Sabre’s Vice Chairman, Greg Webb, shared his view on the new dimensions of travel at the World Tourism Forum
Imagine a world where you can travel without worrying about anything, except being fully present to what is around. A world of heightened sensations, where technology would take care of logistics while you enjoy and embrace the sights and sounds around you. Personal automated assistants, biometrics, and even “magic” holograms could contribute to your well-being and astuteness throughout all phases of your trip, whether for business or leisure. And after the UK government approved £20m in funding for driverless cars this week, the reality of a technology-driven journey is much closer than we think.
Let’s look at the hotel experience. After landing at your destination, you head to your hotel, using a driverless “autopilot” car that has your hotel information pre-programmed. You’re grateful because the roads are on the “wrong side” of the road for you. On the way there, your car passes a geo-location beacon which informs your hotel to check you in automatically. Minutes later, your smart key appears on your smart device (a larger and highly intelligent version of today’s smartphone), accompanied by a 3D map guiding you through the hotel to your room.
Entering your room, you receive notification based on your social media activity that one of your favorite bands is playing in town that night. You can see that five other people in your hotel are also fans of the band, and after a few clicks, tickets are purchased, and you join your new friends for a seamless, driverless ride to the venue.
Doesn’t this make for a more interesting, problem-free trip? Some critics say technology would replace human interaction — I would argue far from it, as these sorts of “dream technologies” would enrich our lives by freeing-up time to spend with family, friends and creative ideas.
Many of these technologies are imminent or already here — and Turkey has the potential to lead this progress faster than any other Western European country. Here are three reasons why:
By 2030, more than a billion extra people are expected to travel globally. Turkey is already home to a large population and by 2030, this is expected to rise by 13 percent to 88 million.
With an average age of 29, Turkey is also home to the youngest population in Europe, and it’s this unique blend of population demographics that will drive technological change at a pace unseen elsewhere. This is a country ready for change. Its people are ready to travel, ready to embrace new technology and ready for a new level of practicality and convenience.
We can see this already in Turkey’s mobile and internet penetration, which are among the fastest growing in the world. Internet penetration is projected to grow to 56 million internet users in 2019, i.e. an increase by 25%; whereas the number of smartphone users in Turkey is estimated to reach 48 million by then, meaning an increase by 62%.
For all these reasons, Turkey must get ready and be aware of all these new technology developments.