For Queen and Country: How Has Travel Changed in 70 Years? 

By: Katie Thompson – Marketing Manager at The Group Company


This content was written prior to the sad passing of Her Majesty the Queen on September 8, 2022. As a recipient of The Queen’s Award for Enterprise in 2018, The Group Company has been particularly affected by this tragic event. We would like to express our sincerest condolences to the Royal Family and wish King Charles III well in his new role.


From natural disasters to economic collapse, few industries are as resilient as travel. While the last two years have brought about perhaps the biggest changes in travel we’ll ever see, they are by no means the first. 

In 2022, the United Kingdom paid tribute to Her Majesty the Queen, who celebrated 70 years on the throne. It’s a fitting metaphor for the travel industry itself – remaining strong as the world continues to pose ever more challenges. 

Her Majesty’s Jubilee celebrations were watched by more than a billion viewers around the world. It gave us time to reflect not only on her reign, but the changing state of the world around us. So, what have we learned from the last 70 years, and what can we expect to change? 

From the golden age onward 

Back in 1953, the world was immersed in the “golden age of travel.” It was a luxury, with air travel being likened to a 5* hotel experience rather than a journey. Picture silver service, smoking on planes and up to six inches more legroom. 

Of course, while these “luxuries” are no longer common, we have more affordability and flexibility. In fact, in the period between 2000 and 2010, international arrivals to the US almost doubled – echoing the post-war economic boom between 1950 and 1980.  

Our choice in travel diversified, too. Since the start of Queen Elizabeth’s reign, for example, international interest in Asia and the Pacific has steadily risen. Modes of transport have also changed. In 1972, the launch of InterRail spelled a boon for European tourism. Meanwhile, Japan’s Shinkansen “bullet train” and Shanghai’s Maglev reach eye-watering speeds. 

Access to travel  

In the last 70 years, travel has become more accessible the world over. InterRail opened up new opportunities for young people, while one in five of us now travels for business. The advent of low-cost airlines has helped. In the 1950s, just 2% of the UK population would travel abroad – compared to 56% today. 

As ever, technology has had a huge role to play in improving our access to travel. Terrorism threats saw a 33% decline in air travel at the turn of the century. Today, flight safety and security are at their peak, thanks to full-body scanners, e-passport gates, and advanced luggage scanning. 

Likewise, we are traveling more because we have more knowledge. In the UK, for example, 1969 saw the introduction of the Development of Tourism Act. Since then, Britain has launched marketing campaigns in more than 22 countries. A stand-out campaign in 1994 encouraged US travelers to commemorate the 50th anniversary of D-Day. 

What do we want from our experiences? 

Another key development in travel is changing consumer tastes. Back in the 50s, “traveling like a tourist” was very much the norm – often leading to stereotyping and poor experiences.  

Today’s traveler wants to “live like a local,” underpinned by other trends such as sustainability and social consciousness. Younger generations are embracing authentic experiences, and so too are groups. At The Group Company, founded in 2006, we have noticed an upward trend in these “experiences” – for example, international cooking classes. 

Travel today is not simply for leisure, but to experience, transform, and learn. We’re also making our decisions based on factors such as green travel, opting for lower-carbon flights or electric rental cars.  

What’s next for the world of travel? 

Seventy years is a long time in travel, and there’s no doubt that the next will be even more transformational. Technology is enhancing our connectivity, our browsing, and our access to never-before-seen destinations. In the coming years, we should expect developments such as: 

  • Hygiene as a marketing tool: from hotel rooms to beaches, cleanliness is a key concern 
  • Shrewder searching: augmented and virtual reality will aid travel campaigns 
  • Green travel: price may not be as influential a factor as concerns like carbon emissions. 

One thing that has stayed consistent for 70 years, however, is the need for good customer service. Social media and third-party review sites are helping customers connect on a deeper level. 

Travel has had its highs and lows in the last seven decades – but customer service will always be consistent. 

All Images: ©Adobe Stock

About The Group Company

The Group Company is a UK-based wholesaler working with tour operators throughout the US, UK, and Europe. We provide tailor-made touring itineraries throughout these three destinations, working exclusively with groups. We sell to tour operators only, contracting all suppliers directly for a fast response, competitive rates, and outstanding customer service. With more than 15 years’ experience, we make group travel easy for our clients.


