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Last Updated: Friday, 23 January, 2004, 11:15 GMT
Pod plan for hotel of the future
Hotel pods
The hotel pods would be self-sustaining and fully portable
The hotel of the future could resemble a large portable space capsule, according to holiday company Thomson.

The 'pod' could be developed anywhere, packed up easily and moved to any location in the world, Thomson said.

It would contain different-sized rooms which could be easily rearranged, and guests could choose their view by changing images on the walls.

The pod plan was one of the ideas put forward at a future holiday forum hosted by Thomson Holidays.

While they look very extreme, it is feasible and if someone was prepared to invest in them it could realistically happen
Rachel O'Reilly
Thomson Holidays

Thomson's Rachel O'Reilly told the BBC's Breakfast programme the idea had been developed by a firm of architects.

She said: "It is possible, based on existing materials and design techniques to actually build this sort of structure now.

"I think the beauty of them is that they are transportable, they're pre-fabricated, they're self-sustaining, the stilts that they're built on means that they have minimal impact on their surroundings.

"And as destinations go in and out of fashion, which they do, the pod can be moved on.

Lots of people already have self-sustaining pods - they're called caravans
Simon Calder, travel editor, the Independent

"So while they look very extreme, it is feasible and if someone was prepared to invest in them it could realistically happen."

But Simon Calder, travel editor of the Independent told the programme: "Lots of people already have self-sustaining pods, they're called caravans and people tow them around, normally on the A30 in Cornwall in summer.

"In 20 years time I'm afraid we're going to find that travel looks pretty much the same as it does.

"We'll be flying around in the same sorts of planes, staying in the same sorts of hotels, I'm afraid - rather than these glorified porta-cabins."

'Viable' possibility

But Russell Amerasekera, presenter of BBC1's Perfect Holiday, who chaired the future forum, said the predictions that came out of it were "bold" but viable possibilities for travel in decades to come.

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He said: "Taking a look back at what the holiday industry has undergone in the past two decades, who would have predicted we'd be holidaying in Vietnam or jetting to European cities for under 20?"

Thomson marketing director Hugh Edwards said: "While we expect destinations such as Spain, Greece and Italy to remain popular with British tourists, the predictions from the future forum are based on projections from experts who have carried out in-depth research into future trends.

"Holidays in pods, mini-breaks to Rio and family holidays in Qatar are very likely scenarios for holidays of the future."


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