Tourism has now become a globally developing industry within last few decades. It is the main industry of generating foreign income rather than the export and import industry. Lots of studies have been done on travel tourism industry since it becomes an important industry in every country of the world. This assignment will be focused on the nature of travel and tourism environment by giving the example of a Famous UK tourist destination while reflecting the learning outcomes.
History of travel and tourism
The history of the travel and tourism industry can be divided into four stages: prehistory, transport, interwar period and tourism take-off. It is stated that the very first stages of the development of tourism started during the industrial revolution. In prehistory stage, gradual increase in wealth, the extension of the merchant and professional classes, the effects of the reformation and the secularization of education stimulated interest in other countries and the acceptance of travel itself as an educational force (Leonard and Carson, 1997).
In the railway age, the invention of steam trains and steamship transformed the travel opportunities. This is called transport stage. In this stage, an enormous new market of tourism is created in a short time through the introduction of organized tours, travel packages, poster and brochures. So it is clear that the tourism was started to take off through the help of transport development.
However, the First World War in 1914 interrupted the flowering age of railway and the same way to the travel and tourism. In other way, since wars are the improving stage of forming new technologies, the expansion of road and considerable investment in aviation had occurred. With the more development in transport and transport related infrastructure, a new design of tourism which is called leisure tourism was introduced.
Then, it moves to tourism take-off stage, it is from the period of 1945 to present time. In this stage, the major growth is occurred in most industrialized and developed countries though it takes the major role in developing countries.
The Structure of Travel and Tourism Industry
The travel and tourism industry is composed of hospitality industry as a part, transport, destinations and attractions, support services and public sectors. The hospitality industry includes accommodation sectors- hotels, motels, villas, chalets, guest houses, camping sites, caravan sites, and holiday camp, catering sectors- restaurants, BOB and so on. The transport sectors support tourism with air transport, sea transport, railways, and road transport, e.g. Coaches and car hire.
Attractions can be of two types; man-made and natural attractions. The natural attractions are the landscapes, mountains, beaches, forests and etc. Man-made attractions consist of theme parks, ancient monuments, Archeological sites, Museums, galleries and so on. The other support services can be divided into two sectors of public and private. The private sectors will be insurance services, couriers, guides, financial services such as banks. The public sectors will the regulatory bodies of the industry such as national tourist organizations, local tourist information center, regional tourist organization, UNWTO and etc. All these sectors combine together and produce services and facilities for the intermediaries- tour operators, travel agents and tourists.
Figure-1 The Structure of Travel Industry
The Function of government and government sponsored bodies and international agencies in travel and tourism industry
Government involves in an important role in tourism industry since it is main body to imply the economic policy, law and security of a country. The involvement of government is of two ways- direct and indirect involvement. The main functions of government in tourism industry are to raise the foreign revenues, promoting the industry, to create a stable business and leisure environment for the industry, to build up secure environment for both tourists and local people.
Firstly, it takes the main responsibility of developing infrastructures, the basics necessity of a country’s tourism to be developed. By establishing and promoting its attractions to the tourists around the world, it gives lots of job opportunities to its publics and at the same time, promotes the lifestyle of the host community. Government regulations are of such an importance in protecting the tourists and enhancing their experience by building up a nice and secure environment for the tourists.
Government sponsored bodies such as national tourist board, regional tourist board, Visit Britain and so on, are mainly for the conducting researches about the development tourism through different aspects to be able to help promote the tourism and create new trend. These are the bodies which can give the exact and precise information about a destinations and attractions of a country to local visitors as well as the international tourists.
International agencies are also involved in the development of travel and tourism industry. UNWTO which headquarter in Madrid is founded in 1974. It is the main international organization in tourism industry which collects the statistical information on international tourism. These data provided by UNWTO are very useful in analyzing the trend, flow and growth of the tourism on the global basics.
IATA is the International Air Transport Association which is founded in 1945. This is a voluntary Association with members of 80 percent of the world’s airlines. The main function of this association is to promote safe, regular and economic air transport. The other international organizations which take part in tourism industry are ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents), WTTC (World Travel and Tourism Council) and so on.
Local and National Economic Policy
The system for setting interest rates and government budget as well as the labor market, national ownership and many other areas if government interventions into the economy, is called the economic policy. Those economic policies are influenced by international institutions like International Monetary Fund or World Bank as well as political beliefs and the consequent policy of parties. These economic policies are a part of success in tourism industry since it influence on the local and national economic growth which will has the greater impacts on the development of a region’s economics, amenities, lifestyle and facilities.
Implication of Political Changes on Travel and Tourism Industry
Travel and tourism industry depends a great deal on the political changes of a country. No one would like to visit a place where there is no political stability since that kind of place would not be able to offer a good safe and security for the tourists. There are lots of countries in the world in which tourism is halted just for the reason of political situation even though they have potential destination for booming tourism.
One significant example is Burma which is under the monopoly of the military Junta General Than Shwe. The country is one of the developing countries in Asia. This country with temperate climate has good geographical, social features and can offer different kinds of destinations. However, the tension between the military government and the world biggest country like USA and UK, result in the improper development in tourism and economic sectors.
