european voices By Elina HiltunEn holiday time travel client and I recently discussed the future of tourism and the changing needs of travellers. He suggested that there would be more demand for experience-based travel in the near future and, as a result, people would be prepared to pay more for their holidays. Urbanites who feel they have lost touch with nature will be ready to shell out plenty of cash to be transported to Lapland's wilderness and spend a few days armed with nothing but matches, a sleepA When we couldn't afford a beach holiday, we drove up to Lapland, covering hundreds of kilometres in our little Volkswagen Beetle. At rest stops we cooked potatoes and canned meatballs on a gas stove. Once we reached our destination, we pitched our dome tent at campsites or on the yards of relatives. When it rained, the tent leaked, and we got wet, cold and mosquito-bitten. But this was our opportunity for a vacation, and although money was tight, we had gone somewhere. For mAny TrAvellers these days, simple beach getaways, camping holidays or city breaks aren't enough. Voluntourism, for example, in which holidaygoers can participate in community development or wildlife conservation efforts, is on the rise. On the extreme end of things, some go as far as partake in so-called disaster tourism, which includes the subcategories of "see it before it's too late" and "see the destruction." Greenland, for example, draws tourists desiring to see the thinning Arctic ice sheets. The same phenomenon brings visitors to the small Pacific island of Tuvalu, which, according to some predictions, will disappear as sea levels rise. so whAT kind oF Tourism can we expect in the future as expectations and a desire for extreme adventure grows? A few decades from now, middle-class tourists will probably book holidays at space hotels or underwater resorts. In fact, companies are already considering various types of passenger spacecraft and entertainment oases in space. The costs are still sky-high, of course. Or, by contrast, another popular holiday concept may involve cooking potatoes in the wilderness of northern Finland, listening to the rain drip on one's tent, hearing the whining of mosquitoes and knowing this was the way our great-greatgreat grandparents spent their holidays. Elina HiltunEn, a senior foresight specialist at Finpro, runs her own consultancy. in the future, there will be more demand for experience-based travel. ing bag, a gas stove and a hat with mosquito netting. Their feeling of euphoria will stem from their ability to outdo themselves and spend several days without fast food joints or soap operas. From a tour operator's point of view, nature experiences are profitable: costs tend to be low, and city-dwellers are ready to pay for the chance to see unspoiled wilderness. For many, the opportunity to sleep under the stars is priceless. Tourism hAs chAnged over the years, of course. When I was a child, middle-class families in Finland began saving up for their first package holidays abroad. Names such as Mallorca, the Canary Islands and Rhodes popped up everywhere. I flew on an airplane for the first time as a preteen. We went to Bulgaria, the cheapest of all the sunny destinations at that point. enG 58 blue winGs maY 2011
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