Reflections on the future visions of UK tourism outlined in Burkart and Medlik's 1974 book: tourism: past, present, and future

Brian Hay (School of Social Sciences, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK )

Journal of Tourism Futures

ISSN: 2055-5911

Article publication date: 20 July 2021




To explore the future visions outlined in one of the first academic books on UK tourism to venture into tourism futures. Through today’s lens, their visions are explored through three topics: Future Markets and Destinations; Future Resources; and the Future Organization of Tourism.


Exploring the backstory, key drivers and tipping points of UK tourism development and tourism education during the 1960s and 1970s, they help to understand the rationale for the authors 1974 future visions of UK tourism. These visions are tested against reality, using a mixture of data, softer evidence and the authors’ judgements.


Acknowledging the authors showed courage in presenting their future visions, when so little was known about the development of tourism, let alone tourism futures. The article highlights the successes and failures of their future visions across 20 tourism sectors, through 55 tourism forecasts. The reasons for weaknesses in some of their forecasts, and their foresight in highlighting little known issues are explored, along with key learning points for tourism futurists.

Research limitations/implications

The future visions of UK tourism were tested against data and other evidence, but this was not always possible. Therefore, the success or failures of some of the visions are based on the authors’ judgement.


Over the past 50 years, there has been a steady growth in tourism futures studies. Given the recent increase in awareness of history in driving futures thinking, perhaps now is the time to apply this viewpoint to previously published tourism futures studies because such reviews provide a timely reminder of the transient nature of tourism futures gazing.



Hay, B. (2021), "Reflections on the future visions of UK tourism outlined in Burkart and Medlik's 1974 book: tourism: past, present, and future", Journal of Tourism Futures, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Brian Hay


Published in Journal of Tourism Futures. Published by Emerald Publishing Limited. This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this article (for both commercial and non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence may be seen at


Viewing past visions of the future from the comfort of today's perspective, it is difficult to accept some of them, including paperless offices, flying cars, personal jetpacks or even holidays on the moon, as serious and thoughtful insights (Randerson, 2009). This cannot be said of Burkart and Medlik's future visions, outlined in their 1974 seminal book on UK tourism: Tourism: Past, Present, and Future. Their future visions of tourism were developed from deep and knowledgeable insights drawn from their extensive academic and practitioners' experience of UK tourism in the late 1960s and early 1970s (Airey, 2014; Middleton, 2017).

All futures insights carry an often-unknowable baggage of history for, as suggested by Yeoman and McMahon-Beattie (2020, p. xi), the impact of the past on the future is based on the idea that observation of “the past is a permanent component of human consciousness and the patterns of the future of human society”. Durie (2017, p. 121) perhaps goes a little further by suggesting there is little that is really innovative in tourism, which he describes as “an industry of the past, for the present and for the future”. However, as highlighted by Pearce and Butler (2010), although exploring the future has always presented challenges for tourism practitioners and researchers, and while they seem to be cautious in outlining definitive visions of the future, this should not discourage conversations about the future.

In the first issue of the Journal of Tourism Futures, Yeoman et al. (2015, p. 3) suggested that the challenge in tourism futures research was to “develop methods and perspectives to systematically reflect on what lies ahead”. Three years later, Yeoman and McMahon-Beatte (2018, p. 179) stressed the importance of looking at the past and suggested that the “futurist [should] look at the past to predict the future”. They also highlighted the work by Mannermaa (1991) on the importance of identifying turning points from the past that impacted the future development of tourism. Given the growing number of reports, articles and discussions about tourism futures, this article reflects on the insights, successes and failures of one of the first attempts, some 50 years ago, to explore the future of tourism.

Tourism: past, present, and future

Burkart and Medlik, in the very title of their book (Tourism: Past, Present, and Future), acknowledged, long before academics explored tourism futures as an academic discipline, the continuous link between the baggage of the past, the management of the present and the exploration of the future. Therefore, to understand the future issues highlighted in their book, it is important to understand the backstory (Figure 1) behind its publication by recalling the major economic, social and political issues impacting the UK in the 1960s and early 1970s.

