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Special Event

Millennium 2000: Future of Travel

Aired January 1, 2000 - 9:37 a.m. ET


DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: The road to the future may be paved with travel. Leisure travel is booming, the world seems to be getting smaller, and the thrills of new horizons increasingly seductive.

We have a team of experts here to give us some advice on the coming travel trends. We'll get to you in a second.

But first, CNN travel correspondent Stephanie Oswald takes a look at the hot destinations for the year 2000 and beyond.


STEPHANIE OSWALD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Greet the sun from the back of a camel in the Australian desert. Swing through the lush Costa Rican rain forest. Listen to the musical welcome of a remote culture in Paupau, New Guinea.

Whatever your pleasure, the year 2000 will mark the beginning of a new age of discovery for millions of travelers.

ADAM GOLDSTEIN, ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISE LINES: That phenomenon -- of traveling for fun -- is really a product of the last century only. So the potential of people to go and see different places in the world in the next century, in the next millennium, is enormous.

SUZANNE COOK, TRAVEL IND. ASSN. OF AMERICA: Travel has become one of those necessities of life. We do it -- we find in our surveys that people think that it is just an essential, it is a necessity to a good life.

OSWALD: What's more? Adventurous travelers in the 21st century will be charting new courses. Just where are they headed?

There are so many great opportunities out there. Some of the favorites that I think are going to be the top five destinations of the next millennium, you can't not include Madagascar, the beautiful rain forest down there. The whitewater rafting of the Yangtze river in China, in a canyon twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, would be a second.

COOK: Markets like China are on the horizon. The World Tourism Organization, in fact, projects that by 2020 China is going to move up dramatically, both as a destination for travelers, but also as a market for travelers.

OSWALD: The doors to Chins will open even wider for tourists with the recent additions of Hong Kong and Macao.

WENDY PERRIN, CONSUMER NEWS EDITOR, CONDE NAST "TRAVELER": People are really interested in the world, and the world is becoming much more accessible.

OSWALD: Emerging destinations include Cuba, Mali, Cambodia, Indonesia's Irian Jaya, and Middle Eastern countries such as Syria.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because you know, the peace process seems to be progressing. And as it becomes safer, as it becomes easier to cross borders, more and more people are going to want go there, because these are some of the most important sites in the world.

OSWALD: After great political change, South Africa has put out a welcome mat for the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a absolutely beautiful train ride from Cape Town into the Kruger National Park, the most populated big- game reserve in Africa, and it's absolutely fabulous.

OSWALD: Active travelers looking for magnificent scenery with the help of scuba or snorkel gear might turn to the Turks and Cacos in the British West Indies, or the reef surrounding Papua New Guinea.

(on camera): Adventure in this country isn't limited to diving. The year 2000 marks 25 years of independence for Papua New Guinea. As we enter the millennium, exploring the mighty Sepik River also is on the list for adventure travelers searching for that unspoiled destination.

(voice-over): This wild river stretches 1,026 kilometers, about 700 miles, with only a handful of villages along the way.

Ironically, as we look to the future, finding the cutting edge destinations often means discovering places where life imitates the past.

KERRY BYRD, DIRECTOR OF THE AMERICAS, PAPAU NEW GUINEA TOURISM: If you've traveled and you've seen the rest of the world, you come into Papau New Guinea and you're just stunned. It is amazing. It is the most incredible place.

OSWALD: How about putting a new spin on some old favorites. Touring Alaska in the summertime was once a hot vacation choice. But if you really want a challenge, brave the Final Frontier in the wintertime, fly down the International Dateline, along the westernmost coast in North America, and visit the tiny Eskimo village of Wales, Alaska.

JOHN STACHNIK, PRESIDENT, MAYFLOWER TOURS: I figure it'll see a rediscovery of places that a lot of people have always thought of going, but haven't had the chance to go to. OSWALD: If an Australian adventure sounds enticing, but you've already seen Sydney and you've awed by Ayer's Rock, this might be the millennium to check out Arnhem Land, an hour's flight east of Darwin. Explore with a real life Crocodile Dundee in a land wilder than many parts of the Aussie Outback. Arnhem Land also is home to countless outdoor galleries, where ancient rock art tells the story of aboriginal culture.

