Back to the future: Here's what the travel industry might look like in just a few years

WTTC CEO Gloria Guevara (Supplied)
WTTC CEO Gloria Guevara (Supplied)

Over the next decade, the global travel and tourism sector is expected to generate an additional 100 million jobs - or 1 in 4 new jobs created, according to Gloria Guevara, president and CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council.

"The reality is that the world is confronted by significant challenges that require coordinated global action, changemaking behaviour and more collaboration," she said at the opening of the WTTC's Global Summit 2019 in Seville, Spain, on Wednesday.

More than 1 500 global leaders are attending the event, which has the theme this year of "changemakers".

"If we don't work on our future, the growth predictions could fail to materialise, impacting millions of jobs and progress towards the sustainable development goals," Guevara added.

Jobs, jobs, jobs

Travel and tourism in South Africa contributed 1.5 million jobs and R425.8bn to the economy in 2018, representing 8.6% of all economic activity in the country and making SA the largest tourism economy in Africa, according to an annual review by the WTTC. For over 25 years, the WTTC, which represents the global private sector of travel and tourism, has compared the travel and tourism sector across 185 countries.

Guevara's believes the travel and tourism industry is the best partner for governments to generate economic growth, create jobs and reduce poverty.

Rapid changes

"We are living in an era of rapid change, the pace of which, I predict, will only increase. Within the past decade alone we have witnessed advancements that have propelled the travel and tourism sector to new heights, fundamentally changing the way we live, the way we do business, the way we communicate with each other, and the way millions and millions of people travel every day," said Guevara.

She added that, as the travel and tourism sector continues to grow, new markets open up, and more people have the opportunity to travel, the industry needs to make sure that it stays ahead of the curve by considering what the future of travel looks like, who the consumers of tomorrow will be and what they will expect.

Here's a look at what you might be able to expect from the future:

Travelling from the airport to your accommodation in a driverless taxi:

Illustration and photo of a autonomous self-drivin


A drone drops off your luggage in advance while you are on your way from the airport:

Silhouette of drone flying above city at sunset


Virtual reality used to enhance tourist experiences at historical sites by transporting visitors back in time:

People collection


Live language interpretation will mean that nothing is lost in translation again:

Young woman holding electronic tablet showing the


Data analytics will help to manage flows of people to avoid overcrowding:

face recognition technology concept illustration o


Local communities will live from travel and tourism while helping to protect natural and cultural assets:

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