Friday, April 28, 2006

Travel - The Next Generation

Lyndsey Hawkins, a 20-year-old student studying tourism at Portsmouth University, attended the Travolution Summit yesterday as part of an undergraduate sandwich course within the industry.

We asked Lyndsey to send us her impressions of the event and the industry in general.

She writes: “As a tourism student at Portsmouth University and with my final project nearing I was delighted to attend the Travolution Summit in London.

“My interest has always been in the growth and expansion of the online travel industry as this, in my opinion, is the future of the travel industry.

“There were a lot of issues raised in the Summit of which I was naively unaware – and a lot of others that hadn’t even crossed my mind.

“One comment that stuck in my mind was something that Ian Pearson [the BT futurologist) touched on about how in 15 years time computers will be more intelligent than their creators.

“With this in mind it struck me that if computers will be doing our jobs in so many years time, I am being lectured and trained in skills that I may not need and thus I feel that the tourism courses need to be restructured in line with the future of the industry and making placement years compulsory.

“On another topic, my impression of the travel industry is that customers wanted to travel, but the revelation to me about ‘cyber travel’ came as quite a shock, not having been heard any lectures about it at university.

“As my final project was going to be about online travel, my discussion was to be based around the phasing out of High Street stores due to the increase on online booking. Now I feel I have not been thinking ‘outside the box’ and there is this whole new world out there.

“I feel the concept of an imaginary beach in your lounge defeats the object of having a travel industry - you don’t travel! I wanted to get into this industry to give the customer an ‘experience’ but not of a cyber world…a real world!

“We may end up living in a Matrix style world, which I feel is rather scary and considering some people still like to live in the so-called dark ages, does the industry really think that today’s society is advanced enough to cope with this?

“I feel that this is one of those ideas that isn’t so good and is more about a company trying to get a competitive edge.

“It seems if you snooze you lose in this industry but I worry if the world is really ready for ‘cyber travel’.

“But, of course, this is the opinion of someone new to the industry!”

[The June edition (4.0) of Travolution will be taking a look at courses coming into vogue, such as E-Tourism, which are now available to the industry and postgraduate students].

Kevin May, editor, Travolution

2 comments: blogger said...

I also find the concept of an imaginary beach in the front lounge a little hard to swallow.

While the idea might appeal to die-hard computer game/IT lovers, I'm sure the rest of us would much rather hop on a plane/train/boat (with the environment in mind) and experience The Real Thing.

Technology might be developing at lightning pace, but nothing can be a substitute for going places, meeting people and attempting (badly, in my case) to have a go at the language.

What's that expression about travel broadening the mind? Definitely true, I think, but not from the comfort of one's own front room.

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