Although rarely acknowledged, every study of the future has a beginning, and this is often fluid and fuzzy. Following the end of the Second World War (1939–1945), the UK's newly elected Labour government increasingly tried to manage the economy through a nationalisation programme involving key sectors: the Bank of England (1946), coal (1947), railways (1948) and iron and steel (1949). The UK tourism sector was not immune from such actions, and both Conservative and Labour governments took control of a number of tourism businesses/infrastructures: Thomas Cook and Sons (1948), British Transport Hotels (1963), the National Bus Company (1969) and British Airways (1974).

Driven by the need to modernised the UK economy, the policy of the newly elected Labour government in 1964, focussed less on preserving the manufacturing industries of the past, but on developing the emerging new technologies and the growing service sector, including tourism (Labour Party, 1964). Although this could not be described as a mega driver, such as globalisation, shifts in global power or demography and technological singularity (Yeoman, 2018), it could be interpreted as a micro trend, which Penn and Fineman (2018, p. 13) suggest are “small, under-the-table radar forces that … are shaping our society”. Along with two other key micro trends in the UK – the expansion of higher, further and university education and the continuing excess of imports over exports (Labour Party, 1964) – these three micro trends combined to create a critical tipping point, not only in terms of our understanding of the impact of tourism on the UK economy but also, crucially, in the development of tourism as an academic discipline.

By the end of the 1960s, despite the efforts of the Labour government to control the economy, the UK still imported more goods than it exported. Even with currency restrictions with regard to how much money UK tourists could take on overseas holidays, tourism accounted for an increasing proportion of the growing imbalance in the national payment accounts. In one of the Labour government's last acts of nationalisation, it passed the 1969 Development of Tourism Act. This act removed control of UK tourism promotion from the privately managed, but publicly funded, British Travel Association and created the British Tourist Authority (BTA), along with separate national tourist boards for England, Scotland and Wales (Middleton and Lickorish, 2005). These new organisations had extensive powers over a swath of tourism activities, covering not only tourism marketing but also new powers and financial instruments to assist with tourism development, grading schemes, research, accommodation and visitor attraction development.

The creation of the BTA and other national tourism organisations, along with the expansion of tourism development and marketing activities both in the private and public sectors, highlighted the shortage of qualified and educated staff who had a broad understanding of the operation of the various components of the tourism sector. The government acknowledged that tourism and the other new emerging service sectors lacked skilled staff; therefore, to support these new sectors, a major expansion of the university and higher education sector was required. This expansion was supported by the publication of the Robbins Report (1963) into the future of higher education, which created 25 new universities, including upgrading existing technological institutes, such as The Royal College of Science and Technology in Glasgow (now Strathclyde University) and Battersea Polytechnic in London (now University of Surrey), to full university status. Although the driver for the upgrading of both of these institutions was their strong focus on science, engineering and technology education and research, crucially, for the future of tourism, both had established programmes in hospitality management.

As highlighted by the issues discussed above, by the early 1970s there was a demand for graduates who understood the needs of the emerging service sectors, including tourism. The quickest way to meet this demand was through the provision of one-year post-graduate conversion courses, and in 1972, both Surrey and Strathclyde Universities offered the first UK post-graduate courses in tourism. Because of the close association between hospitality and tourism, both these courses found a home in their newly established university hospitality management departments, rather than in say the areas of geography, planning, marketing or sociology.

Recognising that there was no suitable academic tourism textbook for these new post-graduate tourism programmes, in 1974, Burkart and Medlik, who were based at the University of Surrey and responsible for delivering its post-graduate programme, produced the first major modern textbook about UK tourism: Tourism: Past, Present, and Future, which, as Airey (2014, p. 494) suggested, “influenced the curriculum for a generation of tourism programmes”. However, this textbook was not the first in its field, and, for example, both Hunziker and Kraft (1942) and Lickorish and Kershaw (1958) explored tourism as an academic discipline in its own right, rather than as an adjunct to other areas of study, such as the economics of tourism or the geography of tourism. Although Burkart and Medlik (1974, p. vi) explored tourism within a university hospitality management department, they nevertheless also saw it “as a study of its own right, with its own boundaries and relationships”. It was also the first UK tourism textbook to take seriously the exploration of tourism futures, by providing “a framework in which tourism can be examined [both] now and in the future” (Burkart and Medlik, 1974, p. vii).

