The future of tourism: Virtual reality, robot helpers and space

Tourism is going to change in remarkable ways in the upcoming decade as AI, robotics and virtual reality will step in to make our vacations radically different.

NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly captured an aurora from the International Space Station in this NASA handout photo taken on June 23, 2015. (photo credit: REUTERS)
NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly captured an aurora from the International Space Station in this NASA handout photo taken on June 23, 2015.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Why wait for your flight at the airport if, by using artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, the process of checking in and boarding can be made simpler? The goal, says Doron Zeevi from Amadeus, "is to eventually spend no more than 40 minutes from parking at the airport to the moment you board your flight at the gate," Ynet reports. 
This will be done by various AI systems that could inform drivers where parking is available and save them the frustrating experience of searching for it. Once inside the airport, another AI will inform the passenger via text where to go to ensure he or she won't waste time waiting in line. With the introduction of biometric border control, it's expected that the queuing time will be shorter. 
What about the luggage? Innovative Israeli company Rollink is now developing suitcases that can expand in size to accommodate all the holiday shopping tourists engage in. Not to mention a line of smart suitcases that can display the weight they carry, charge a mobile phone and even send text messages to pick them up when they reach the conveyor belt.    
Social media is currently exploding with air travel incidents in which obese or very large passengers were confronted with abuse due to the current size of airplane seats. What would happen if the Italian company Aviolnteriors succeed in making its 'Sky Rider' seats the new stage of air-travel? The seats offer passengers a position which is between standing up and semi-sitting.
The company claims that such seats will allow airlines to add 20% extra seats to their planes and reduce fuel costs due to the lighter weight of the seats themselves.
However a survey conducted by Ynet found that 71% of Israelis said they would never consider flying while standing up, making the Sky Rider an innovation that might be hard to sell.
But why even arrive at the airport to begin with? With the new Maglev [Magnetic Levitation] train lines, the old-fashioned train might become the brand new future way to get around as the technology allows for unheard of speeds. Unlike planes, Maglev lines are rarely affected by the weather as they don't touch the tracks. 
What about a place to sleep? Despite the success of platforms which offer short term rentals like Airbnb, tourists today either opt to sleep low cost at basic units or seek an authentic experience that will allow them to fully appreciate the culture they are visiting. 
Capsule Hotels seem to be the next step in hotel trends alongside a surprising new one, adding robots to the hotel staff. Zeevi says that on cruises one can already sip a martini stirred by a robotic barman. "If we just close our eyes," he says, "we will see robots change sheets in hotels or perhaps even arranging our vacation exactly as we'd like it to be." 
Virtual Reality [VR] technology already allows tourists who visit Jerusalem to see a simulation of how the temple looked like and functioned. Such educational comprehensive VR experiences are being used now and expected to be used much more in the future.
For example, it will allow visitors to be in constant communication with their travel guide or even vacation goals. If a tourist visits a city and the AI knows he or she enjoys classical music, they will get visual information that there's a concert taking place in that city soon.
The constant communication with the travel agent, which of course would be optional, will ensure any unexpected issues to be dealt with smoothly and effectively. 
What than is left after you've seen the world? Maybe space?
The first ever space hotel is meant to open in 2021 on the Aurora Space Station.  Orion Span, which is the company behind the innovative hotel among the stars, believes it could host four lucky (and wealthy) tourists for a period of 12 days for $9.5 mil.
These tourists would not only have to be wealthy, they'd also need to commit to a three-month training program before leaving Earth. They will however get to experience the unique sensation of floating in space out of the Earth's gravity pull and see our planet from space – a sight few were privileged enough to view.