In a different way, sometimes the political changes can have good result in international tourism of a country. For example, in UK, during the election period, the value of its currency had decreased as a result of economic breakdown. However, it became a chance for those people from other countries to visit UK because it would be cheaper than any time before.
Factors affecting on Tourism Demand
There is different range of factors affecting on tourist demand in considering visiting a destination or a country. Roughly, these influencing factors can be divided into few categories- (1) Economy (2) Politics (3) Crisis and Threat (4) Demographic change and (5) Technology. Furthermore, changes in consumers’ attitude and the tourism industry itself can also be taken into account of influencing factors on demands.
The demand of tourists can be greatly depend on their level of disposable income (individual’s economic situation and motivation on travel). Moreover, in realizing to visit a place, demographic factors of whether the place is crowded, the education level and lifestyle of the local community. Political stability is also the main factors affecting the tourists demand. No one would like to go to a place for pleasure where there are strikes and war going on and no guaranteed security.
Since there are lots of changes in the demand of tourist in the industry, there, certainly, are lots of changes to make in supply sectors in order to fulfill the tourist demand so that to keep the number of visitors coming in a destination. As more tourists coming in a destination, the local tourism industry players have to arranges to develop more accommodation and catering services by building up more hotels, motels, BNB and restaurants and catering units. At the same time, the development of transportation will also be increased.
When a destination started to get the international attraction, the local and international tour operators and travel agents are going to develop new holiday packages and tour in order to fulfill the emerging market. What is more is the government and public sectors will also have to program some plan to promote sustainability in tourism sectors by maintaining the natural environment and historical sites which will be destroyed by the reach of massive number of tourist to protect the destination to be healthy and long lasting.
Oxford- a famous destination of UK
Oxford is the famous historical University City of United Kingdom. It is not too far from the city of London and visitors can easily take a day trip for about 2hours drive from London. City is filled famous colleges as it is a university city, historical buildings, museums and century old churches. The cosmopolitan city also home to hi-tech community.
With the mixture of historic and modern community, the city is busy almost all the time with tour groups, buses and commuters. It is better to use the park and ride services for those who hire a car. The local government has provided enough transport and infrastructure for the crowded city as well as to be able to meet the tourists demand. The local tourist information center is situated on the Board Street in the center of the city. There are also many businesses in and out of the city which show that the city itself has a developed economy. To summarize, Oxford is a beautiful tourist destination with perfect travel and tourism environment. It is a very good place to travel to and worth experiencing.
Economic, Environmental and Social Impacts of Tourism
As tourism continues to develop, it brings both advantages and disadvantages to the local people and the destination. Economically, tourism industry provides lots of employments and creates both small and large business opportunities to the host community. When the economy of a city or a town is developed, the education and the lifestyle have automatically developed. The increase in the generation of foreign income will support the host country with multiply effects and importing more products from other countries. However, importing too much product from foreign countries can cause so called drawback of leakage. In order to minimize this problem, the government has to encourage and plan to increase domestic productivity. By this way, the money earned through tourism can be used in the development of itself and other industries.
Nowadays, the environmental issues led by the mass tourism are of worldwide. The most common negative impacts are pollutions- water pollution, air pollution, noise pollution, and visual pollution. The massive number of incoming tourists can also make the place more crowded and congested. Moreover, the repeated visit to the natural sites will cause the ecological disruption and destroy the flora and fauna and the natural habitats for the wildlife. The same effect will also happen to the historical site.
The carbon dioxide that people exhale will destroy the wall painting, statues and the archeological sites. To be able to reduce these negative effects, the most effective ways is to educate the host community to about the environment and encourage them to involve in the environmental project. As long as tourism has been developed, there will always be so called negative impacts which cannot be vanished but can be reduced its effect by the help of each people in the society.
On the other hand, there are positive impacts of mass tourism which can be called the advantages from the drawbacks. By taking chance of the mass tourism, the host community and tourist can be educated to be more aware of the environment and encourage them to act environmentally friendly. Moreover, the authority and the government will be encouraged to plan scheme to protect the natural environment and preservations for the historical and archeological sites.
When tourist entering a host country, they do not just bring their purchasing power and cause amenities to be set up for their use, they also bring different type of behaviors which can be profoundly transform local social habits by removing and upsetting the basic and long-established norms of the host population (Leonard and Carson, 1997). This is also called cultural pollution and as a result the significance of the host community which is originally attractive to the tourists will become faded. There will also be an uneven distribution of goods and amenities between the local people and the tourist as tourist become the first priority of the industry.
Meanwhile, thanks to the tourism, the host community comes to know about the different people and different culture while staying in one place. This help to improve the relationship between the tourists and the local people. As tourism enhance, the government has to fulfill needs and demands and develop the amenities and infrastructure of the destination. It is the mutual benefit for local people since they can also get more facilities and higher living standard can be expected. Furthermore, that will be a great chance to let the world knows about the culture, traditions, festivals, cuisine and entertainment of the host country.
In conclusion, the travel and tourism industry has a broad environment which includes different kind of important sectors for a country’s development and tourism itself. By understanding these factors, it is clearly seen that how important the travel and tourism is for a country and why it becomes an important industry in both developed and developing countries. This assignment will highlight the importance sectors of the tourism by giving small example of a famous UK destination, Oxford.