Tourism in the future

Surveying developments in technolongy, markeitng, the web, media, transportation and society that will change the tourism industry in the future.

Projected tourism investment of $40 billion to catapult the Gulf Countries to be the world’s top tourism destination

In a bid to diversify its income sources, from being solely oil-reliant, the Gulf Countries cooperation (GCC) will become the newest and most exciting travel destination. And there’s a fair chance, with a $40 billion budget, that tourists will have good reason to visit the Gulf.

Picture this. The biggest amusement park in the world, that is bigger than Monaco. The biggest airport in the world. Add another 650 new airplanes to the shopping list for good measure.

With an estimate 1.6 billion tourists by 2020, growing markets in Nigeria, India and Brazil, and 100,000,000 outbound tourists coming from China alone, the GCC is planning to attract a substantial number of travelers.

Why tourism?

The Gulf countries do not want to be dependent mainly on oil. The target is to reach 9% GDP dependence by 2020 from currently 40% and tourism has been earmarked as a strategic means to achieve this goal.

Tight deadline, but progress on track

Planning is well underway with airlines like Ethihad Airways with a strong reputation for customer service, having received over 30 awards since its inauguration in 2003. The GCC airlines ordered a total of 650 new airplanes from Airbus and Boeing. It is projected that Emirates will fly 10% of all long haul flights in the near future. Dubai airport is the busiest International airport attracting more than 80 million international passengers. Further construction of the new airport, Jebel Ali, is planned to double the number of passengers in Dubai by 2025.

ESP (emotional selling proposition) – Turning sand to emotion

The emergence of world class man-made Islands and waterfronts, the Gulf countries are transforming the Gulf waters into stunning touristic destinations, like The Pearl in Doha or the Failalka Islands in Kuwait, creating a valuable infrastructure for hotels and real estate.

While Gulf Countries may be lacking in world heritage sites they are making the Gulf Region the new world stage, a bold strategy that will transform of the Gulf as a tourism destination, long-term.  From featuring the most elite soccer matches, Formula 1 drivers and Expo 2020, a Festival of human ingenuity, (attracting 25 million visitors), to developing the biggest amusement park in the world, this strategy aims to prolong the average stay of tourists and make the Gulf the stopover destination of choice for long-haul passengers.

The GCC is turning sand into the most exciting high-end tourist destination combining world-leading infrastructure with emotional appeal.

Mark your calendars to visit Abu Dhabi at the Expo 2020!

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Will Google Flights be Google+ or will it beat Priceline and Expedia?

Google launched new features on Google Flights giving notice to delays and enabling to book also hotels. Google shows it strength in the use of Big Data and A.I. letting users know of delays even before the airlines do. Connecting flights bookings to hotel bookings and to Google Trips will give the user a one stop shop that controls the whole booking process and travel experience.

What are Google’s motives?

Does Google want to stick to its main aim, unveiling information to the users, so there will be no more secrets of the OTA’s, Airlines and other suppliers or does it want a chunk of the travel industry with its yearly revenue of 1.22tr USD? At this point we are not sure, because Google does not seem to want to overtake the travel industry with all its might. Maybe it is playing cautious observing at this stage the reactions of the different stakeholders. Right-now it is clear that giving a certain fight to the powerful OTA’s; Priceline and Expedia is in the interest of the public. If Google is going to overtake around 10% of the marketshare from the duopoly it will do the clients and suppliers just good, lowering prices and lowering commissions paid to Expedia and Priceline. But still, if Google plays it now cautious because of its interest, there is always the option that Google Flights will become a disaster like Google+ when Google failed to create a competition to FB.

Will follow up in the coming months to see what is going to be the reaction of the OTA’s, regulators and users to Google’s slow and cautious maneuver to become a grewing stakeholder in the travel industry creating information and sales to the end-customer.

