The Travel and Tourism industry had seen several advancements in the recent times and it had several positive developments in this regard. Many places across the globe had seen and had taken several ardent strides for its development. However, with this development there had been several concerns and issue as well that had been encountered by this industry. As part of this UK College Contemporary Issues in Travel and Tourism Assignment, the various issues as well as the current trends will be discussed as part of the learning objectives.
LO1 Understand the current issues in the travel and tourism sector
Travel and Tourism is a growing industry and in a lucrative one as well. There are several issues which are related to the Travel and Tourism sector. As part of this Task, the various issues will be analysed that drives several changes in this sector and various methods and resource analysis will be done to address the issues.
1.1 Analyse the different current issues using appropriate methods and resources
The current issues can be highlighted in the context of a specific country for e.g. In India there are several issues which are being encountered on varied fronts.
Issues faced by Tourism and Travel industry in India:
In spite of having a great potential, Indian tourism industry has been facing the following issues (terrorism and violence have been discussed here):
- Inadequate infrastructure: It includes improper availability of airlines capacity, accessibility to tourist destinations, trained manpower in sufficient number to handle the foreigners and un-availability of proper accommodation at the tourist destinations.
- Pollution: Air emissions, noise, solid waste and littering, sewage, oil and chemicals levels are on higher side in India.
- Solid waste dumping: Most of the tourist areas are experiencing high problem of waste disposal and improper disposal is a major despoiler of the natural environment – rivers, scenic areas, and roadsides. In most of the mountain areas in the Himalayas a large amount of waste is accumulated mostly thrown by tourists. Tourists on expedition leave behind their garbage, oxygen cylinders and even camping equipment. Such practices degrade the environment particularly in remote areas due to few garbage collection or disposal facilities. (www.gdrc.org/uem/eco-tour/envi/index.html).
- Improper Sewage system:Unplanned construction of hotels, recreation and other facilities are leading to increased sewage pollution in major cities in India. And sewage pollution can threaten the health of humans.
- Poor visitor experience: Poor visitor experience can be attributed to inadequate infrastructural facilities, poor hygienic conditions and incidents of touting and harassment of tourists in some places.
- Terrorism and violence issues: The more significant of the threats to the Indian tourism industry is terrorism and safety & security of the foreign tourists in India. Increase tension and hostility is negatively impacting the mood and enthusiasm of the foreign visitors. During the last few years tourists have witnessed good amount of violence and killings in some part of the country.
Discriminating social and economic behaviour is another factor which impacts negatively to the tourism sentiments.
These factors are deterrent to the tourist’s sentiment in India. Due to the above issues combined with many others foreign tourist inflow is not showing significant improvement as compared to other developing Asian nations.
LO2 Understand current trends in the travel and tourism sector
There are several changes which are taking place in the Travel and Tourism Sector that are having several impacts on the sector. As part of this task, the various current trends that affect the sector will be analysed along with the various methods and techniques that would be used for this current trends will be discussed in details.
2.1 Evaluate current trends in influencing change in the travel and tourism sector
Tourism in India is expected to expand greatly in future mainly due to launch of new products and brands and re-invent traditional markets which used to be the core strength of ancient India.
Globally, people are increasingly mentally disturbed as lives are becoming more and more stressful and competitive and they are looking for solace in spiritual reading, meditation and moments of divine ecstasy. India has been known as the seat of spiritualism and India’s cosmopolitan nature is best reflected in its pilgrim centres. Religion is the life-blood for followers of major religion and sects like Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism and Christianity have lived in this country for centuries. The visible outpouring of religious fervour is witnessed in the architecturally lavish temples, mosques, monasteries and Churches spreads across the length and breadth of the country. India is not only known as a place rich in its culture with varied attractions but also for many places of worship, present itself as embodiments of compassion where one get peace of mind. Moreover, due to the secularity branding of the country, it attracts people from all over the world irrespective of religions.
- Adventure Tourism
Youth tourism has been identified as one of the largest segments of global and domestic tourism. The young travellers are primarily experience seekers, collecting, enquiring unique experiences. Adventure and risk have a special role to play in the behaviour and attitudes of young travellers. The growing number of young travellers is being fuelled by a number of factors such as increased participation in higher education, falling level of youth unemployment, increased travel budget through parental contribution, search for an even more exciting and unique experience and cheaper long distance travel.
- Health Tourism
In the recent past, India is encouraging the high tech curing that is offered mainly by its health care players in the private sector as tourist fascination. World-Class medical treatments are now being offered at very low cost giving rise to increasing business for medical tourism. The visibility in the overseas markets is gradually getting a boost. Indian medicine fraternity includes the following:
(iii) Naturopathy and
(iv) Few other traditional curative treatments.
These traditional medical know-hows are now getting bundled with modern allopathic and other contemporary methods. This has become a new focus sector in India. The medical tourism provides low cost treatment. One from the western world will be surprised how the same treatment in the Western World can cost many times compared to the same in India. State Governments in India have been projecting their medical tourism segments. Developing countries like the Gulf and African countries are main focus regions. This section of the tourism industry is gradually finding its way into the developed countries.
