Analyses - May 31, 2004



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May 2004


Print Issues, Trends,

What do we see in our crystal ball?

The pace of everything will only speed up. We see trendy new destinations, enthusiasm for new products, pronounced customer segmentation and new players that shake up a sector of activity. Lots will be going on in the tourism industry.

Overall factors

  • Socio-demographics – Populations will be increasingly concentrated in urban areas. By the year 2015, over half of all humanity will live in cities. By the year 2020, nearly 90% of the Canadian population will reside in the country’s 25 largest urban regions. The globalization of the job market will lead to greater geographic mobility.
  • Growth period – The largest economic increase in global tourism should occur from 2010 to 2020 with the arrival of emerging markets, such as China and India, and significant growth of close-to-home travel and short trips. 
  • Security – Terrorism will be part of the equation, and travellers will adjust. The impact of terrorist attacks will be more local. Security measures will be standardized around the world and their cost will push airfares up.
  • Environment – Environmental and social awareness will increase. In tourism, this trend will take several forms like ecotourism, equitable tourism, responsible tourism and sustainable tourism. Certain hotels will become eco-friendly. As certain places sustain damage, mass tourism will decline. 
  • Technology – Technology will continue to develop at a rapid pace and involve all sectors of the industry. For example, cellular phones will be used to plan and organize all aspects of trips, and high-definition televisions and computers will provide virtual visits of a destination, with sights, sounds, scents and textures, as if the prospective traveller were actually there.  

Sectors of activity

  • Airline industry – With their greater speed and capacity, planes will make available to many travellers destinations that still seem remote. As the world becomes smaller and more accessible, the door will open to affordable long-haul getaways. 
  • Accommodation – Hotel rooms with state-of-the-art technology will make it possible to combine business and pleasure, switching focus as needed.  

Clientele and products

  • Clientele – International tourists will exceed one billion in 2010, rising to 1.5 billion in 2020. As baby boomers retire en masse from 2010 to 2020, they will represent most of this clientele and shape demand; they’re active, educated, healthy, demanding and more adventurous. Forget the shuffleboard! When it comes to emerging markets, young adults will have the most impact. 
  • Destinations – A new hierarchy of destinations will take hold as Asia and India become more popular. Combined with the growth of new destinations (Qatar, Brazil, Slovakia, etc.), competition among countries will be more intense. The various regional economic agreements (EEC, APEC, etc.) will facilitate travel within trade zones, and tourism will become a regional, rather than global, phenomenon. 
  • Products – Offbeat ideas will continue to emerge. Products like extreme adventure, learning travel, and even silence and relaxation will reflect customers’ life styles. The demand for quality products will be strong.

– Sarrasin, Bruno and Guy-Joffroy Lord. “L’évolution du tourisme international: une analyse prospective à l’horizon 2010,” Téoros, fall 2003, p. 5-9.
– The Thomson Future Holiday Forum, [] 2004.


Global Megatrends Revolutionizing the Tourism Industry at the Dawn of the Third Millennium
By Michael Nowlis, Tourism Control Intelligence

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