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How travel could look in 2050

The travel industry as we know it will undergo enormous change in the next three decades. Here innovation lab Possible Future paints a picture of the risks and opportunities

The past 30 years have been an incredible era for travel. Low-cost airlines, internet booking and the arrival of social media have opened up the world and changed how we experience it.

But without major changes the next 30 years might see a far less welcome transformation. We simply travel much more than we used to. In 1992, around 1.15 billion passengers flew. In 2019, it was 4.56 billion. That means we’re putting more pressure on the planet and more pressure on ourselves to find new experiences. So what will travel look like in another 30 years, for both businesses and customers?

By looking at current and emerging technologies, and tracking global trends, we can predict what the world of travel might look like in three decades’ time. Some of it might be frightening, if we don’t find ways to reverse climate change, but other changes might push us to positively reimagine how we travel. If everything continues as it is, these are four major developments we expect to see before the middle of this century: