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已有 824 次阅读 2010-8-7 03:20

The world is at the dawn of a new Golden Age of travel — an age of voyaging on a truly global mass scale. As the 21st century unfurls, people of every class and from every country will be wandering to every part of this planet.

  Mass travel first began in the early 1950s when Americans — with their strong currency, their newly acquired G.I. Bill educations and their World War II exposure to faraway places — took advantage of newly routine transatlantic flights and lifted off by the millions to see the world on five sturdy greenbacks a day. In succeeding years, West Europeans and then the Japanese followed until travel mushroomed to become the world’s largest industry. Today 212 million people around the globe are employed in travel and tourism, a business that earns $ 3.4 trillion annually. Last year the number of international air passengers stood at 339.6 million, with 100 million more expected by 1998.

  All that is impressive, but it is merely prelude. A decade from now, the global industry is expected to employ 338 million people and have revenues of $ 7.2 trillion. The doubling of revenue alone represents a travel explosion on much broader regions of the globe, not merely the privileged centers of North America, Europe and Japan that have dominated the industry in the late 20th century.



  While the breadth and scope of 21st century travel promises to be unique, it will also be an echo of the past. In many ways, the near future harks back to travel’s first Golden Age in the 19th century. Three things enhance the similarity: the sweep of technological change; the tearing down of political barriers; and the rapid decline in costs that made the impulse to see the world a practical urge.

  In the 19th century, the steamship and the railroad fostered the first rapid expansion of travel for a new purpose: leisure curiosity. Before then, most people customarily traveled for trade, as refugees or to make war. In the era of the Industrial Revolution, newly wealthy sightseers armed with Baedekers began roaming afield. The literature of the 19th century is rich with great travel writing. Witness America’s Mark Twain (Innocents Abroad), France’s Alexanre Dumas (The Banks of the Rhine) and China’s Liu E (Travel’s of Old Ts’an). But the new travelers could not have made their journeys without a dramatic decline on the cost of their undertaking — or without the Congress of Vienna, which laid the basis for a stable peace in which to admire the scenery.

  For a century the world as an expanding place — until World War I and its aftermath reversed the process with the ideological closing of borders. Governments, worried about letting in revolutionaries or letting out their own people, began to close off frontiers — until they were shattered once again by the catastrophe of World War II. And when that struggle ended, the cold war began. For the first time in nearly a century, huge areas of Europe and Asia became off-limits to outsiders.
  
  Travel’s new flowering is made possible by the end of such restrictions. However unevenly the process may have developed, the entire world, with a few minor exceptions, is now open to travelers, and is likely to remain so in the foreseeable future.


  The new age of travel is also sturdily democratic. When Lord Byron visited the glories of Greece (then an Ottoman dependency), he brought five servants with him. One of the great spurs to 21st century travel will be not the classical curriculum of an educated èlite but such developments as the introduction in China of the five-day workweek.

  Thanks to new technology, travelers will do more of their own tour planning. Major companies such as American Express and Carlson have already established outputs on the Internet, and would-be travelers surfing the Net can check out who and what is playing at La Scala in August and the weather forecast for Angkor Wat in September. Other online services allow travelers to tap into the same computers used by travel agents and make reservations without a middle-man.

  Electronic technology also promises to bring another major innovation to the industry: stationary “travel” through the gadgetry of virtual reality. For many users, this will be the way to plan and even partly experience a trip. Within five years, virtual reality “tours” of the Himalayas or Venice will be widespread.

  Golden Ages are times of prosperity and achievement, but they are also eras of renewed values. The impending travel boom is liable to be the same. Though the world at large is growing ever smaller, venturing into it will continue to provide the human animal with the kind of excitement and exaltation that the American writer Henry Adams experienced when he first saw the cathedral at Chartres, of that the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore had when he visited the Taj Mahal. What has changed is that the cultivation and enrichment of such experiences will be more available to more people than ever before.

