sábado, 18 de abril de 2009

FUTURE OF TOURISM. Part 2.Trends related to destination

Future trends

Tourism is changing. The message for tourism to become sustainable is spread all over the world. Sustainable tourism is no longer a trend in itself, but even becoming a necessity when in the future we still want to be able to visit the areas that attract us today. This change in character of tourism involves several aspects and goes along with several mid-term and long-term trends.
The most important trends will be described below:

Trends related to destination:

1. Cheaper and faster. - Better travel options.

With the increased development of technology in the travel industry it is possible to travel faster from one place to another. This counts especially for trains and airplanes. High speed trains are on some trajects good competitors with airplanes. As a consequence, people take the opportunity to go away for even a short period of time. Also the ease and affordable access to destinations makes it possible to visit main events outside the high season. Due to the increases of the amount of people enabling to travel, protected areas will receive more visitors in the future. The quality of the connection between schedules of transportation, become a critical factor to visit a destination. The globalisation of the economy increases the competition and makes it possible to produce at lower costs. This means that products, like airplane tickets or holiday packages, are cheaper and so become available for a larger public. As a result more people are going to travel which consequently increases the potential for tourists to visit protected areas.

2. Close to home. - Personal security and safety.

Due to the recent economic recession people will stay closer at home (that is within their own continent) to save costs. For the Europeans it means that they will spend more holidays in Europe than outside.
As a result of the recent terrorist attacks, people care more for their personal security. Whether a country is regarded safe or not, plays an important role in the choice for a destination. It not only relates to terrorism, but also to the prevalence of violent crime, petty theft and environmental problems as water quality and bad sanitation.

3. ICT.- Increased accessibility and availability of information by ICT.

Internet and other communication technologies provide access to a large amount of information on tourism destinations and protected areas. This information allows for a good comparison between destinations. When, as an organisation or business you do not have a website, you nowadays lose a huge market share. The images shown on the internet together with the amount of in-depth information available on the site or through links, create a certain demand and expectations that influence the decision making process for a destination.
Marketing through the website will thus play a more important role. This increased access to ICT also results in more online bookings. Already close to 50% of leisure travels are online bookings. At the same time it makes it possible for tourists to compose a holiday according to their own preferences.
A negative consequence of online booking is that due to the ease of comparing different destination, it also stimulates later bookings. This makes it for the tourism supplier difficult to anticipate on the demand and makes their business more insecure. Also on-site ICT has its influence on the tourism industry. The installation of web-cams makes it possible to show the latest conditions about the weather or the environment on the destination. This makes the on-site information, next to the information on the website, more reliable and up to date. Carrying a GPS when going for a hike or bring along tools that give access to databases and geo-referenced mapping gains in popularity. In short, Internet has become the dominant technology.

4. Globalisation of the economy

This whole development of ICT with its consequences is partly a result of the globalisation of the economy as it increases the competition between destinations. Political or corporate decisions at one place can influence the travel in another country that might influence the tourism to protected areas in that country. This close interlinkage between the global and local industries makes the achievement of sustainable tourism difficult as the host countries are limited to influence the tourism trends.
For Europe, the introduction of the Euro as a single currency for a large area lowered the threshold to travel to several countries at one time. Furthermore the economic and political changes of some East-European countries enlarged the flow of people and goods. Together with an increased welfare this results in more people travelling in and to Europe. “Increased polarisation” Another consequence of the globalisation is the polarisation of the tourism industry in to the macro and micro, the mass tourist and individualist. There seems to be no middle ground anymore. Globalisation and alliances have become so important that connections are now critical to success. The consequence of this development in polarisation is that the big companies only become bigger and that small businesses have to search for niche markets to be able to survive.

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