The book is divided into 10 parts covering, in some 300 pages, a wide range of topics, and in the last 30 pages, Burkart and Medlik explore the future of tourism, and this is the focus of this article. Before proceeding further, I should declare a personal interest, as in 1976, I undertook a post-graduate diploma in tourism at the University of Surrey, where both John Burkart and Rik Medlik taught me, and their book was the core text for this course. Unlike modern tourism textbooks, with attractive covers, snappy titles and glowing endorsements from other academics, the cover of Burkart and Medlik's book could best be described as more functional than inspirational (Appendix); this however downplays its impact on our understanding of tourism futures.


The future-focused section of Burkart and Medlik's book is explored through three chapters: “Future Markets and Destinations”, “Future Resources” and the “Future Organization of Tourism”. In order to make the discussion on Burkart and Medlik's future insights manageable, the key issues from each of these three chapters are highlighted and discussed. The selection of these key issues and the subsequent comments on their success or failure are supported where possible by factual evidence, and where there is no evidence, by the authors’ judgement, and this limitation is acknowledged (see Table 1–3).


As noted by Airey (2008), with so many tourism programmes, textbooks and journals, and indeed tourism professors, the world of tourism futures research today is very different from that in 1974 when Burkart and Medlik wrote Tourism: Past, Present, and Future. In 1974, there was no Internet; social media did not exist; the Boeing 747 had just started flying; Concorde was flying the flag for UK tourism; high street travel agents dominated the sale of holidays and charter and scheduled flights; low-cost airlines (apart from highly regulated charter airlines) were unknown; budget hotels were places to avoid; in Scotland bars closed at 10.00 p.m. and, on Sundays, alcohol was only served to tourists, not to local residents. Therefore, it should not be a surprise that some, although not all, of Burkart and Medlik's 1974 visions of the future from the perspective of 50 years in the future, do not the match the reality of tourism today. For as Yeoman and McMahon (2020, p. 243) suggested, “Forecasting, by its very nature is a hazardous exercise” and is not about developing “an exact future but working with plural futures”.

Burkart and Medlik's visions of the future were, however, not about plural futures but more a mixture of data/date-driven forecasts (population growth); the identification of emerging concerns and issues (overtourism); new and emerging markets (Japan) and destinations (Asia); transportation innovations (low-cost supersonic planes) and government instruments to manage and direct the development of tourism. While some of their visions were right (the growing importance of tourism management over tourism promotion), some were just wrong (no future for the cruise market), and some are still unclear (the development of high-speed rail).

However, perhaps their greatest weaknesses were:

  1. Assuming that tourism in the future would be an extension of existing trends;

  2. A belief that the best method for managing tourism was through “big government” – national and international government interventions;

  3. A failure to link their future snapshots of the different sectors of tourism into a coherent and integrated series of plural future visions of tourism;

  4. A failure to foresee a shift in power from the providers of tourism services to the consumers of tourism services, perhaps best illustrated by the emergence of both social media and sustainable tourism as key drivers in tourism development;

  5. A failure to recognise and understand the impact of newly emerging (1970s) technology on the travel, tourism and hospitality sectors;

  6. A failure to look over the horizon into the 1980s and 1990s to explore the possibility of other new technological developments and their impact on tourism;

  7. A failure to recognise changing political structures at the regional, national and international levels;

  8. A focus on the supply side of tourism rather than on the demand side.

Conversely, their greatest strengths were:

  1. Tackling, arguing and possessing the courage to present their own visions of the future of tourism when so little was known about the near future development of tourism, let alone about tourism futures;

  2. At a time when others were encouraging the rapid expansion of tourism, their recognition of the potential damage of the uncontrolled growth of tourism (overtourism) in terms of both the experiences of consumers and the environment;

  3. Recognising the wider societal impact of tourism by highlighting the need to involve local residents in planning the development of tourism in their area;

  4. Their foresight in understanding the start of a shift in power from the providers of tourism services to the consumers of tourism services;

  5. Highlighting that the traditional tourism promotion model is but one element in tourism development and the need for the sector to adopt a more holistic tourism management model.

