On its current trajectory, travel is simply not sustainable.
Not only does the industry play a significant role in fuelling the climate crisis, but some of the most popular holiday destinations are facing extinction thanks to rising sea levels and extreme heat. As the threats of the climate crisis continue to move from emerging to existential, this will adversely affect winter and summer tourism industries in the future.
At the same time, the burden of over-tourism is also being felt on a mass scale, as numerous places report record-breaking numbers of visitors – negatively affecting local communities and environments.
Tourism must now shift from being extractive to being resilient and regenerative.
Without meaningful intervention, travel is heading into an undesirable future. Here, climate breakdown will curb our boundless pursuit of horizon-expanding experiences. This new world will be one of carbon allowances, altered travel patterns and virtual exploration.
: Carbon Passports
A personal carbon emissions limit will become the new normal as policy and people’s values drive an era of great change.
: Chasing the Shade
Forget chasing the sun. Future travellers will instead be seeking shade as destinations that are popular today will be rendered inhospitable by rising temperatures.
: Virtual Vacations
If there is a lack of action to tackle the climate crisis, by 2040 many of the world’s favourite destinations will be forced to go virtual.
The negative scenarios previously outlined are avoidable if decisive action is taken. A brighter, more equitable future for travel is within reach if travel brands, operators and organisations proactively pave the way for regenerative tourism.
The rise of regenerative tourism will see people become more conscientious travellers, who not only seek hospitality that creates positive environmental impact, but also connects with the local community and economy.
By 2040, people will embrace low-impact trips that leave no trace. This will usher in nomadic, pop-up hospitality concepts and fleeting, flexible accommodations that require minimal infrastructure.
Eco-innovation within the transport sector is under way. The next two decades will pave the way for luxury locomotion, zero-emission cruise ships and developments in alternative air fuel, linked by new travel hubs.
Tracking travel metrics in real time will create an era of traceability among 2040s travellers, who will lean into technology to measure and optimise their behaviours in line with environmental values and targets.
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