Uncertainties about the future make people feel uncomfortable but by using 'what if' questions, organisations and individuals can change there mental model of the future through creativity, novelty and causality. 'What if' questions can be used to make sense of a complicated environment that anticipates change, or from a more general perspective, 'what' questions can be used to position a possible future and examine the consequences.
From a travel and tourism perspective, Dr Ian Yeoman has used 'what' questions on a number of projects ranging from 'what will the future tourist look like?' to 'what if Iraq invade Kuwait?'.
VisitScotland, the national tourism agency for Scotland, used a scenario planning process to untangle the complexity of the forthcoming war in Iraq. The scenarios explored the impact of such a war on tourism against a backdrop of an economic environment of failing equity markets and GDP. In 2003, Scotland was on the verge of a recession, and VisitScotland wanted to know how war would affect this economic environment and simultaneously how this would affect different tourism markets. VisitScotland constructed four scenarios: How the West was Won, Global Northern Ireland, New Dawn and Into the Valley of Death. The scenarios helped the organisation develop policies and actions to deal with contingencies in each scenario. More importantly, the article shows how VisitScotland managed the process, what it did, and policy implications for the future. Download here | Back to Top
Scottish tourism is forecasted to grow by 50% over the next 10 years but one of the factors that may hinder or facilitate that growth is climatic change. Indeed, many people are now starting to question the impact of such significant growth on the planet. Therefore, this paper assesses the impact of climate change on Scottish tourism in order that policy makers can separate the facts from the myths. The dimensions of climate change such as CO2 emissions, temperature, rainfall, storms, and wind speed are discussed and the implications for Scottish tourism are mapped. Those implications may include the introduction of CO2 allowances for all travellers, more wind farms in rural locations impacting on film tourism or the grouse species disappearing from Scotland. The paper concludes with a number of adaptation strategies that Scottish tourism agencies and businesses could adopt to mitigate climate change. The importance of this paper lies in understanding how climate change could impact upon a specific destination, in this case Scotland, and in providing a micro analysis of that impact. Download here | Back to Top
This paper considers how a future outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) would be treated and considers the potential reaction by government agencies with particular reference to communication and the management of crises within the tourism sectors. Lessons and experience are drawn from the outbreak of FMD in Scotland in 2001 and reoccurrences in other parts of the world. Two potential scenarios are considered, namely a 'suspected case' and a 'confirmed case', and the likely consequences of both for the tourism industry of Scotland and the UK are considered. Download here | Back to Top
Over the next 10 years, Scottish tourism is expected to grow by 50%. One of the keys to that growth is transport &8211; a sector that is dependent upon oil. This paper considers oil and the global economy and its relationship to Scottish tourism. Consideration is given to the key variables such as oil forecasts, security of supply, cost of production, world demand and alternative forms of energy including renewables and nuclear power. The combination of these factors means that high oil prices are here to stay.
Two scenarios are constructed called Energy Inflation and Paying for Climate Change. These were developed using a triangulation of methods including the use of systems thinking models to construct the scenarios and computable general equilibrium modelling to analyse the impact of oil and energy price rises on Scottish tourism. The Energy Inflation scenario presumes mass belief in the plenitude of available oil reserves and the failure to respond quickly enough to alter demand. This triggers a sudden and prolonged period of economic shocks, political instability and environmental disasters. The Paying for Climate Change scenario assumes energy prices will rise, combined with conservation measures such as carbon taxes. Both scenarios raise a number of policy issues for the future including oil and fossil fuels being the main sources of energy as there are no real alternatives.