The backstory of the drivers of UK tourism and tourism education perhaps suggests why Burkart and Medlik's future visions were constrained to an extension of past trends, limited in many cases to the end of the 1970s. Just as in the past, when futurists painted a picture of a world with flying cars and holidays on the moon, it is easy to dismiss these visions as those of idealist dreamers. However, steps taken towards achieving these visions can be seen today through the real possibility that within a decade we will have driverless cars and gravity-free flights around the world. Although it is easy to classify Burkart and Medlik's futures gazing as limited in scope, they would reject this view. It is important to recall that today's tools of futures gazing, such as scenario planning, cognitive mapping, data mining and artificial intelligence were all unknown in 1974. All that existed then were the insights of talented pioneer tourism futurists. There was then, and still is today, no cookbook to guide the creation of the future, but, as suggested by Burkart and Medlik, by examining the present we can better understand the possible options for the future of tourism.

In conclusion, the key lessons from the book to be considered by tourism futurists are as follows:

  1. Understanding that the future is not about painting a series of separate mini visions as suggested by Burkart and Medlik; you need to join the dots to see the big picture. That is, future gazing is much more than a series of separate individual pictures (transport, food, income, etc.). To achieve coherent visions of the future, it is necessary to recognise that such visions are greater than the sum of the mini visions.

  2. There is no right or wrong vision of the future, and to paraphrase a well-known country and western song, “the best you can hope for, is to break even”. Futurists should not try to envision and propagate their own visions of the future; the future will happen with or without their insights.

  3. Unforeseen technological developments will continue to have more profound changes in terms of tourism than can be predicted. However, long-term success lies not in simply building different and better technology but in adapting it to more closely meet customer needs. Futurists need to be more aware that today's technology will not drive the future.

  4. Changes to political and government structures have rarely been acknowledged in futurists' insights. Given the rise of populist movements, demand for more local control of tourism, the rise of powerful and autonomous cities and city-states and the growth of private sector control over traditional public services, these changes in political structures need to be better incorporated into tourism futures thinking.


The backstory to the emergence of Burkart and Medlik's book Tourism: Past, Present, and Future

Figure 1

The backstory to the emergence of Burkart and Medlik's book Tourism: Past, Present, and Future

