ASSIGNMENT OF tourist destinations
NOVEMBER, GROUP 4
There are different modes of traveling and the fastest is through the air. Most of the people prefer to travel through the air because it facilitates them in reaching all parts of the world. A lot of changes has been made from the inception of airplanes and now the customers have an entirely experience, as the airplanes offer several facilities to its customers. Today, aircrafts have become sophisticated, safer, faster, and cheaper. For these reasons, tourism has exploded. In 2013, 3 billion air passengers arrived at various world destinations via air transport (VisitBritain, 2014). The paper discusses the world’s main destinations and generators of tourism, giving statistics on current trends and projected future trends. It also discuss the characteristics of tourist destinations and the features that appeal to tourists in their choice of destination. The paper focuses on the airline industry of the United Kingdom.
LO1: Key Tourist Destinations
Main Destinations and Generators of Tourists
In 2014, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (2014) ranked the United Kingdom as the eighth largest world tourism destination on the basis of visitor numbers. In order, the top seven prime destinations are France, United States, Spain, China (Macao), Italy, Turkey, and Germany. On the basis of visitor expenditure, the United Kingdom is ninth after the United States, Spain, France, China, Italy, Thailand, and Germany.
Figure 1: Tourist Arrivals
Figure 2: Top destinations by tourism receipts
Tourism is a major contributor to the economy of nations. For city rankings, London tops the list, with approximately 18.69 million international arrivals in 2014 (Hedrick-Wong & Choong, 2014). Bangkok(Thailand), Paris(France), Singapore(Singapore), Dubai(UAE), New York(USA), Istanbul(Turkey), Kuala Lumpur(Malaysia), Hong Kong(Hong Kong), and Seoul(Korea Republic) complete the top ten destinations ranked on the basis of visitor numbers. In the United Kingdom, the direct and indirect contribution of tourism equates to about 9% of the national gross domestic product (VisitBritain, 2014). In addition, tourism significantly contributes to employment and the creation of start-up businesses.
This report will seek to compare two major destinations, i.e. London and Bangkok. London is a top destination on both in terms of tourist numbers and visitor spending while Bangkok appears second based on tourist numbers and fifth on tourism receipts. While London received 18.49 million international visitors in 2014, Bangkok received 16.42 million visitors in the same period (Hedrick-Wong & Choong, 2014). In terms of spending, London earned USD19.3 billion while Bangkok earned $13.0 billion. The major generators of tourism for London based on tourist numbers are New York (USA), Amsterdam (Netherlands), Frankfurt (Germany), Stockholm (Sweden), and Dublin (Ireland). The major generators of tourism for Bangkok include Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, and Shanghai.
The people who travel to and from London are of different types. Mostly, people travel for vacations or business purposes. People fly from different parts of the world to visit the United Kingdom. People while traveling to such countries usually have a short visit unless they have their dwelling. Living expense in the UK is very expensive. Therefore, if people travel to the UK they on an average have short visit varying from 2 weeks to 3 weeks. Airline services in the UK are of great importance as the aviation sector contributes to more than 4% of the GDP of UK .
Chart 1: Top 20 Global Destination Cities by Visitor Numbers in 2015 (Hedrick-Wong & Choong, 2015)
London’s receipts from tourism mainly derive from overnight stays, largely because the city’s position as a financial Centre. Many tourists come to, or transit through London on business. This is why the city gets so many receipts from overnight stays in the city. Cairo, on the other hand, attracts tourists keen on the ancient Egyptian monuments (Rugman & Collinson, 2012; Pallister, 2004).
Tourism Destination Trends and Future Trends
Cities in Southeast Asia dominate the top ten positions, in part due to the large populations and fast expanding middle classes in the region, coupled by the travel distance that exists between the region and destinations in both Europe and North America, which means that they are more likely than not to holiday in the region. Predictably, therefore, there is little diversity in the visitors in major Asian cities. The strategic locations of cities in Asia Pacific and others such as Istanbul, coupled by top attractions in those locations is a major driver of tourist numbers. Istanbul’s location in Asia and Europe, coupled with attractions such as the Bosporus, Ottoman error architecture and cultural diversity is a major draw for tourists in the region. It attracts tourists from both Asia Minor and Europe, as well as from beyond. For Bangkok, benefits from its central location, which in turn attracts visitors from five affluent feeder cities i.e. Hong Kong (1.497 million visitors), Singapore (1.255 million visitors), Tokyo (1 million visitors), Kuala Lumpur (957,000), and Taipei (724,000) (Hedrick-Wong & Choong, 2015). Other than its location and excellent amenities, Bangkok also benefits from the fact that these cities are relatively more expensive. Tokyo, for instance, remains the world’s most expensive city (Hedrick-Wong & Choong, 2015). However, Bangkok has struggled over the last two years because of political unrest in the country, even though there are early signs that it is on the path to recovery (United Nations World Tourism Organization, 2014). The reliance on the emergent middle classes in the region is once again evident in the fact that while the city was only ninth in the cross border tourist expenditure category, it posted the fastest growth rate in the visitor spending in 2014-2015. This means that the spending power of its visitors is growing.
On the other hand, London’s mostly historic attractions (Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and Nelson’s Column) and a rich heritage, coupled with modern amenities, low crime rates, and even events such as the 2012 London Olympics have helped the recent surge in the number tourist arrivals in the city. Further, the economic expansion in North America and Europe following the 2008 collapse and subsequent recession in these economies has also been instrumental for London. This is not least because London’s top five feeder cities i.e. New York, Amsterdam, Dublin, Frankfurt and Stockholm, lie in these regions. Even most importantly, the status of London as major global financial and business centers has meant that London attracts a large number of business travellers, mainly from North American and European capitals. The Visit England campaign conducted a tourism survey of the United Kingdom and presented a report indicating visitor numbers and visitor spend between 2006 and 2011 (Simmonds, 2013). The trend shows a positive growth in both numbers and spending. Although, there was a decline in arrivals in 2008 and 2010, numbers and visitor spending in 2011onwards show a positive trend, with annual visits going beyond 127 million international visitors. More recent figures by Hedrick-Wong & Choong (2015), overnight international visitors in London increased by 6% to reach 18.82 million in 2015, leading to cross border expenditures of $20.2 billion.
According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), international arrivals globally are forecasted to increase by 3.3 percent per annum from the year 2010 to the year 2030. The total annual international arrivals of tourists globally are expected to reach 1.8 billion visitors by 2030. In the same period, i.e. 2010-2030, arrivals in emerging destinations is expected to increase by 4.4 percent, a rate that is double the rate of growth in advanced economies expected to increase by 2.2 percent. The market share of emerging markets in the tourism economy increased from 30 percent to 47 percent from 1980 to 2013. The market share in these markets is expected to hit 57 percent by 2030, which equals 1 billion international tourist arrivals per annum. The expansion on the demand side should trigger increased profitability for the industry in the near term, especially as economies across the world increase, but there would be more intense competition between emerging destinations and established ones. Further, innovations in the industry, including the increasing adoption of information technology, aggressive marketing by tourism boards across the world, and diversification of both the tourist sources and attractions, will be critical to the competitiveness of tourist destinations. Greater specialization may also help, especially because emerging markets promise cost effectiveness and large diversity, which means that developed markets like London may struggle (United Nations World Tourism Organization, 2014; Hedrick-Wong & Choong, 2015).
LO2: Tourist Destinations: Cultural, Physical, and Social Features
2.1 Appeal of Cultural, Physical, and Social Features
The prime motives for modern tourism include culture, religion, health, sporting events, and scenic beauty. There is a variety of examples that can be given to show elements that appeal to tourists. In this section, a table summary of a comparison between two destinations, i.e. London and New York in terms of the features that attract tourists.
The table above represents features of both the destinations that are London and New York. New York has a hot and humid weather, where the climate also reaches to an extreme level. Some of the vital tourism features of New York are Guggenheim Museum, Watkins Glen State Park, Rugby and Basketball, and Broadway. Hot springs and humid weather of New York are good as people consider it to be beneficial for health.
Regarding scenic beauty, the Watkins Glen State Park is a favorite destination for persons seeking to experience a waterfall. Guggenheim Museum is one the best art museums in New York and attracts various people towards it. For lovers of theater and spectacle, perhaps, Broadway in New York City is the top destination. Some of the most important destinations in New York are Empire State Building (103 story landmark), Central Park (seasonal outdoor place for different genres of concerts), Statue of Liberty (American Icon), and Times Square (Broadway shows and bright lights). In addition to it, Rockefeller Center, Grand Central Terminal, Metropolitan Museum of Art are some places in New York that appeal the tourists to visit this destination .
New York is a place where people from different ethnicity, culture, religion, and social values reside. The visitors in New York have a perception that it is a very liberal state and people from different backgrounds can be seen here. Mostly, English is spoken in New York but because of its diversity other languages are also spoken. It is believed that an eclectic mix of social convention is present in New York.
London prides itself in favorable weather, football, the English language, welcoming people, and the scenic beauty of its countryside, landscapes, coasts, and parks, which offer scenic natural beauty. London has a maritime climate, implying that the country does not experience extremes of weather. In addition, its summer has longer days compared to other countries in Western Europe. The English language is a big attraction for international visitors. The language is studied in many countries globally as it is spoken and enjoyed by many people. Football is also a major attraction, with the English premier league attracting huge global audience, with many people travelling from abroad to attend live matches. These are few characteristics that appeal many people from all over the world to visit this beautiful destination. Some famous places in London are Tower of London (Medieval castle in which Crown Jewels are housing), London Eye (an iconic wheel on the riverside), Tower Bridge (a Victorian turreted bridge), Big Ben (National timepiece), and Buckingham Palace (British Queen’s home and State room). In addition to it, Westminster Abbey, British Museum, Natural History Museum, etc. are also some famous places of London that are visitor’s attraction .
London is also a diverse destination and people from different cultures, ethnicities, and religion resides here. It is a multicultural society as people from different backgrounds are a part of it. Culturally diverse destinations are preferred by the visitors because it is easier for people to roam freely.
In summary, destinations build their identity on a variety of themes including animals, adventure, water rides, history, country music, the sea, specific regions or countries, or movies and movie-making (Hall, 2012). In London, urban entertainment centers are also big drivers of tourism visits. These include sports stadiums, plazas, convention centers, zoos and aquariums, city waterfront centers, and shopping Centre malls.
2.2 Comparison of Features of Developing and Leading Tourist Destinations
This is compares a developed destination (England) with a developing destination (Egypt). As already discussed, the most important social factors that attract tourists to Britain include the English language, football, and welcoming people, while physical attractions include beautiful landscapes, parks, and coasts. London is a multicultural society as people from various backgrounds are a part of it. It is also a diverse destination and people from different cultures, ethnicities, and religion is a part of it.
Although Egypt is one of the oldest tourist destinations, the number of visits has not reached the level attained by the world’s leading destinations . However, the recent trend shows that Egypt is gradually growing into a significant destination for international tourists. As shown in the poster below, the major cultural, social, and physical features that attract tourists are ancient features. Historical monuments in the Nile Valley, including invaluable pyramids, temples, ancient mosques, the Valley of the Kings, museums, the Nile River, and pristine beaches (including Sharm el-Sheikh and Sinai Peninsula Coast). Unlike the UK’s dreadfully wet and cold weather, Egypt enjoys hot and warm weather through the year, interrupted only by a mild winter. The mostly dessert climate in most of Egypt is a major draw for sun-seeking tourists from Europe and elsewhere outside Africa and the tropics. According to Hedrick-Wong & Choong (2015), Cairo is the 6th most visited city in Africa, and a major feeder city for Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and other cities in the Middle East. However, while many tourists go to Egypt specifically for the varied attractions, London has the benefit of business travelers, and feeder cities in the EU, where travel visas are less restrictive.
