[Wanderlust Tips March 2018] Tourism is playing a crucial role in the economic and social development of countries around the world. when material needs are satisfied, people then want to fulfill their spiritual needs and one of the most favourite ways is to travel. From the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) data, wanderlust tips summerizes and makes a list of 5 biggest trends that we think will shape the future of tourism.
1. THE EXPERIENCE – ORIENTED TOURISM
Tourism has changed from being a service industry offering you a flight, a room and some food to offering true experiences. Travel is now more about wellness, adventure, learning new skills and ‘being more of who you are’ than just ticking off places and things and flopping in the sun on the beach as before. This represents a big challenge for legacy tour operators and online travel agents offering flight and hotel packages and all inclusive resorts. Customers now want to experience more like mountain biking or off-shore whale watching.
Journeys help us to explore other country’s cultures, ways of life, food and natural beauty. It is believed that these things are only possible when local people buy into this idea, and benefit fairly from tourism. We believe Responsible travel is more experiential or authentic than other forms of tourism. This trend explains why Airbnb is keen to try to position itself as about ‘belonging’ and experiencing a place ‘like a local’. In the luxury sector we see wealthy people who are more likely to spend money on experiences than objects – jewellery, watches etc. This is a further demonstration of the experience economy and there is a sense that people value memories more than some physical possessions.
For decades, most tourism destinations have tried to attract as many tourists as possible, without any thought that there could be limits beyond which local people’s lives and tourists experiences start to suffer. The lesson here is that tourism is no panacea; as many other industries, it always brings negative impacts as well as positive ones. With global tourist numbers set to accelerate at an even faster rate ‘overtourism’ will become a growing issue.
From now on efforts will be made to attract the ‘right type of tourist’ and where necessary numbers controlled through reducing bed night capacity, charging for entry, pre booking with fixed numbers, subsidising less flights, restricting cruise ship numbers and reducing promotion programmes for well known areas. More often than not the ‘right type’ of tourist will be the responsible tourist – creating the maximum benefit to local economies with the least possible social and environmental impact.
3. THE INDUSTRY’S OBSESSION WITH MARKETING ‘PARADISE’ WILL HAVE TO END
One of the great marketing ideas developed and exploited by the tourism industry was to encourage people to think about a ‘paradise’. The classic photo of the deserted white sandy beach, gently lapping waves and solitary palm tree is a representation of paradise. To sustain the myth that paradise exists on earth the industry decided not to reveal the truth about many of these destinations. Although they are stunningly beautiful, and you will have a wonderful time, local people and environments face some serious challenges around tourism development and nature conservation.
The industry felt it was better to hide these issues from tourists, as they might detract from a sale, rather than present environmental problems and social issues which local people are facing. By remaining in denial about this for so many decades the industry both failed to tell tourists the whole truth (which they soon discovered when they arrived anyway) and it limited the tourism industries commitment and ability to do much to help solve these problems. In the future, travel companies have to be more honest with their clients and publish destination guides with sections on local issues and trip by trip responsible tourism information.
4. AIR POLLUTION AND GLOBAL WARMING
Aviation has been hammered in the press for more than a decade for its contribution to global warming – but it will become even more of a pariah unless it starts to do more to address this. We live in a world where the majority of some developed countries’ energy needs come from renewable sources and where it’s thought that in 5-10 years time 80% of the production of the world’s cars will be electric. All of the cars sold in India in 2030 will be electric.And yet we still have no cleaner, greener alternative to aviation fuel – kerosene. Pope Francis – the current Pope of the Catholic Church – has denounced the CO2 compensation for air travel as hypocritical. He said: “The planes pollute the atmosphere, but with a fraction of the sum of the ticket price trees are planted to compensate for the damage inflicted.” If this logic were extended, one day it would come to a point where armaments companies set up hospitals for those children who fell victim to their bombs. Efforts and investments made in seeking renewable aviation fuels are small – certainly compared to what we’ve seen in renewable energy and electric cars. This is even more galling as aviation fuel is heavily subsided – it’s the only untaxed fuel in the world. Experts estimate that the subsidy is as big as EUR10billion. With these heavy subsidies in place the aviation industry must invest more in finding solutions to reduce global warming. If it doesn’t then taxes will inevitably follow.
Perhaps the travel industries greatest achievement over the past 70 years has been about how it brings together strangers – honest local people and travellers from far away – harmoniously.While the UN, Governments and other bodies work hard on policy the tourism industry does something they cannot do – it brings people from different cultures together face to face. However in some parts of the world there seems to be growing fear of people different to ourselves, including people with different religious beliefs. This, and restrictions of freedom of movement of some isolated and secretive countries represents some of the biggest challenges to the tourism industry in accomplishing its mission.