The nature, extent, and value of the tourism business have significantly changed over the recent years. The tourists have become more conscious of their tours and travel experiences with increased demands as compared to the traditional reasons for tourism. In this light, it is essential to understand how the tourism industry has changed in the current business landscape. There have been trends in the travel industry in the current world. One of the most acknowledged change growing trend has been affluent clients in the emerging market nations on travel investment and spending. The tourism business has changed due to global, digital and environmental changes which have brought about trends in the way people experience their tours.
Globalization has profoundly led to changes in the tourism industry which have turned into one of the largest activities in the world (Mihajlović and Krželj–Čolović, 2014). The mobility of tourists and travelers has quickly increased over the years marking rapid growth of new destinations such as pacific, Asia and Africa. International business has promoted changes in the tourism business. International business refers to business operations across national borders. International tourism has been acknowledged is one of the biggest contributors to countries’ economic growth. International tourism has involved tourism activity outbound and inbound tourists for both non-resident and resident visitors within the country.
One of the most recognized global changes in the tourism sector is the growth of tourism in developing countries. This has greatly contributed to the changes in tourism playing a great role in international tourism. The increased number of tourists in international tourism has led to a growth in the number of hotels and several travel agents. The emerging-market growth of tourists has shown a great demand for tourism. This is because there have been changes in the spending patterns and incomes in both developed and developing nations. Ideally, economic impacts have generated impacts that have contributed to the changes in the tourism business. For instance, increased income, sales and employment may boost the demand for tourism activity. This is because the spending patterns of visitors change due to increased income and employment opportunities. They will have more disposable income that will generate the demand for travel and tour experiences. The merging economic such as Africa, Asia, and the middle east have increased the demand for tourism. For instance, there may be an increase in the number of people who can afford to fly especially in Asian countries such as India and China since wealth is increasing so it’s expected that there will be more people to fly.
The growth in number of tourists has also led to changes in the supply of tourist facilities. There have been more countries with tourist attractions compared to the past. Also, there are more restaurants and hotels which have relatively changed the payments and services that are being offered. The new resorts and restaurants have led to low traditional mass markets. The competitive proliferation in new destinations has led to the differentiation of vacation types and travel preferences and new dimensions that offer quality tourism experiences.
Relatively, there has been increased international security that has allowed tourism to grow. Ideally, security and safety are vital for the success of tourism and the growth of tourism investments. The tourists demand to travel to destinations that are secure and safe. Terrorist attacks have greatly impacted the tourism industry over the past years. Travel and tourism behavior has negatively been affected by terrorism and political wars (Kovari and Zimányi, 2011). There has been a progressive decline in tourism in countries or regions related to political conflicts and terrorism.
Technological advances have led to changes that have been experienced over the last few years in the tourism industry. Technology has contributed to new developments, exciting and interactive experiences. Technology has been important in tourism since it has shaped and influenced the way tourists travel from vacation, the destination chosen and all the way and even time after their adventure and experiences. It is prevalent that most of the traveler’s plans have been planned through the internet while a large percent of the travel agencies relies on the internet to prepare the trips. The mobile technology has been the core character in the novel ways of travel. Ideally, the cell phones have turned into a device for tour guides, choosing the travel agency as well as the best restaurant locator. The image below shows how tourists have relied on mobile devices for directions and tour guide;
Figure 1:Mobile devices as a tour guide; source, (Milano, Baggio and Piattelli, 2011)
The internet of Things has also brought about updates and changes in the tourism experience. These include the integration of sensors that are linked to the internet in suitcases, cars, and buildings (Neuhofer and Buhalis, 2012). For instance, installing the device in the suitcases is essential since one can locate their baggage in public places such as the airport. Relatively, the appearance of the blockchain technology has transformed the storage of data and information sources. This technology has improved the security and transparency of transactions. For instance, in the case of travel agency booking the hotels and flights for the guests, they have to send information to different firms. Blockchain has made these operations more secure and transparent since the responsibility is distributed through the network thus increasing trust.
Technology has enabled tourism businesses to rely on technological labor rather than human labor. Through this, they have benefited from reduced costs, effective operations, improved customer experiences, and services. For instance, the guests have benefited from improved reservation systems, better communication, and guest service systems. Hotel chains can connect easily through the computer systems thus allowing the guest and the staff to be on the same page and make it easier to have better guest experiences and easy access to information. The internet has also improved the marketing activities since most of the tourism businesses have relied on the internet to build awareness to the customers. They have utilized social media, online advertising, blogs, and online booking sites. For instance, social media has replaced the old advertising and marketing techniques.
The travel companies and travel destinations have relied on social media to connect with their customers through pictures and videos that impact purchase decisions (Milano, Baggio and Piattelli, 2011). Relatively, travel research has changed with most travelers going online to research for their future travel accommodations and destinations. From the social sharing sites such as Facebook and Instagram, people have browsed to acquire information about their destinations and validation by their peers. The travelers can find ratings, other travelers’ pictures, and check-ins. Resorts and hotels have turned into social campaigns and marketing contents on social media to ensure that they receive credits and feedbacks from their guests.
In the past few years, there has been a growing concern over the impact of global warming and climate variation. All over the world, changes in weather and climatic conditions have become evident causing extreme temperatures and causing flooding around destinations. The weather patterns have become unpredictable which means that there might be long summer periods or summer might not be experienced as usual. Tourism is highly weather dependent and climate-dependent. The tourism industry greatly depends on the predictability of weather to create good experiences for their tourists and activities that relate to the season.
Weather and climate changes have increasingly affected the tourism business. Heat waves, reduced snow cover and a lot of rainfall have led to climate variability which has both negative and positive impacts on tourism (Scott et al., 2008). Threats in the tourism sector have been diverse including indirect and direct impacts such as increased insurance costs, extreme weather events, biodiversity loss, water shortages, safety concerns, damage on attractions thus reducing the attractiveness of destinations (Spalding et al., 2017). For instance, coral bleaching has affected the scuba diving tourists in the Philippines. Scuba diving has been one of the most popular and growing tourist activities since most tourists are interested in exploring the underworld wonders. The warming of the sea has led to coral bleaching which has resulted in the death of 49 percent of the corals. More dissolved Carbon means that the shells, mollusks, and corals are destroyed. The image below shows an alarming coral bleaching;
Figure 2: Coral bleaching; source, (Spalding et al., 2017)
The concept of sustainable tourism due to the environmental impacts of tourism activities has changed tourism activity over the years. Sustainable tourism entails visiting somewhere and trying to have a positive impact on the environment (Scott, 2011). The demands to conserve and contribute positive development of the environment have led to the growth of sustainable tourism. This has led to the use of environmental resources that constitute major elements in the development of tourism, maintain ecological processes and helps in conserving biodiversity and natural heritage.
Every industry has its trends and changes that have both negative and positive impacts on industry operations. Drastic changes in the tourism industry have been as a result of global, digital and environmental changes. Global changes such as economic conditions have changed the spending patterns thus increasing tourism activities. Technological advancement has offered valuable venues to connect with consumers and creating better experiences through digital tools. Climatic changes such as extreme temperatures and flowing have negatively affected various tourist destinations’ growth. Thus, the changing world has increasingly changed the tourism industry over the years.