How millennials and the gig economy are impacting the way we travel

25 January 2019 - 11:44 By AFP Relaxnews
The gig economy is transforming the way people work and travel.
The gig economy is transforming the way people work and travel.
Image: iStock/Geber86

Experiential travel is no longer enough. The gig economy is rewriting the way people live and work, making travel an integrated part of their lifestyle. And tectonic power shifts from West to East are remapping the centers of influence and the world's mobility. 

These are some of the megatrends outlined in a new report from the World Travel and Tourism Council called "World, Transformed: Megatrends and their implications for Travel & Tourism." 

The findings were presented at major tourism trade fair FITUR in Madrid, Spain this week and shed light on how changing demographics, political, technological and economic forces are impacting the travel and tourism landscape. 

By 2037, 8 billion air travellers are expected to take to the skies. 

Here are a few interesting takeaways: 

Meaningful travel: It's not enough anymore to go home having checked off a list of interesting travel experiences. Consumers are seeking more meaningful, unique and enriching experiences related to wellness and self-care. One of the biggest examples is the popularity of digital detox vacations that challenge consumers to unplug and go analogue throughout their holiday. 

The rise of the gig economy and mobile freelancers: With an estimated 25% of the US and EU classified as independent workers, lifestyles are becoming less tethered to office desks in a 9-5 environment. Think digital nomads who carry out their work duties living in countries around the world. That means businesses will need to rethink their workforce and the way they operate, authors note. 

Demographic shifts: South-South travel is expected to grow significantly, notably from Africa to the Middle East and Asia. A new generation of travellers - Chinese millennials in particular - present a new suite of expectations and opportunities. 

Technology: Consumers are both quick to embrace and distrust emerging technologies. In the travel world, technology that can enrich their experience like translation, natural language processing and chatbot concierges at airports, are more readily accepted.


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