The Suez Canal is the other vital physical feature. Although Mt. Sinai and the River Nile are physical features, they carry some cultural and religious motivations. In many ways, Egypt is an example of the emerging competition for leading destinations such as London and Bangkok, but one that also shows that the competition is not direct. The value propositions by Egypt, Thailand, and the UK are differentiated such that the emergence of new destinations may not necessarily reduce the demand in the established destinations. London’s mainstay of overnight business travelers, football lovers, and others, Thailand’s Southeast Asian tourists, and Egypt’s ancient history lovers would not visit other destinations for completely different attractions. The variety of value propositions will be most important in the near future and the long-term. While England will appeal to English-speaking, European and North American tourists, Egypt may draw more Arabic speaking, Middle Eastern and North African tourists.
The major similarities in both the countries are that they have various museums and places that appeal the people to visit the destination. There are several differences because of the existence of different culture between both the countries. The weather, sports, likings of people, and almost everything is somewhat different between the culture and social norms of both the countries. As compared to Egypt, UK is more liberal. Therefore, people from all the backgrounds will prefer to visit London more .
Given the diversity that exists, overall macroeconomic, social and political factors will also have important role to play, especially since the UK offers an open, politically stable, liberal and thriving economy, while Egypt is still struggling with the ghosts of the Mubarak dictatorship, Muslim extremism, and government repression, which may affect its attractiveness as a tourist destination.
LO3: How Destination’s Characteristics affect its Tourist Appeal
3.1 Comparison of the Destination Appeal
3.1.1 Differences in Appeal
Geopolitics also plays an influential role in shaping environments in which tourism takes place. In the Middle East, the ongoing political events pose great risks to international tourism, particularly to countries around the region, Egypt being one of them. Egypt is suffering the effects of the turmoil that came with the Arab Spring. Since the forceful removal of President Hosni Mubarak, Egypt has never returned to normalcy and experiences a possible decent into civil war. Perhaps, the turmoil in the political situation poses the greatest risk to Egypt’s efforts to promote its tourism. Even most importantly, many of Egypt’s tourists come from outside the country to see the ancient attractions and enjoy the resort areas in the country, nothing much. These means that the country attracts middle class and wealthy tourists, academics/Egyptologists, archeologists and other such tourists, as against regular holiday-goers or business travellers. This is why the tourists numbers have reduced by 95% since 2010, because of travel advisories and other security fears, which should not have affected local tourism as much. However, a small number of tourists who are drawn to Egypt often go there in spite of the chaos, because they are drawn to attractions that are timeless, and they know these attractions have relatively acceptable security (Hutchinson, 2014; Nassar, 2012).
On the other hand, the mainstay of UK’s, particularly London’s appeal is the fact that it is a financial and global business centre. A large proportion of receipts come from overnight stays by business travellers that come to, or transit through London for business and other reasons. Effectively, facilities such as Heathrow Airport, the Underground, excellent hotels and shopping centres are important to its tourist appeal. As an old and modern city, London also draws tourists because of what it is. Tourists come to see London, the London eye, Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, the taxis and buses, among others. Business travellers may be in London for business or on transit, but they will end up around the city because of these attractions.
Egypt lacks in its social and cultural appeal, compared to London. Tourists drawn to London for social events such as sports will remain a vital influence on the choice of destination in future. Football, particularly the English Premier league, is expected to remain an impetus for tourists coming to England. As investments in the league continue to increase, the league is expected to retain its place as the most popular game globally. Perhaps, this is an area that gives an edge to the United Kingdom over emerging destinations.
3.1.2 Similarities in Appeal
Cultural heritage, architecture, geography, and physical scenery provide an equal playfield for countries, whether developed or emerging. Museums, national parks, countryside attractions, landscapes, and historical events are features through which tourist destinations can build their identities and shift traffic to their advantage. While Egypt’s flagship attractions are ancient and invaluable, the UK and London have equally invaluable cultural attractions that draw tourists. Effectively, cultural travelers are easily the only common thing between the tourists that go to Egypt and those that go the UK.