What you have here is some of the oldest forms of art alive. Those styles go back for 50,000 years.

OSWALD (on camera): Fifty-thousand years.

(voice-over): Rounding out the list of incredible journeys for the year 2000 and beyond, South American treasures such as Chile and Argentina.

LAURA BEGLEY, SENIOR EDITOR, "TRAVEL & LEISURE": I think it's all about exploring new territories, and I think South America is a place where not a lot of travelers have been. And people have been to the Caribbean, they've been to Mexico, and now, they want to go beyond.

OSWALD: South America also can be a launching point for those who want to travel to the end of the Earth, literally, with a trip to Antarctica, where the penguins still outnumber the tourists.

Stephanie Oswald, CNN.


KAGAN: Some great ideas. Let's get some more. Wendy Perrin is consumer news editor for "Conde Nast Traveler" magazine, in New York, and Geoff Bolan is vice president of partner relation for IExplore Inc., in London.

Happy New Year, welcome to both of you, and thanks for joining us.

PERRIN: Happy New Year.


KAGAN: There were some good ideas in that last piece. I'd like to get some of your ideas for the people who are feeling like, OK, been there, done that.

Wendy, where would you give me two places that are no myth for 2000?

PERRIN: Two places, I would say South America. There are so many adventure and ecotravel opportunities in the rainforest, in the jungles down there. And I'd also say the Middle East.

You know, it looks like, especially if peace talks progress between Israel and Syria, there are amazingly well-preserved ancient ruins all through the Middle East, and I think if it becomes a little safer, it's going to be a boom destination.

KAGAN: And, Geoff, two no-miss places from you?

BOLAN: Absolutely. I think Madagascar is one of them. Madagascar is really one of the most biologically diverse places on Earth, and it has thus far been one of the less visited. That's off of the southern coast of Africa.

And certainly Cambodia definitely being another one. The ruins at Ancor (ph) -- rather the temples at Ancor, it's really the most spectacular temple you can see in any part of Southeast Asia.

KAGAN: Wendy, Americans can be kind of a stuff group. You know, they like to be comfortable. A lot of them don't like to go places where people don't speak English. How would you either encourage people to loosen up a little bit or to find a place that's going to stretch them as tourists, but where they'll still be comfortable?

PERRIN: Well, I think it's important, if you're more of a vacationer than a traveler -- I mean, I think you really have to distinguish between the two. If you need your creature comforts and your infrastructure, if you're the type of American traveler who, you know, you want your air conditioning, and ice cubes in your water and CNN when you get to your hotel room at night, you need to be more careful about where you go. And if you're going to some of the more out-there places, remote jungle areas, like Papua New Guinea, what you'll want to do is go with a tour operator who can provide that kind of infrastructure and the basic creature comforts you want.

JIM CLANCY, CNN ANCHOR: Geoff -- this is Jim Clancy -- I want to ask you a question, because a lot of the people watching this program today are international viewers; they may even live in some of these destinations. But they always want -- they always ask me, where do I go in the United States? And they just don't want to just go to New York City. They don't just want to go to Disney Land. They want to see more. What would you suggest?

BOLAN: Well, the United States is just chock full of opportunities for adventure, for experiential travel. I mean, you've got all of the national parks. You can talk about Glacier National Park, Olympic National Park -- they're beautiful -- going rafting in the Grand Canyon, going through the wine country in northern California around Santa Barbara, are beautiful places. Same thing with the rest of North America. Again, Jasper and Vamp (ph) National Parks up in Canada, the Whistler area around Vancouver; there's really no shortage of fantastic things to do in the sort of more off the beaten path run.

KAGAN: Lot's of do-things to do here in the U.S. And I can give a thumbs up on the Grand Canyon. I rafted that this year, was at the bottom there for eight days, a spectacular opportunity.

And we're going to see more opportunities and figure out how you can kind of see all of this without even leaving the comfort of your living room or maybe your office, and we'll see that.

CLANCY: Or do you even want to do that?

KAGAN: Yes, maybe just that'll be enough.

A look at virtual travel ahead on CNN.


