More travellers in the future will be able to pay for their holidays with cryptocurrency, according to futurist Rohit Talwar at World Travel Market London.
He also urged travel companies to consider developing experiences in the metaverse to cater for younger people and new audiences.
Talwar, Chief Executive of Fast Future, told delegates: “Accept crypto to target growth segments – 350 million people hold crypto now.”
He highlighted pioneers in the travel sector who are making use of cryptocurrency opportunities, such as Expedia, the Dolder Grand Zurich hotel, air Baltic, Brisbane Airport and the city of Miami – which is investing in its infrastructure thanks to developing its own cryptocurrency.
Commenting on the metaverse opportunities, he said: “It is a way to reach people we cannot otherwise serve.”
He told delegates that 78 million people attended a two-day Ariane Grande concert last year in Fortnite, describing it as “like a digital version of Disneyland”.
“There is a whole generation growing up as gamers in those worlds, buying and selling in the metaverse,” he said.
Early adopters in the metaverse include Istanbul airport, Helsinki and Seoul, he added.
Talwar also moderated a panel of experts talking about the future of travel, who highlighted sustainability and diversity as key trends for the 2020s and beyond.
Fahd Hamidaddin, Chief Executive at the Saudi Tourism Authority, said climate change has been “factored into” the destination’s 2030 vision.
“Saudi is committed to contributing to the net zero contribution of the [tourism] sector by 2050,” he added.
“Sustainability starts with the people – being true to the locals – and nature.”
He said the destination is developing rewilding schemes for 21 species and making sure Red Sea developments can preserve the coral and marine environments.
Peter Krueger, Chief Strategy Officer at TUI AG, highlighted how tourism is a “force for good”, acting as a “value transfer from wealthy countries to less developed destinations”.
He pointed to the Dominican Republic, which has developed its economy and schools thanks to its tourism industry, while neighbouring Haiti’s economy is less developed because it has very little tourism.
Sustainability is an opportunity, he added, citing the example of solar panels on hotels in the Maldives, which offer a return on investment within three years.
Julia Simpson, President and Chief Executive at the World Travel and Tourism Council, highlighted the importance of investing in sustainable aviation fuels (SAF).
She urged delegates to use WTTC resources to help them on their journey to net zero – and to find out about ways to support nature and biodiversity.
Writer and broadcaster Simon Calder was optimistic about travel in 2030, commenting: “We will appreciate the value that travel brings to the world and to ourselves…spending money on places interested in sustainability and tackling over-tourism, and whose human rights record we respect.
“Travel is desperately important to people.It will be great in 2030 and beyond.”
He said transport innovations such as hyperloop are unlikely to come to fruition but said it will be increasingly easy to book train travel or electric coaches for holidays as an alternative to flying.
Calder also predicted there will be more opportunities for people from marginalised and native populations to benefit from tourism during the 2020s.
Photography from previous WTM shows is available to download via the following link: https://wtm.mediafiler.net/wtm/start/index
World Travel Market (WTM) Portfolio comprises leading travel events, online portals and virtual platforms across four continents. The events are:
WTM London, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend three-day exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry. The show facilitates business connections for the global (leisure) travel community. Senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international media visit ExCeL London every November, generating travel industry contracts.
Next live event: Monday 7 to 9 November 2022 at ExCel London and 6-8 November 2023 at ExCel London. http://london.wtm.com/
Arabian Travel Market (ATM), now on its 30th year, is the leading, international travel and tourism event in the Middle East for inbound and outbound tourism professionals. ATM 2022 attracted over 23,000 visitors and hosted over 30,000 participants including 1,500 exhibitors and attendees from 150 countries, across 10 halls at Dubai World Trade Centre. Arabian Travel Market is part of Arabian Travel Week. #ATMDubai
Next in-person event: Monday 1 to Thursday 4 May 2023, Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai
Arabian Travel Week is a festival of events taking place within and alongside Arabian Travel Market 2023. Providing a renewed focus for the Middle East’s travel and tourism sector, it includes ILTM Arabia, ARIVAL Dubai, Influencers’ events and activations, ITIC, GBTA Business Travel Forums, as well as ATM Travel Tech. It also features the ATM Buyer Forums, ATM Speed Networking Events as well as a series of country forums.
WTM Latin America takes place annually in the city of São Paulo and attracts around 20,000 tourism professionals during the three-day event. The event offers qualified content together with networking and business opportunities. In this its ninth edition – there have been eight face-to-face events along with a 100% virtual one, which was held in 2021 – WTM Latin America continued to focus on effective business generation, and achieved the advance booking of six thousand meetings that were held between buyers, travel agents and exhibitors in 2022.
Next event: Monday April 3rd to Wednesday 5th April 2023 – Expo Center Norte, SP, Brazil
WTM Africa launched in 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. In 2022, WTM Africa facilitated more than 7 thousand unique pre-scheduled appointments, an increase of more than 7% compared to 2019 and welcomed more than 6 thousand visitors (unaudited), the same number as in 2019.
Next event: Monday 3 to Wednesday 5 April 2023 – Cape Town International Convention Centre, Cape Town http://africa.wtm.com/
About ATW Connect: Africa Travel Week’s digital arm, is a virtual hub packed to the seams with interesting content, industry news and insights, and the opportunity to hear from experts on a variety of topics in our new monthly webinar series. All with the aim to keep all of us in the travel and tourism industry connected. ATW Connect focuses on inbound and outbound markets for general leisure tourism, luxury travel, LGBTQ+ travel and the MICE/business travel sector as well as travel technology.
WTM Global Hub, is the new WTM Portfolio online portal created to connect and support travel industry professionals around the world. The resource hub offers the latest guidance and knowledge to help exhibitors, buyers and others in the travel industry face the challenges of the global coronavirus pandemic. WTM Portfolio is tapping into its global network of experts to create content for the hub. https://hub.wtm.com/
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RELX is a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. The Group serves customers in more than 180 countries and has offices in about 40 countries. It employs over 33,000 people, of whom almost half are in North America. The shares of RELX PLC, the parent company, are traded on the London, Amsterdam and New York Stock Exchanges using the following ticker symbols: London: REL; Amsterdam: REN; New York: RELX. The market capitalisation is approximately £33bn, €39bn, $47bn.*
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