This is a tourist destinations assignment sample in which we discuss UK tourism industry and destinations of UK for tourists.
The UK is one of the most popular destinations in the world, attracting 32m overseas visitors every year. These visitors generate £19bn pa in export earnings for the UK economy (more than North Sea oil), of which £3.5bn goes straight to the Exchequer through Air Passenger Duty and VAT to help fund health, education and other public services. When domestic and day visits are included, the total tax income to the Treasury is estimated at around £15bn pa. In addition, British residents take around 70m overseas trips each year for business, leisure and to visit friends and relatives. As a consequence of being an international travel hub, the UK is the base for three of the top five international airlines, three of the world's largest tourism wholesalers and the premier global travel buyers’ convention (World Travel Market) is held in London each year (Vellas, 1999) and because travel and tourism is an integral component of modern life, the economic benefits associated with the industry are spread throughout the UK. Almost all regions receive more than £5bn per annum in tourism expenditure and employee over 100,000 people in tourism related jobs.
The above graph shows some famous travel destination in UK and the visitor count along with revenue they accounted for and employment generated.
The graph above shows monthly revenue generated due to the inflow of tourism in the UK (Fyall, 2009).
The UK has the fifth largest tourism industry in the world. It is a major component of the UK economy generating £114bn per annum and supporting 2.65m jobs. It includes travel undertaken for leisure, for business and to visit friends and relatives and comprises some 200,000 enterprises – 80% of which are SMEs. Total revenue from tourists to UK in 2011 was 110 bn pounds per annum and it rose to 125 bn pounds per annum in 2012. The number of visitors traveling to UK is segregated in the graph below.
United Kingdom basically consists of four major countries that ought to be visited (Ritchie, 1994). These four countries are: -
- England or Britain–England is one of the biggest countries located in the United Kingdom. It has over 600 miles of coastline and is home to seven of the UNESCO’S world heritage sites. These include Hadrian's Wall in the North East, Stonehenge in the South West of England, Canterbury Cathedral on the South East of England and the Tower of London and Maritime Greenwich in central London. Other activities one can indulge in England include visits to safari’s, shopping, sports, savoring mouthwatering delicacies etc. The UK tourism report shows that total inbound revenue of 8000 Million Pounds in 2012 is the highest for London, England amongst all the countries of UK. In terms of Visitor number it’s the second highest with close to 5000 Million visitors.
- Northern Ireland – Northern Ireland is the smallest country in UK and is known for its breathtaking mountains and majestic valleys. One can easily see the entire country in some 4-5 days by camping at one base camp in the central part of Ireland. The major attraction of Northern Ireland is the Causeway Coast which is home to some of the country's most popular tourist attractions, the Giant's Causeway and the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. The UK travel and tourism report shows that total inbound revenue generated in year 2012 is close to 2000 Million Pounds and in terms of visitor number it’s at 1000 million visitors.
- Scotland –Scotland is a diverse country with close to 800 small and big islands most of which are uninhabited. Scotland is home to some of the most beautiful landscapes, coastlines and breathtaking lochs. Scotland has given some of the best painters and writers to the world. It is a great cultural heritage sight. According to the UK tourism report of 2012 total inbound revenue is close to 4000 Million Pounds and visitor number is close to 2000 Million.
- Wales – A small country bordered by England on the east is known for its natural beauty and majestic landscapes. Total country is spread in an area of 150 sq kms and is home to 3 national parks, old roman forts, castles and sights linked to King Arthur and Merlin the magician.
The statistics of tourist in flow and nights booked and annual spend at places in United Kingdom is given below: -
According to the Table given above, it goes to show that out of all the countries visited in the United Kingdom, England tops the list with the most number of visitors. Also Nights sold out in England are also high with the spending in million pounds also the highest in England. This can be attributed to the fact that England being diverse and a big country with lots of destinations worth visiting is flocked by the highest number of tourists. Also Northern Ireland is a small country and people tend to stay there only for a short period of time and travel during the day to nearby places. The future trends mainly show the growing influx of tourism towards England owing to a large presence of tourist destinations, shopping arcades etc. The total inflow of tourists is directly proportional to night’s expenditure and spends on other activities. It also shows that some people did book some nights in the UK but then haven’t stayed there due to some other emergency and they are referred to as Nil Nights. They have been subtracted from the total revenue and night’s calculation respectively. It goes to show that the average spend per night in UK is close to 580 pounds and a person coming from outside tends to spend close to 7.6 nights in UK (Cockerell, 1990).