Future markets and destinations

Issue/topicComment on forecastSuccess of forecast
Size and structure of population
Most tourism trips will continue to originate from North America and Western EuropeIn 2019, almost 41m overseas trips were made to the UK, with the USA accounting for 5.4m of these trips and Europe for 27.3m. Source: Office for National Statistics (2020a)Yes
By 2000, the population in the UK will increase by 10m, and by 50m and in the USA.In 1973, the UK population was 56.2m, and by 2000, it was 58.9m; it did not increase by 10m until 2018 (66.4 m). In 1973, the USA population was 215m; in 2000, it was 282m (an increase of 57 m). Their population projections were underestimated. Source: Office for National Statistics (2020b), Worldometer (2020)Partially correct
In the UK, by the early 1980s the number of over 60s will increase to almost 20% of the populationIn 1971, the over 60s accounted for 19.9% of the UK population, while in 1981, the figure was 20.3%. Source: Dorling and Rees (2003)Yes
In the 1970s, the number of married working women in the UK will continue to increaseReflecting changes in data collection methods, this type of data is no longer available. However, the proportion of women aged 16-64 in the UK workforce increased from 53% in 1970 to 56% in 1980 and 72% in 2020. The change did not occur in the 1970s but some four decades later. Source: Office for National Statistics (2020c)Partially correct
Incomes and leisure
Holiday entitlement in the UK will increase from the current 3 weeksIn 2020, the statutory minimum holiday entitlement in the UK is 4 weeks or 5 weeks including public holidays. In practice, 6 weeks (including public holidays) is the norm. Source: Innews (2020)Yes
Car ownership
Private cars will remain the most common mode of holiday transport. Controlled access through advance reservation and pricing systems for vulnerable attractions, such as the Lake District, could become commonThe car remains the most common form of holiday transport for the UK, accounting for 82% of all holiday trips, but for overseas tourists, public transport dominates. While during normal periods, there are no restrictions on travel to areas such as the lake district, this concern about capacity was insightful. Sources: GBTS (2016), Office for National Statistics (2020a)Partially correct
If a channel tunnel is built, it will be seen as an extra ferry service, not as a new mode of transport. French visitors to London would increaseIn 2019, French tourists' methods for accessing the UK were as follows: 1.23m by air, 0.44m by sea and 1.62m via the Channel tunnel. London accounted for some 1.8m (52%) of all French visitors, but over the decade from 2009 to 2019, numbers declined. The suggestion that the tunnel would be seen as an extra ferry service is open to question. They also failed to anticipate the development of low-cost airlines with direct flights to/from UK/French secondary cities. Source: Office for National Statistics (2020a)No
Propensity for holidays
The propensity of the UK population to take a holiday will not increase over 60%, but the frequency will increaseIn 2018, some 85% of the UK population took a holiday. The data suggests that much of this increase was driven by the increase in short breaks; this growth was unforeseen by the authors. Source: GBTS (2019)Partially correct
International tourists will increase from 169m in 1979 to 250–280m by 1980In 1980, there were 278m international tourists, and this increased to 1,400m in 2018. Source: Office for National Statistics (2020a)Yes
New generators of tourism
Japan's outbound market will grow, and this will have a significant impact on international tourism across the worldOutbound tourist from Japan did increase from 2.3m in 1973 to 4.0m in 1980 and 21.1m in 2019. However, the real growth in Japanese outbound tourism did not occur until the 1990s. In the UK, Japanese tourists declined from 556,000 in 2000 to 390,000 in 2018. The forecast was sound, despite it occurring later than suggested. Source: JTB Tourism Research (2020)Partially correct
The Black population of the USA will enjoy 10 years of rising income in the 1970s but may look to travel to their ethnic origins in AfricaGiven that household income is a key driver of holidays, in 2018, the mean white household income in the USA was $90k, but it was $59k for Black households. This suggests that Black Americans are less likely to take holidays. In addition, they are also reluctant to travel to Africa because they think they will not be welcome there. Sources: USA Census Bureau (2018), Insidermonkey (2018)No
The Eastern European market will grow, but this may just result from a shift from Russia to the Mediterranean, rather than an increase in their overall travelThe growth in outbound tourism from Eastern Europe was not driven by a shift in markets but rather by their independence from Russia, along with their subsequent membership of the EU, which provided visa-free travel to the EU. The authors failed to foresee changes to political structures. Source: UNWTO (2019)No
New migrants, if they work in tourism, will start at the bottom of the economic ladderIn the UK, legal migrants account for between 23% and 34% of all jobs in the hospitality sector. The ease of entry into the tourism job market still appeals to new migrants, particularly in jobs that are not consumer facing and where a knowledge of English is not a requirement. The authors were correct but did not foresee the scale of migrant employment in tourism. Source: Filimonau and Mika (2019)Partially correct
