Sun holidays and seeing Santa in Lapland are the types of vacation that could be set to disappear, according to a new report highlighting current and future trends in sustainable travel.
Intrepid, one of the world’s largest travel companies, in partnership with the Future Laboratory, have identified changes happening within the travel industry as climate change, soaring temperatures and rising seawater alter the way we seek to spend our leisure time.
Summer shade not summer sun
As already predicted earlier this year by Tui’s Chief, scorching high season temperatures of 40 degrees could mean well-known “summer sun” destinations such as Greece and Mallorca see their popularity sliding in favour of shadier northern European destinations such as Belgium, Poland or Slovenia.
Jakarta, the Maldives and other low-lying coastal destinations could be completely submerged by as early as 2050, the report says, though just how this would affect the aforementioned growth of Belgium, was not explained.
Meanwhile, snow-based holidays are likely to become shorter and less and less predictable, with trips to Lapland and skiing breaks looking particularly vulnerable to climate phase-out.
Carbon passports, virtual travel and pop-ups
The report also identifies several trends expected to emerge strongly over the next few years. One of these is the idea that “carbon passports” will be introduced, effectively monitoring and rationing travellers’ carbon footprint.
In this scenario, “virtual” travel will become more frequent. Experiences that “leave no trace” will be prioritized, with the report’s authors suggesting that “pop-up” facilities will dominate.
A new era is dawning for the travel and tourism industry. Transient and transformative travel experiences will revolutionise the notion of leaving no trace.Martin Raymond, the Future Lab
“We will see hotels will be at the forefront of this extraordinary change,” said Martin Raymond of the Future Lab. “In the next decade we will see more now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t travel experiences popping-up across the world.”
Slow travel and “pods”
In the same way that “slow food” became a revolution a few years ago, “slow travel” will emerge, says the report, with trains dominating and travellers choosing between high-speed and slower stock to suit their own agenda.
One forecast already coming true is that high-end, sleeper pods will provide privacy on train journeys, which will increasingly replace short haul flights.
Experiences not material things
“One of the problems with tourism at the moment is that it is the opposite of regenerative,” said Darrell Wade, co-founder and chairman of Intrepid Travel. “It’s extractive – and this cannot continue for much longer.”
Prioritising people and social experiences when on holiday is a way forward, suggests the report, that allows humans to experience the connection that travel can offer, without wasteful mass consumption of material things.
Keep the money local
One aspect of this shift towards the social benefit of travel is that governments are expected to regulate to ensure travel businesses funnel the money they generate back into communities. As has been seen in the aftermath of wildfire disasters on Maui, tensions often run high in places dependent on the income that outsiders bring.
The report’s authors suggest “a more equitable and mutually beneficial relationship between travellers and the communities they visit.”