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Robots 'to feature in holidays of the future'

10 March 2016 08:24

Robots could play a role in the holidays of the future

Robots could play a role in the holidays of the future

Holidaymakers are getting used to the likelihood of robots playing an increasingly large part in their getaways, according to new research.

Experts say human acceptance is key to this transition with travellers expecting artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics to feature on their breaks by 2020.

This is why Travelzoo has carried out its Future of Travel report. It asked 6,211 tourists across Britain, the US and seven other leading countries for their views.

It finds that 92% of Chinese travellers are happy to embrace the robots-on-holiday concept. Brazilians are another people at ease with such innovation.

But holidaymakers from Germany and France are not so comfortable with droids playing a significant role on their breaks.

Travel insurance brings secure future

Whatever the future holds, one holiday constant is travel insurance.

Getaways abroad are meant to be a time to relax, so tourists do not want to be inconvenienced by unexpected surprises such as mislaid passports or cancelled flights.

Such insurance can also cover against mishaps including stolen property and lost luggage.

So how can robots assist the holidays of tomorrow?

European president of Travelzoo, Richard Singer, says that robots will be able to help with entertainment, personalisation and customer service on holidays.

Speaking ahead of Friday's (March 11) ITB Berlin travel industry show, Mr Singer said that the majority of countries are grasping the "tangible" advantages that robots could offer tourists in the next few years.

Poll respondents say that robots are better than humans in the following holiday roles:

- processing data (81%)

- being able to go on without rest (81%)

- understanding different languages (79%)

- remembering things more easily (76%)

Expert view

Mr Singer calls the prospect of travel industry robots working together with humans "very exciting".

He warns that there is a danger of "robophobia" if companies fail to respect travellers' need for a human touch. But he says robots can make holiday experiences bette r if they a re used appropriately.

Bournemouth University's Stephen Page has also spoken of the "major innovation" of robots entering the travel industry, especially in hospitality.