How a Commercial Airline can Stay Committed to Sustainability and Cleaner Skies

6 ways Singapore Airlines integrates sustainability into its operations, and takes eco-friendliness from a trend to a core value 

When you think of “going-green” you may think of household composting, sorting your recyclables, or riding your bike to work, but there are many ways a commercial airline can also make an impact. Singapore Airlines (SIA) has identified several areas where we can eliminate waste and work towards reducing our carbon footprint, all while maintaining operational and safety standards. 

Economy Class Meal Service
Photo Courtesy of Singapore Airlines

1. Waste reduction: SIA is reducing single-use plastics onboard, including becoming entirely plastic-straw free, replacing plastic swizzle sticks with wood-based ones, and swapping polybags from children’s toys with recyclable paper packaging.  We have introduced an economy class meal concept which uses sustainable paper packaging and bamboo cutlery, reducing the use of single-use plastics by 80% and halving the weight of meal packaging. SIA has also teamed up with Singapore-based food waste management start-up Lumitics to help use advanced analytics and machine learning to optimize ordering, usage, and to ultimately minimize the amount of food waste the airline generates. 

2. Sustainable fuel initiatives: An obvious challenge to sustainability in aviation is reducing an aircraft’s carbon emissions from using jet fuel. SIA has participated in several alternative fuel pilot programs over the years in an effort to source viable fuel alternatives and most recently has selected ExxonMobil for a new pilot with support from the Civil Aviation authority of Singapore and Temasek, to supply and deliver sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), derived from used cooking oil and animal fat waste, blended with refined jet fuel. This project is just a start but over the one-year pilot is expected to reduce about 2,500 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. 

3. Carbon Off-setting:  Voluntary carbon offsetting is now commonplace for airline passengers and corporate customers to help voluntarily neutralize their individual portion of emissions from their journey by paying a small amount to invest in other carbon reduction projects. SIA offers these programs and for those who wish to participate, they can use cash or miles to invest in meaningful projects such protecting forests in Indonesia, supporting renewable solar energy projects in India, and providing efficient, clean burning cookstoves for rural families in Nepal. 

AeroFarms – New Jersey Facility
Photo Courtesy of AeroFarms

4. Local Sourcing: You may have heard of “farm-to-table” but have you heard of “farm-to-plane”? Sourcing local products for onboard consumption is part of SIA’s farm-to-plane strategy whereby we work with local suppliers to bring fresh and delicious products to our customers. Shortening supply chains reduces carbon emissions but it also allows a company to work with partners who are using innovative technologies to locally produce ingredients to provide socially and environmentally friendly offerings.  One of these partners is AeroFarms, the world’s largest indoor vertical farm of its kind, which uses aeroponic farming to produce salad greens for onboard meals, just down the road from Newark-Liberty International Airport in New Jersey

5. Reforestation Projects: Companies have a social responsibility to give back to the communities they do business in. One way that SIA does this is through an ongoing conservation project with one of the few remaining lowland forests in Indonesia, the Harapan Rainforest, which has 98,555 hectares covered by an ecosystem restoration concession. So far 2,787 trees replanted under the Harapan Rainforest Initiative, with 260 hectares of forest restored. 

Airbus A350-900 Aircraft

6. Fleet Modernization: The largest source of carbon emissions from an airline is from fuel burn during flight, making maintaining a young and modern fleet, the most effective way to reduce emissions. SIA has always championed its commitment to this as it serves the environment, as well as customers, by delivering the latest in aircraft technology and comfort. We have invested in the most fuel-efficient aircraft, such as the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787, which are known for their advanced technology and high fuel-efficient performance. These newer-generation aircraft help to boost fuel efficiency by up to 30% over previous-generation aircraft.  

About Singapore Airlines  

The SIA Group’s history dates back to 1947 with the maiden flight of Malayan Airways Limited. The airline was later renamed Malaysian Airways Limited and then Malaysia-Singapore Airlines (MSA). In 1972, MSA split into Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Malaysian Airline System. Initially operating a modest fleet of 10 aircraft to 22 cities in 18 countries, SIA has grown to be a world-class international airline group that is committed to the constant enhancement of the three main pillars of its brand promise: Service Excellence, Product Leadership and Network Connectivity. For more information, please visit www.singaporeair.com.  We invest in large-scale initiatives that progress the company and the communities in which we operate towards a sustainable future.