The worldwide tourist destination selected is Paris which is the capital city of France. Paris is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe with close to 8.58 Million visitors visiting it annually. People from United States account for the highest number of visitors to the city of Paris. Paris is also one of the most populous cities of France and is known for its architectural marvels. Years of cultural and political development have led to the creation of many monuments and landscapes worth seeing. Since ancient time France has been the center point of all political and cultural events. Be it the French Revolution or the fashion week Paris has always been in the news. Paris also has one of the highest GDP’s in the world estimated to be at $845 Billion. Due to the presence of all the major business, scientific and cultural hubs it’s one of the most widely visited tourist destinations worldwide.
- Cultural Features–Paris is considered to be the origin of various cultural attractions such as Louvre, Musée Picasso, Musée du Montparnasse and Musée National d'Art Moderne. Apart from these, Paris is also known for its cultural and historical monuments. Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame de Paris, Arc De Triumphe are some of the monuments of cultural and architectural importance. Paris museums and monuments are amongst the major treasures of Paris as they contain some of the world’s famous paintings like the Mona Lisa and Venus De Melo statue (Hiemstra, 2002).
- Social Features – Paris has been the international hub of fashion and design since a long time. Paris is the home of Haute Couture and has set the latest trends in fashion in the world. Fashion industry in Paris remain the second largest industry in France with home to famous fashion brands such as Chanel, Dior, Gvenchy, louis Vitton etc. Perfumes and cosmetics are also associated with the fashion industry and have been associated with Paris ever since. Paris is also known for giving the world some of the finest designers.
- Physical Features–France is the fifth largest country in Europe by area. The capital city of France is one of the most populated city in Europe. Paris is home to the finest architectural monuments such as the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triumphe etc. The people here dress pretty casually but at some upscale functions you are required to dress pretty formally. The weather in Paris is pleasant all the year round and extremely cold in Jan – March. Paris is also known for its Football team, Paris St. Germaine that has competed in European level tournaments and is one of the richest football clubs in the world.
One of the leading tourist’s destinations in the world, Paris when compared to a tourist destination in a developing country such as India stands out in the following manner: -
- Cultural Features – India is a land of diverse cultures and ethnic backgrounds. India probably has the most diverse cultural presence in the world and when compared to Paris. India is culturally rich in terms of the flora and fauna presence. India is the seventh largest country in the world in terms of area and home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World. India was ruled by Kings in ancient times and it’s because of that it houses different architectural monuments. A few noteworthy monuments are the Taj Mahal, Red fort which make tourists from all over the world come and visit India.
- Social Features – People in India are from diverse social backgrounds and it’s the second most populated country in the world after China. India socially is the land of numerous festivals and they are celebrated all throughout the country with the same enthusiasm as in their home states. India is physically divided by 29 states but people here stand united and help each other in times when calamities have struck. People living in small establishments come together to celebrate the festivals be it north, south, east or west. India has a strong presence in the industrial sector and is the highest contributor in terms of revenue to the travel tourism services sector.
- Physical Features –With respect to physical presence India is home to many architectural marvels such as the Qutab Minar, Taj Mahal, Red Fort, Charminar etc. All these architectural monuments are the gift of the diverse cultures that are present in India. India on the north is surrounded by the mighty Himalayas which are the highest mountain range in the world. It’s surrounded by sea from three sides and is an important port for ships going to the South of the Asian sub-continent.
Now to compare the features described above to the features of the leading tourist destination in the world United States of America: -
- Cultural Features – United States of America is considered to be a country with varied cultural factions. Eastern and western coast differ in their cultures from the northern and southern regions. United States is home to people from different cultural backgrounds. People in Texas mostly own ranches and are into business. California is mostly inhabited by service class people. Ney York again home to both business men and service class people. It’s the home of Hollywood, the English movie Industry.
- Social Features – United States has been the international hub of the financial sector with the major investment banks based out of the Wall Street Area of United States. It’s also home to the second largest automobile hub after Germany in the city of Detroit.
- Physical Features–United States is home to many fine architectural monuments be it the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building. The world’s largest fall, Niagara Falls is also located in the United States. The annual revenue from tourism for the United States is close to $8.9 Billion. It’s also home to some of the world’s finest Management and Engineering Universities are every year United States sees a large influx of students as well as service professionals. It’s one of the major super powers in the world today. It’s also home to the United Nations the international body of peace and justice. Its headquarters are based out of Washington D.C.