Both the destinations have great places to visit that attract people towards them. Buildings, monuments, historical places, museums, parks, etc. These are the things that are the most appealing and helps the countries in attracting visitors. These are similar characteristics but are also different from each other because of different cultures, norms, and values. The historical places are different, museums are different, language, food, way of living, and everything is very different.
3.2 Evaluation of How a Destination’s Features Affect Its Appeal
The characteristics of a destination influence the perception of customers on the destination. The welcoming culture of the UK people, for example, resonates in the minds of potential visitors, who would want to visit a place where they will feel at home. In both the Egyptian and English cultures, hospitality is a major draw for tourists, besides the fact that unique cultures, irrespective of their nature, are a major differentiating factor for tourist destinations. The bottom line is that tourist destinations create opportunities for visitors to immerse themselves fully in the local cultures. Unlike the UK, Egypt is a relatively closed society, but is largely traditional society offers more cultural. The urban jungle in the UK is far too extensive. However, the idyllic countryside, country manors and ancient castles, easily make up for the want of traditional communities in the UK. However, while the UK lacks an ancient history as proud as Egypt’s, it remains one of the most tradition-rich countries in the world (e.g. the monarchy). Ultimately, there’s no culture or tradition that is superior to another, but it is how the respective cultures package and market theirs that is important. On this, the UK has done a fantastic job in marketing its culture and other destinations. From royal weddings, hosting Olympic games, popular football/cricket/rugby leagues, etc., the country has done comparably more than Egypt (VisitBritain, 2014).
Campaigns in charge of marketing a destination must paint a picture that the destination is affordable in terms of the exchange rate, cost of transport, and the cost of accommodation. In the case of the United Kingdom, the cultural heritage, built heritage, and contemporary culture are the core features that attract visitors. Due to these features of culture, the UK is perceived as the most exciting nation to visit. Contemporary culture in the form of art, film, literature, and music is the top source of attraction. The United Kingdom also boasts rich cultural heritage and is also known for its sporting prowess.
In terms of physical attractions and politics, Egypt’s proud ancient monuments are invaluable as an attraction. The excellent beaches, the Nile River, the Ocean, and excellent amenities back this. However, the political instability that followed the exit of Hosni Mubarak (including the Arab Spring”, the strong influence of the military in government, repression of freedoms, a lack of a free press, and other factors not only limits the number of tourists, but also investments in the tourism sector. On the other hand, the UK may lack the ancient pyramids, but has equally charming beaches, castles, parks, countryside, and architectural attractions that have proven immensely popular to tourists. Superior amenities/infrastructure, including airports, hotels, roads, and the underground are important. Further, political stability, civil liberties, and the rule of law a major plus compared to Egypt. Tourists are keener to visit countries that are stable and predictable than countries where political problems, especially those than can result in violence, insurance premium increases, and visit cancellations amidst the trip. Egypt is characterized by constant political problems, both of its own, as well as those linked to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and Islamist terror groups in the region. These limit the destination’s attractiveness.
LO4: Issues that Can Affect a Tourist Destination’s Popularity
4.1 Issues that can affect a Destination’s Popularity
Unforeseen events, due to their nature, are impossible to predict in terms of the time they occur and the impact they will cause. However, one thing is for sure, there will be occurrences that will influence global tourism. In the two destinations analyzed in section three, i.e. the United Kingdom and Egypt, unforeseen events have had a significant impact on the tourism economy of these countries. An appropriate example is the cloud of volcanic ash, which disrupted air travel to the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe. The eruption, which occurred in April/May 2010, caused havoc for a number of days. An analysis conducted by Oxford Economics show the net loss suffered by the UK economy amounted to £425 million owing to consequences such as deferred travels (VisitBritain, 2014).
