The book has been shaped around three central themes about the future, namely the driving forces of wealth, resources and technology.
First of all, wealth is the key determinant of tourism, as according to the UNWTO tourism demand depends strongly on the economic conditions in major generating markets. When economies grow, levels of disposable income also rise. A relatively large part of discretionary income is spent on tourism, in particular in the case of emerging economies. In reverse, a tightening of the economic situation will often result in a decrease or trading down of tourism spending.
It is clear from a number of studies that the world economic order is shifting with the economies of Mexico, Brazil, Russia, India and China (MBRIC) dominating this shift. Today, the G20 countries represent approximately over 85% of global GDP, 80% of world trade and 66% of the world population. The economy of the G20 is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 3.5%, rising from $38.3 trillion in 2009 to $160.0 trillion in 2050 in real dollar terms. However, over 60% of this $121 trillion dollar expansion will come from the MBRIC countries. This fundamental shift represents how the MBRIC countries will increasingly become more important as outbound travel increases from these countries.
Tourism distribution channels are changing now with the demise of the travel agent compared to the direct channel of the internet. Most adults have a mobile phone (and lots of children do as well) and the fixed line telephone seems to be thing of the past. It is observed that Generation X and Y do not wear watches as a mobile phone will suffice. Today, a flip point has been reached in the use of the mobile phone as Google's Claire Hatton said:
"30% of hotel bookings in the cities of Tokyo and Seoul are on the day of arrival through the mobile phone and this trend can only grow. Today's typical tourist is pointing their mobile phone at a hotel, using augmented reality platforms to view information and then make reservations via www.expedia.com."
This flip point, a point where a trend becomes important, is irreversible and is now mainstream, illustrating how technology is changing, how consumers use information and how this impacts on tourism. Looking to 2050, will robots acquire human intelligence, illustrate emotions and think in an illogical manner? You may find that answer in this book.
Finally, what about the future of resources? In some countries social order has already begun to break down in the face of soaring food prices and spreading hunger. Could this be the portended collapse of global civilisation? Until recently it did not seem possible, but our failure to deal with the environmental trends that are undermining the world food economy – most importantly falling water tables, eroding soils and rising temperatures – forces the conclusion that such a collapse is possible.
What if the world ran out of oil? We are at the point of peak oil or thereabouts according to Professor Susan Becken, in which the maximum rate of global petroleum extraction is reached, after which the rate of production enters terminal decline. On the other hand, the world is increasingly paying attention as environmentalism impinges on tourism. No transport means no tourism and climates affect tourism destination products such as skiing in the French Alps or sunbathing in Hawaii. Over the next 40 years, the world faces many challenges relating to the future of resources, whether it is food, oil, water or the environment, all of which will impact upon tourism.
NEW 26/4/18 New publication: What is food tourism? here.
NEW 2/3/18 Ian talks about the future of travel in Virgin Atlantic’s Inflight magazine here.
NEW 22/2/18 New publication: Teaching tourism futures here.
20/2/18 Journal of Tourism Futures – Call for papers on the history of tourism here.
02/2/18 The Future of Luxury: new research published in the Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management here.
The Future of Travel, featuring my research with ABC Australia here.
Call for Papers: Futures Practice and Theory here.
Call for Abstracts and Chapters: Science Fiction, Disruption and Tourism here.
Ian speaks about the future tourist in VisitEngland report here.
Keynote address: The Future of Luxury and Premium Pricing – Paris 15th December 2017: More.
Call for Book Chapter: The Future Past of Tourism here.
Watch talk about the core drivers of change and Europe's future here.
Ian presents his views on technology futures to the OECD – 21st June here.
Ian profiled in Qatar Airways Oryx Magazine about the 'life of a futurist' here.
The future history of Revenue Management here.
The future of ping pong here.
Ian publishes research paper on scenario planning and policy in the Journal of Tourism Futures here.
The Future of Food Tourism reviewed in Annals of Leisure Research here.
Ian speaks to the EU on the future tourist here.
Fifteen years of Revenue Management here.
Ian appointed series editor by Channelview about the future of tourism Read More.
Previous News items can be found here.