CLANCY: If you have an itch to explore the world of adventure travel, but you're not quite ready to take an actual trip, there is another option available, a virtual vacation.

We learn more from CNN's Carolyn O'Neal.


CAROLYN O'NEAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Today, you travel like this. In the future, you might travel like this. Or even virtually.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, would you like to go to the beach?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'll go anywhere you like.

O'NEAL: Author and trend analyst Faith Popcorn predicts that fantasy travel may be closer than you think.

FAITH POPCORN, AUTHOR AND TREND ANALYST: We believe in every home, they'll be a 9x12 closet, a virtual closet, you will step into and travel.

O'NEAL: Reminiscent of TV's "Star Trek," or this "Mad About You" episode from 1994.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Brinkley, David; Brinkley Christie.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Is this cashmere?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: No, it's not real.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Well you know, but you're not exactly real either.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Are you complaining?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: No, no, no, not at all, no.


O'NEAL: The technology isn't quite there yet. The only things close are video games and there basic virtual experience. Popcorn's predictions go several steps farther.

POPCORN: I could take a 9-year-old child and have him sit down with Michael Angelo and have a discussion about art, sitting down with Plato or Walden, right on his pond.

I can't imagine, if people really had an alternative way to go somewhere, that they'd actually get on a really dirty plane, with really rude horrific attendants, with a very expensive ticket, and actually go somewhere. Why, why? Why if I can go into my room and go, would I ever want to go anywhere?

O'NEIL: Why? Just ask Columbia University's computer science professor, Steven Feiner.

STEVEN FEINER, PROF., COMPUTER SCIENCE, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: I don't care how good it looks or feels, but it is not the real thing.

O'NEIL: And then there is Mars. It looks like something from a science fiction movie, but Mars actually stands for Mobile Augmented Reality System.

FEINER: So unlike virtual reality, which intends to replace what you normally experience with virtual stuff, we add to what you normally experience. You see what you would normally see, for example, plus you also see additional material that is overlaid on top of it.

O'NEIL: With the help of 40 pounds of GPS technology, or global positioning satellite, a computer, and eye wear fitted with directional sensors, researcher Tobias Hollerer demonstrated on Columbia University's campus, with curious eyes upon him.

TOBIAS HOLLERER, RESEARCHER: Basically, now it is telling me a little mass-media story about what was going on back then when students first took over some buildings on campus.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was a sunny afternoon on Tuesday, April 23rd, in the spring of 1968.


O'NEIL: Or an even more practical use for the hungry traveler.

FEINER: I'd like to be able to -- deciding that I was hungry, for example -- select a restaurant according to some set of criteria, and then be able to see directions overlaid on what I can normally see, that show me how to get there.

O'NEIL: So for the tourist who doesn't want to look like one, it means leaving heavy guidebooks and maps at home. Of course, blending in with the locals is about five to ten years away.

FEINER: We see this as simply being a prototype for something that would ultimately be very small, maybe around the size of a Walkman, hooked up to eye wear that would look more or less like a regular pair of glasses.

O'NEIL: While researchers continue their quest to perfect this technology, travelers are already tapping into the options they get online.

EVERETT POTTER, SYNDICATED TRAVEL COLUMNIST: A lot of things that were previously secrets, or simply unknown, or simply unavailable to the average traveler, are now at their fingertips.

O'NEIL: While word of mouth is still tops as the information source for destination picks, the information age is making a big impact. Online travel sites have burst onto the scene -- usage is up 146 percent from 1998.

POTTER: You can do it on your own time table. You can come home from work, you can have dinner, you can put the kids to bed, and at 10:00 you can go online and you can plan your vacation in the next 20 minutes, if you so choose.

O'NEIL: Some Web sites even show you what a hotel's rooms look like, and other amenities.

(on camera): Another trend emerging in the way people choose to travel is how long they allow themselves to plan for a trip. And that time period, in many cases, is getting shorter and shorter.

(voice-over): Out of today's fast-paced, I-want-it-now society, emerges a new breed of traveler, the spontaneous traveler.

DAVID MIRANDA, LASTMINUTE TRAVEL.COM: These are people that are going through the express lines in supermarkets, that are driving through the -- going to the Jiffy Lubes, these are the same people.

