Within the next decade we’ll start to book our holidays based on virtual experiences”

The Face guide to the 2020s: Supersonic passenger jets, futuristic cruises and biometric identification – Ray Hammond predicts the future of travel for the decade ahead.

Hi, and welcome to the future: a toasty-warm, carbon-neutral, plastic-free place where your face has replaced your passport and your car drives itself. Weed is legal, alcohol is hangover-free, weekends last three days and we robots do your admin. We can dream.

Ten long years ago, The Face compiled a set of predictions for the coming decade from a star chamber of hotshot experts. That flesh-and-blood editorial team has long since disbanded but their legacy remains. From now until the first day of the new decade we’re sharing some prognostications (as seen in The Face Volume 4 Issue 002) on love, sex, space, AI, cannabis, mental health and plastic surgery (and more) for the years ahead.

Ray Hammond (Futurist)

Within the next decade we’ll start to book our holidays based on virtual experiences. Virtual reality will allow armchair travel planners to step into’ virtual hotel rooms, visit street carnivals, explore museums or walk into a particular restaurant. Rather than replace it, though, I think virtual tourism will stimulate the demand for physical travel.

By the end of the decade our airport experience may be as different as our booking experience. Facial pattern recognition systems are already in experimental use at airports. Computer systems which reliably identify your face will come into more widespread use at airports, train stations, shipping terminals, etc. By 2030 you might find yourself checking in with a glance and simply walking through security and passport control. Other forms of biometric identification – iris scans and fingerprint recognition, for example − are likely to supplement and back up face-recognition systems. For legal reasons you may still be required to carry a passport, but queues and waiting times will be substantially reduced.

Getting to your destination will also be much quicker. Mid-sized supersonic passenger jets are already in development at a start-up plane-maker called Boom Technology. Japan Airlines and Virgin Atlantic have already invested in Boom and have ordered 20 supersonic planes each. Altogether, Boom now claims to have orders for 76 aircraft, all of which will cut travel times to about half of what they are at the moment. 

Or you might head out on a cruise. Cruise ships will be far more environmentally friendly than today’s giant ocean liners. Ship operators are now building vessels that are powered by liquified natural gas (LNG). There will also be many more cruises themed around special interests and occupations such as computer gaming, cookery, wellness and wellbeing, ballroom dancing, adult education and so on. Set meal times and buffet venues will be out; branding will become mainstream. DreamWorks, Apple, Jamie Oliver, Lego and Starbucks are among brands already co-operating with cruise lines to deliver unique passenger entertainment and enjoyment. Other passenger experiences available on the cruise ships of 2030 will include off-ship passenger drone excursions, drone firework’ displays at sea and in-room robotic chefs.”


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