RICHMOND, Va. — By the year 2040, international travel will be a faster, easier, and more ecologically sustainable activity than ever before, according to a report commissioned by Allianz Partners and authored by futurologist Ray Hammond. The World in 2040 futurology series presents likely future developments and trends that will impact international travel and the traveler experience over the next 20 years.
“The face of travel as we know it will change dramatically over the next 20 years,” Hammond said. “Airline passenger numbers are forecast to double by that time and the travel industry is coming under increasing pressure from travelers for faster and more efficient travel experiences. By 2040, personal software assistants will be sufficiently intelligent to help travelers book their trips online and they will be able to cope with all the complexities of multi-destination travel planning in order to meet the needs of the traveler. Travel will also become more about rejuvenation, adventure, fulfillment, and learning new skills rather than just ticking off places to see from a list.”
The report identifies several key trends that could collectively revolutionize the travel landscape by 2040, including these five:
Virtual and Augmented Reality
Multi-sensory virtual reality technology will allow armchair travel planners to “step into” virtual hotel rooms, visit street carnivals, explore museums, or walk into restaurants from the comfort of their own living room. This trend is expected to fuel an appetite for more real-life travel, rather than hinder it.
Facial pattern recognition systems are already in experimental use at airports and within 20 years, computer systems that can reliably identify a face will be in widespread use to check-in seamlessly.
Hotel Software Assistants
While some luxury hotels will greet their guests with a human face, many business and budget hotels will use automated check-in and guidance to rooms provided by software assistants. Some hotels will even provide robotic baggage carriers to move luggage.
On-Site 3D Clothes Printing
In 2040, it will be possible to send your measurements to your hotel in advance of your arrival and heavy or bulky clothes (e.g., raincoats or shoes) will have been printed out to await your arrival, reducing the amount of luggage the tourist of 2040 will have to transport. The low cost of 3D printed garments means travelers will be able to leave the clothes behind for local recycling.
Space as a Regular Destination
For some travelers in 2040, the world may not be enough as it may not offer a sufficiently large choice of destinations. By that time, it’s likely that tourists will be flying to and from the Moon on a regular basis as they seek the experience of seeing the Earth from space.
“Though some aspects of travel should be much less stressful by the year 2040, there will still be some familiar risks for travelers to contend with, along with some new ones,” Joe Mason, chief marketing officer at Allianz Partners, Travel Line of Business, said. “Unforeseen trip cancelations, delays, and emergencies abroad will continue to happen, meaning that travelers will continue to need travel protection and assistance services to travel with peace of mind.”