurses and emergency equipment on site and doctors on call, to care for guests who are less healthy and more fragile.
Special tours and other activities should be ranked for the amount of walking, energy, or agility they require, so that older customers can easily choose pastimes within their abilities.
It may also be necessary to increase staffing slightly, to provide older guests with extra help in checking in, coping with luggage, arranging for local transportation, and dealing with other chores that younger patrons could handle on their own.
They also want to feel that they are recognized (especially if they are repeat customers) and catered to. Older patrons appreciate being addressed by name, and as “Mr.” and “Mrs.” rather than as “you guys.”
Because the oldest members of society also tend to be the wealthiest, luxury cruise lines and high-end tour operators should do well as the Baby Boomers enter their retirement years.
Retirees often are willing to travel off-season, spreading their vacations evenly throughout the year. This already is helping to mitigate the cyclical peaks and valleys typical of the tourist industry. Some 62 percent of American respondents to a National Geographic Traveler/Yahoo! Travel poll reported planning a winter vacation of at least five days in 2004.
Despite their relative wealth as a group, many seniors are extremely careful with their money. This will further raise the demand for vacation packages that are comfortable, staffed by attentive personnel, and cheap.
Mature travelers tend to be experienced travelers. Many are unforgiving of lapses in service, facilities that are less than the best, or excessively familiar tours or activities.
7. Societal values are changing rapidly.
Industrialization raises educational levels, changes attitudes toward authority, reduces fertility, alters gender roles, and encourages broader political participation. This process is just beginning throughout the developing world. Witness the growing literacy, declining fertility, and broad voter turnout seen in
over the last decade. Developed societies increasingly take their cue from
Generation X and the Millennial generation (aka Gen Y or Generation Dot-com),
rather than the Baby Boomers who dominated the industrialized world’s thinking
for most of four decades. Post-September 11 fear of terrorist attacks has led
Americans to accept almost without comment security measures that their
traditional love of privacy once would have made intolerable. India
Assessment: This trend will continue for at least the next two decades in the industrialized lands and two generations in the developing world.
Implications for Tourism: The trend is toward extreme quality, and convenience. Customers want constant pampering, luxurious accommodations, and fresh meals that seem like labors of love—all at a price that will not wound the consumer’s conscience.
Travelers used to focus on destinations; now they want experiences. Vacations thus are becoming more active and participatory, as tourists become less interested in “go-and-see” and more eager to go-and-do. This is the trend behind the growth of adventure tourism.
“Authenticity” is another key value. Tourists who go to see other lands, rather than surf their beaches, want to find unique natural and cultural features that survive as close as possible to their original form. Travel experiences that remind guests of Navajo Indian blankets with “Made in
” tags will turn a destination
into one more shopping mall, leaving visitors feeling that they might as well
have stayed at home. China
9. Time is becoming the world’s most precious commodity.
workers spend about 10 percent more time on the job than they did a decade ago.
European executives and non-unionized workers face the same trend. In United States , an
Ipsos MORI study found that 32 percent of people who had not visited a museum
in the previous year reported having too little time to do so; in 1999, only 6
percent had cited that reason. Britain 's
rapid economic development means its workers also are experiencing faster-paced
and time-pressured lives. In a recent survey by the Chinese news portal
Sina.com, 56 percent of respondents said they felt short of time. Technical
workers and executives in China India
are beginning to report the same job-related stresses, particularly when they
and European schedules. U.S.
Assessment: This trend is likely to grow as changing technologies add the need for lifelong study to the many commitments that compete for the average worker’s time. As it matures in the
it is likely to survive in other parts of the world. It will not disappear
until United States China and reach
modern post-industrial status, around 2050. India
Implications for Tourism: Work pressure is eroding vacation time throughout the industrialized world. One-third of Americans take 50 percent or less of the vacation time their jobs theoretically allow. In
25 percent of employees take only part of their vacation time. In Britain , where
employees are legally guaranteed 17 days per year of vacation, the average
worker takes only 9.5 days annually. Japan
For those with little time, but adequate funds, multiple, shorter vacations spread throughout the year will continue to replace the traditional two-week vacation.
For well-off travelers, time pressure is a strong incentive to use travel agents and shop for packaged tours, rather than doing their own vacation planning.
Less wealthy vacationers will speed the task of making travel arrangements and broaden their selection of affordable vacation packages by doing their shopping on the Internet.