The factors that influence the decision of selecting one tourist destination over the other and make the destination appealing are: -
- The Destination
- The Ability of the Customer to access the destination
- Cultural appeal of the destination
- Features of the destination
One of the leading tourist destinations that will be evaluated will be the United States of America. It will be compared to the appeal of tourist destinations in a developing country of India.
India as a tourist destination is appealing to foreign tourists because of its rich cultural heritage and it’s past. India scores over the United States of America because of its cultural significance and cultural appeal. India has a rich cultural heritage due to it being ruled by rulers in the past. They have constructed huge architectural monuments and palaces that have become famous heritage sites and tourists from all over the world visit India to visit these sites.
United States of America as a tourist destination scores over India in terms of the Ability of the customer to access the destination. Some places in India are difficult to access due to insufficient connectivity. When we evaluate the connectivity of places in the United States of America they have a superior transportation network which ensured good connectivity to far off places also. Tourists who travel from far off places and have less time to see places they prefer proper connectivity between places and if that’s not there they prefer not visiting the destination again due to the hardships they faced previously.
India as tourist destinations scores almost equal to the United States of America as both have monuments of historical importance, places that are one of its kind which are worth seeing and also cuisines that tourists can try. India in fact has a variety of cuisines that one can taste and relish due to varied culture and ethnic groups that stay in different parts of India. Punjab is famous for Punjabi cuisine, Kashmir is famous for Kashmiri delicacies, Gujarat is famous for Guajarati cuisine, Chennai is famous for south Indian cuisine and Hyderabad is famous for biryani etc. Even people from the States and other countries come visit the food festivals in India that happen every year.
Lastly in terms of the features of the destination The United States scores over India as there are numerous activities and places to visit that are accessible. Considering these factors United States of America is a more appealing destination as compared to India.
Tourism can bring many economic, cultural and social benefits, especially in developing countries. At the same time it can also have negative effects that can affect our economy and environment. There have been a lots of arguments about whether tourism is beneficial or harmful to the environment and still no one has been able to conclude whether it’s beneficial or not.
Tourism gives rise to employment where in people can be employed in transportation and other activities. At the same time tourism industry can provide employment to people directly at tourist destinations as guides etc. Tourism can also provide employment to people in the retail sector. The tourism industry in turn provides opportunities for small business enterprises, which are especially of great importance to the rural communities as it generates extra tax revenues, such as airport and hotel taxes, which can be used for building schools, houses and hospitals and help to provide a basic infrastructure for the economy in terms of roads, bridges etc. Tourism generally generates employment in a seasonal manner but in the long run it tends to generate additional infrastructure and facilities which people can enjoy over a long period of time. Tourism industry tends to increase the international competitiveness as they tend to be infused with capital and tourists visiting the countries can also lead to increase in revenue generation. Tourism also leads to increase in the quality and skill set of the local population thereby making them more skillful for further employment opportunities. The infusion of additional capital and additional funds leads to long term sustainability of the economy.
Destinations that are dependent on tourism such as destination having a huge coastline or destinations near disturbed areas, can be affected by events such as natural disasters, calamities and economic recession. Also behavior of tourists who visit the country for memories tend to degrade the environment by littering and polluting the environment. Tourists tend to bring drugs and other pollutants that when consumed pollute the environment. Tourism also gives rise to crimes such as human trafficking, smuggling, prostitution etc. These activities tend to mislead the youth that ultimately lead to the degradation of the economy of the host country.
On the other hand Tourism helps to protect the wildlife and other natural resources such as rain forests, wild animals and other historical and heritage sites, as these are now regarded as tourism assets. In developing countries like India, tourism helps to create other sources of employment and reduce problems such as deforestation etc. but it also can be a threat to natural and cultural resources such as it also causes increased pollution through traffic jams, littering, increased sewage usage and noise.
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Major issues that affect the popularity of a tourist destination are: -
- Natural Disasters: - The tourists tend to get affected a lot if any natural disaster occurs at a particular location. After the September 11 attacks in 2001 in the United States the inbound tourism fell to an all-time low because of health and safety concerns. United States GDP and revenue streams got affected due to reduction in tourist inflow because of this terrorist activity. When the Tsunami occurred in Bali and Indonesia destroying all vegetation and habitat the tourist inflow to that island dropped to zero. It took total 3 years for Bali to come up again as a tourist hot spot. Mumbai, the financial capital of India was attacked in Nov by terrorists. They laid siege at the Taj Hotel where many tourists were staying. Many people lost their lives that time. The inflow of tourists to Mumbai also hit an all-time low after that event even though it bounced back in 3 months.