O'NEIL: Servicing them are sites like, by posting air fares, hotel rooms, and other travel packages that are available when you decide you want to go.

MIRANDA: You have someone coming in saying, listen, I just need to get away. Where can I go? So what we do is we really provide a service just to the public to say here is what's available.

O'NEIL: So while Hawaiian beaches, Parisian sights, and African safaris still top today's destination wish lists, how you get there may someday be as simple as staying home.

Carolyn O'Neil, CNN.


KAGAN: And with more on virtual travel, let's bring in our two travel experts, who we were talking with in the last segment, Wendy Perrin and Geoff Bolan.

Geoff, I'll start with you -- would virtual travel do it for you?

BOLAN: Virtual travel, for us, is a great way to whet the appetite. As an Internet site, and a center for people to come and find out everything they know to need about -- need to know about adventure, or experiential travel, and then be able to actually engage in that travel, buy the trip, and get there -- we think it is an important first step, but ultimately we think it is just -- it's helping our cause, it is helping the cause of getting people out into the field.

KAGAN: You actually have to go.

Wendy, do you think one day it'll be "Oh, you mean you actually went to that place? You didn't just go on the computer?"

PERRIN: I don't know. I mean, I don't think virtual travel can replace the real thing, mainly because -- one reason why is you don't get that interaction with the local people that I think is so important to a real, authentic travel experience.

But I have to say, I like the idea of virtual travel a lot, because it will help to leave those beautiful, pristine places in the world unspoiled.

KAGAN: For the rest of us who decide they want to go.

No matter how you go, some people make mistakes. Almost all of us make mistakes when we travel, and Wendy, I know you wrote an entire book simply on travel disasters.

What is the biggest single mistake that people make when planning their travels?

PERRIN: Oh, there are so many. But I think one thing you have to do is get everything in writing. A lot of people just believe what they are told, or just try to remember details. Get everything you are promised by any kind of travel company in writing, and pay with a credit card.

KAGAN: Wendy Perrin and Geoff Bolan, want to thank you and wish you as many happy travels over the next millennium. Thanks for joining us today and happy new year.

PERRIN: Happy new year to you.

BOLAN: Same to you.

KAGAN: And before we close out this segment, I wanted to take the chance to talk to my partner over here, because I know as an international correspondent you have been everywhere.

CLANCY: I like to travel...

KAGAN: You do?

CLANCY: ... and somebody else has to pay the ticket. It's a wonderful experience.

KAGAN: It's a good -- what would you say is the most incredible place you've ever been?

CLANCY: There's no one, but I think if you look at Tierra del Fuego, the tip of South America, I think -- Rwanda, despite -- the news story was a tragedy, the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, but that was the Africa that I always dreamed about as a child.

KAGAN: And any place that completely took you by surprise? You were thinking, I can't believe they are sending me here, and yet it turned out to be a fantastic experience?

CLANCY: Kazakhstan...

KAGAN: Really?

CLANCY: ... as my camera man described it, Chinese people speaking Russian in Colorado. Kazakhstan was a great experience, and really Azerbaijan, Baku, places that you don't dream of as being great, they really are.

And the more you travel, the more you change. When you first start out traveling, you think everybody is different, and what I'm learning is that everybody is different. And when you get seasoned, you find out everybody is the same, they want the same things -- freedom of expression, freedom of religion, a better education and a better life for their children. And you see what holds us all together, and I think that is one of the benefits that you get from traveling. I really encourage people to do it.

KAGAN: On a humorous note, when we were talking earlier this morning, you were telling me about the strangest hotel you ever stayed in.

CLANCY: Oh, that was in Rio Grande, in Patagonia in Argentina. And here was a hotel -- and I'm a pretty big guy -- everything was about two-thirds size. The bathroom was two-thirds size, the doors, even the bed -- my feet hung out over the bed. Everything was miniaturized, and I walked out of that hotel with a couple of lumps on my forehead.

KAGAN: See, you could have virtual travel, or you could just talk to Jim Clancy and have the world come right next to you.

CLANCY: It's a lot of fun.

KAGAN: Thanks for sharing with us.


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