London, Thanasis Gavos

Climate change will radically change the way with which we travel, and tourism as a whole, within the next two decades, is the conclusion of a study done by the travel company Intrepid Travel in collaboration with the future trend analysis company The Foresight Laboratory.

The study notes that without immediate prevention popular destinations such as Greece and Majorca they may be too hot to enjoy a summer holiday, leading to choices of cooler areas such as Belgium, Slovenia and Poland.

Also, areas that traditionally have ice and snow will not be able to offer the travel experiences and activities they offer today.

Additionally, very low altitude destinations such as the Maldives, Jakarta, Amsterdam and Venice are threatened with sinking within the next 30 years.
Overall, a tendency towards “regenerative” tourism is predicted to prevail, i.e. tourism that primarily takes into account the impact of each trip on the environment.

Australian co-founder and chairman of Intrepid Travel Darren Wade noted that the direct, catastrophic impact of climate change had for many years been seen as something that would happen in the distant future. “But it is no longer about something imminent – happening now. Tourism must evolve and become regenerative, as the current model is not sustainable,” he added.

Future Laboratory’s Martin Raymond said it is “shaping a new era for the travel and tourism industry”, in which radical new experiences will highlight the concept of zero environmental footprint travel.

The report that has resulted from the study, entitled “The sustainable future for travel”, also attempts to predict seven trends that could prevail in tourism by 2040.

Initially it is envisaged that governments will be obliged to impose rules on travel companies so that the majority of their customers’ money is spent in local economies.

Second, easy-to-use technologies for monitoring the emission of pollutants by each traveler will be developed and will be part of the daily life of the youngest, using Artificial Intelligence.

Also, “pollution passports” will be issued based on which each traveler will be able to produce a certain amount of pollutants, thus a certain number of trips each year.

Fourth, there will be a new wave of construction of accommodations with a zero environmental footprint, which will be sustainable and possibly temporary constructions by local craftsmen.

Also, a trend away from air travel is predicted, to the extent that the first choice will be land travel, mainly by luxury and high-speed trains.

Sixth, they will become popular the virtual holidays, that is, the “experience” of popular destinations through 360-degree augmented reality videos. Already the small island nation of Tuvalu in Oceania, threatened by rising sea levels, has become the first country to create a complete virtual version of the country for travelers.

Finally, holidays will focus more on the experience of human communication and not on the tourism product offered, that is, in social experience rather than the hotel or the luxury of the destination. As Intrepid Travel explains, this is an existing trend that prioritizes opportunities to meet locals and deep human connections, e.g. being hosted by families or living together with strangers.