TravelTech Meetup, Tel-Aviv 11-7-17

July 2017 Meetup – Blockchain and a few ideas how to beat the Duopoly

On a rooftop, one hot summer day in TLV, the monthly Meetup of the Israel TravelTech Startups (ITTS) was held, with participants from 100 Israeli start-ups. Perhaps one of these promising start-ups will, in the near future, be one of the leaders of the world TravelTech industry. It is certain that everyone here wants a piece of the travel industry’s yearly revenue of a few trillion dollars. Those who dare to create a trustworthy product/service that saves time and money will have a chance to reach great numbers of users looking for a vacation.

2 primary concerns:

  1. Blockchain, Digital Currency and TravelTech
  2. Cutting profit margin between the booking platforms and customers

Blockchain and the Travel Industry

Blockchain is changing the way we relate to money, from writing contracts to making payments. A $100 bill is just a piece of paper; its value comes from the trust we have in the various governmental enforcement agencies and financial institutions. This trust endows the money with credible value for which you can exchange for goods and services. Blockchain will change everything! Contracts will be B2C and P2P (peer to peer). A quick example – a customer will hop in a taxi and an online Blockchain contract will be initiated between the driver and the customer. It will be trustworthy, because the data will be placed in an online ledger that will be copied tenfold to thousands of servers and computers worldwide. The payment will be made online per every kilometer the taxi travels. This is just an example to illustrate the absence of bills, banks, or any enforcement agency whatsoever. Beware – any TravelTech company that plans to make a profit, mid or long term, as an intermediary between customer and supplier will not be needed in the sales process. In the future, a Blockchain contract will be made directly between customer and product/service, and payment will be made with bitcoin or any similar digital currency. So start-ups that are planning their path as intermediary, please re-evaluate.

itts pic

Credit: Iris Friedman
Who is going to beat Expedia and Priceline?

As a rule, on the internet, 99% of users use 1% of websites. This is also true in the travel industry. Expedia and Priceline (, Kayak etc.) took the cake and are generating together a yearly revenue of $19 billion. We met a few Israeli start-ups looking to give a better value. It is said already that the cookies raise prices according to users. The big players take a 20% commission (approximate) as part a hotel booking transaction. So between the cookie that adjusts prices and a 20% commission there is a large margin that can be cut. Here are a few examples of start-ups that are looking to give us a better, cheaper service:

  1.    Pruvo –

Book your hotel room through one of the booking platforms with free cancellation. Send Pruvo your reservation. If they will find your exact booking cheaper, they will get back to you with a cheaper offer. Cancel your original booking and book through them. Apparently there is up to a 40% price drop even after reservations are made. Provu can locate this price gap between your reservation and theirs. It is worth checking out – nothing to lose.

  1.    Better Hotel –

Well, same idea different concept. Better Hotel can monitor your reservation up to the last moment. They will monitor prices a few times every day. If they find a better hotel for the same price you paid, they will book it. You have earned a free upgrade. Book your vacation through a booking platform with free cancellation and give it a go with Better Hotel for a great upgrade and a more enjoyable vacation.

3.    Splitty –

Splitty have a different approach to get better prices. Give them your booking request, and they will get you a better price than the big booking platforms. Splitty splits your reservation to  reservations blocks, enabling them to achieve much better results than other booking methods. Again, I would say it is worth checking this option.

Clearly there is room for improvement in price and quality between hotels and customers. In a market worth of billions of dollars, companies that can create better value for consumers will get a share. Start-ups that act quickly enough, grow fast and create a loyal base of a few million users will stand out and create big traction.

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Caveman vs Digital-Sapiens – The challenge of the travel industry

Where are we at?

Has the travel market revolutionized how the average customer experience? Not yet, we’re still waiting. 75% of all americans feel repelled to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) software tools. Not surprisingly, many people still need human contact. But in my eyes the reason not to use Artificial Intelligence technology is different.

While using a chatbot (i.e. Icelandair) or the Hipmunk app it still feels that there is no real added value. The chatbot gets stuck very fast and then refers you to a real person. The Hipmunk app (Travel Agent app with AI algorithms) does not provide more than general recommendations, far from custom made offers to your specific needs. Google Now is more advanced but offers only general content and attractions recommendations. Its best feature is to remind you when to leave in time for the airport.

