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EDEXCEL Travel and Tourism Management
Unit Number and Title
Unit 9 Tourist Destinations
For any economy, travel and tourism is considered to be one of the important pillars of economies of various developing as well as developed countries. It is important to understand that what exactly tourism means. Activities such as travel or visiting some new place for purpose of recreation, profession or any other casual reason can be defined as tourism. There are two types of tourism, one which is at global level and another one is at domestic level. For any region or country which has dominant tourism industry, both types of tourism industry has important role to play in the development of economy. In 2010-2011 tourism industry at global level generated revenue of more than $1.1 trillion (Vanhove, 2011). Today there are various countries which are considered to be one of the best tourism destinations, among which United Kingdom is one of the most visited places and is famous for its various tourist destination.
Purpose of this task is to analyse the position of UK as one of the important tourism destination, and how it is playing an important role in the generation of revenue from visitors coming from other countries as well as domestic tourists. During the course of this task, various statistics related to the UK tourism scenario will also be discussed. Towards end of this task a decision maker of a taken tourism organisation should be capable of identifying various major challenges which are generally faced by a tourist destination and how further changes and improvement can implemented in order to enable growth of a tourist destination.
Tourism of any popular tourism destination can be segregated either as international tourism or domestic tourism. Similar is the case with UK as tourism destination. Under international tourism either UK citizens visit other country, or there are incoming visitors who visit UK from various other countries (Haugland, 2011, pp.268-290). Whereas on other hand domestic tourism majorly focused on the overnight or day trips made by people of UK within their region or country itself. Quite often people undermine the important of domestic tourism, but based on the data available this is not true as domestic tourism is also an important aspect of the domestic tourism in UK; this is revealed by fact that in 2009-2010 day tourism alone generated approximately half of the total revenue generated by the entire tourism sector in UK including both domestic as well as international tourism. Tourism industry has become even more important in an era after global recession and euro zone crisis post 2008, as it has become one of the biggest sector responsible for creation of job in UK.
Based on the reports by tourism agencies at global level such as UNWTO and UNESCO tourism economy by 2015 will touch expected revenue of more than 150 billion GBP, and by 2020 it is expected that UK’s tourism industry will cross the revenue mark of 200 billion GBP while creating more than 5 million jobs in this entire process of tourism development. It has been estimated that spend by incoming foreign visitors has displayed an increasing trend as the expenditure has been increasing 5% year on year. This is a healthy indicator for UK as a tourism destination. International tourism in UK is solely responsible for generation of more than 15 billion GBP from 2011-2012, and it is expected that by 2020 this revenue will become two times and will touch a figure of 35-40 billion GBP. (Cuccia& Rizzo, 2011, pp.589-595).
Increase in the inbound tourism or international tourism can be further analysed on the basis of below mentioned table. It clearly indicates that from 24.715 million visitors coming from other countries of world in 2003, it has now reached to 32.813 million visitors in 2013. Another important observation is related to average spend per visit and average nights per visit. From 475 GBP as an average spend per visit in 2003; the figure has almost increased 1.5 times to 640 GBP in 2013. This indicates the fact that how inbound tourism in UK within a decade has become one of the most important source of revenue generator (Barros et al,2011).
If we discuss about the countries from where UK receives the most number of incoming tourists, then United States, Germany and France are three top most countries in this regard. People from these three countries visit UK for business, holidays or recreational purpose. France constitutes for more 11-12% of the inbound visitors, where countries like United States and Germany constitutes for more than 20% visitors to United Kingdom.
For a decision maker in a tourism organisation it is essential to focus on various trends in travel and tourism industry, today there are various countries such as China, USA, Australia, India, etc. which are responsible for generation of major amount of international tourism revenue. However it is not necessary that in all the countries there is significant tourism activity going on, there are various countries where international tourism has shown decline over past few years, countries like Japan, Spain, and Austria etc. are some of these countries. That is why for a decision maker in a tourism organisation it is essential to concentrate on tourism destination which has either potential to be developed or is already popular on tourism circuit, so that accordingly the business strategy of tourism organisation can be made (Morrison, 2013).