The first generation of migrants will have little desire to visit their home countries, but the second generation will visit their parents' homelandsThere has certainly been an interest in developing the diaspora market, as shown in marketing campaigns by the Canadian, Irish and Scottish governments, but this has focused on inbound tourism rather than on outbound tourism. Although specific data on the diaspora market are unclear, in 1993, there were some 4.4m overseas visiting friends and relatives (VFR) trips by residents of the UK, and this increased to 23.5m in 2018. This increase was particularly reflected in travel from the UK to the newer EU countries. It is difficult to find data that support or refute the authors' forecast. Source: Office for National Statistics (2020a)Probably partially correct
Future tourist destinations
North America and Europe will continue to be the main tourism generating countriesThese markets are still the main tourism generating countries in terms of absolute outbound tourists. In 2018, Europe accounted for 48% of outbound tourists and America 17%, while Asia/Pacific accounted for 26% of such trips. Over the last 30 years, there has been substantial absolute and relative growth in outbound tourists from Asia, increasing from a world share of 13% in 1990 to 26% in 2018. The authors failed to foresee this growth in the Asian market. Source: UNWTO (2019)Partially correct
If European destinations reach full capacity, tourists may look to North Africa, Asia Minor and the Black SeaAlthough there is little doubt that some specific European destinations have experienced overcrowding, the authors failed to anticipate the growth in the popularity of secondary cities. There is little evidence of a substitution effect between travel to Europe and the other destinations listed. While inbound tourism to Asia has increased, travel to North Africa has not increased, due to political instability and terrorism attacks. In the case of the Black Sea, this is probably due to the demise of the influence of Russia. Source: UNWTO (2019)No
North Americans may be attracted to Europe, the Middle East and probably IndiaAmericans continue to visit Europe, but due to political instability, the Middle East is less attractive, and the appeal of India, apart from the diaspora market, is weak. Source: UNWTO (2019)Partially correct
Tourism development projects will take place in the Mediterranean, Caribbean and North Africa and on the coasts of Central and South AmericaThis is a very general statement of regional growth in tourism development, and while generally correct, this does not apply to the coastal areas of Central and South AmericaPartially correct
New developments will occur in the Pacific by the 1980sThese did occur, but they tended to be developed around self-contained/all-inclusive resorts, which favoured multinational corporations rather than the local community. Source: Bianchi (2018)Partially correct
New destinations in the future will be Afghanistan, India, Ceylon, Nepal and IndonesiaGiven the increase in terrorism in some of these countries (Ceylon, Afghanistan), restrictions on numbers/visa limitations (Nepal) and the poor development of tourism infrastructure (Indonesia), the anticipated growth has not developed. India has shown some growth, but the focus has been on the VFR/diaspora markets. Source: UNWTO (2019)No
Politics and the future of tourism
Tourists will be unlikely to be deterred from visiting a country because of its political outlookAlthough there will always be a market for exotic destinations, this growth will probably be constrained by (1) difficulty in obtaining entry visas; (2) increasing “black-listing” of destinations by the tourists' own country and (3) difficulty in obtaining travel insurance. It is unlikely that tourists in any number will travel to politically unstable countries, so this suggestion is only partially correctPartially correct
War/terrorism will continue to be a deterrent to tourismThis is not only seen in countries such as Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan, but also in some nearby European destinations, such as Lebanon, Libya, Syria and Egypt. Generally, in mainland Europe, terrorism appears to have little impact on major destinations, such as Spain, France, Germany and the UK. This suggestion is generally correctYes
Future of tourism to Britain
Britain will lack adequate accommodation for overseas touristsWhile this may have been true, the growth in branded budget hotels, with their centralised reservations systems, credit card payments and consumer reviews on social media sites, was not foreseen. Indeed, the authors dismissed the idea of budget hotels. Source: Rahimi and Kozak (2017)No
Inflation may be an issue in driving up costs. Weak sterling will attract touristsThis is not an issue today, with many years of low inflation, while the weakness of sterling may have contributed to the growth of tourism from both Europe and the USA. However, there is little evidence that any weakness in the value of sterling has deterred UK residents from travelling to either Europe or the USA.No
London and parts of the UK may have reached a “tourist saturation point”, but through tourism management, both residents and visitors “happily live together”Given the emphasis in the UK in the early 1970s on tourism as a growth sector, it was insightful to acknowledge the possible negative impacts of this growth. Now labelled as “overtourism”, the solution presented by the authors was through the management of tourism; however, as tourism authorities have no real power to manage growth, the idea that residents and visitors can “happily live together” seems naive. However, in the UK, national parks that have both development control powers and tourism marketing functions may provide a possible model for the future management of tourismYes and No

