Travel as we know it may face extinction by 2040 due to climate change, warns Intrepid Travel. In a recent report titled “Sustainable Future for Travel,” produced in collaboration with The Future Laboratory, Intrepid Travel outlines a concerning future if we don’t take immediate action. According to the report, rising temperatures could lead to holidaymakers seeking cooler destinations and traditional summer hotspots like Greece and Mallorca being replaced by Belgium, Slovenia, and Poland.
And that’s not all: low-lying tourist destinations like the Maldives and Jakarta may be submerged by 2050. Iconic beachfront resorts, tropical paradises, and cultural heritage sites could be lost forever. The report envisions a world where virtual holidays become commonplace, and travel restrictions are imposed through carbon passports. The travel industry must make substantial changes to prevent this grim future from becoming a reality.
“A new era is dawning for the travel and tourism industry. Transient and transformative travel experiences will revolutionise the notion of leaving no trace. We will see hotels will be at the forefront of this extraordinary change. In the next decade we will see more now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t travel experiences popping-up across the world,” said Martin Raymond, author, journalist, co-founder of The Future Laboratory.
The report identifies the following trends shaping the future of travel:
- Regulation on “Tourism Leakage:” When a significant portion of tourism revenue leaks out of the local economy and goes to foreign-owned companies or imported goods and services, it harms local communities and their ability to benefit from tourism. Governments must implement regulations to address the issue. According to the report, by 2040, governments will need to enforce rules on travel companies to guarantee that most of the money tourists spend in a place stays within the local economy.
- Real-time Carbon Footprint Tracking: Intrepid Travel envisions a carbon passport assigning each traveler an annual carbon footprint. Travelers must stay within the designated footprint; however, they may purchase CO₂ credits or support sustainable initiatives to compensate for the environmental impact of their travel.
- Accommodation that Leaves No Trace: Travelers are actively searching for sustainable, eco-friendly accommodation that prioritizes environmental conservation and minimizes their ecological impact. Many hotels use renewable energy sources, water and waste management systems, and adopt green building practices.
- Responsible and Ethical Tourism: Responsible and ethical tourism practices focusing on experiences that contribute positively to local communities, cultures, and environments will become mainstream, too. Community-based tourism projects, supporting local artisans and indigenous communities, promoting cultural preservation, and advocating for wildlife conservation are many travelers’ sought-after experiences.
- Technology-Driven Travel Experiences: AR or VR could provide tourists with immersive and realistic experiences from the comfort of their homes, potentially reducing the carbon footprint of travel while still allowing them to explore new destinations. Mobile apps for personalized recommendations will further enhance the travel experience.
“The direct, catastrophic impact of climate change has for too long been viewed as something that’s far off in the future,” said Darrell Wade, Co-founder and Chairman of Intrepid Travel. “But it’s no longer something that’s going to happen – it’s something that is happening. It’s a short-to-medium existential risk that has arrived faster and harder than we ever expected and is changing everything.”