Changing consumer tastes and a focus on the environment will shape global tourism trends in 2020, according to a team of researchers from UNSW's Australian School of Business (ASB) and other Australian universities.

The group, led by Professor Larry Dwyer from the ASB, have uncovered a series of mega-trends in consumer sentiment and values, political and economic factors and IT growth which, it says, will drive the future of global tourism.

According to the report, by 2020 global citizens can expect to live in an economically liberalised and privatised world characterised by more democracy, better macroeconomic policies, higher trade and investment, and changing consumer tastes fuelling a booming specialised tourism services industry for retired and single people.

China and India will transform the geopolitical landscape and emerge as new global players competing for tourists, and the US, though likely to remain an important influence, will have less relative power.

New internet technologies will act as agents for greater consumer power and threats of terrorism will be more decentralised, says the report.

"Tourism stakeholders have the opportunity to strategically fashion the future to their needs, and in doing so, plan economically sound tourism initiatives that promote cultural and environmental sustainability. Tourism must be planned and introduced carefully to ensure it contributes to ecological, economic and cultural sustainability," says Professor Dwyer.

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