The first flight of solar powered airplane, Solar Impulse-2, has generated a wave of optimism and given a hint of what is next in the travel world! The journey of a sleek, solar-powered plane from Abu Dhabi, UAE to Muscat, Oman in a 12-hour long flight by businessman and pilot Andre Borschbeg and Bertrand Piccard; may be the answer to the question of our future air travel and a challenge to cut down carbon emission. The Solar Impusle-2 is on a mission to fly across the world to spread the message of safer, cleaner and greener mode of air travel in future. The Si2 is entirely solar-powered and will complete its round-the-globe journey in five months. Surely, the likes of Ibn Battuta, Marco Polo and Christopher Columbus would feel proud of their successors!
Times have changed! And, so has travel!
Travel has always been a key element of our society and it has evolved a lot along with the human progress. The earliest travellers made the initial contribution in documenting geography, economy, history and society of our world. Explorers like Fa-Hein, Megasthenes, Hiuen-Tsiang and Ptolemy didn’t have the modern day travel modes to make their travel easier but nevertheless, made some remarkable progress. However, since the time of our earliest pioneers, we have reached the modern day jet-set age with swanky hotels, striking resorts and easy access to air travel. However, the human endeavour to touch new heights continues, so is the evolution of travel and tourism industry. Today, solar powered airplanes are enjoying their trial run and hopefully tomorrow, they will cut down the cost of air travel, pollution and carbon emission; paving the way for a better world.
Steam engines, railroads, telegraph led to the development of the famous summer resorts of Europe including the famous French and the Italian Riviera; which led to the concept of luxury tourism. Europe’s royalty and world’s elite and celebrities flocked in large numbers to enjoy the chic hotels and restaurants.
The end of the devastating Second World War started air travel in a commercial manner and it changed the nature of transport and tourism in our world. Easy, hassle-free air travel opened up new destinations and possibilities for tourism and changed the face of our world. The rise of airlines, hotels, restaurants, attractions and destinations all shaped up the travel industry into a major economic sector and employment generator in our world.
The question on everyone’s lips is, what is the future of travel industry? The flight of a solar powered plane is not just a hint, but is a pointer to the other such innovations and concepts which are re-defining the travel industry.
British businessman and investor, Sir Richard Branson has started an ambitious project, Virgin Galactic, world’s first commercial spaceline, with the aim to start space tourism in highly sophisticated space flights and plans to fulfil the dream of space travel to common people. For once, the domain of highly trained astronauts and cosmonauts, will be available for the common humans as well.
Similarly, a not-for-profit organisation based in Netherlands, Mars One is planning to land first human on the red planet and start a settlement with a scientific purpose. The idea is still a far-fetched reality at the moment but one day, maybe inter-galactic tourism can be a real possibility. Could our ancestors ever think that one day, humans could actually leave the planet and step onto a different planet, altogether!
However, new concepts like solar-power plane of Solar Impulse-2; space flight by Virgin Galactic and the ambitious plan to start a colony on Mars by Mars One, hints at the upcoming evolution of the industry. The impacts and assessments of such technologies is too early to predict but certainly the future is bright. As long as human endeavour to seek new answer continues, the evolution of our society will continue so is the progress of travel and tourism industry.