Renewables and nuclear power will continue to grow and countries will try to further reduce their reliance on oil. Rising oil prices are also noted as a positive feature, driving innovation and new technologies, which will become more economic as oil prices rise. For Scottish tourism, the impact of rising oil prices could mean a bumpy ride with carbon taxes, more wind farms and the possible end of the low cost carrier. Download here | Back to Top
In a world of 9/11 and Tsunami, trying to predict the future of tourism is an uncertain science. VisitScotland, the national tourism agency for Scotland, uses a process of scenario planning and futures thinking in order to make sense of that uncertain future. This paper, examines how world mega trends and consumer behaviour will shape the future tourists. Four scenarios are constructed using the principles of cognitive mapping. Firstly, the 'A Right Royal Treatment' scenario describes the business traveller as sophisticated, demanding and time sensitive. He/she wants exceptional service but is only willing to pay a premium price for added value rather than functionality. The 'Tourist Living Local' scenario describes the authentic tourist as someone that is discerning but wants to 'live local'. They are from a networked society where information is freely available. They are ethical and inconspicuous consumers who have grown up in an affluent world. Their values and beliefs are based upon an untrusting and anxious society fuelled by safety. The authentic tourist feels safe in the past rather than the artificial world of Disneyland. The 'Living the Low-brow and High-brow Life' scenario reflects cultural capital being driven by an educated, well-travelled consumer who is more concerned with experience than material possessions. The 'Asia Gets Going' scenario is a realisation that the middle classes of China are driving the growth of tourism across the world by 2015; here, Chinese tourists want to live their dreams. Download here | Back to Top
In order to understand the potential for tourism in Scotland, it is important to look beyond the near future. Four scenarios have been created that paint contrasting pictures of the future. The 'Dynamic' scenario creates a £10bn tourism economy with tourism being the number-one industry in Scotland. The 'Weekend Getaway' sees tourism based upon consumerism and play. The value of tourism in this scenario is £7.6bn. 'Yesterday's Destination' means tourism is based upon the past, and the industry is found to be too complacent. An uncompetitve industry means that growth is only 1 per cent per annum and valued at £5.1bn. Finally, 'Exclusive Scotland' means that the Scottish economy has failed as deflation has taken the soul out of the country but favourable exchange rates mean that international high-spending tourists flock to exclusive resorts. Tourism in this scenario is a £2.6bn industry. These four scenarios follow different paths and are driven by different circumstances. But within all of the scenarios, tourism exists. The opportunity for Scotland is to maximise its potential in order that tourism is Scotland's first and everlasting industry. The paper begins with a commentary by Peter Lederer, Chairman of VisitScotland. Download here | Back to Top
This paper examines one of the key risks facing busnesses today: the likely impact of a flu pandemic on business activities. The paper uses the example of a large tourism organisation VisitScotland, the national tourism organisation for Scotland, with over 1,000 employees, and explains how it has planned and prepared for such a pandemic. The paper reports the research methods used by the authors in this planning process, including scenario planning, economic forecasting and in-house workshops to scope the range of issues to address in preparing a contingency plan for a flu pandemic. Download here | Back to Top
With the internet expected to account for the vast majority of all holiday purchases by 2015 and with other technologies such as 3G and a digital society changing purchasing behaviour, we have seen as much change in technologies in the last 10 years as we have in the previous 150 years. All of this exponential change impacts upon information and Scottish tourism, but does this mean a cashless society/a paperless office/big brother or androids? Two scenarios have been constructed called 'The Free Information Society' and 'The Real Information Society' in order to discuss how information and consumer trends fold out in the future. These scenarios are not an answer to the future, but a means to discuss the future implications of an information society. 'The Free Information Society' highlights that information is freely available and that we do not buy information any more, whereas 'The Real Information Society' is about how technology supports personal information rather than replacing it. The paper identifies 16 trends that will shape the future of an information society including citizen brands, gaming cultures and technology convergence. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications for Scotland's tourism industry. Download here | Back to Top
The world is getting richer and the consumer has more real disposable income. This phenomenon is being repeated all over the world, whether in China or the USA. This means that consumers are trading up for products that meet their aspirational needs and trading down for products which they perceive as commodities. This paper addresses the issue of the luxurification of society and how organisations are using premium pricing effectively through a series of case studies. Download here | Back to Top
NEW 26/4/18 New publication: What is food tourism? here.
NEW 2/3/18 Ian talks about the future of travel in Virgin Atlantic’s Inflight magazine here.
NEW 22/2/18 New publication: Teaching tourism futures here.
20/2/18 Journal of Tourism Futures – Call for papers on the history of tourism here.
02/2/18 The Future of Luxury: new research published in the Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management here.
The Future of Travel, featuring my research with ABC Australia here.
Call for Papers: Futures Practice and Theory here.
Call for Abstracts and Chapters: Science Fiction, Disruption and Tourism here.
Ian speaks about the future tourist in VisitEngland report here.
Keynote address: The Future of Luxury and Premium Pricing – Paris 15th December 2017: More.
Call for Book Chapter: The Future Past of Tourism here.
Watch talk about the core drivers of change and Europe's future here.
Ian presents his views on technology futures to the OECD – 21st June here.
Ian profiled in Qatar Airways Oryx Magazine about the 'life of a futurist' here.
The future history of Revenue Management here.
The future of ping pong here.
Ian publishes research paper on scenario planning and policy in the Journal of Tourism Futures here.
The Future of Food Tourism reviewed in Annals of Leisure Research here.
Ian speaks to the EU on the future tourist here.
Fifteen years of Revenue Management here.
Ian appointed series editor by Channelview about the future of tourism Read More.
Previous News items can be found here.