On the other hand we see growing mobile device usage of the current technology of apps/websites. For example 40% of all travel bookings in Sweden are made on mobile devices. Users are using more and more the current familiar UX interface that was developed by the big players in the last few years (Priceline and Expedia).

Caveman or the savvy Digital-Sapiens?

The next AI technological development is going to save a lot of money to the big players. Instead of paying humans to give service to clients, they will develop one smart software for millions of people. There is a lot at stake – around $2.3 trillion a year. The players who are going to gamble on the right technology are going to make a fortune. So, who is it going to be, the Caveman who needs personal contact and reaffirmation when planning, buying and executing travel plans or the savvy Digital-Sapiens who has enough mileage on-line to check, book and execute through the guidance of smart algorithms and future AI technology?

The big winners…

Travel companies that are developing advanced technology are lagging behind Amazon, FB, Starbucks and others. For example, Amazon recommends costume tailored products, sales and sends you the product within 24 hours. The travel industry has much to do in order to close the gap in comparison with these data and service oriented companies. On-top taking in consideration that the Caveman mentality is here to stay (mainly with the babyboomers and x/y generations). We, at Tourism in the Future, believe that the existing online platforms like FB, Snapchat and Instagram are going to stay relevant much longer for the travel industry. Not only that, their usage as online sales channels are going to extend in the future. These channels have a huge advantage presenting content natively and a very authentic way. The ability to figure out if the content is user generated or advertisement-generated is much harder if we compare them to other advertisements online channels. This is the main reason that in the near future will see many users shifting from the big OTA’s and direct booking to these channels also for booking.

Only when the AI, IoT(Internet of Things) and big-data technologies will be advanced enough and the Digital-Sapiens will have enough confidence in these technologies they will be put to use by the big players or will see new surprising players emerging.


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5 tips to improve your travel plans and experience

The future is all about you


Holidaymakers demand nowadays, first and foremost, quality. Even for budget travelers, nothing less than-best-in-class will do. The customer is king.

Technology allows travel plans to be tailor-made not only per the requests of the customer, but even preferences of which he (or she) is not aware. Have you ever noticed how websites like Makemytrip or Cleartrip offer you hotel packages in places you have clicked in Google, and even according to your budget? This is only the beginning…

But before  your AI (Artificial intelligence) travel agent will use big-data to recommend, plan and organize  your next vacation, here are a few tips for your next travel plans to Europe.

5 tips for you to try this year


Get inspired with more than 800 experiences and attractions in 20 different countries that are available on Musement. For me personally the reason to reserve through them is to save time in queues and prolong the real fun. It also helps you in the planning phase to see what is possible,  and compare prices. Their bestselling attractions are The Last Supper (Milan), Eiffel Tower (Paris) , Uffizi Gallery (Florence)  and tours of the Vatican.

Click here and see what they have on offer.

The old adage says time is money. A popular similar website saving both (e.g. avoiding the queue for the Eiffel tower) is isango.


Qatar Airways

The Gulf countries are world leaders in the tourism industry in branding, products and services. Their livery flies in every international airport in India, as well.  Qatar Airways is a prime example of a leading company from the Gulf. Qatar Airways holds the world record for longest non-stop flight (from Qatar to New Zealand in 15 hours.). Whilst best known for its Premium classes, Qatar Airways maintains the highest standards in all price classes. With over than 100 weekly flights  to 13 cities in India, they are perfectly suited to cater to the needs and desires of the Indian passenger. If you want to try them out from any of their destinations in India to the Gulf or other destination on your next business trip or holiday click here and see their latest prices and discounts.


Not only AIRBNB – another nice alternative ROOMORAMA

Personalizing the traveller’s experience is the keyword in today’s travel. Instead of the generic  hotel room, you find your own accommodation that suits your needs and has the extra touch to turn your holiday to a unique experience. Roomorama have 300,000 short-term apts./villas/homes rentals worldwide with verified hosts and instant booking confirmation.

