The Future of Tourism

Tourism is predicted to increase in the future. The number of international tourists is predicted to increase by 3.3% per year up to 2030, reaching 1.8 billion tourist arrivals (Lee, 2017). Although all areas are set to grow, the fastest growth will be in emerging economies in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

This increase in tourism has profound impacts on the economic and social characteristics of destinations. The total value of tourism to the world economy by 2027 could be as much as US$11 trillion (without accounting for inflation, so the nominal value will be even higher).

Summary table of estimates and forecasts in world tourism. Source: WTTC, 2017.

A further consequence is the increase in the number of flights that will be undertaken. This is predicted to be concentrated in Asia, unsurprisingly based on demographics: firstly, the population in many Asian countries (especially India) is still growing; and secondly, the wealth of China and India (and some other countries such as Thailand) is increasing, so more people will be able to afford to fly.


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