10 things you need to know about the future of tourism


Horwath HTL has identified 10 global trends which will influence mid- and long-term tourism development. The first five trends will have a major influence on demand in the tourism sector but will also impact the second set of trends, which concerns changing supply.

Trends are positive, tourism is growing and is expected to grow further. Are we sure that nothing can stop the growth? Who will ride the wave of growth and who will slip away? With an objective to try to answer those big questions, Horwath HTL has identified 10 global trends which will influence mid and long-term tourism development.

People are definitely changing, and we can see that in three megatrends which are reshaping global economy as well as future of tourism. Those are: Siler hair tourists, Generations Y and Z, Growth of the middle class.

Global population is aging and so called, silver hair tourists are becoming a major segment. In 2014, 12% of the world’s population was aged over 60 years, and that percentage is estimated to grow to 21% by 2050. With a satisfactory disposable income, less home responsibilities, more time to travel and relatively good health, they are an important tourist segment and are expected to spend more than all other age groups on holiday travels.

On the other hand, there are generation Y, also known as Millennials, and generation Z, also known as iGen. Millennials will represent 50% of all travelers by 2025, and are already recognized by the tourism sector as a current and future driving force of revenues. Generation Z (6-20 years old) is yet to come. Predictions of their lifestyle and living environment present a more radical shift than it was a shift from generation X to generation Y.

“Generation Z is totally different than the generation Y. Some of their important characteristics are: higher access to information, more dynamic lifestyle (including more travel), higher level of education, accelerated adoption of change and faster spending. Those are clear indicators of a market segment which represents a game changing factor, opening new possibilities in the next 20 to 30 years.” says Emanuel Tutek, Partner in Horwath HTL.

With the increase in average incomes and the fall in levels of absolute poverty, middle class is emerging. They will represent 4.9 billion people by 2030 and 2/3 of this population will come from Asia – Pacific region. They are going to be one of the mayor sources of income in tourism. As they are placing an importance on value for money, better deals which are more diversified and customized will have to be developed.

On the supply side we have trends which are partially caused by demand trends and partially are also causing changes in demand. E.g. Generation Y and Z are shaping and being shaped by technological advancement of a mankind. On the other hand silver hair tourists and entire middle class can expect new and better traveling experience which will be technologically enhanced and customized to their specifics. Three mutually very related megatrends are Technological (r)evolution, Digital channels and Loyalty v.X.0.

Technological innovations which can now days be found in some individual examples, are expected to become a standard offering around the world. Digitalization of the tourism sector has already happened. Some companies got a digital slap in the face, as their traditional business environment got totally changed by digital disruptors all over digital channels.

“The pace of digital change is further increasing and SoMo (Social + Mobile) will grow further. Mobile has taken over the tourism in 2015 (in terms of search), by 2017, 30% of online travel value is expected to be made on mobile devices. It is clear that there is a room for further innovations which will ensure a piece of that pie, on all the mobile platforms.” says Matt Gebbie, Director in Horwath HTL.

Multiple screens and multiple channels, with a 24/7 accessibility, have increased a complexity of a customer’s journey. Therefore identifying the moments of truth when customers makes small decisions which are all leading to a particular travel is getting more and more challenging. The entire travel and vacation experience is changing while being enhanced by digital. Digital innovations and analytical tools enable companies to engage customers and build loyalty in a new way. Old fashioned loyalty programs together with physical loyalty cards are vanishing and new loyalty solutions are imperative. They will be fully digitalized and integrated in the overall tourist experience.

Download the full report at Horwath HTL (PDF 5.4 MB)

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Founded by two travel and technology professionals with years of experience in Asia, Representasia specialises in sales & marketing representation throughout Southeast Asia for travel/hospitality technology providers and travel-related startups, as well as providing marketing consultancy services for hotels and travel businesses in the region.

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