MindBullets 20 Years


The end of the summer holiday...as we know it

This could be the last time that you have taken your summer hols…certainly as you have known them up to now.

The Conservatives have taken their green policies one step further by proposing a 100% ‘carbon tax’ on air-travel-based package holidays between June and September, effectively making out-bound tourism unaffordable in the summer months for many people.

This sudden government about-turn is as a result of a new report by Leo Hickman, a long-time environmental activist, and sponsored by UK Tourism.

“Tourism abroad is wrecking lives, destroying habitats, putting food producers out of business and contributing massively to climate change,” says Hickman in the report’s preface.

“We want to encourage UK residents to visit local destinations and preserve our climate for everyone on earth,” says Hilton Warsop, UK Tourism’s marketing executive. “We want to encourage more of the GBP400 billion annual tourist spend to stay in the UK,” he adds.

The rail and bus companies are delighted, but travel operators are dismayed that these decisions have been taken without consultation. Thomas Cook’s Jon Fowles says: “There will be thousands of jobs at risk and billions lost to the UK economy.”

Labour Party pundits claim that this “preposterous action against the traditional British summer holiday” will lose the Conservatives the next election.

ANALYSIS >> SYNTHESIS: How this scenario came to be

A new book has questioned the already dubious culture of booming recreational air travel.

While it may seem quite unlikely that a government would take this stance, what if they did? What would be the implications of such a position?

Consider the airlines and associated industries. This would mean an instant threat to the future business, especially for the low-cost airlines. The major airlines still derive their major profits from the business traveler, but ‘bums on seats’ would decline dramatically. Hotels in major tourist destinations (for British tourists, such as Spain) would suffer dramatic fallout.

Railways in Britain would boom and perhaps they could even afford to drop some of their massive price increases. Local tourist destinations would struggle to cope with the new demand at peak times of the year.

Car travel from Britain into Europe would explode. Ferry operators would see a surge in business.

The travel industry would have to go through a step-change – both in what they promote and at what prices. Associated advertising would change dramatically. The internet is already the source of most bookings and that would continue.

Local travel in Britain would indeed soak up some of the funds currently spent on out-of-country holidays, but overall the British economy would likely suffer.

It wouldn’t be the first time that a government has opened its mouth to change feet. The environment is starting to be just such a place for misguided knee-jerk decisions.

Read the links below to see the source of all the fuss, and what prompted this MindBullets scenario.

Warning: Hazardous thinking at work

Despite appearances to the contrary, Futureworld cannot and does not predict the future. Our Mindbullets scenarios are fictitious and designed purely to explore possible futures, challenge and stimulate strategic thinking. Use these at your own risk. Any reference to actual people, entities or events is entirely allegorical. Copyright Futureworld International Limited. Reproduction or distribution permitted only with recognition of Copyright and the inclusion of this disclaimer.