“The year is 1999 and you’re planning a trip to Chile” says Euromonitor’s Mike Jozwik from the stage at the Adventure Travel World Summit. He continues: If you use the internet at all to help you, you’ll get that horrible sound that means you’re using a dial-up connection to get online. Google is only two years old, so maybe you’re using Ask Jeeves to perform your search. Maybe you’ll try to use TripAdvisor, which is missing a key component: namely 250 million user reviews. You will probably order some travelers checks. You might have to get on the phone to purchase your plane ticket or make a hotel reservation. Maybe you’ll even use a fax machine.
The point is, fifteen years is not very long and yet a lot has changed. How can we use this exercise in remembering the past to help us imagine the future? To help the adventure travel industry get the clearest and most informed vision of the future of our industry, the ATTA invited two keynote speakers from Euromonitor International to the Adventure Travel World Summit. Euromonitor is a leader in market research and business insights and they sent their Head of Travel, Caroline Bremner and Mike Jozwik, their Global Director of Consulting, to present “Travel 2030,” a look at the big shifts taking place in the tourism industry.
Bremner and Jozwik embraced the spirit of the Adventure Revolution by throwing away their slide deck and relying instead on a live graphic storyteller to illustrate their points.
Fifty years ago travel was just for the rich, explained Bremner, but travel has been democratized. That’s one big shift that’s revealed itself as a long-term trend. Another is the focus on experiences rather than material goods. Research shows that experiences make us happier, and “You can’t get more experiential than adventure travel,” said Bremner in quite possibly the most tweetable quote of the day.
Here’s what we know about 2030, according to Euromonitor:
- There will be 8.4 billion people on Earth
- 3 billion of them will be Millennials
- 1.2 billion households will have the income needed to travel
- 60% of the world’ population will live in urban environments
- The baby boomer generation will be in their 80s
- The average global age will be 35
- Generation Alpha (today’s toddlers) won’t know the difference between online & offline
- 1 in 9 jobs will be in the tourism sector
- 2 billion trips will be taken annually (nearly twice as many as 2015)
And here’s what the adventure traveler of tomorrow will look like:
- Hyperconnected: Consumers will expect brands to engage before, during and after a trip. They value convenience and flexibility and personalisation. Travel brands will need to be present 24/7 in consumers’ lives.
- Global: Travelers will come from new markets as a middle class emerges in Asia, Latin America and Africa. China will be the number one outbound market in the world.
- Mindful: Sustainability concepts will be widely adopted across all of tourism. Travel brands will need to break out of their silos and work together to ensure that the industry is driving maximum socioeconomic benefits while minimising environmental impacts. However, be prepared for more bans and restrictions that will come with a more sustainable market.
- Zheng Wei, a typical 35-year-old Chinese man who is a passionate cyclist who gets targeted invitations for cycle adventure trips all over the world. He looks for operators with Mandarin websites and is more comfortable traveling in a group setting.
- Saana, a 27-year-old from Bangalore who is connected 24/7. She even hires a drone to follow her around to live video blog her life. She’s recently married to Raj, who really wants to get away from it all and will gladly book a trip to somewhere that blocks wi-fi.
- Maria, a 55-year-old from Santiago, Chile, who only selects destinations and operators that are affiliated with an NGO she aligns herself with. She’s a mindful traveler who often chooses domestic travel due to restrictions and because it offers a lower carbon footprint.
These three characters can help the adventure travel industry understand how the big trends, changes and transformations that will be in full swing by 2030 will impact all aspects of the business of adventure. Technology will have to change. Operations will look different. Itineraries and marketing will be personalized beyond what we can imagine today.
In conclusion, Euromonitor’s advice to the adventure travel industry based on their trend-based predictions:
- Be well aware that the travel market is tilting to the east
- Lead by example as the entire tourism sector embraces sustainability
- Be loud and strong in what you believe and define the guidelines that will help the industry see through the fuzziness that disruption causes