  世界正步入一个崭新的旅游黄金时代——一个真正全球性的大规模旅行时代。随着21世纪的徐徐展开,来自各个阶层、各个国家的人们将漫游在这颗星球的每一角落。

  20世纪50年代早期,美国人凭着他们拥有的坚挺货币,通过美国军人法刚刚获取的各种教育便利以及二战带来的远游可能性,利用新近开辟的横越大西洋的定期航班,靠着每天五张过硬的美钞,开始踏上了百万人看世界的征程。群众性旅游业便也由此应运而生。随后,先是西欧人,继而是日本人,都纷纷效法,旅游业逐渐蓬勃发展为全球最大的服务性行业。今天旅游业已成为年盈利三万四千亿美元的行业,有全球从业人员两亿一千两百万人。去年国际空中乘客数为三亿三千九百六十万人,预计到1998年还将增加一亿人。

  所有这一切都叫人惊叹,但这还只不过是一个前奏。在未来十年里,预计这一全球性服务行业将雇佣人员三亿八百万人,总收入将达七万两千亿美元。仅收益加倍一项就表明旅游正以前所未的规模迅猛发展。这一发展将不仅覆盖北美、欧洲、日本这些20世纪末期在该行业中占据过主导地位的特殊中心,它还将覆盖地球上更为广泛的地区。
  
  21世纪旅游的广泛普及可能是无与伦比的,但同时它也将是对历史的一次回应。不久的将来在很多方面都会使人回想起19世纪旅游的第一个黄金时代。两者的相似主要是因为以下三点:技术变革的席卷;政治壁垒的拆除;以及费用的急剧下降使得看世界的冲动成为一个切实可行的迫切要求。

  19世纪汽船与铁路的发明促进旅游业为满足一个新目的——人们闲暇时的好奇心而开始了第一次迅猛发展。在这之前,大多数人旅行通常是为了做生意、流亡避难或是发动战争。在工业革命时代,装备着贝德尔旅游指南、刚刚富裕起来的观光客们开始离家远游。19世纪的文学是游记名篇的渊薮。有美国的马克·吐温(《傻子出国记》),法国的大仲马(《莱茵河两岸》)和中国的刘鹗(《老残游记》)为证。但如果不是因为旅行开销的大降低,或是维也纳会议为人们在稳定的和平环境中赏景奠定了基础,新的观光者们是不大有可能出门旅行的。


  在这一个世纪中世界不断扩展着——直到第一次世界大战及其余波使得人们因意识形态不同闭关锁国而逆转了这一进程。政府因为担心将革命者放进来或是将国民放出去,开始封锁边界——直到二战的灾难重又将边境砸开。争斗结束后,冷战又随之而去。欧洲与亚洲的大片地区在将近一个世纪的时间里第一次成了外界的禁区。

  
  这些限制的结束使得旅游业的又一次繁荣成为可能。不管这一进程的发展可能如何地不平衡,整个世界,除了很小数点的一部分地区外,现在正对游客们敞开着,在可预见的将来这一势头还很可能一直持续。

  旅游的新纪元同时也是十分民主的纪元。拜伦勋爵寻访希腊(当时为奥斯曼帝国的附属国)的辉煌时,随身带了五个仆从。21世纪旅游发展的一大动力将不是因为旅游被纳入了有知识的上层人士所修的传统课程中,而是因为有象中国引进五天工作制这样的发展。

  由于新技术的发展,旅行者们将会更多地参与他们的旅行计划。一些大公司,象美国捷达公司与卡尔森公司都已在Internet网络上建立了据点,未来的旅行者们通过搜寻网络还可以查找八月份拉斯卡拉剧院上演的剧目及其演员,以及九月份吴奇寺的天气预报。其它的联机业务使旅行者们可以进入旅行代办人使用的计算机汲取信息,无需中间人便可进行预订。

  电子技术还可能给旅游业带来另一项重大革新:通过虚拟现实的精巧装置进行静止“旅行”。很多用户都将用这种方式来计划甚至在一定程度上体验到一次旅行生活。在五年内,虚拟现实的喜马拉雅或威尼斯之“游”将会十分普遍。


  黄金时代是繁荣与成功的时代,但也是价值更新的时代。即将到来的旅游业大发展时期可能也是同样。尽管整个世界正日益缩小,但闯荡世界仍将继续带给人类这种动物以激动与兴奋,一如美国作家亨利·亚当斯第一次见到夏尔特尔大教堂时或印度诗人拉宾布拉纳特·泰戈尔游览泰姬陵时所感受到的那样。改变的只是比以往任何时候都要有更多的人,有更大的可能去尝试与丰富这样的体验。

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