Tourism is travel for entertaining, business and leisure purpose. According to World Tourism Organization tourists can be defined as “travelling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purpose (Williamson, 2003). The present study will focus on identifying contemporary issues in travel and tourism industry, it will analyze current issues and changes in the travel and tourism sector and will critically evaluate their impact on the tourism industry.
Tourism is important and vital for every country today and can be said as an activity essential to the existence of countries because of its direct impact on social, cultural, educational and economic sectors of the countries (Vance and et.al., 2011) Instant Essay Writing.
Travel and tourism plays an important role in Egypt’s economy. The stunning, colossal monuments of Ancient Egypt never fail to overwhelm and the heat, sand and light of the desert rejuvenate. More than 10 million tourists visit Egypt every year providing revenue of nearly $ 10 billion. Tourists arrivals in Egypt has raise from 5.5 million in 2000 to 14 million in 2010. Egypt is ranked as 75th position in world’s best travel and tourism destinations. The inbound and outbound tourism segments have witnessed positive growth in Egypt regardless of slow growth during the worldwide slump (Harrison, 2006). The outbound travel & tourism market in the country is enduring exceptional transformation and it’s likely to sustain growth and development whereas inbound market will continue to contribute share in the revenue of the industry. Travel and tourism industry is witnessing many types of changes worldwide these include:
Technological changes: these include changes in information and communication technology (ICT) and developments in transport system. ICT has had considerable impacts on the travel and tourism industry and customers are reaching their travelling destinations by making bookings online through online bookers (Petrova and Mason 2004).
Social changes: trends like more people living alone, families led by single parent and increase in number of empty nester households raises issues of product and service provision for the travel and tourism industry.
Liberalization – Many visitors and tourists are attracting towards other countries and destinations because of the liberalization policy in UK about the visa (Swarbrooke and Horner, 2012). This has resulted in fall of business of UK travelling companies.
Changes in consumer demand – demand for different types of destinations are rising, people wants more holidays for travelling, demand for high quality standards is also increasing in the industry (Triantafillidou and et.al., 2010).
Product developments: new products are introduced in the industry such as budget (no add-ons) airlines and hotels for identified customer groups.
The world is a relentlessly changing place and the issues affecting the travel & tourism industry diverge from place to the next and from one day to the next. The factors affecting the tourism industry may be political or it can be influenced by worldwide economic development or they can be climatic or even tectonic such as tsunami calamity in 2004 (Zehrer and Siller 2007). Advances in the Information and Communication Technology are having a deep effect on life of people and particularly the coming out of e-tourism which is leading to changes in the composition of travel & tourism industry. For some companies in the tourism industry globalization seems to be the most profitable resolution and global conglomerates are beginning to appear, witnessing growth from hotel chains to tour operators (Vrana and Zafiropoulos, 2006).
E-tourism is the use of ICT to facilitate tourism destinations and providers to function more effectively and to reach customers worldwide and serve them. As one of the most popular industry the travel & tourism is as discovered as any other to the threats and opportunities bring about by all developments in ICT. Today online booking systems, with their amenities to compare, search and purchase tourism products have transform the method the tourism sector accomplish its day–to-day business (Stone, 2013). The arrival of the internet has had a considerate effect on the travel & tourism sector and travel has turn into the single greatest category of products & services sold online. E-retailing is the advertising of travel and tourism products by electronic method over the internet. Presently travel is the utmost e-commerce category on the internet, representing around one third of entire online business. The sale of travel products is preferably matched to the online channel, given the survival of wide network of global travel suppliers (e.g. hotels, airlines and tour packages) and a vastly isolated customer pool. E-retailing also helps organizations to manage well with one of the travel & tourism key properties- the fact that the industries’ products are perishable (Ingram, 2002). Over recent years the gaining popularity of online travel booking companies or agencies among people has led to a speedy migration of travel bookings from conventional means to online channels such as E bookers, Lastminute.com etc.
The crowning glory of Trafalgar Square, London’s National Gallery is one of the beautiful galleries with a vast space filled with Western European paintings from the 13th to the 19th centuries (Tosun and Timothy, 2001). In this iconic gallery works by masters such as Van Gogh, da Vinci, Botticelli, Constable, Renoir, Titian and Stubbs can be found.
The major strength of the UK tourism industry is that the industry is taking initiatives for Green destination and is having good infrastructure. It is also maintaining a good cultural relationship with other different countries of the world (O'Connor, 2011). Industry is having weaknesses of lack of accessibility, isolated industry, poor customer services, dissatisfaction among customers, less variety of food.
Opportunities in front of the industry is branding & positioning of UK travel products, industry can gain many opportunities by strengthening its eco-tourism and developing its market. The industry must focus on introducing new travel & tourism products and services in the market. UK tourism sector is also facing threats like competition from other tourists’ destination & places, there is an indirect competition from other substitutes, and various political, social, economical and technological factors are also creating threats for the industry (Sherlock, 1999).
The UK travel and tourism industry is influencing the Government to discard the tourism tax proposals currently being considered by the Lyons Inquiry into local government. UK launches a probe into travel insurance and would consider new legislation if it uncovered miss-selling practices (Fynn, 2004). Airline that advertise attractive fares but add further charges once the customer has decided to buy might find they performing illegally under EU proposals. Holiday or flights bought online can prove to be costly for the consumer if the airline, tour operator or hotel collapses either before or during stay. The Air Travel Insolvency Protection Advisory Committee, a Government body that was put up to object air travelers, reports that many consumers are parting themselves open to financial risk because they incorrectly assume they are covered, either through the travel operator or by their insurance, against companies collapsing (Inskipp, 2008).
