Australia is fast becoming one of the top tourist destinations in the world. With a thriving economy, a world-class arts scene, a status as one of the globe’s leading cultural capitals, sunshine year-round, and seemingly endless beaches, the Land Down Under attracts millions of visitors every year––many of whom are young people between the ages of 18 and 29. And while the country is a widely renowned hotspot for vacationers, serious business investors, and causal job seekers alike, its relative isolation and the daunting prospect of marathon flights is a major deterrent for countless would-be visitors each year.
But advancements in transport technology are soon to render Australia’s relative geographic isolation insignificant. When they do, it will almost certainly create a gold rush far eclipsing the prosperity Australia is now experiencing. Here’s what the future holds for fast travel to Australia:
Part jetliner, part spacecraft, this hypersonic SpaceLiner is poised to revolutionize the future of long-distance international travel. Currently being researched and designed at the German Aerospace Center, researchers will begin development as soon as they can attract private investors. The proposed craft will travel at 24x the speed of sound, carry 50 passengers, and could begin operations as soon as 2050.
But perhaps best of all, it is green. Fueled by a combination of liquid oxygen and hydrogen, the SpaceLiner’s only waste will be water vapor as it cruises at 15,000mph through the upper levels of the atmosphere, just below outer space. Flights from London to Sydney could soon take just 90 minutes.
Evacuated Tube Transport (ET3) is another bold proposition for rapid intercontinental transit, which might not be as futuristic as it sounds. Propelled through 1.5-meter diameter vacuum-sealed tubes––which could be built from sustainable local materials above ground, below ground, or even under water––small cylindrical pods holding up to 6 passengers would provide cheap and low-emission transport at unprecedented speeds. Employing frictionless magnetic levitation technology––the same used by modern bullet trains––a small electric motor would accelerate the pods up to 6500 km/h, and recharge its batteries as the pod coasts to its destination. New York to Queensland commutes would take about 2 hours.
SmartGate technology has already arrived; and with today’s often-horrific congestion at international airports, it couldn’t have come sooner. Using biometric facial recognition and digital fingerprinting, these automatic border control stations speed trusted travelers through airport queues. When they gain widespread use, SmartGate systems will greatly increase customs efficiency. For now, the program is open to Australia citizens, New Zealand citizens, and a limited number of Americans. To register for the Global Entry program, frequent travelers must pass interviews and a series of background checks before being issued a special ePassport, which makes them eligible for SmartGate entry.
Technology is making the world a smaller place every day. We can already video chat with friends, loved ones, and complete strangers thousands of miles away––for free!––with programs like Skype and iChat. Our smartphones put email, voice calling, and video chat capabilities in the palms of our hands; and international travel becomes cheaper and more efficient every day. Just one or two generations ago, it would have been unthinkable to fly halfway around the world for a weeklong vacation. Now people from all across the globe do it every day. And while there are many critics of globalization, it seem obvious that technologies like these will help bring people from around the world closer, promote mutual understanding, and be a major force for global peace.
If you can’t wait for these technical marvels to come into existence, then the [tp lang=”en” only=”y”]Swissotel Sydney[/tp][tp not_in=”en”]Swissotel Sydney[/tp] offers plenty of high tech luxury, and is ideally located within walking distance of the city’s most infamous landmarks.