Keynote on future travel industry trends for American Express / TAP in Moscow, by Patrick Dixon, conference speaker. Future of hotels, airlines and travel agents – innovation in the travel industry. Future of business travel and leisure travel. Travel industry continues to be vulnerable to major shocks – politically, global economy, environment or other factors ranging from volcanic eruptions to the Arab Spring. Strategies of travel companies and global corporations are being overtaken by events. Impact of energy prices on future of aviation and global travel.
Expect spectacular growth of aviation and rail travel in emerging economies such as China and India. The irresistible human desire to travel, explore, and gain new experiences will underpin consistent global growth in travel and tourism, despite new carbon and aviation taxes. Globalisation will also continue to force executives to sacrifice home life for travel, despite growth of teleworking and virtual teams.
Business travel will grow every year over the next 20-30 years, powered by growth in emerging markets, while travel within the EU and the US will remain relatively static. Russia internal and international air travel will also grow rapidly. Asia will represent more than 40% of the global economy in Purchasing Power Parity by 2015.
China travel bookings are already worth more than $100bn a year of which $15bn was booked online in 2012 – up 500% on 2008 figures. Expect huge changes in how people are organizing their own travel.
What is travel really about? Business travel is dominated by one word – not economics or saving money, but by the same issue which is driving leisure travel. One single word is influencing all of human history. That word is emotion: related to passions, desires to breathe the same air as the people we work with or talk to. That is why audiences don’t like listening to keynote conference speakers on a video relay. Travel is about building trust with business colleagues. Emotion is about understanding local cultural context, about relating to customers in a deep way. It is true that videoconferencing is growing 20% a year but not enough to curtail business travel. Most people do not enjoy video conferencing and prefer to talk on the phone – unless video is between family members. In the workplace, most people are relatively uncomfortable to perform in front of a camera. Expect that to change, but the fundamental need for human relationships will drive travel. It is ironic that most people have better technology at home and faster bandwidth, than they do at work. They also have better experiences online with things like travel tools – using personal Apps like Tripit which reports with SMS, diary updates and so on with live updates of flight delays, alternative routing suggestions. Virtual travel assistants are a big growth