THE future of tourism is bursting with new avenues after the pandemic not only hit the pedal on technological advancements – but also people’s appetite for travel.
From flying taxis to robotic travel buddies, experts anticipate tech to make holidays of the future more exciting and stress-free.
Martin Warner, CEO of Autonomous Flight, told The Sun that flying taxis will “transform the commuting and tourism landscape”, especially in cities like London or New York.
And they could land in a nearby city sometime in the 2030s for the price of a “high-end Uber fare”.
“Over the next ten years we will see a virtual shuttle system forming in the skies over cities like London with point-to-point routes such as London Heathrow to Charing Cross,” Warner explained.
“The most advanced larger cities will evolve to have around eight to 10 [sky taxi] routes, after this time further hubs will naturally be added, much like the London Underground.
“The service is much more like the Underground but for air departure than it is like using the Uber app. But you will be able to buy your ticket and use the QR code to fly.”
On the ground, robots can act as tour guides or even safety companions for travellers flying solo.
Futurologist Dr Ian Pearson told The Sun that robots powered by artificial intelligence (AI) could also become a common feature in hotels.
“Many hotels already have their own channel on the room TV, for ads, hotel information. It’s likely that this will also feature a nice friendly avatar for the hotel AI, so that people can talk to it and ask questions about local facilities or even book things, just like a concierge service today,” he said.
“For an extra charge, hotels will rent a friendly robot to keep you company, that you’ll be able to chat to.”
These robotic travel buddies may even replace the selfie stick and help carry luggage through the airport.
Dr Pearson also expects augmented reality (AR) headsets to become increasingly popular in the tourism sector.
Apple is expected to be rolling out a set of AR glasses sometime this year.
Dr Pearson urged that these goggles they won’t detract from the traditional sightseeing experience, but actually enhance it.
“By 2028, a travellers’ best accessory will be mixed-reality headsets, allowing travellers to inhabit drones as if actually in them and experience never-before-seen things and places,” he said.
“It will be able to make the most accurate in-destination recommendations about where to go, which hotel to stay in and what activities to do while there – all in a matter of seconds.
“It will also ease the travel experience with tools such as instant translation, allowing travellers to communicate effectively with people around the world.”
The metaverse is also expected to turn tourism on its head over the next 10 years, Matthia Goehler, chief technology for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at American software company Zendesk, told The Sun.
3D modelling technology will be commonplace in the travel agents of the future, according to Goehler.
“In the future, travel agents will be able to utilise technology to create a 3D model of a potential holiday destination in the metaverse for their clients.
“They could provide a preview of a state-of-the-art hotel, or a virtual representation of a renowned landmark or transport options – all made possible through virtual reality.
“Not only would this reduce the hours spent scrolling through travel websites, but it will help simplify the path to purchase for customers.”
Next-generation voice assistants can halve the time spent looking for the best holiday deals and slash arduous planning hours.
“Instead of the traditionally laborious process of booking a holiday, customers could ask a voice assistant to book it for them,” he said.
If it’s intelligent enough, the assistant will know who the customer usually travels with, the closest airport to home, as well as their travel preferences.
“What’s more, this opens the door to upselling other experiences,” Goehler continued.
“The tool already knows they like steak, so why not tell them about the best steak spot in town without them having to search for it?”
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