Anything destinations and tour operators can do to save time for their customers will encourage repeat visits.
14. Consumerism is still growing.
Consumer advocacy agencies and organizations are proliferating, promoting improved content labels, warning notices, nutrition data, and the like on packaging, TV, the Internet, and even restaurant menus. On the Internet, shoppers themselves have access to a growing universe of information about pricing, services, delivery time, and customer satisfaction.
and other markets are beginning the same revolution that has replaced ’s
neighborhood stores with cost-cutting warehouse operations, discounters such as
Wal-Mart, and “category killers” like Staples and Home Depot. As a result,
consumer movements are springing up in countries where they have never existed.
Consumer laws and regulations will follow. America
Assessment: This trend seems likely to remain healthy for the at least the next 15 years.
Implications for Tourism: This is a mandate for quality. Brands with good reputations will have a strong market advantage over lesser competitors and unknowns.
It will take very few mistakes to undermine a reputation for quality, particularly when disgruntled consumers often voice their complaints over the Internet, where vacation-shoppers may see them for years.
A second-rate or poor reputation will be even harder to overcome than it is today.
17. Generation X, the Dot-coms, and the Millennials are gaining social and organizational influence.
Members of each group—ranging from nearly 50 to the 20-somethings—have much more in common with their peers than with their parents. Their values and concerns are remarkably uniform throughout the world. Socially and in business, they are nearly color-blind and gender-blind. Generation X is starting new businesses at an unprecedented rate, and the Millennial generation is proving to be even more business-oriented, caring for little but the bottom line. They will work for others, but only on their own terms.
Generation X and the Millennials thrive on challenge, opportunity, and training—whatever will best prepare them for their next career move. Cash is just the beginning of what they expect. Employers will have to adjust their policies and practices to the values of these new and different generations, including finding new ways to motivate and reward them.
However, they also have a powerful commitment to society. Gen Xers are mainstays of “voluntourism,” spending part of their vacations on volunteer work. In a recent survey, 60 percent of respondents said they would be interested in doing scientific or environmental work while on vacation. Even more would be willing to teach English or another academic subject.
Assessment: As trends go, this is an evergreen. In a few years, we will simply add the next new generation to the list.
Implications for Tourism: These generations tend to be more conservative about money than their Boomer parents and grandparents. They will take vacations they can afford without borrowing, especially after they have absorbed the lessons of the global recession. For hospitality and travel firms, this will put still greater emphasis on delivering a high-quality travel experience at the lowest possible price.
Younger consumers tend to be extremely well informed about their travel choices, thanks in large part to their comfort with the Internet. Net-savvy travel marketers have a strong advantage in reaching this market.
Generations X and Dot-com will be major customers for tourism in the future. Marketing to them will require a light hand, with strong emphasis on information and quality. Brands credibly positioned as “affordable luxury” will prosper.
Any perceived inadequacy of service will send them to a competitor for their next vacation. Under-40 customers make few allowances for other people’s problems.
However, they are relatively tolerant of impersonal service. What they care most about is efficiency.
These generations also will be the industry’s future employees. The good news is that they are well equipped to work in an increasingly high tech world. The bad is that they have little interest in their employer’s needs and no job loyalty at all. They also have a powerful urge to do things their own way.
19. The economy of the developed world is growing steadily, with only brief interruptions.
catches a cold, the rest of the world gets pneumonia, or so economists used to
say. Late in 2008, the United
States has pneumonia. Home prices remain in
free-fall, and the credit market has collapsed. Jobs are disappearing at a rate
of more than 1 million every two weeks. Consumer confidence is plummeting. Most
of the world is in recession. It turns out that 2008 and some of 2009 are one
of the interruptions contemplated in the trend.
Looking abroad, we can see effects of
problems. The entire European Union is in recession. China,
Australia, India, Japan,
are in or near recession. In all, the economies of the world seem a lot less
healthy than they did a few months ago.
Throughout the world, governments are scrambling to shore up lending institutions, stem the tide of foreclosures, restore the flow of credit, and provide jobs for the newly unemployed. These efforts will continue through 2009.
At that point, global economic growth will resume its accustomed rate, a bit more than 5 percent per year as of 2007.
