Travel and tourism make up one of the largest industries in the world. For some countries, they rely on visitors for much of their income. With ever-advancing technology, cities are taking advantage of modern solutions to remove some of the pain and irritation that comes along with traveling and provide a more simplified experience. Here are four cities shaping the future of travel.

Atlanta, Georgia

People standing at airport counter while biometric readers scan fingerprints for security
Credit: FrameStockFootages/ Shutterstock

Atlanta may not be a worldwide tourist destination, but it does have one thing that no other city has: the busiest airport in the world. Flying is perhaps the single most frustrating part of traveling. There are always lines, the process is inefficient and sometimes downright invasive, and it always requires lots of patience. At an airport as busy as the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, these irritations are multiplied exponentially. What better place to introduce new technology to help ease the process?

In 2018, the major Atlanta airport became the first to use biometric scanning technology to get travelers through the airport and to their gates without ever having to use tickets or passports. Instead of waiting in line for your boarding pass, waiting for an ID check at security or getting your passport verified, all you have to do is look at a screen. The screen uses high-tech cameras to scan your face and compare it to verified ID photos used by U.S. Customs.

With the new technology, you won’t have to remember which pocket your passport and boarding pass are in or take the time to pull them out of your backpack. Just keep walking and look into the camera. So far, the technology is only being used for international flights, but with its success, it will also be used for domestic flights, as well as being rolled out in other airports around the world.

Paris, France

View of the Eiffel Tower
Credit: beboy/ Shutterstock

One of the most popular tourist destinations of all time, Paris is no stranger to hosting visitors. As with many European cities, travelers are eager to learn about the rich history that accompanies many of the buildings and sites. Sometimes, history buffs are left disappointed with only pictures and stories. That’s why in 2017, the city erected several “Timescopes,” which are virtual reality booths that give visitors a true feel of what life was like in the past.

The Timescopes look like an information booth with binoculars at the top. But they’re no ordinary binoculars. When you look into the lenses, you are transported back in time, using virtual reality, to either 1416 or 1789. You can see firsthand what Paris looked like in the middle ages or on the day before the French Revolution! With a full 360-degree field of view, you can see the city as it once was, providing travelers with a more immersive and unforgettable historical experience.

Phoenix, Arizona

View of Phoenix, Arizona
Credit: Andrew Zarivny/ Shutterstock

Self-driving cars have always been a dream, but advances in modern technology has made them a reality. Phoenix, Arizona, is a huge city, but it doesn’t have much public transportation available. Seeing this as an opportunity, a company called Waymo began operating a fleet of self-driving taxis for people in the city starting in 2017. They outfitted dozens of vans with self-driving technology and let them loose on the streets.

The taxi service has been in operation for three years taking thousands of people where they need to go throughout the city. The idea of driverless taxis is starting to expand to other cities around the world as well. In 2021, one of the most-visited cities in the world, London, is set to introduce its own fleet of driverless taxis to transport visitors safely around the city.


Restaurant in Singapore with a white, automated robot server to take customer orders
Credit: Justin Adam Lee/ Shutterstock

Singapore is already one of the most popular travel destinations in the world and is known for its use of technology. One hotel in particular is leading the charge into the new age of robots and artificial intelligence. The M Social hotel utilizes a modern design aimed at millennials and tech-enthusiasts, but the décor isn’t what’s shaping the future of travel.

The M Social uses robots to handle many of the processes that travelers typically find frustrating or stressful. Younger people are notorious for not wanting to interact with humans, so the hotel has introduced several robots to help guests avoid uncomfortable interactions.

Don’t you hate when you forget your toothbrush and have to call for some poor employee to bring you one at midnight? AURA is the housekeeping robot that can deliver toiletries and give you information without you having to bother any real humans. What about the awkward moment when you go to breakfast and have to stand and watch the chef work to prepare your omelet? If you’re at the M Social, AUSCA the robotic chef will cook you breakfast! Automating hotel processes is one of the ways that hospitality companies are helping to make travel easier for everyone.