Traveling is never going to get old, but the destinations of today will get tired and they will get replaced. Some of it will be driven by trends (luxury vs. adventure; cultural immersion vs. cruises), but the travel industry is also affected by everything else: climate change, economics, urban growth, and demographics. What does that mean for you? It’s time to plan way ahead.
Here’s where you should plan on going.
The Wine Country of Vermont
Global warming is only going to make the scenic farms of the Green Mountain State that much more valuable. By 2050, the weather will likely be temperate enough to produce a decent cabernet and, more importantly, there will be water. New England is not going to dry out California-style. If domestic demand for wine continues to rise, most of it will likely come from Upstate New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire. Vermont, especially the postcard-perfect Northeast Kingdom region, is best situated to attract both vintners and tourists because it doesn’t have any extant industrial zones and boasts a flexible infrastructure courtesy of the ski industry.
And there are definitely enough scenic B&Bs to keep the couples happy. You gotta keep the couples happy.
The Cosmopolitan Casinos of Montevideo
Macau could be underwater by 2050 and Las Vegas is going to have the opposite problem. So where are the high rollers going to head? Well, probably Monaco if they’re European or African, but the nouveau riche of the Nouveau Monde will likely head to Uruguay, a country with a laissez-fare approach to drug policing, a vendetta against cigarette companies, and a ton of beautiful old properties by the beach.
Montevideo is also part of the fraternity of mid-sized cities tacking on serious mass. It’s not a big place now, but it’s a growth center near a beach in a relatively stable country at the heart of a region that has huge economic upside. It’s gonna be a party town.
The Resort Island of Timor-Leste
It hasn’t been a great half century for Timor-Leste. A couple coups and revolutions later, the place is more or less where it started, which is to say that it’s a small island country with limited regional power largely controlled by Australian companies. But there’s a catch: It’s super pretty. Now that the troubles are largely over, the place has the opportunity to take advantage of that fact and you can be pretty damn sure that’s what they’re going to do.
The major Timor advantage? The place has altitude. While Bali scrambles to move its hotels away from the encroaching water, Timor’s new developments will be sitting safely on palm tree-studded hills.
The Four Seasons Mount Roraima
Everyone should be going to Venezuela all the time. That might sound crazy now, but America’s most adorable antagonist needs green money, especially as oil becomes an intermittently precious commodity. After the next hundred solar plants come on line in the Mojave and start powering all of California, expect whatever majordomo is in charge to start pandering in a big damn hurry.
What will that look like in practice? Giving major hotel chains access to some of the country’s most beautiful scenery, including the plateau that inspired The Lost World and Up. The views from the top are already among the best on Earth. Imagine enjoy them while wearing a robe and drinking something bubbly. It’s gonna be huge.
The Whiskey Domes of Scotland
According to Scottish futurists, the least united part of the U.K. is going to have a rough next few decades. Climate change should make for a lot of erratic weather as the small soon-to-be independent country grapples with its first serious hurricanes. Think the moors are windy now? You haven’t seen anything yet.
The proposal to build domes to house the sick and aged is already a matter of public record, but Scotland will have to go further if it wants to protect its vaunted whiskey-industrial complex. The beautiful island of Islay is currently dotted with distilleries, including Jura, Laphroaig, and Ardbeg. That will continue to be true, there will just be a roof.
The Reefs of the Sea of Cortez
Earth’s oceans are taking a beating even as humans come up with new ways to submerge themselves and get a gander of life below sea level. The exception that proves the rule is the Sea of Cortez, where Mexican communities have carved out no-fishing zones and helped underwater ecosystems bounce back. And you know what goes well with flourishing underwater ecosystems an hour flight from Los Angeles? Underwater hotels, that’s what.