Assessment: These trends have been revised many times since they were first codified in the late 1980s. Some trends have fallen out of the list as they matured or as circumstances came along to change them. Others have been added as they were recognized. This trend has remained a constant, and with each revision its effective period has been extended. To invalidate this trend would take a catastrophe on the order of the permanent loss of Middle Eastern oil from the Western economies. Not even the recession of 2008 and ’09 rises to that level of destruction.
Implications for Tourism: Once the recession is over, tourism will continue to grow by at least its accustomed 5 percent per year for at least the next ten years.
Growing prosperity in
China and will quickly increase the
number of international tourists from those countries. India
This will bring rapid expansion for destinations convenient to
These include Nepal, Malaysia, and Thailand;
Australia and New Zealand; and parts of Africa.
Many new seaside resorts are likely to appear in the Seychelles, on the eastern
shore of Africa, and in Southeast Asia, much as did in Mexico when Americans
went looking for slightly exotic luxury.
The growth of tourist facilities in these far-off places will begin to draw more visits from adventurous and well-to-do Americans and Europeans.
32. When not perturbed by greater-than-normal political or economic instability, oil prices average around $65 per barrel.
New energy demand from the fast-growing economies of
has raised the floor that until 2004 supported oil in the $25 per barrel range.
Nonetheless, the spike in prices to nearly $150 per barrel in mid-2008 was an
aberration. At least four factors contributed to the bubble in energy prices:
Perhaps 30 percent of the increase in oil prices to their June 2008 high
stemmed from the long-term decline in the value of the U.S. dollar on foreign
exchange markets. Another $10 to $15 per barrel represented a “risk premium”
due to fears of instability triggered by the India Iraq
war and Washington’s threats to attack . Without
those two factors, $145 oil would have been $100 oil. A worldwide shortage of
refinery capacity helped to drive up the cost of gasoline, fuel oil, and other
energy products. It appears that rampant futures speculation in the energy
markets also helped to spur oil prices. None of these factors was permanent. Iran
Assessment: The long-term trend toward stable energy prices can only grow stronger as the West reigns in consumption and alternative energy technologies become practical.
Implication for Tourism: One of the major costs of tourism should remain generally under control. This will make it possible for travel companies to earn acceptable profits while keeping prices relatively affordable.
This also will relieve one factor that discouraged travel by the American middle class during the oil price spike of 2008.
34. Technology increasingly dominates both the economy and society.
New technologies are surpassing the previous state of the art in all fields. Laptop computers and Internet-equipped cell phones provide 24/7 access to e-mail and Web sites. Flexible, general-service personal robots will appear in the home by 2015, expanding on the capabilities robotic vacuum cleaners and lawn mowers. New materials are bringing stronger, lighter structures that can monitor their own wear. By 2015, artificial intelligence (AI), data mining, and virtual reality will help most organizations to assimilate data and solve problems beyond the range of today’s computers. The promise of nanotechnology is just being explored, but real possibilities range from high-powered super-batteries to cell-sized health monitors. Ultimately, speculations that we are approaching the “singularity,” the time when our artifacts become so intelligent that they can design themselves and we cannot understand how they work, may prove correct. At that point, humanity will be largely a passenger in its own evolution as a technological species.
Assessment: Technologically related changes in society and business seen over the last 20 years are just the beginning of a trend that will accelerate at least through this century.
Implications for Tourism: New technologies should continue to improve the efficiency of airliners and cruise ships, helping to keep travel costs under control.
Tourism will benefit as Internet "virtual tours” replace printed brochures in promoting vacation destinations. Web sites cover not only popular attractions, but also provide current, detailed information on accommodations, climate, culture, currency, language, immunization, and passport requirements. These sites already have proved to be a major sales asset for some hotel chains. Resorts and other destinations are likely to find them an efficient way to approach new customers.
Consumers are increasingly shopping for travel services on the Internet, and posting their reactions there. One dissatisfied guest’s negative report on the Internet can influence the buying decisions of potential customers for years.
For the travel industry, the move to online sales promises more efficient marketing and higher profits. Opt-in marketing campaigns online cost only $2 per sale (averaged over all industries), compared with $18 per sale for traditional direct marketing, and sellers have immediate feedback on the effectiveness of their campaigns.
Automatic translators similar to a PDA—and perhaps built into one—soon will make it possible for travelers to go off on their own in foreign lands without worrying about communicating with natives.