Future resources

Issue/TopicComment on forecastSuccess of forecast
Air transport in the 1970s
Development of 500+ passenger planesThis never happened due to a number of factors: the increasing cost of fuel; the opening up of secondary cities to secondary city flights, rather than capital cities to capital city flights and capacity constraints at existing airportsNo
A stretched/widebody version of Concorde will be developed, and by the mid-1980s, supersonic air transport will be common. Airfares will continue to declineFollowing the withdrawal of Boeing from the supersonic plane market and the crash of Concorde, this development never occurred. Other factors included the failure of airlines to buy Concorde; the high price of its tickets; the deregulation of the airlines in Europe and the USA; the declining cost of subsonic flights and the growth of budget airlines. Source: Bieger and Wittmer (2006)No
City-to-city vertical and short take-off and landing planes for business travellers could be developedApart from the military use of such planes, the demand for such civil aircraft never emerged due to environmental issues, such as noise restrictions, a lack of suitable city-centre landing sites and a lack of demand due to high faresNo
Future of sea transport
Liner services will disappear by the 1980sThe demise of liner services did occur, and today there is only one liner that regularly sails the UK–NY routeYes
Demand for car ferries will increase, as more holidays make use of the carThe UK demand for car ferries was driven not by an increase in cars but by freight traffic and the development of larger ships. However, in 2017, UK ferries still carried 40m passengers and 8.7m cars, and more passengers used ferries (14.6m) than planes (10.8m) to reach France. Source: Discover Ferries, 2018No
Limited future for cruising of up to about 30,000 berths, and it will remain a minority pastimeFailed to identify the democratisation of previously luxury markets, such as cruising. Today, there are 540,000 berths on 315 cruise ships, accommodating some 26m passengers. Source: Cruise Market Watch, 2018No
Private cars or public transport
The number of holidays will increase as car ownership increasesNo. of UK Holidays No. of UK cars
1973 35.5m 11.7m
1980 n/a 14.7m
1990 58.5m 19.7m
2000 106.0m 23.2m
2019 60.5m 30.5m
Sources: Transport Statistics Great Britain (2020), UKTS (2015), GBTS (2019)
Coach and rail travel
Coach travel will remain staticUK holiday Coach travel Passengers
Regular Coach Coach Tours all Travel Modes
1980 n/a n/a (15%)
1990 2.9m 2.3m (9%)
2000 4.0m 3.1m (7%)
2015 1.1m 1.5m (5%)
Sources: UKTS (2004), GBTS (2019)
Existing UK rail tracks are not suitable for fast trains. The UK is unlikely to develop fast trains using dedicated rail tracksAlthough the limitations in terms of the existing UK rail infrastructure are correct, the development of new high-speed trains running on purpose-built railways did emerge in China and Europe. Although slower in the UK, one such route has been opened (HS1), and another is under development (HS2)No
Future supply of accommodation
Increased demand for newly built large city centre hotelsThe growth in this market was identified, particularly for the business traveller market. There are some 840k hotel rooms in the UK, of which, 120k are accounted for by the two largest budget hotel groups (Travelodge and Premier Inns). Source: Statista (2020)Yes
Unlikely to build new medium-priced hotels for inclusive tour groups. Waiting for an innovation that will offer low tariff city centre hotelsWhile the demand for new hotels driven by the inclusive tour market never materialised, such hotels were built, now identified as budget hotels, and are often associated with the independent traveller rather than with tour groups. Source: Rahimi and Kozak (2017)Yes
Second homes
The growth in second homes may become institutionalised through the development of purpose-built second home villages in or near traditional holiday resorts. In addition, they may be built by co-operativesThe concept of purpose-built villages of second home complexes never developed in the UK. In England/Wales, 1.6m households (almost 3% of the population) have a second home in the UK, half are holiday homes, while half are for work purposes. In addition, 0.5m UK households have a second home overseas. There has been growth in the number of commercial holiday home parks, which, while they may not fit the traditional image of a stone cottage in a rural village/small seaside town, are nevertheless second homes. The idea of co-operatives of second homes, like purpose-built retirement homes, was perhaps too idealistic for the UK commercial market. Source: ONS (2011)No
Entertainment and Amenities in the future
The development of self-contained entertainment parks will grow, with hotels and camping accommodation to attract overnight touristsThere are about 55 entertainment parks in the UK, for example, Legoland and Center Parcs. Given their high development costs, it is not surprising that their accommodation tends to be hotels/self-catering, rather than the less expensive camping. The forecast by the authors was sound. Source: Wikipedia (2020)Yes and No
An increase in new wildlife-focused attractions, particularly those associated with zoos and circusesGiven the increasing awareness of environmental issues, this was an interesting insight. Visits to wildlife attractions have proven popular, although changing consumer views on captive animals meant their suggestion that circuses could be developed as wildlife attractions is unlikely to appeal to today's marketYes

