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Global Tourism Megatrends

Global megatrends that are about to revolution-ize the tourism industry at the dawn of the third millennium were released recently by the director of Tourism Control Intelligence (France and USA), Michael Nowlis. Of the many tendencies foreseen are that the cruise industry will experience explosive growth, and that an older, better-educated population in Europe and North America will increasingly seek ecotourism and cultural travel products.

Among the rest include “slow cities” and “slow food” trends will expand from Italy to much of Europe.

Non-residents will pay significantly higher entry fees to tourist attractions than those paid by locals (Venice, Petra, Bath, etc.).

Antarctica will become an ecotourism tourism destination complete with hotels, restaurants and full-service tours.

Shopping, from mega-malls to folk craft centers, will increasingly become a critical feature for tourism destinations.

Airlines, travel agents and tour operators will ally themselves with financial institutions to offer consumer travel loans.

China will be the first country to receive 100 million international arrivals in a 12-month period, sometime around 2018 – France will follow within 2-3 years.

Hotel rooms, increasingly equipped as offices with full-size desks, computers and advanced communications technologies, will minimize the need for business centers.

Expansion of Europe’s high-speed train network will eliminate short-haul flights.

Hub airports will install capsule-cocoon hotels in terminal facilities.

Hotel and restaurant facilities will be designed for an aging population with lower rise steps, more handrails and wider doors.

Travel guidebooks will become highly specialized and more frequently consulted – primarily on the web.

The distinction between business and leisure hotels will erode as business clients seek fitness and entertainment activities and vacation guests demand advanced telecommunications IT.

“100% Satisfaction Guaranteed” will replace “Let the Buyer Beware”.

Center-city urban resorts will challenge sun, sand & sea vacation villages in the leisure market.

Credit card check-in/check-out, F&B vending machines, self-cleaning bathrooms and self-serve laundries will eliminate most human contact in budget hotels.

Luxury resorts that once shunned children will welcome them with an expanded array of activities and tailored dining options.

Intense competition for hotel operating contracts will push management fees as low as 1% of gross, 5% of IBFC and $4 per reservation.

Airlines will continue to rack up significant losses as they struggle to deal with high fuel costs, new security requirements, an onslaught of no-frills carriers and brutal competition from “open skies” agreements.

Airline alliances of the 20th century will evolve into acquisitions as weaker players struggle to survive (Air France-KLM, American-TWA, etc.).

Critical shortages of skilled staff will encourage hospitality corporations to develop or outsource proprietary training centers.

The introduction of new technologies in the upscale tourism industry will not replace the human element in service delivery – to the contrary, it will gain importance.

Unionized hotel and restaurant workforces will trade scheduling and task flexibility for job security and quality-of-life benefits.

Powerful unions, a shorter workweek and reluctance to taper social benefits will maintain Europe`s standing as the world`s most expensive tourism destination.

Airline employees will accept significant wage and benefit cuts to prevent employers from going bankrupt.

The Internet will become the dominant distribution channel for all travel and tourism products eliminating most intermediaries.

Understanding customers as people – their likes, dislikes, habits, interests and hobbies – will become critical to establishing competitive advantage in hospitality marketing.

Customer retention will replace customer acquisition as travel agencies` strategic objective.

Print media advertising will move onto the Web.

Advanced encryption technology will make on-line payment genuinely secure.

Increasingly value-conscious customers will demand more and better product information.

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