- MICE tourism
The meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) industry is extensively and rapidly growing in India due to the growth and expansion of the metro cities and is largely associated with travel for business purpose. MICE related events include meetings, conferences, conventions, exhibitions and incentive travels. Each of these different subsections of MICE has quite different characteristics although the industry is often referred to as ‘MICE’. Increasingly convention bureaus serve the needs of meetings, incentives and exhibitions organizers and service providers supply each of the sectors. As the Indian economy is opening up and government restrictions are loosening, the main cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Delhi and Kolkata are assuming importance as major centres of business activity in the country. The days of red- tape always associated with Indian business activity is a thing of the past and corporate India has moved towards more western standards of professionalism. Since the liberalization of the Indian economy, MICE tourism is becoming a growing segment in India as a symbol of its prosperity. More and more business people have been coming to India for business purpose and adding business with pleasure in their India tour and this trend is to go up in coming future.
- Nature Tourism
In search of new tourism platforms, suppliers and even travellers today are seeking to reshape the meaning of nature as another tourism attraction. The nature based tourism, its attractiveness so that the visitors experience it in its natural settings is a major crowd gatherer. Eco-tourism takes into account unspoiled natural flora and fauna and some socio-cultural attractions. Today the term nature tourism is often used synonymously with eco-tourism. And now nature tourism is the fastest growing segment of the tourism sector. It comprises around 40- 60% of all international tourists that come to India every year.
- Rural Tourism
It is said that most people in rural sector in India live in villages and therefore rural tourism has been identified as one of the priority areas for development of Indian tourism. Rural tourism experience should be attractive to the tourists and sustainable for the host community. The five years’ plan also identified the following basic objectives of rural tourism which are: –
- Improve the quality of life of rural people
- Provide good experience to the tourist
- Maintain the quality of environment.
Indian villages have the potential for tourism development (Addison, 2000). With attractive and unique traditional way of life, rich culture, nature, crafts, folk-lore and livelihood of Indian villages are a promising destination for the tourist. It also provides tourism facilities in terms of accessibility, accommodation, sanitation and security. In addition to this it’s very inexpensive as compared to the other forms of tourisms.
2.2 Analyse a current trend using appropriate techniques and resources
- Medical Tourism
In the recent past, India is promoting the high-tech healing provided mainly by its private health care sector as a tourist attraction. This rapidly increasing trade in medical tourism, selling foreigners the idea of travelling to India for world-class medical treatment at lowest cost, has really got attention in the overseas market. The Indian system of medicine, which incorporates Ayurveda, yoga, sidha, unani, naturopathy and other traditional healing treatments, is very unique and exotic. This medical expertise coupled with allopathic and other modern methods have become the new focus segment to project India as a Global Healing Destination. The medical tourism provides low cost treatment. Perhaps one from the western world will wonder that the cost of same treatment in the US is ten times more than that in India. Many state governments like Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Uttaranchal, and Karnataka have been showcasing their medical tourism segment in certain focused market like the Gulf and African regions. This section of the tourism industry is gradually finding its way into the developed countries as well.
India has a rich heritage in the areas of traditional and natural medicines dating back to the time of the Vedas (more ancient India). India is the regarded as the land of Ayurveda. The concept is in removing the cause of illness and not just curing the disease itself. It is based on herbals and herbal components without having side effects. The super-specialty hospitals employ efficient and expert doctors and other paramedical staffs with modern facilities. The experienced doctors, dedicated service minded experts have made available their services for giving alternative system of medicines and treatments to those who are going for it. Health camps, lecture training classes are also arranged for general awareness. Yoga Sana (one form of exercise) has become popular and widespread and many public and private and other organizations conduct Yoga classes. Ayurveda, naturopathy and nature treatments are popular around the world. Kerala is a world tourist destination and part of the reasons lies with the well- known stress-releasing therapies of famed Ayurvedic research centres. The climate along with the blessing of nature has turned Kerala into the ideal place for ayurvedic, curative and rejuvenating treatments. Kerala is being branded as God’s own land.
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If Ayurveda is known as the science of body, yoga is best known as the science of the mind. If practiced together they can go a long way in making an individual fit in all respect. The word yoga means to join together. The ultimate aim of yoga is to unite the human soul with the universal spirit. Yoga was developed 5000 years ago and the base of yoga is described in the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali. This describes eight stages of yoga. Today, yoga has become popular in India and abroad and in a number of places including urban and rural areas yoga is taught and practiced. India has successfully produced a lot of Yoga trainers who are now also going abroad to take sessions for natural wellbeing of the human beings.
Most of the other parts of the world have their own therapies and treatment that are no doubt effective in restoring wellness and beauty. New kinds of health tours that are gaining popularity in India are spa tours. Spas offer varieties of products and services at affordable prices. Spas offer the unique advantages of taking the best from the west and the east combining them with the indigenous system and offering best of the two worlds. Combining these therapies with meditation, yoga and pranayama make the spa experience in India a new destination for medical tourism.
India has made rapid strides in advanced principles of health care systems, which provides world-class allopathy treatments. One of the reasons this has developed is because of the emergence of private sector and growing per capita incomes. More and more foreign tourists are realizing that India is an ideal place for stopover treatment as they are finding it value for money and quality. Indian Multi-specialty hospitals are providing world class treatment at an amazingly economical cost as compared to the west. Quality services and low price factor primarily go in favour of India when compared with the western world. The cardio care, bone marrow transplantation, neuron–surgery, joint replacement surgery, urology, dialysis, kidney transplant, osteoporosis and numerous diseases are treated at Indian hospitals with full professional expertise.
Thus, the other established traditional destinations founded on sun-sea-sand products will have to re-engineer and re-invent their products. They must improve and improvise on the criteria for destinations and qualities of their traditional offers. Alongside beach tourism, the other tourism sector will register a steady development of new products based on natural rural business, leisure and art and culture.