After analyzing the industry it can be said that the industry could do more to attract 20 million potential visitors .Visit Britain and the national registered charity tourism for all UK are working together to ensure that older people and those with sensory and mobility impairments, can enjoy the same holiday experiences as the rest of the population (Sharpley, 2006). Many numbers of travel consultants are opting to carry out their business from home and many of the leading travel organizations are competing to attract people to their firms. The industry persisting to come under attack for the environmental damage it causes. Corporate social responsibilities has increased the importance of travel companies in recent years and the leading companies like Thomas Cook Group, My Travel Group and First Choice Holidays has individuals whose sole responsibility is CSR (Dale and Oliver, 2005).
Technology has speedily become main weapons for every company in the travel & tourism industry, to remain ahead in the cut throat competition. The hotel industry looks keen to pursue the airline industry into the bunch exercise of online check-in with guest services becoming the significant competition for the sector. Many of the travelling firms are investing in relationship technology that could eventually lead to online check-in and even check-in through other media, including cell phones (Smith III., 2005). The industry is also using technology like “polymer electronic displays” where chips are inserted into plastic sheets so that information can be updated automatically. Dynamic packaging in tourism industry keeps on evolving and is determined by the consumer’s desire for choice and flexibility in travel arrangements (Swarbrooke and Horner, 2012).
Economic factors have their impact on individual company’s offerings and purchasing power of potential customers. UK economy is getting advantages from gradually low rate of inflation, in the country unemployment is low, job confidence is high and because of this confidence spending power is high of the consumer (Spilsbury, 2011). Predictions point to continuing GDP growth over the period averaging around 2.4 a year with real household disposable income rising at a somewhat faster rate. Exchange rates are flattering for UK residents for traveling abroad due to strong position of British Pound as compared to other foreign currencies and also it is stable against other currencies. The downturn is that disparities between the wealthier parts of the country and pockets of deprivation will get extensive with implications for travel demand. These are likely to impact the development of UK resident travel market (Fynn, 2004).
Thomas Cook is one the world’s largest travel service organization operating in different countries; it offers flight bookings, hotels and vacations together with mainstream and independent holiday options and also offering its services to about 24 million consumers. The company operates on its mission statement “to be the best travel company in the world to travel with, work for, and invest in.” company also implements its operation on basis of marketing strategy of improving performance in mainstream tour operating, making significant innovations in independent travel, travel related financial services and emerging markets and making overall revenue and profit (Tosun and Timothy, 2001). Its main competitors are American Express Company, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Inc. and TUI Travel PLC; these companies give a tough competition to Thomas Cook.
There are various factors that drive changes in the travel and tourism industry. Companies in the industry are making efforts to overcome the challenges and issues in the sector. Organizations are adopting strategies like mergers and acquisitions in order to increase the customer and profitability (Ayre, 2013). There are various issues also that impact the industry immensely such as terrorist attacks, pandemics and health panic and disaster like floods, cyclones, earthquake etc. All these issue has wrinkled the share of travel 7 tourism industry.
There are many trends which the travel and tourism industry has witnessed such as development and advancement of inns and motels (Buckingham, 2012). Many types of luxury hotels, resorts, casinos, club house etc have been established that are offering luxury and comfort to the customers. Not unexpectedly, given the huge advances in technological relevance for the travel & tourism sector – today consumer is constantly bunged into the World Wide Web. Because of online search tourists of all age’s groups are very well informed about the travel & tourism products and services. Online booking facilities is enabling the customers to book their staying and travelling tickets from any part of the world. Information about the hotels, resorts and their occupancy is available on their relevant websites (Mirbabayev and Shagazatova, 2013). Use of technology keep informed the customers about the travel and tourism products and services. Customers can design their tour and travelling packages as per their choices and willingness. Mobile technology has now furthered more people can able to book, research and review travel products between the journeys.
Organization in travel & tourism industry failing to respond to market changes can result in various consequences for the business. Booming tourism relies on creating a fundamental infrastructure such as visitor centers, roads and hotels, the cost of this falls on government so it has to come out of tax revenues (Inskipp, 2008). Jobs generated by tourism are frequently seasonal and poorly paid, yet tourism can push local property prices and cost of goods & services (Zehrer and Siller, 2007). Money raised by the tourism not always benefits the local community, as some of it leaks out to great international companies such as hotel chains. Tourist behavior can have a detrimental effect on the quality of life of the host community for example – drugs & alcohol problems, crowding and congestion. Failing to respond to market changes in the industry can lead to decline in sales of travel & tourism products, it will also affect their profitability, and profit margin of the industry will become low (Triantafillidou and et.al., 2010). Competitors will become strong and can give a strong competition to the company, there will be a decline in the rate of consumers also, and consumers will find products of other travel companies more interesting and innovative, hence they can shift on to another option. There can be a negative impact on the images of products & services. Rate of suppliers for the business will also become low as a result it will affect the supply chain management of the business (Williamson, 2003).
From the above study it can be concluded that travel & tourism industry is growing and expanding day by day. Every travel agency or organization makes effort to innovate and advance their travel products to ensure better services to customers all over the world. The companies in this industry use various tools and methods to promote their businesses and invest lot of money in attracting the customers (Harrison, 2006). There are certain issues and challenges which are need to be look out specially the terrorism issue which is exploiting the travel & tourism market immensely. Companies must respond to changes in the industry because if they fail to react to these changes definitely they can lose their profitability and sustainability (Louise, 2011). Lots of new companies are emerging in this sector by coming with different kinds of travel & tourism facilities to people, so the existing companies need to keep on adopting diverse kind of strategies to remain in the competition.