Geopolitical issues also may influence the popularity of a tourist destination (Hall, 2012). The continual tensions in the Middle East region pose a risk to international tourism. This affects tourism prospects in tourist destinations around the region. Egypt, for example, is a country that is likely to experience effects of the conflict in the form of influx of persons fleeing for safety. Such a scenario puts pressure on insufficient resources, hampering the appeal for international tourists. Although it has not happened before, the current political instability in Egypt opens door for a potential spill-over of the conflict into the country. The Arab Spring, which did not spare Egypt, showed how viral violence can be in the region. The United Kingdom may not experience ripple effects from geopolitical issues.
The effects of the turmoil in Egypt were immediate. Tourists kept off because of security fears, and most importantly, governments in major source countries issue travel advisories against tourists travelling to Egypt, which turn means that they cannot get travel insurance, etc. In 2013, Egypt earned £3.6bn compared with £7.7billion in 2010, because of what the country’s tourism minister described as the worst year in the country’s modern history, and the decline was attributed to the instability and travel advisories. In the four-year period, there has been a 95% decline in tourism revenues (£250 million to just £10.5 million). Hotels in key tourist destinations in Egypt posted 1% room occupancies, which was the poorest in recent memory, and in the Valley of the Kings, 165 hotels were forced to temporarily close for lack of demand. In a country, where tourism offers 12.5% of employment, the problems have far reaching effects on the economy. Even most importantly, the tough climate is a turnoff to investors in the industry, which means that facilities and marketing activities will also suffer, further worsening the prospects (Nassar, 2012; Hutchinson, 2014).
4.2 Potential for Responsible Tourism to Enhance the Host Community at Worldwide Tourist Destinations
International tourists demand easy and cheap access to facilities. The facilities on offer in any destination ought to be of a high standard. Facilities such as medical facilities, washing facilities, maps, toilets, and sanitary facilities ought to be enhanced. Destinations are expected to respond by investing in modern facilities intended to provide quality experience to the international tourist. Although international tourist numbers will increase, domestic tourists will almost remain the same. However, the pressure to improve facilities for international guests may have a carry-over effect on facilities used by local citizens. In addition to economic and socio-cultural management, managing tourist arrivals is the starting point in managing the potential impacts of tourism, especially the consequence on the environment. Ensuring that tourism activities are sustainable to the environment and local resources (e.g. fishing, coral reefs, and fish breeding grounds), affordable housing, and regeneration of depleted natural resources such as trees. This should ensure that local communities do not suffer the adverse consequences of ruthless commercialization of the tourist attractions (Rugman & Collinson, 2012).
Tourist attractions such as coral reefs are affected by increased tourist activity; national parks lead to people being displaced to create space for wildlife, etc., while other resources such as land increase in value (or are gazetted as public land) rendering them inaccessible to local communities can afford them. The prices of basic commodities such as food, water, and housing also increase because of the demand from tourists and businesses catering for tourists. Effectively, local communities often lose out in the commercialization of tourist attractions. When businesses invest in local communities e.g. by building schools, hospitals, offering employment to locals, etc., local communities benefit directly. The provision of local employment opportunities helps support local economic growth and social advancement. Businesses may engage in corporate social responsibility programs in their locality, to support social initiatives, thereby giving back to the local communities directly, e.g. by investing in schools, hospitals, basic housing a sanitation services. Locals may be employed as tour guides, accountants, and other jobs as against relying on expatriates (Rugman & Collinson, 2012; Yip & Hult, 2011).
The robust continual increase in global tourism based on visitor numbers and spending, which exceeded the world GDP growth over the period between 2009 and 2014, is suggestive of a powerful indicator of an explosive future trend. The trend is a phenomenon that is multidimensional influenced by a combination of factors including appeal features in various destinations, expansion of middle class in emerging markets, increasing needs for business travels, and innovations in leisure travel. Perceived and real strengths of the tourism economy of the United Kingdom include its built heritage, contemporary culture, and cultural heritage. The 2009 Nations Brand Index Survey ranks the United Kingdom at number four out of fifty nations on the basis of build heritage.
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