New travelers are visiting all places of the world. What does it say about the future of travel?
Of course, fragile sites are growing dangerously congested now that there are nearly twenty international travellers for every one that existed when I was a kid; Kyoto currently sees 55 million domestic and foreign tourists crowd into the city every year—and the numbers are rising rapidly. But I’m never upset that travel is growing democratic; when I began commuting regularly as a boy, between my fifteenth-century boarding school in England and my parents’ home in hippie California, air travel felt like the province of a privileged few. Nowadays, the people on those same flights are likely to come from Bangkok or Busan or São Paulo. A once rather colonial enterprise has been turned on its head, and 2050 may well bring ever more comfortable travellers from Kigali and La Paz to Amsterdam and Paris.