The Megatrends That Are Affecting Travel & Tourism Today

The world is transforming at a speed and scale unlike anything we’ve seen before. These shifts have fundamentally altered the way we live, work and interact with one another — they have shaken our foundations and eradicated any sense of “normal”. To stay ahead, we must anticipate what’s coming.

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Photo: Shutterstock

In this context, the World Travel & Tourism Council, in collaboration with Bloomberg Media Group, has just launched its inaugural report entitled World, Transformed: Megatrends & Their Implications for Travel & Tourism. Taking a data-driven approach, the report examines five interlinked megatrends shaping the future, and considers what each of these mean for people, society, business and technology broadly and more specifically for the Travel & Tourism sector and destinations.

So what are these megatrends and how are they transforming our world?

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REALITY, ENHANCED: In the 10 years since the first iPhone, we have gained unprecendented access to information, personalisation and social connection, which have transformed expectations, behaviours and desires. We now live in an experience-driven world, fuelled by personal fulfillment, self-drection and community. In fact, it is forecasted that $8.2 trillion will be spent globally on the experience economy by 2028. New ideas are now emerging about how to live a connected life, with online and offline experiences becoming increasingly integrated- from shoping to socialising to consuming media.

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LIFE, RESTRUCTURED: For Millenials and Gen Z, independence and flexibility are means to achieve personal fulfillment.They are more likely to reply on personal networks and prefer access over ownership. What’s more, they seek alignment between their priorities, their workplace and their lifestyle. This has translated in the rise of tech-powered economies such as the “gig economy” and “sharing economy”, which are in turn redefining relationships, disrupting industries and creating new expectations for work, life and culture.

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DATA, REVOLUTIONISED: Data collection is reaching new heights in terms of speed, scale, impact and opportunity. In fact, the Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to become a $2 trillion market by 2030, with 75 billion connected devices by 2020. IoT and machine learning will enable us to better understand and predict outcomes, becoming the lynchpin of new applications, strategies and business plans. At the same time, access to data has reshaped behavior, with more and more customers seeking out data in advance, researching everything from menus and prices to neighborhoods and wait times. What’s more, many are willing to share information, when they are getting a fair exchange!

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POWER, REDISTRIBUTED: The coming decades will be marked by changing power dynamics, from West to East, North to South, nations to cities as well as an increasingly empowered citizen, all of which will have dramatic effects on global markets. The rise of the middle class, to reach 5.3 billion by 2030, will be predominantly Asian, with almost ninein ten of the next billion middle class consumers being Asian. Similarly, venture capital will continue to shift East. Already today, China has 35% of the world’s “unicorn” companies.

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CONSUMPTION, REIMAGINED: As a response to escalating environment risks, consumer awareness is slowly translating into more ethical and resource-efficient lifestyles and increasingly driving the decision-making of younger generations. There is a need to rebalance short and long term priorities to address resource scarcity and the health of our planet. If we don’t do anything by 2050, 9.7 billion people will be consuming three times the resources used today; as much as 37% of species may be extinct, food chains will be irreversibly disrupted and natural disasters and outbreaks will occur in every corner of the world.

Do you see these transformations happening? And if so, how are you preparing?

This post was written by Tiffany Misrahi, Director of Policy, World Travel & Tourism Council.

Our mission is to maximise the inclusive and sustainable growth potential of the Travel & Tourism sector. Join the conversation #WTTC

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