Industry Update
Opinion Article12 August 2009

Logan’s Run: California and Metropolis Los Angeles in 2050

By Ian Yeoman, Associate Professor at Victoria University School of Management

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In 2050, California is a place with a dystopian society and the consumption of resources is managed and maintained in equilibrium by the simple expedient of demanding the deathof everyone upon reaching the age of 30, thus avoiding the issue of overpopulation. Futurist Dr Ian Yeoman portrays Los Angeles as a domed city and an adventure playground ground with casinos, lap dancing establishments and luxury hotels. Eco tourism holidays to the Yosemite National Park and are now a visit to the holodeck. Food and wine tourism is recreated using molecules from the memory bank of the cities Replicator. Los Angeles has constructed a range of indoor sporting venues, that create an authentic experience whether it is a round of golf or surfing. This may sound like science fiction but a study by Scott's et al (2004), examined climate change scenarios for tourism in U.S cities through 2030 to 2080 and found that Los Angeles tourism would be marginally better off in the winter months but overall would move from 'excellent' to 'marginal / unfavourable', as the climate would become unbearable for tourists. Dr Ian Yeoman's scenario of the future includes the following highlights:

  • Individually and paradox of choice has been a striking feature of world tourism in the last decade. As consumers' wealth and the experience economy grew – most of the world became involved in tourism, whether it was Incredible India or I ♥ New York or Afghanistan as the Last Unconquered Mountains of the World. A reversal of fortunes occurs based upon the restrictions placed on tourist access. As a consequence we see the return of mass tourism and centralised control – a Marxist approach to society rather than individuality. In the scenario tourism becomes a manufactured experience rather than an authentic one.
  • The theme of reversal of fortunes occurs as tourism returns to a mass tourism experience for the middle classes and luxury as an ecotourism experiences is only available to the upper classes. For starters, tourism is California as seen in The California Travel and Tourism Commissions (CTTC 2007) five year plan 2007-2012 will be completely different compared to 2050. Overseas markets such as Japan, Germany, Korea and the UK would virtually disappear due to the high cost of air international travel. Out of state travellers from New York, Illinois and Texas who normally fly to the state would fall dramatically as well. Reasons for travelling to California's such as 'change of scenery'; 'romance', 'escaping' and 'freedom' would no longer be valid as climate change would have fundamentally closed rural tourism to the middle classes of America. At the heart of the change would be the disappearance of California unique lifestyle and culture which is focused on a causal, laid-back vibe of freedom of expression and an active outdoor focus.
  • Transport is only allowed if it is green, clean and generates a low carbon footprint. For example, new cleaner technologies have made road-based car transport viable for a relatively short distance of up to 200 kilometres. Car distances beyond that point are heavily taxed. Public transport - electric and low energy is efficient and widely used.
  • The Channel Islands National Park survives as an exclusive destination for the mega rich who are searching for an authentic eco-tourism experience. Other islands such as Catalina Island had to be abandoned due to the high cost of transport and rising budget deficit's.

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Ian Yeoman is the world's only professional crystal ball gazer or futurologist specializing in travel and tourism. Ian learned his trade as the scenario planner for VisitScotland, where he established the process of futures thinking within the organisation using a variety of techniques including economic modelling, trends analysis and scenario construction. In May 2008, Ian was appointed an Assoc. Professor of Tourism Management at Victoria University, He is a popular speaker at conferences and was described by the UK Sunday Times as the country's leading contemporary futurologist.

Ian has a PhD in Management Science from Napier University, Edinburgh and a BSc (Hons) in Catering Systems from Sheffield Hallam University. Previously, Ian was Senior Lecturer in Tourism and Hospitality Management at Napier University and University College, Birmingham. He has extensive experience within the hospitality industry, for which he was a hotel manager with Trusthouse Forte.

Ian has received a number of awards in recognition of his research including his appointment as a Honorary Professor of Tourism Management at Stirling University and the Mike Simpson Award from the Operational Research Society.

More details about Ian and futurology in the travel industry can be at

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    Ian Yeoman
    Victoria University Management School | Victoria University
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