14 May 2018

Tourism and its strategic development. We must be ready for new trends

Tourism is one of the must important economic sectors for many countries worldwide and it is evolving rapidly. This article aims at underline those aspects that we must keep in mind in order to understand and stand out on this strategic market.

According with 2018 Tourism Trends and Policies report published by OECD[1] , some Tourism key figures are: 4.1% of GDP in OECD area; 5.9% on employment and an impressive 21.3% on service exports.

Global Tourism has shown a steady growth in the last six decades. Inbound tourism[2]  arrivals grew to over 1.2 billion in 2016 with a 3.9% increase over last year and it is expected to reach a 1.8 billion level in 2030. Technological advances and globalization have played a very important role making planning and booking easier and pushing airfares down.

In this context, tourism is perceived as a relevant factor on triggering economic growth and as a factor for bigger employment; however it needs a carefully designed strategic development plan not only to keep the pace on actual trends but those than the hospitality industry foresee for the next 20 years.

According with this report, Tourism sector will be affected by 4 major megatrends:

Evolving Visitors Demand

Even though worldwide population is growing at a lower annual rate, a big expansion of the global middle class is expected for the next 20 years driven by growth in developing countries. The report assumes that a bigger worldwide middle class will led to a bigger global purchasing power with access to more goods and services. Elderly group will have an important impact as well, since populations over 60 years is expected to double in the next 35 years. 

This argument may face a strong opposition on the general perception that new technologies could alter this expectations (robots instead of employees).

Sustainable tourism growth

Tourism is involved in a paradox that links this industry as a dependent on natural resources but at the same time as highly exploiter of those same resources.

Based on a previous report called “Green Innovation on Tourism[3] ” and a 2015 new Study, allegedly global consumers are more willing to pay a premium to sustainable brands.

In short, industry must focus on achieving greater resource efficiencies and green investments structures, in doing so, core issues are closely related with: a) water, b) energy and c) biodiversity.

In this sense, it will become for Governments and Investors to work together to ensure the sustainable development in the short and long terms.

Enabling Technologies

Undoubtedly Technological innovation is going to alter tourism experience. For instance, in 2015 the first hotel staffed by robots were opened in Japan and many others may be working soon.

Technology will impact on travel agencies, booking, consumer behaviour, translation apps, autonomous vehicles, and as we said, staffing.

Blockchain Technology and Virtual Realty are moving forward at great speed in tourism industry.

Regulatory and compliance frameworks must be strengthen without being a burden for the proper development of this high speed changing segment.

Travel Mobility

Air passenger traffic is expected to double between now and 2035. Similarly the Cruise industry may enjoy a steady growth based on a last ten outstanding years.

Major challenges are expected for aviation industry because of the climate change new regulations and security and boarding procedures.

Suitable infrastructure and adequate means of transportation are fundamental requirements to facilitate mobility of tourist.

This is a very interesting report that provides some real actions taken for Countries around the world and related with all the topics discussed above, so we invite you to read it.

[1] The 2018 edition analyses tourism performance and policy trends on 49 OECD countries and partner economies.

[2] Overnight visitors.

[3] OECD, 2013

Miguel Rodríguez, Auren Mexico

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