Technology also makes it possible to maintain information about repeat guests, who may find it increasingly tedious or difficult to provide necessary personal data. However, that technology must be entirely transparent to customers who may find it impersonal or intimidating.
This technology will allow hotels to perform the kind of extremely personalized marketing typical of the best Internet marketers, such as Amazon.com. Whenever a return guest arrives, he or she should be gently asked a host of questions: Do you want the same breakfast as last time? Black coffee with Equal? Shall we credit your stay to the same airline-miles program? Would you like dinner at the same restaurant? Reservations to the opera again? All this information can be automatically collected on the customer’s first visit. It can be retained and used transparently to make future stays as comfortable as possible.
40. People around the world are becoming increasingly sensitive to environmental issues as the consequences of neglect, indifference, and ignorance become ever more apparent.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 3 million people die each year from the effects of air pollution, about 5 percent of the total deaths. In the
an estimated 64,000 people a year die of cardiopulmonary disease caused by
breathing particulates. In sub-Saharan United States Africa,
the toll is between 300,000 and 500,000 deaths per year. Pollution-related
respiratory diseases kill about 1.4 million people yearly in China and Southeast Asia.
And contaminated water is implicated in 80 percent of the world’s health
problems, according to WHO. An estimated 40,000 people around the world die
each day of diseases directly caused by contaminated water, more than 14
million per year.
Though some debate remains about the cause, the fact of global warming has become undeniable. At Palmer Station on Anvers Island, Antarctica, the average annual temperature has risen by 3 to 4 degrees since the 1940s, and by an amazing 7 to 9 degrees in June—early winter in that hemisphere. Anticipating a three-foot rise in sea levels, the
is spending $1 billion to build new dikes. Netherlands
Assessment: A solid majority of voters throughout the developed world, and even some in the developing lands, now recognize the need to clean up the environment, and especially to control greenhouse warming. They will keep this trend intact for at least the next 30 years.
Implications for Tourism: Demands for still more environmental controls are inevitable, especially in relatively pristine regions. Many of the more popular or fragile destinations may limit the number of tourists allowed to visit them each year.
Ecotourism will continue to be one of the fastest growing areas in the tourism industry.
Destinations and tour operators with access to rain forests, wilderness areas, the ocean, and other unpolluted regions will find this trend highly profitable.
Environmental science tours and research projects with working scientists will continue to be a growing niche market.
55. International exposure includes a growing risk of terrorist attack.
Terrorism has continued to grow around the world as the
war proceeds, even as the rate of violence in itself has, at least
temporarily, declined. State-sponsored terrorism has nearly vanished, as
tougher sanctions have made it more trouble than it was worth. However, nothing
will prevent small, local political organizations and special-interest groups
from using terror to promote their causes. These organizations have found
inspiration in the successes of Al Qaeda, and many have found common cause. The
most dangerous terrorist groups are no longer motivated primarily by specific
political goals, but by generalized, virulent hatred based on religion and
On balance, the amount of terrorist activity in the world will continue to rise, not decline, in the next 10 years. This was seen in corrections to the State Department’s April 2004 report on terrorism, which originally seemed to show a sharp drop in terrorist incidents. In fact, terrorist attacks had risen sharply since the invasion of
both in number and in severity. Iraq
Assessment: This trend is unlikely to change in the next decade and relatively unlikely to change in the next 20 years. A permanent end to the international terrorist threat would require a broad philosophical and cultural change in Islam that makes terrorists pariahs in their own communities. No such change is on the horizon.
Implications for Tourism: Until the terrorist problem is brought under control—probably not soon—tourism to the more volatile parts of the Middle East will be a relatively hard sell for Western vacationers, despite the appeal of historic places.
This stigma is likely to spread almost instantaneously to any destination that suffers a major terrorist incident. That threat is likely to be one of the great unpredictable risks of the international tourist industry for at least the next ten years. It could last much longer.
Terrorist hazards are not limited to Muslim lands. The communist insurgency in
already has inhibited vacation travel from China
and . India
American-owned facilities, and those where Americans congregate, will have to devote more of their budgets to security.
Some of the most important security measures will be invisible to customers, but highly intrusive for staff. These may include comprehensive background checks for new hires, much as airports need to screen such behind-the-scenes personnel as baggage handlers and fuel-truck drivers.
Disgruntled employees and former employees are the single greatest threat, because they are familiar with security procedures and weaknesses. Those recently fired are a frequent source of problems.