Travel booking site Skyscanner released a report earlier this year predicting what travel will be like in 2024.
To compile the report, Skyscanner teamed up with 56 experts to analyse and present the breakthrough technologies and exciting new destinations that will shape the global travel industry over the next ten years.
Among many other things, Skyscanner predicts that by 2024 we’ll all have personal digital assistants that will know every intimate detail of our travelling style, hotel pillows that will give us neck massages and wake-up calls, and resorts fully submerged under water. Many of these technologies are already being developed and are likely to be highly advanced by 2024.
Here are some of the coolest travel features we can expect in the next 10 years:
1. Everyone will have a personal digital assistant
Everyone will have digital personal assistants that will live on wearable tech devices, such as watches or jewelry. These digital buddies will act as a kind of electronic travel agent, making personalised itineraries, acting as a tour guide, and translating languages in real time.
The assistants will also come to know you and will be able to recommend destinations based on your preferences. They will be constantly connected to the web, providing 3D travel inspiration through holograms and images that you can actually touch.
These high-tech travel assistants are already in the works: Desti, a conversational travel app from SRI International (the same institute that developed apple’s Siri), personalizes travel through artificial intelligence, natural language understanding, semantic search, and new interaction technologies. Samsung’s SAMI is another interactive device that monitors the lifestyle and health needs of its user. Apple, too, is reportedly developing a next-generation smartwatch that could contain 3D holographic displays complete with streetscapes and terrain schematics to help make travel easier.
Skyscanner predicts that by 2018, annual sales of wearable technology such as the Sony SmartWatch and Samsung Galaxy Gear will reach 485 million.
2. Airports will become destinations that travellers will want to spend time in
Flickr / antwerpenR
Changi Airport in Singapore.
Passengers are typically advised to get to the airport at least two hours before their scheduled flight — three hours if it’s international. But in many airports, there isn’t much to do after you’ve checked in.
Singapore’s Changi Airport, which is regularly named the World’s Best Airport, is trying to change that, and Skyscanner predicts that other airports will follow its lead. At Changi, passengers can choose between strolling through world-class art exhibits, swimming in a rooftop pool, or seeing a movie in one of four of the airport’s luxury cinemas. Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport has a library and museum that features Dutch masterpieces borrowed from the Rijksmuseum. And Munich Airport has doctors, including ophthalmologists and dentists, who practice right inside the airport.
“Airports will be about giving people a better sense of well being during travel,” Melissa Weigel, Senior Multimedia Director at Moment Factory, the company that redesigned the international terminal at LAX, told Skyscanner. “They will be uplifting and beautiful with intelligent architecture that influences the mood of the space.”
Airports are experimenting with outdoor terraces and open-air parks that will allow passengers to get some fresh air before or in between flights. The new Kuwait International Airport, expected to open in 2016, will feature cooling internal waterfalls and oasis-style gardens.
Airports are also using new technology to become even more efficient. At London’s Heathrow and Frankfurt airports, iQueue, a Bluetooth-based product, has been designed to measure and monitor passenger lines at airport security checkpoints, incoming Immigration, and outgoing border control. At Incheon Airport in Seoul, South Korea, a self-service kiosk allows three-minute check-in with eight major airlines.
Greg Fordham, Managing Director of Airbiz, told Skyscanner, “In five years’ time, there will be no need for a single human agent in the terminal. An entirely automated airport journey will see the passenger take complete control.”
3. Space travel and journeys to the bottom of the sea will be common
Soon you will be able to say that your vacation was “out of this world” and actually mean it.
Private companies like Virgin Galactic are working to make commercial trips into space a less elite endeavour. By 2016, anyone with a mere $US75,000 to spare will be able to buy themselves some orbital space travel and a whole lot of bragging rights. Virgin Galactic’s first space tourism flight out of New Mexico’s Spaceport America has been repeatedly pushed back, but Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group, said that he hopes to take the first flight into space early next spring.
For those who still can’t afford it, space hotels will be popping up right here on earth. These hotels will come with zero gravity spas, space gliders, and observatories with lifelike views of the galaxies. Barcelona, Spain, may be the first city to have its own space hotel: Plans have been proposed for the massive
Mobilona Space Hotel, which would give guests an authentic space-travel experience, with a zero-gravity spa and other futuristic features.
The only way isn’t up, though: The popularity of underwater resorts is expected to increase dramatically over the next ten years. While hotel rooms and suites roughly 31 feet under the sea already exist in Florida and Dubai, innovators want to scale up the concept: The Water Discus Hotel in Dubai, due to open in 2015, will be a rotating hotel almost a mile below sea level with aquarium-style windows in 21 suites and facilities. In case of emergencies, the hotel will be able to rise to the surface in less than 15 minutes and will contain a spa, garden, and pool.
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