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By 2030, the world’s demographic and economic landscapes will change drastically and there will be an extra billion people in the world, according to the United Nations. Boeing forecasts that there will be a 5% annual increase in passenger traffic from 2015.
These figures may sound alarming, however there is strong evidence that we may be approaching a population plateau which, when combined with improved standards of living, will create a prosperous and stable global market for travel.
Family planning, state welfare, increased affluence and subsequent population decline are firmly established traits of developed markets (European numbers are forecast to shrink by 14% by 2050), but we are also seeing a rapid fall in fertility rates in large developing countries such as China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Brazil and South Africa. Only a small group of undeveloped countries at this point are keeping world population from steep decline.
Worldwide, fertility rates are beginning to decline, with the exception of certain increasingly urbanised mega-populations. For all the focus China has received, it is Africa which will experience the greatest percentage population change before 2030. Though these high birth-rate nations are generally the world’s least affluent, even a slight increase in the proportion of 2030’s mega-populations going abroad will have a dramatic impact on the number of people in the global travel system.
Travellers will come from a wider spread of nations. According to the UNWTO, Europe and North America will go from possessing over 60% of the global share of international tourism to under 50%, and Boeing puts the share of total air traffic carried by European and North American airlines at just 38% by 2033.
New market entrants will be hungry for travel. Some will enter the market who, but one generation ago, may never have left their town or village. Their requirements cannot be fully anticipated. Airlines will be tested for their flexibility, and travel providers will be forced to diversify their messaging and offerings.
How do you think the economic and demographic landscapes of the next decade or so will influence travel? Tweet us with hashtag #Tribes2030 to let us know.