Investigating travel and tourism

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In this unit I will look at the reasons for the rapid growth of travel and tourism since the end of the Second World War. I will show that the UK travel and tourism industry is made up of a wide variety of commercial and non-commercial organisations, and what there roles are. I will look at how the travel and tourism industry is affecting the UK economy. I will also look at the wide range of careers available within the industry.

What is meant when we say travel and tourism?

Travel- Making a journey from one place to another.

Tourism- The short-term movement of people to a destination away from where they live and work. During this time they participate in activities like day-trips, excursions and travel.

There are three main types of tourism:

* Domestic- UK residents taking a holiday in the UK. E.g. People who live and work in a city like London might visit a place with outstanding natural beauty like Scotland or Cornwall. People from Cornwall might visit London for its history and culture.

* Inbound- People outside the UK visiting the UK. E.g. People from America might visit the UK to see our history and culture.

* Outbound- People in the UK taking holidays outside the UK. E.g. UK residents might visit Spain because of its climate.

There are three main reasons for travelling:

* Leisure- E.g. Family holiday to Disneyland

* Business- E.g. Conference in different area then you work.

* Visiting Family and Friends

Post-War development of travel and tourism

Travel and tourism has existed for a long time but it is only since the end of the Second World War that the travel and tourism industry has become the biggest in the world. This is due to a number of key factors. These are the four main ones:

* Changing Socio-economic conditions

* Developing Technology

* Product Development and Innovation

* Changing Consumer needs, Expectations and Fashions

Socio-economic conditions

Socio-economic is the term given to the combination of social and economic factors. There are three main factors of this:

* An increase in time available for travel

* An increase in disposable income

* Improved transport systems and greater personal mobility.

Time for Travel and Tourism

During the years after the second world war the amount of leisure time most people was allowed increased. Consequently, the number of facilities, products and service provided for the travel and tourism industry had to increase to deal with the demand.

There are a number of reasons why people have gained more leisure time. The main one is that there has been an increase in Paid holiday entitlement for those who worked. In 1938 it become a legal requirement for employers to give their employees paid holiday. The amount of time they have been allowed has increased from one week’s holiday to four or five week’s holiday. With this increase in paid leave the proportion of the UK population that have enough time and money to take holidays have increased dramatically.

The entitlement of four or five week’s holiday has helped the UK domestic tourism industry by encouraging many consumers to take short holidays or weekend breaks, often involving brief trips to visit friends and relatives, or for short holidays such as city breaks, shopping trips and theme park visits.

The length of the working week has also been reduced substantially.

Disposable Income

Disposable Income is the amount of money that a person has left after paying for necessities such as food, household bills, rent or mortgage. Overall, individual’s disposable income has led to an increase in consumer spending on travel and tourism.

The state of the economy is a major factor in the taking of holidays. During the economic boom of the 1980’s, consumer spending on both domestic and outbound tourism rose in line with increasing levels of disposable income for many people. Where as in periods of economic decline, when average levels of disposable income fall, the taking of holidays is often the first item of household expenditure to be cut. E.g. the early 1990’s recession in the UK saw a reduced demand for overseas holiday. Consumer confidence was low due to fears of unemployment and a slump in house prices. However, the domestic tourism industry benefited, as many Britons took holidays in the UK rather then overseas.

Improved transport networks and personal mobility

Nearly everyone in the UK has access to reliable transport, which has made travel and tourism more accessible. Ports, railway stations and airports handle millions of passengers each year, and with the Channel Tunnel opening the travel and tourism industry is expanded even more. However, the biggest single transport that has increased the demand for travel and tourism is the rise in car ownership in the UK. It is estimated that 70% of households in the UK have access to at least one car and there are over 20 million privately owned cars in the UK. With this increase of car ownership we have seen a rising popularity of visits to destinations and attractions in the UK.

In 1951, train, buses and coaches were the main mode of transport used by domestic tourists, yet now over 80% of all trips made are by car. The improvement in road networks and increased car ownership has helped opening access to the countryside for leisure activities.

Communication and Information Technology

Computer reservation systems (CRS) or global distribution systems (GDS) have revolutionised most travel and tourism products since they were developed in the USA in the late 1960’s. GDS was developed for individual airline reservations, which amalgamated into four major global reservation systems: Sabre, Galileo, Amadeus and Worldspan. These systems have enabled corporations such as Thompson and Carlson to operate throughout the world and develop partnerships with airlines, hotel groups, travel agency chains and tour operators.

Many consumers can now access information and purchase travel products from their own homes. The development of the Internet and interactive digital TV has helped to revolutionise the way consumers make travel purchases.

Many airline, tour operators and travel agencies have recognised the potential of on-line booking and are developing Internet -based operations.

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