Future organisation of tourism

World organisation of tourismComment of forecastSuccess of forecast
Governments will turn away from tourism promotion to the management of tourismThis insight was well in advance of its timeYes
The re-formation of the IUOTO into the WTO will better enable the sector to speak directly to governmentsThis has occurred; indeed, the WTO has changed into a fully branded UN agency, the UNWTO, and is seen as the authoritative worldwide tourism organisationYes
Regional tourism organisations could receive official recognitionGiven the increasing devolution of powers by national governments to regional authorities, the UNWTO has been slow in accepting them as full membersNo
Future organisation of tourism in Britain
There is a lack of policy coordination between the statutory tourist boards and the UK government. A royal commission/departmental enquiry should be established to examine the role of tourism in the UK.Today, there is still a lack of a centralised, respected voice for UK tourism. Also failed to recognise the evolution of devolved powers to the nations of the UK, the emerging regional authorities and metropolitan mayors. This suggests a lack of foresight by the authors concerning the evolution of different political models in the UKNo
The BTA should be seen as the overall policymaking board with powers to direct the national tourist boards (NTBs)While an interesting observation, given that tourism now operates through devolved powers in Scotland and Wales, this insight is not feasible. However, the failure to coordinate tourism policy is still an issue. It is an open question as to why the BTA and NTBs have not developed their own policy rolesNo
There may be a requirement for accommodation providers to obtain a license from the NTBs to operate in the UKIn reality, the 1969 UK tourism Act, through its grading and classification schemes, already achieved this goal through a back door, as not only accommodation providers but also other tourism business, such as attractions, need to be a member of the relevant NTB grading scheme before they can market their products through the BTA and NTBs' websitesPartially correct
Encouraging UK residents to take holidays in the UK should not be tackled by punitive overseas travel restrictions, but instead by more positive marketingGiven the awareness and growth of the staycation market, the English, Scottish and Welsh tourism agencies not only strongly market tourism to their own residents, but also to each other's residents. The economic argument against this marketing activity at the UK level is that it only redistributes spending around the UK and does not create any additional spending – a zero sum game. In 1979, the government withdrew foreign exchange controls for UK residents and allowed UK tourists to take money overseas. It is questionable as to whether any government tourism marketing within the UK is cost effectivePartially correct
Organisation of Air transport
Better management of existing bilateral flight arrangements between countries. More control of the capacity of charter and scheduled flights. As charter services grow, scheduled services will declineThe authors assumed that in the near future airlines would be subjected to increasing government controls and the management of their routes. What was not foreseen was their deregulation and the subsequent expansion of low-cost airlines, which provided real competition for both legacy and charter airlinesNo
European governments should examine their joint need for air servicesThe development of a free and open market within the EU for airlines decreased the need for individual governments to reach agreements with other governments. Today, any EU airline can fly anywhere in the EU without obtaining permission from individual countries, including operating from third countries. This also gave the EU power in its discussions with countries outside the EU, when negotiating EU-wide, bi-lateral agreementsPartially correct
Retail travel agents
As long as the travel agency provides a channel for airlines and tour operators, they will survive – change will only come from exogenous factorsThere was an assumption that the three players (travel agencies, airlines, tour operators) would remain as separate organisations, as long as this arrangement suited them all. The note of caution about “exogenous factors” was insightful and suggests that the authors were aware of possible changesPartially correct
Winter breaks will offer travel agents new opportunitiesThe development of winter breaks as a means of extending the season was insightfulYes
Travel agencies are increasingly likely to be associated with specific tour operatorsThe comment that tour operators would in effect also operate as their own travel agents suggests that, in the future, there would be some form of vertical integration. This was a correct insightYes
Tour operations
At the end of the 1970s, the bulk of tour operations will be controlled by 4–5 businesses selling predominantly their own tours through their wholly owned outlets, using their own aircraft and hotelsThe suggestion that in the future there would be even more vertical integration than that noted in the above comment was perceptive. Tour operators are increasingly leasing their aircraft and, through franchise agreements, they are bulk buying hotel rooms. This idea of vertical integration is perhaps best illustrated by the Virgin group, which sells holidays through its own tour operators, flies their clients in their own airline, where they stay in its own hotelsYes
Education and training for the future
There will be a shift from specialist tourism training, such as that offered by airlines, tour operators and hotels, to a greater future need for generalist training in tourismThe growth in undergraduate tourism programmes is probably a reflection of this suggested change from a private provider, sector-specific training model to a public sector, more generalised tourism education modelYes
Only when those engaged in tourism have been formally educated will the sector be recognised and accepted by other professionalsAlthough this ideal is still to be achieved, it is a worthwhile goal. However, the existing tourism education model has failed to recognise that many non-tourism-trained people occupy the most senior positions in tourism. As long as this remains, other professionals will not recognise the requirement for a degree in tourism as an essential entry prerequisite into the tourism sectorNo


Figure A1

Cover page of Tourism: Past, Present, and Future


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