Learn more and compare prices with other platforms you use.


GeeFi – Recommended for frequent travelers – and their teen kids!

Technology is getting cheaper all the time but mobile roaming data costs for holidaymakers are still astronomical. Especially with your kids attached to their smartphones, good data access can make the difference between a dream and a nightmare for parents.

With a new service dubbed GeeFI you will be able to pay a one-time purchase fee of $169 for a handheld modem cum power bank and get access to over 100 countries, unlimited, high speed with no contract. Afterward, payment is $10 per day for unlimited bandwidth. For me personally it makes it easy to travel and you are not bound to any contract or long term commitment.

If it suits you have a look here.


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Bon Voyage – Tourism in the Future Team

4 optimizations for mobile travel booking

The travel industry has to adapt high quality standards as in other industries. Fast, efficient and reliable services are the call for action. Amazon consumers get great recommendations for new products and the products get to their door steps faster than ever. Ordering food in some chains through apps is seamless and efficient. The travel industry has not meet these standards yet. A few ideas to speed-up pace in the next years.

Mobile and mobile limitations

40% of american visits to travel websites are done from a mobile device. Although this high number and growing rate of mobile use, 60% of American leisure travelers reported that they worry that they are not finding the best price on mobile and they are not sure they are taking the best decision. This is the reason that 67% of American leisure travelers will double check prices after using their mobile device. Main reason for this consumer behavior is due to mobile limitations and mobile usability that make many Americans turn to other devices for further information and final booking.

Here are a few suggestions for travel oriented businesses to improve their conversion rates of mobile users:

  1. Less steps for bookings
  2. Helping users to fill on-line forms
  3. Guarantee on cancellations

These implementations will make the mobile device much more user friendly and trustworthy. Keeping the users on mobile in the app/website will improve your conversions rates  on sale and improve ROI on you mobile online campaigns.

Top Travel Trends for 2017

Today more clients are expecting custom made travel products. These standards will even be higher in the future and the industry will be compelled to adapt itself. Taking this into account, we at ‘Tourism in the Future’ see these following travel trends emerging this year:

Halal Tourism, DNA Tourism and “Mother Nature” Hospitality.

Halal Tourism

Halal Tourism is showing an annual growth of 5% with a total market share of $220 billion. With consumers on average spending upwards of $2,200 per trip, this is a prime market opportunity for new Halal products and relevant adaptations of the Air and Hospitality industry.

For the average ’Halal’ holiday maker, Halal cuisine on airlines, announcement of prayer times and relevant on-board entertainment programmes are becoming more commonplace. In hotels it is expected that Halal food will be exclusively served, without alcoholic beverages, and with separate pools and SPA areas. In order to attract this market segment some Hoteliers in Malaysia, UAE, Turkey and also some non-Muslim countries such as Thailand are adopting these requirements. In Thailand a 4-star Halal hotel was opened, Al-Meroz. The 3 Halal airlines; Royal Brunei Airlines (RBA), Saudi Arabian Airlines and Iran Air are meeting these client demands. The demand for these airlines will grow in the future and also it is very probable that will see also a low-cost Halal airline being established in the coming year.

More to learn about the Halal tourism at the ATM Global Halal Tourism Summit 2017 on the 26/4/17.

DNA Tourism

In the near future the first thing you are going to do when planning your next vacation is to give your travel agent a sample of your DNA. Your genes will tell your travel agent your travel preferences and he will be able to suggest for you a destination and itinerary. The probability for a right fit of your liking will be around 80%-90%.

In our early age, where science has not moved forward this much, the coming trend will be Genetic Heritage Tourism.

Many Americans have their origins in Europe and in Africa. Now they can unlock the secret of the past and find out where they originated from, using a $100 DNA test kit.

Momondo, (the travel search engine)  created a social media campaign reaching almost 200,000,000 people worldwide. Momondo tested people’s DNA and exposed them to where they originated from. See more in the video clip:

Many of these emotional reactions ended in a great and unique custom-made personal travel itineraries. All of the trips created a new connection between the DNA tourists and their living ancestors. The outcome was an emotional and transforming visit to the land they originated from.

