Moreover, demographics are thoroughly mixed up with the social trends like late marriages, couples with children in the later part of the life cycle and/or increasing number of single and childless couples.
In the developing countries, in particular, a trend in terms of rapidly growing workforce is likely to result in immigration to the First World en masse. Again, the growth of knowledge and interest in different people, different cultures and distant places is likely to witness the convergence of life styles worldwide.
Yet again, with the growing media service and intentness, the level of enlightenment and the means of information, the on-going trends will present people more time, resources and leaning to travel. This is further going to be stimulated by augmentation and widening of disposable incomes and liberalization of trade at the global level.
2. Political Developments:
Several political developments like recasting of the political map of the world in the last quarter of the twentieth century, the coming of market economies in eastern Europe, the opening of the borders symbolized by the bulldozing of the Berlin Wall, easing of travel restrictions, harmonization of taxes, the deregulation of transport, the completion of the single European market with an objective of creation of ‘an area’ without internal frontiers ensuring free movement of goods, persons and services, etc. are expected to have a number of implications for tourism.
Besides, the spread of democratic set-ups and the liberalization of trade are complemented by a paradoxical trend i.e., the rise of regionalism and the search for local identity.
This may lead to regional conflicts and/or damage to second homes in certain parts of the world. Nevertheless, in other places, the trend is less threatening as ‘city states’ emerge as major tourist destinations – be it as cultural centres or for hosting outstanding mega events.
Of late, one of the major developments in the form of unification of the world in the fight against terrorism starting with occurrences in Afghanistan. This development is also inclined to have its impact on overall tourism development and promotion.
As regards eastern European countries, Hungary has heretofore become a foremost international destination for tourism and others are also under way with changed attitude towards service sector especially in the sphere of business and leisure tourism.
3. Transport Developments:
There is no denying the fact that tourism is decidedly subjected to transport technology and the resultant gains in efficiency, scope, and safety & security of travel.
However, tourism may also be inhibited by transport henceforth as old systems fall short of putting up with the raised levels of demand. It is also a simple and plain fact that transport innovations and tourism development complement each other i.e., move parallel.
In the coming times, the inter-continental airline operations will be marked by the use of larger aircraft and more non-stop, very long flights – supported by introduction of Concorde’s hypersonic successor.
In addition, the enhanced underlining of hub and spoke operations, in which airlines regulate schedules at their hub and time schedules on the spokes in a manner that these link to the hub, will also go on.
This allows the hub, the focal airline, a potentially strong dog-eat-dog position and leads to a system of ‘fortress’, i.e., hubs retaining possession and not allowing access to new entrants.
Thereby such airports will need well-coordinated flights, a select geographic location and good terminal facilities. Likewise, the trend towards deregulation of international airline industry is also expected to continue.
The forecasts of international transport in the twenty first century predict that technological advances, increased airline efficiency and labour productivity savings will balance out or make up for any hike up in aviation fuel prices and thus, in real terms, air fares will continue to fall. This will further keep on supporting the ongoing trend towards long haul travel.
Nevertheless, if energy costs do shoot up, then a switch over towards surface transport and shorter journey lengths can be expected. At the same time, in the 21st century, there is going to be gradual shift from air to surface transport.
The focus is expected to be on improved rail-based tourism products in view of continued technological advances in the field of high-speed train networks and an appreciation of environmental benefits of rail.
Even with the emphasis on use of air transport in travel, the fact is that most travel especially for tourism is by car. Whilst the use of car for inter-city travel has substantially fallen off in the U.S., there is hardly any trend of the type in Europe.
As in Europe, the tourism market is in no place close by getting as far as saturation and the sustained developments in the areas of highway network; advances in car technology to make driving more comfortable, to improve fuel efficiency and to shape it environment friendly are bound to make motoring more magnetic and appealing. This shift from air to surface transport is likely to be attractive not only in terms of convenience but money as well.
In addition to these, one can identify a number of other factors, which are also in a fair way to influence the future of tourism. Although these lay outside the discipline of tourism and its managers, but the consequences may be intense and critical.
Of these, one vital long-term factor of concern relates to the continuing ‘global warming’ i.e., rising of the earth’s temperature leading to a rise in the sea level. This is definitely going to affect the flora and fauna of destinations as well as the coastal areas, the critical tourism resources.
Another factor of equal interest and relevance appertains to changing value systems of the consumer i.e., human behaviour. The spread of AIDS may leave some otherwise winsome destinations as no go areas.
Finally, certain prophesy by futurists concerning little need to travel away from home on the basis of technological innovations such as holographs. The capability of holographs to reproduce artificial environment including activity holidays, take us into the realms of science fiction.
Such a technological change which will have an impact on tourism is virtual reality. There is an active debate in the trade as to whether this impact, as well as the practice of teleconferences, will be positive or negative for increased tourist activity.
The majority view is that experiencing the technological version of leisure and sport activities will stimulate consumer desire for the “real thing”; a minority vision is that increasing consumer access to virtual reality – created holidays will depress interest in undertaking travel for the actual experience.
Such a reproduction, indeed, a virtual reality may one-day take over from the natural and genuine travel experience altogether as these can be experienced without any risk or side-effects in the form of AIDS or skin cancer or anything of the type. However, these predictions, if come true, spell trouble for the future of tourism.