#In­spired TRAVEL

How tech­nol­ogy has trans­formed and remapped the globe, blur­ring lines be­tween the trav­eller and the ex­plorer.


OF ALL THE PIL­LARS in­volved in build­ing a busi­ness in the travel in­dus­try, one that has cap­tured my imag­i­na­tion the most is the begin­ning of the in­spi­ra­tional process: where and how do peo­ple choose where to travel to? How is cu­rios­ity piqued, and where do mo­ments of true mo­ti­va­tion to get out and see the world come from?

For so many pe­ri­ods in his­tory, that inspiration was drawn from the priv­i­leged class that had the lux­ury of mov­ing in so­cial cir­cles where al­most ev­ery­one was well-travelled. Their inspiration tended to be drawn from cir­cuits that were safe and had seen lots of ac­tion. These cir­cuits gave rise to guide books and route maps—iconic images taken in spe­cific lo­ca­tions and tour guides who nav­i­gated these routes ac­cord­ing to these well-de­fined maps rather than whims. Peo­ple who travelled fol­lowed a well-ac­knowl­edged pat­tern, while peo­ple dared to ex­plore of­ten dis­cov­ered new ter­ri­tory. One group con­sulted their guide­books for the well­known café; the other un­cov­ered es­tab­lish­ments com­pletely un­known to for­eign­ers.

What grips me most about the fu­ture of travel in to­day’s in­creas­ingly con­nected world is that the lines be­tween the trav­eller and the ex­plorer are so beau­ti­fully blurred. Lo­ca­tion ser­vices free us from the fear of get­ting hope­lessly lost in most cor­ners of the globe. The shar­ing econ­omy brings us into ve­hi­cles and din­ing rooms that were once the do­mains of lo­cals and brave ex­plor­ers alone. Pay­ment sys­tems ease us from the nerves of run­ning out of pa­per bills and cop­per coins, while mes­sag­ing ser­vices re­as­sure us that a call to the com­fort of home is only as far as the ta­ble upon which we rest our phones.

Of course, these ser­vices are not avail­able ev­ery­where. But the ra­pid­ity with which the world is con­nect­ing tech­no­log­i­cally brings a new and ex­cit­ing di­men­sion of spon­tane­ity to our ev­ery­day trav­els. While in so much of ev­ery­day com­men­tary around tech­nol­ogy our abil­ity to con­nect at any given mo­ment gives rise to a lack of the wad­ing into the un­known, the ex­act op­po­site is true in travel. The more glob­al­ly­con­nected we are and the more in­for­ma­tion and knowl­edge we have at our fin­ger­tips, the braver we are to ven­ture far­ther afield, stray be­yond the bound­aries of where we’ve gone be­fore, and push our com­fort zones. This is where the com­pla­cency of our lives at home ends and the cu­rios­ity be­gins. It’s in mo­ments when we just hope Google weaves our BlaBlaCar through the back al­leys of a tiny vil­lage and into the wel­com­ing

front porch of a lo­cal grand­mother whose nieces listed her guest room on Airbnb, for ex­am­ple, that we take stock of our lives and make new con­nec­tions; gen­er­ate fresh per­spec­tives and re­flect on re­al­i­ties we’ve al­ways held too dear to be chal­lenged. And then we post a photo from that ex­pe­ri­ence on In­sta­gram, and our friends find inspiration in dis­cov­er­ing their ver­sion of the un­known. The world is a great and com­plex place; the vol­ume of good peo­ple are end­less, and so our ad­ven­tures and ex­pe­ri­ences are ex­po­nen­tially greater in a dig­i­tally-con­nected world than in an ana­logue one.

I welcome the im­pact that tech­nol­ogy is hav­ing on the fu­ture of travel. When tech­nol­ogy em­pow­ers the trav­eller to be­come the ex­plorer, we un­leash the magic of the tourism in­dus­try. Whether we’re shar­ing with the world a lit­tle­known moun­tain­top or a hid­den lake side view across any of our Beau­ti­ful Des­ti­na­tions chan­nels, there’s one thing we can in­creas­ingly count on: thanks to the democrati­sa­tion of tech­nol­ogy, the art of ex­plo­ration also opens up, re­veal­ing a world that is bet­ter when you get out and ex­plore it.

AS­PI­RA­TIONAL TRAVEL A beau­ti­ful in­sta­gram post could be the next inspiration

IN­STA­GRAM ART Whether it’s the iconic Taj Ma­hal or the Dubai cityscape, ad­ven­tures and ex­pe­ri­ences are ex­po­nen­tially greater in the dig­i­tal world

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