Behind the success of tourism lies the logistics that enable travellers to get from A to B. Mobility in tourism is set to change dramatically in the coming years. The fourth edition of the Megatrends in Tourism series looks at the megatrend of mobility, highlighting the potential and examining the means of transport.
Politics: Tourism and mobility
Obviously, mobility is the key resource for tourism. However, in view of the environmental objectives of governments, there is a huge backlog demand for large-scale mobility concepts that go hand in hand with the needs of tourism. There are many small-scale projects, research, pilot projects or model regions. Most of them are designed for small regions. Holistic concepts and climate-friendly means of transport are generally lacking in planning. The tourism industry, in particular, can exert political pressure on infrastructure planning to create a barrier-free concept for tourism and the general public.
A synergy between tourism and mobility can improve the overall tourism experience, increase guest satisfaction and enrich the regional value chain. Medium- to long-term mobility concepts need to be implemented hand in hand by business and politics, e.g. by providing infrastructure or expanding public transport.
It is a common experience for domestic travellers. Long queues for visas or bureaucratic procedures at border crossings are particularly annoying and have a negative impact on traveller satisfaction and the attractiveness of a destination. But barrier-free mobility has great potential for the future! Whether it is getting from one place to another using different modes of transport, the ease of getting around the country or simple visa requirements. Ease of use will become increasingly important and contribute to the success of entire tourist destinations.
Accessible travel should also be possible within a region, with as few barriers as possible to reaching a destination. Good accessibility or ease of access is important to increase the attractiveness of a destination. The local infrastructure must also be considered from a tourism perspective, for example through optimised public transport connections, car-sharing or other innovative mobility models.
Regions with mass tourism have another problem to consider. The management of mass tourism. Affected regions need comprehensive concepts that also take into account the climate aspect. For example, a destination can be expanded to include the surrounding region and the infrastructure can be adapted to the increased number of travellers, freeing up space and benefiting other communities. A win-win situation for everyone!
There are many ways for travellers to get around. Whether by road, rail, air or, in some cases, sea, no option is off-limits. The car will continue to be important, but innovative concepts such as car-sharing and ridesharing will shape mobility in the future.
The airline industry will continue to be very popular in the coming years. International economic growth is helping to create a middle class in developing countries that is more willing to travel and, for the first time, has sufficient financial resources. Cheap airfares are helping to make this happen, and international travel is set to boom in the coming years. Long-haul flights in particular will retain their enormous potential, and a competitor is already in sight for short- and medium-haul flights.
Rail transport is expected to grow enormously by 2050, with a 120-230% increase in passenger numbers. To cope with this passenger volume, infrastructure will need to be developed as many rural areas are still inadequately served by the rail network. Rail is becoming the biggest competitor to the airline industry, and the development of high-speed trains is making short and medium-haul travel more affordable and attractive. The environmental aspect is also gaining in importance: rail travel is becoming more climate-friendly and is meeting with growing environmental awareness.
Particularly attractive are climate-friendly air taxis, which are being developed for short and medium distances and will shape tourist mobility. Pioneers include Lilium and Volocopter. Ecological, autonomous means of transport are planned that will get you from A to B faster, more efficiently and more ecologically. In both urban and rural areas, air taxis will enrich the existing infrastructure and be in tune with the times when it comes to climate-friendly travel.
How well individual destinations combine tourism and mobility, plan in a climate-friendly way and integrate innovation also determines the competitiveness of entire tourist destinations.