- Gas / Petrol Prices – Due to the increase in Petrol and diesel prices all over the world, travel has become costlier. People prefer to stay home and roam using public transport. This has led to fall in tourists visiting places as connectivity and tickets availability is an issue.
- Pollution – Due to increase in the levels of pollution at these tourist destinations has affected the flow of tourists to those places. Tourists prefer cleaner environments to spend their holiday and they tend to cancel those plans considering the pollution levels of the destination. Some beach destinations that are hot spots for deep sea diving and snorkeling almost lose their entire tourism when the water gets polluted. Governments at these places tend to have strict regulations with respect to water pollution and recycling of polluted water (Mihali?, 2000).
- Economy and Financial Viability – Due to recession people in some countries lose their jobs and at times face salary cut. This tends to disturb their financial planning and it surely has an effect on the planning of holidays etc. People who have lost their jobs they definitely tend to push their travel plans forward in order to plan for contingency financial liabilities. This affects the tourist’s inflow at the holiday destination and revenues fall (Chhabra, 2002).
- Weather – Sometimes weather also plays spoilsport and disturbs travel plans of tourists. If there is heavy snow that is predicted one surely wont plan a trip to the hills as they are sure to get stuck and that will certainly ruin the travel plans.
Thus the important factors that affect the tourist inflow to destinations should be kept in mind before planning the travel plans.
Responsible Tourism is about taking responsibility individually and collectively for sustainable, economic, social and environmental development of the economy. Responsible Tourism is also about taking individual responsibility for implementing activities that lead to sustainable development (Beddoe, 2004). Certain steps towards sustainable development should also be taken by corporate houses to promote tourism. Responsible tourism is all about taking ownership of one’s own actions to contribute to the environment be it by providing services in the form of donations or simple ensuring cleanliness around. The travel and Tourism sector should first of all focus on environmental development and then move to other areas for development.
Responsible tourism has the following characteristics
- Reduces negative impacts on the environment and economy;
- Responsible tourism increases revenue for the community that gets directly impacted by the same and in turn it leads to the development of individuals from that community;
- Local people from the destination place are involved in making decisions to promote tourism thereby giving them a sense of ownership;
- Responsible tourism can be promoted by making positive contributions to the conservation of environment and places of cultural heritage so as to maintain their diversity and preserve the site.
- Responsible tourism helps to promote local connections with the communities and bridge cultural gaps as tourists tend to get that sense of hospitality and closeness and they enjoy interacting with people from different cultural backgrounds;
- Responsible tourism is culturally sensitive and helps to bridge gender divide as both men and women can equally contribute to the same. Also a cordial, co-operative and pleasant experience of the tourists helps to channelize the resources for all around development.
There are different reasons to involve the private sector in responsible tourism activities. Originally the agenda for responsible tourism was cost saving but these days Responsible Tourism Agenda is driven by a much wider range of factors: -
- Marketing and Public Relations activities
- Cost savings by efficiently utilizing resources
- Self Interest in promoting own destinations
- Motivating the workforce and staff
- Acting Responsibly towards the community
- Fulfilling Customer expectations
With the passage of time various tour operators and accommodation providers are making a constant effort to reduce poverty and develop the economy by the sales proceeds and revenue from tourism activities. Some people donate a part of their earnings for the same and in some cases they even ask the tourists to donate religiously at the places they visit. With time the businesses are adapting and constantly improving the way they do business so as to increase the impact of economic development locally as well the tourists after donating at one religious place are compelled to donate at other places also may be because of the hospitality of the people or through encouragement or instigation.
The tourism industry is constantly evolving. A number of trends are driving this change. Tourists are demanding that the holidays that they are taking should be more engaging with respect to the destinations they visit and the communities that are a part of the destinations being visited leading to better planning and an enriching customer experience. These changing trends tend to promote relations with local communities and provide more opportunities for economic development through increased contact and activities during the tourist visit. Tourism is no longer limited to just adventure and relaxation. Many people are constantly registering for medical and health tourism to countries like India etc. Some people who are top executives from business houses undertake business trips frequently to other countries for business expansion. All this comes under business tourism. Tourism is no longer limited and has spread its arms worldwide. People are also exploring space tourism though it’s still a niche area and waiting to be explored. A couple of people are engaging themselves in baby tourism where people tend to send their kids on trips with friends by engaging tour operators in order to provide them exposure as well as sometimes to spend time with their wives. This is mainly in cases where the couples is working and seldom get time to spend with each other due to their hectic schedules and excessive traveling.