Main income generator form above mentioned table can be said are the inbound tourist who visit from different countries. These tourists, when they visit a country like UK go across different tourist destination such as museums, ancient monuments, heritage destinations, theme parks etc. Thus in this process they spend money on various aspects such as:
Income generator in UK tourism can also be understood by below mentioned source of revenues:
Figure 1: Tourism Satellite Accounts 2011, Office for National Statistics, 2013
Above pie-chart clearly indicates that how day visitors in UK are major contribution to tourism based revenue generation with spend of more than 54 billion GB. Government alone earns more than 3.0 billion GBP from air passenger duty itself, and 21.4 billion GBP through value added tax (VAT).
Overall expenditure by the both domestic as well international tourists on various services has been displayed in below table:
Figure 2: Source: Tourism Satellite Accounts 2011, Office for National Statistics, 2013
Hence in this way, these inbound tourists spend money on various tourism services they use, resulting into generation of income for the local economy. It also brings foreign currency in the country, which further boosts the foreign exchange reserve of the company.
Based on the data available following is the critical information which needs to be considered
Based on above data, it can be said that for any tourism based organisations, it is important to chalk a well-structured plan so that varying requirements of the tourists can be handled accordingly.
Based on the reports from UNWTO and other international tourism agencies, UK has been ranked as one of the most popular tourism destination in world, this can be understood by the fact that of the total tourism share UK alone constitutes for more than 3-4% of total share.
This can be further understood by table given below which indicates the position of various countries in terms of international tourists arrival over last 10 years.
Figure3: Number of tourists who arrived in 2012 in UK
Above table clearly indicates that UK is among the top 10 countries for international tourism. Tourism industry within UK has several aspects linked with it. Such as:
Social Aspect: Tourism industry is seen as a one major contributor in bringing social equality in United Kingdom. This industry in 2010-2011 created or supported more than 3.5 million jobs or works, and this trend has displayed an increasing trend at an annual rate of 4%. It can be said that due to tourism industry many homes in UK are running as it provides them with their livelihood, and brings stability to overall society (Kozak&Baloglu, 2010).
Cultural Aspect: One major impact of tourism is related to the cultural aspect. Tourism whether domestic or international, has resulted into various cultural level changes. This can be further understood by the fact that in 2012-2013 more than 60 million UK citizens went for trips which was more than one night stay. In this process they spent more than 10 billion GBP. This indicates the willingness of people to explore the cultural and heritage value of their own country, and their willingness to explore new regions. International tourism on other hand has resulted into amalgamation of culture of different countries with that of UK. People from various countries visit UK, which leads to cross-cultural interaction, and enrichment of overall culture of the tourism destination. Ancient tourism destinations such as Bath City or castles of Scotland are some of the example where a visitor can understand the past of the human society evolution, which is essential for understanding the importance of cultural harmony in the society. In this entire process of tourism there are several beneficiaries such as medium and small businesses, tour operators etc. Revenue generated by tourism activities ultimately goes into the society itself, and through tax etc. government also significant amount of revenue to support it other initiatives. Focus on tourism activities has ensured that there is proper conservation and preservation of the ancient heritage destinations, which would not have been possible if tourism activity would not have been promoted. That is why there should always be a continuous focus on promoting cultural and heritage tourism, as it has an overall impact on society, economy and various other aspects related to the growth of the region.
Physical Aspect: As a country UK is one such country which is lucky or blessed with varying types of geographies as well as tourism resources. Below map indicates the overall division of UK in 4-5 important regions which are popular for its tourism activities. These regions are Scotland, Ireland, Wales, England, and London (Choi et al, 2011).
