Robots will play a significant role in the future for travellers, a tourism futurologist told the delegates at a conference held in Australia’s Gold Coast on Monday.
Ian Yeoman, from New Zealand’s University of Wellington, gave a preview of what the world could be like in 2050, shaped by global warming, an older population, food, water and jet fuel supply problems and technological advances.
Yeoman said the future may see a more controlled society with a return to mass tourism spawning a range of new indoor tourism products.
Indoor artificial ski centres, circuses, zoos, golf courses and recreated landscapes, as well as giant cruise ships, could be among the new attractions.
As costs for basics such as electricity and food increased, tourism operators could turn to robots as cheap labour, Yeoman said.
Robot waiters at cocktail bars, remote-controlled camera-carrying guard dogs in hotel lobbies and self-cleaning hotel rooms were all likely, he said.
“Robotics will become important, because you’re going to have labour shortages in the future,” Yeoman said.
“You’ll have some sort of interaction in terms of robots doing certain types of mundane activities.”
Even robot “prostitutes” that would not pass on diseases such as HIV could make an appearance, he added.