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Future of travel revealed by IATA/Lonely Planet research

October 2, 2014 Corporate, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Lonely Planet, billed as the world’s leading travel media company, and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have joined forces to celebrate the 100th anniversary of commercial air travel by revealing Lonely Planet’s top 10 predictions for the future of world travel.

One trend identified by Lonely Planet’s team of travel experts is increased demand for “unplugged travel” – a buzzword for destinations and modes of travel which are out of the reach of phone signals and internet.

An increasingly jangly, interconnected world has created demand for these, apparently. Holidaymakers are demanding more secret escapes from the fast pace and increasingly intrusive nature of modern life.

Top of Lonely Planet’s list of predictions is that travel will soon become fully integrated into our lives as opposed to a special event. Data from the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) forecasts that 6.6 billion passengers will fly worldwide by 2032, growing an average of 4.4% annually from 2014.  The increasing volume of commercial flights has brought a large shift in travellers’ mind-sets and Lonely Planet argues the concept of travel as a rare treat is disappearing, replaced by travel as a lifestyle choice.

Lonely Planet also predicts that green travel is also on the rise as a new generation of travellers builds sustainability into every step of their journeys. 70% of travellers expect companies to demonstrate commitment to preserving the natural environment prompting a boom in ecotourism and volunteering abroad. The aviation industry in particular has set its own objectives for carbon neutral growth and cutting CO2 emissions in half.

Sourcing online reviews remains second-nature for travellers, but hunger for secret coves and local secrets is emboldening them to embrace face-to-face or local recommendations. Lonely Planet experts suggest online reviews will remain part of a traveller’s toolkit, but a local recommendation – whether from a taxi driver, in-the-know café owner or Airbnb host – has never been more highly prized. http://www.dusit.com/

Lonely Planet’s predictions also bode well for economy fliers, as increased competition on well-trodden flight paths is encouraging airlines to improve the experience for everyone.  As true comparison shopping for air travel increases choice and competition, the future looks bright for economy flights – perhaps lie-flat seats, high quality food and more luxurious touches are not too far away.

Technology is also going to play an increasingly significant role, with more airlines offering paperless travel and integrated smartphones key to planning and tracking your travels. Soon technology will mean suggested tweaks to travellers’ itineraries based on weather conditions and local events will be sent directly to travellers’ smart phones or tablets during a flight – creating an ever more tailored travelling experience.

Airports are also due for an overhaul as innovative departure lounges are a key part of any future travel landscape. With airport spas, art galleries, green areas and even cinemas now a common site at most departure lounges, Lonely Planet suggests we can expect bigger and bolder leisure activities soon, maybe even a pre-flight rollercoaster.

Other future travel predictions include the rise of experience hotels and event travel, as travellers’ explore the globe in search of memorial experiences and once in a lifetime sights.

Speaking about Lonely Planet’s findings, IATA’s director general and chief executive Tony Tyler said: “100 years after the first passenger flew on a scheduled flight; the predictions from Lonely Planet clearly show that millions more people are set to enjoy the opportunity to travel and particularly travel by air, as the world becomes a smaller and more accessible place than ever before. It is amazing to see how far we have come over the past 100 years and even more so to think of what we can expect from the next century. Air travel connects us to the world and reminds us of the importance of being there, whether it is the places or the people we love.”

Tom Hall, Lonely Planet’s editorial director, explained: “Travel has changed dramatically since the first commercial flight 100 years ago, and the next 100 years has endless possibilities. At Lonely Plant, we’re constantly monitoring trends and developments in travel as we seek to find emerging destinations, hot topics and what is really getting travellers excited. This selection highlights some of the big trends that we predict for the next few years.”

Lonely Planet’s predictions were commissioned to celebrate the 100th anniversary of commercial flight. Readers can explore the story of the first 100 years of commercial air travel, how aviation shapes the world around us, and glimpse the future of flight at www.flying100years.com.

The future of Travel – Lonely Planet’s Top 10 predictions 

1. Travel as life not special event – Travel is becoming an integrated part of everyday life

2. International festival fever – With flights faster and cheaper than ever before, travellers are taking advantage of a global calendar of events

3. Flight of fantasy – Increased competition on travel routes is encouraging airlines to improve experience for economy fliers

4. The evolution of airports – The success of airport spas, art galleries and green areas is sure to bring bigger and bolder leisure activities within the airport experience

5. The rise of experience hotels – the increase in demand for hotels that offer something extra

6. Smarter sustainable travel – Green travel has hit the big time as a new generation of travellers builds sustainability into every step of their journeys

7. Travel planning in your palm – As more airlines offer paperless travel, a smartphone can be the key to planning and tracking your travel, all tailored for your experience

8. The rise of unplugged travel – True escapes are becoming highly valued, and remote hotels are starting to make a feature of their lack of internet and phone signal

9. Return to local knowledge – Travellers’ hunger for secret coves and local trattorias is emboldening them to rely once more on face-to-face recommendations

10. Virtual travel – Travellers can now plan their travels from the comfort of their laptop, exploring on Google Streetview before seeing it for real

Edited by : Peter Needham

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