As discussed in one of the table above, among all the international tourist destinations, UK was ranked at 8th position in 2012. Prior to 2012 rank of UK was 6th, and UK lost its position to other upcoming tourism destinations such as Hong Kong, Germany etc. It is important to understand that there is stiff competition in the tourism market. Other developing countries such as India, Brazil, and Thailand etc. are giving tough competition to UK as next international tourism destination. Core platform on which entire UK tourism is based on its ancient culture, heritage tourism resources. Even though contemporary tourism does plays an important role but cultural and heritage tourism remains to be one of the corner stone of the tourism industry of UK.
As compared to other countries such as Thailand, India or Brazil, there is subtle difference in tourism activities. For example Brazil is majorly popular for its beaches and fun element, India is mix of both contemporary as well as heritage tourism. UK has one major advantage over other countries in terms of government support for development of infrastructure. UK government and tourism agencies understand that in order to support the tourism industry there needs to be world class infrastructure built, in order to attract more visitors. However in case of other countries, especially developing countries government at times fail to focus on the infrastructure, ultimately impacting the overall growth of tourism (Laws et al,2011). Political stability is also one major advantage UK has over other countries. Over last many decades, UK has not seen any kind of political unrest except few like riots in London in 2012 etc. However overall image of UK is peaceful and stable in eyes of the international visitors making it an attractive destination, whereas countries like India, Egypt, Thailand often see various kind of political unrest frequently which leads to violence in public, and impacting the tourism industry. Overall it can be said that among all the countries at global level, UK is considered to be one of the safest country to visit, especially when compared to developing countries. In order to continue its growth UK needs to maintain its focus on the strengthening of overall infrastructure and policies constantly.
Social features:There is vast difference in social features of tourism destination in leading tourism destinations such as United States and UK, as compared to developing country such as India, Nepal etc. Society in developing nation is far more poor than developed tourism destination, which presents a picture of inequality, also many developing countries are not open enough to accept the culture of the tourists coming from other developed countries resulting into conflicts at time.
Cultural features:Developing tourism destination to large extent are popular for preserving their ancient culture even in modern era, that is what becomes one of the major USP for people visiting the place from other countries. However at times due to cultural differences between developed and developing countries there are often instances of cultural conflicts, which is not good for the overall growth of tourism industry in the developing countries.
Physical features: Developing nations like Nepal, India, Sri Lanka etc. are highly populated countries. That is why, there is constant struggle to preserve the heritage tourism resources. Also due to increasing population there has always been pressure on the natural environment of such countries. Thus major tourism resources are based on the ancient heritage and cultural monuments which the tourists visit most of the time.
Overall it can be said that today, travel and tourism is one such sector which has grown by leaps and bounds over last few decades, however with this growth there are several issues also which have come up over a period of time. Hence it is important for the tourism agencies to ensure that proper attention should be given towards a balanced approach of tourism development of the tourist destination, which should be inclusive in nature. If this is done then only it can be assured that in coming future, tourism appeal of a destination can be maintained. Else in name of tourism, tourist destination will be exploited through rampant commercialisation.
Barros, C. P., Botti, L., Peypoch, N., Robinot, E., &Solonandrasana, B. (2011). Performance of French destinations: Tourism attraction perspectives. Tourism Management, 32(1), 141-146.
Boniface, B., Cooper, C., & Cooper, R. (2012). Worldwide destinations: the geography of travel and tourism. Routledge.
Choi, S. H., Miao, L., Kim, J., &Cai, L. A. (2011). Conceptualizing the Knowledge Structure of Tourism Destinations.
Cuccia, T., & Rizzo, I. (2011). Tourism seasonality in cultural destinations: Empirical evidence from Sicily. Tourism Management, 32(3), 589-595.
Haugland, S. A., Ness, H., Grønseth, B. O., &Aarstad, J. (2011). Development of tourism destinations: an integrated multilevel perspective. Annals of Tourism Research, 38(1), 268-290.