“Mother Nature” Hospitality

Did the hospitality industry try everything ? Apparently not!!

Why not to put a bed out in the open in the Swiss Alps and charge $300 for a night? This is exactly what 2 Swiss entrepreneurs did in 2016. They build a stage on a mountain and put a deluxe king size bed under heavens sky. The guests sleep out in the open and get a VIP butler service included. Toilets are only a few minutes away. See more in clip:

Other concepts, place a “Bubble Tree House” suspended from high up in the trees. The houses are transparent and you become one with Mother Nature and the animal world. The same concept but in the Ocean water is the Poseidon undersea resort in Fiji. The hotel offers undersea rooms that give you a breath-taking possibility to immerse in the undersea world with the fish and the sharks.

For more information, follow us on Tourism in the Future on FB.


Tourism 2020 QUIZ

Find out if you know the future trends in toursim of the coming years.











Is tourism going to disappear in the future? An insight into future trends in technology and travel

When will tourism disappear?

Sometime in the future we are going to be able to experience the world directly through our brains. By taking a capsule or using internal or external devices, we would be able, for example, to read the entire Harry Potter series in a matter of seconds. We might “go on vacation” without leaving our chairs, enjoy a sunny beach or climb up a mountain – both mentally and physically – through our neural networks alone.

Some futurists claim that you would be able to share memories with others: You’d be able to wander off to a remote destination and then, upon your return, share your experiences with your friends and others.

Tourism will eventually disappear but we still have a long technological way getting there. At TOURISM IN THE FUTURE – we are studying and following trends and developments in the fields of technology, the web, transportation etc., in order to keep you updated about changes that are right around the corner, as well as others, that might take longer to mature.

Traveling in the year 2030

In 2030, Google might flash you augmented reality recommendations for your next vacation. The suggested itinerary would then be available for immediate booking. In one click you would book the entire vacation and pay suppliers directly in bitcoins (through blockchain systems). Then you would board a flight from, say, London to Sydney, on a supersonic Airbus, which would get you there in 8 hours. Then from Sydney to the Great Reef you would be taken in an autonomous bus. You would stay at an Airbnb room, in community shared housing (or perhaps at an underwater hotel) and be invited to share meals with the community. You would cook for them your special home recipes with a 3D printer, and then share them with community members. At midnight you might go down to the beach and be a first witness to the re-hatching of a once-extinct species of sea turtle, reborn through modern gene manipulation.

For more information, follow us on Tourism in the Future on FB.

Travelling in 2050

9.6 billion people are going to be on our planet by 2050, and a total of 2 billion tourists are going to travel yearly. Cellular phone will be obsolete but not the queen of England. How will traveling look like in 2050?

You have just retired at the age of 82, and are off to a well-deserved vacation. For many years you planned desired body improvements that your medical insurance doesn’t cover. Google’s Siri artificial intelligence doctor will recommend you the best suitable treatment. You will be flashed your treatment’s recommendations through augmented reality from your contact lenses that that will be connected to the internet. The virtual AI Doctor will be very patient with you and will go through all the details of the medical procedures. Google’s choice a high-end clinic in Kuala Lumpur.

You are off to Malaysia for a med and fun vacation. On the menu seeing 6/6 again, improved hearing and 2 new legs.

You’ll will board an orbital solar plane in London and get to Malaysia with-in 2.5 hours. Kuala Lumpur will have a nice scent of Asian cuisine, the streets are going to be crowded with people and vehicles, but it will be quite and you will be able to take in a big breath of clean air.

Upon arrival at the clinic you will be introduced to Lisa your sex-bot for a very warm welcome (no harm done). 3 weeks of operations and treatments and you will be 18 again. Now you will be up for your future plans of hiking and biking in the Scottish Highlands. 2 more weeks of recuperation and sightseeing in Kuala Lumpur and you will be ready for your flight back home. A last fare well kiss from Lisa and you are ready to go back home as an improved cyber-human.

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