Pat Hyland - Jun 17, 2024
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The report titled "NextGen Travelers and Destinations" by Google and Deloitte predicts that Spain will be the most popular tourist destination in 2040, with 110 million arrivals, followed by France (105 million) and the United States (100 million).

In 2023, France welcomed the most foreign tourists in the world, with Spain coming in second. The United States, however, has not yet recovered its pre-pandemic visitor numbers and is lagging behind.

Despite France being the top destination for foreign tourists, it ranks fourth in tourism revenues. The United States leads in tourism earnings, making $176 billion in 2023, followed by Spain ($92 billion) and the United Kingdom ($74 billion).

Travel Dynamics in the World until 2040

The study examines the evolution of the travel industry since 1990 and its projected developments until 2040. It aims to provide a detailed understanding of traveler profiles and destination clusters to help travel operators and distributors adapt to future trends.

The report also uses predictive models to estimate that the number of trips worldwide will reach 2.4 billion, 936 million more than the 1.464 billion recorded in 2019, the year before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The analysis predicts that the increase in trips will result from the growing middle class worldwide. Travelers from Europe and Asia Pacific are expected to make up more than 70% of trips. The top issuing countries will remain the same as in 2019 (China, the US, the UK, and Germany) with the addition of India.

Regarding arrivals, Europe and Asia Pacific will account for 47% and 27%, respectively, with 1,120 and 640 million travelers, respectively. By 2040, the top five countries for traveler arrivals will be Spain, France, the US, China, and Mexico, making up 20% of the total arrivals.

Furthermore, the study by Deloitte and Google suggests that 45% of total travelers worldwide will visit four key destinations: the Mediterranean (480 million), Southeast Asia (255 million), the New Middle East (175 million), and the Caribbean (145 million).

According to experts, travel operators must adapt to new source markets, technologies, and ESG requirements. Flexibility, hyper-personalization, and industry reconfiguration will be key factors in shaping business models.

Technologies like AI offer companies the opportunity to define their future strategies better. Such solutions can improve efficiency and productivity and contribute to more sustainable tourism development by providing relevant data for companies and users.

Factors That Will Shape the Future of Travel by 2040

  • The impact of exponential technology development, such as virtual reality, AI, analytics, and real-time translation, is significant.
  • Travelers' profiles are changing due to factors such as aging, longevity, sexual and racial diversity, and inequalities.
  • Cultural and social shifts encompass various variables, such as the contrast between experience and product and the evolution of work.
  • The transformation of businesses includes declining financial health, the talent gap, and lower barriers to entry.
  • Climate change, with relevant elements such as the industry's regulatory aspects or renewable energies.
  • The impact of economics, geopolitics, or cybersecurity.

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