2030 Vision: The Future Of Travel

Crystal-ball gazing is always  an amusing pastime, but today with technology and science advancing at breakneck speed, your fantasies about the future may well be the reality of tomorrow.

A glimpse into the future of travel offers exciting ideas that could impact both individuals and businesses. Today the travel and tourism industry is a multi-billion dollar one that is perhaps the fastest growing sector in world economics. There are plenty of innovations, products, amenities and technologies waiting to make their debut on the travel stage of the world in 2030. As we race into the next decade, it’s interesting to take a backward glance and remember how far the industry has come.

What Was Travel Like in 1930?

If we’re forecasting the nature of travel in 2030, why not take a trip down memory lane and look at what it was like one hundred years ago, in 1930?

Two words would probably describe it best: Complicated and Time-consuming. The main route across continents was by sea, and though there were enormous liners catering to the super-rich and cargo or passenger ships for the working class, run by huge corporations, the time taken remained the same. Days, weeks, or even months would pass till you arrived at your destination.

Things were far from hunky dory on board – seasickness, safety issues, storms, or most famously, crashing into an iceberg, were all imminent threats.

Though air travel between London and Paris was available since 1919, the first transatlantic flight passenger service happened only in 1939, and it cost $375 for a one-way trip from New York to Marseilles. Persuading people to fly wasn’t very easy, and the commercial airline business was slow to take off. Planes were not well pressurized, flew at relatively low altitudes and disasters were quite common.

Within the country, trains, buses, private vehicles, taxis and trams operated to take people from A to B. Steam engines, fueled by coal, were the most common for trains.

All this goes to show that travel has indeed come a long way since then.

What Drives The Travel Industry?

The travel industry is fueled mainly by the host country’s economy. There are several such nations across the world where travel and tourism are the cornerstone of their economies. Their governments invest heavily in infrastructure and amenities that promote travel, ensure modern conveniences and make the most of what’s on offer – whether it’s history, geography or just fun times.

There are certain niche travel sectors such as medical, health, eco or adventure tourism, and these have their own fan following. Markets tend to fluctuate based on trends, safety issues, political problems or health issues too.

Airport parking provides major revenues to airports, and this is one of the factors that play a huge role in the marketing of travel products and facilities. Long term airport parking offers huge benefits to airports and helps them to run their businesses more profitably.

What Does Travel In 2030 Look Like?

From where we are, the future for the travel industry looks exciting and promises to be full of surprises.

Virtual Planning: Through the pandemic years, when travel was severely restricted, virtual travel was a game that we all played. We visited exotic destinations at the click of a mouse and enjoyed  almost everything that a complete experience could offer. With sophisticated equipment, VR glasses and time on your hands, you could tick off destinations on your bucket list one by one. But VR travel has its limitations, and eludes that truly authentic experience. Instead, the 2030 traveler would probably use VR technology more to plan their travel. You can check out routes, hotels, tourist spots, ideal seasons to travel, how and what to pack, transportation, the best food and entertainment experiences easily and conveniently. Augmented reality adds a layer to the VR experience, providing real time auto-translation facilities, travel advisories, and more.

Personalization: By 2030, travelers would have developed certain special preferences and requirements. Industry pundits predict that you may find distinct persona such as cultural formalists, social media capitalisationists, ethical travelers, reward hunters, senior citizen travelers, event based travelers and more. These are not watertight compartments, and the 2030 traveler could well be a mix-n-match combination of any of these categories. Such travelers look for specific amenities, experiences and destinations.

Beyond The Earth: If we’re speculating, let’s not limit ourselves to the third rock from the sun! Space tourism is already gaining huge traction with many private players entering the fray. Started in 2001, space tourism is truly the stuff of sci-fi, with scientists predicting the advent of space elevators, colonies in space, and deluxe hotels in space. Crews of travelers may be able to travel to the International Space Station if it’s still in orbit. Though the price range is currently beyond the budget of the average traveler, one aerospace consultancy firm has predicted that by 2030, the space tourism market would be close to USD 9 billion.

Transportation: Driverless cars are already a reality, and the advent of pilotless air-taxis is looming in the near future. City travel especially is slated to undergo enormous shifts, with traffic congestion and road maintenance turning into major hurdles. Climate controlled, pilotless air taxis could well be the solution.

Airport automation: A huge change is on the cards for travelers with increased airport automation features. Check-in would become simpler with the help of smart  robots who can validate your identity and travel documents via embedded biometric chips on them. Airports will use less human staff and instead depend on androids for cleaning, food and beverage services. Iris recognition is already a reality in airports such as Dubai International, and this makes transiting through security and gates faster and more convenient. Robots can carry your cases and collect your bags when you arrive. They will also be used for security, to identify potential threats, illegal activities and more. Airport parking is also set to undergo major changes for the better.

Faster, Higher, Stronger: Super-supersonic jets are the planes of the future. 2030 may see the advent of supersonic and hypersonic aircraft. They are set to reduce travel time, be quieter and more fuel efficient. Windowless cabins with digital display windows that project dreamscapes or real time skyscapes on the side walls of your plane increase fuel efficiency and boost energy. Futuristic elements such as mood lighting, calming scenery projection, grouped seating, club-style dining and more will make the experience more pleasurable.

Wearable tech: Travelers in 2030 may be served by robot flight staff who can monitor your mood, health status, personalized entertainment and more. Future aircraft may have separate lounges for exercising on long flights or game rooms. These technologies would assist the future traveler in seamless and smooth passage through immigration and customs, without the stress and wait. Boarding and deplaning will also be swifter, with less waiting time for your luggage. As airports become greener, reduction in human and carbon footprint will make the environment cleaner and safer.

Parking: Automated parking, robot assistance, online payments, enhanced security features, driverless shuttles and seamless transition to terminals will make travel more comfortable and hassle free.


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