Tourism is a noble industry in the enhancement of world economic standards in many forums. Current debates in various ongoing forums align towards the enhancement of planning and development initiatives. Recent developments have seen more effort incorporated from the private and public players in the tourism industry. This has been enabled through the enhancement of public and private partnership initiatives geared towards the development of an efficient, practical, and realistic tourism profile (Jefferson 2001, p.25). Focus is more towards enabling access to tourism packages through the institution of stakeholder involvement, activating various levels of the tourism real life cycle, standardisation of laws and regulations during formulation, social approaches, economic aspects, and recent technological applications in the sector. The contemporary tourism setting has also undergone significant transformation in terms of approaches used due to critical events that have necessitated this change (Jefferson 2001, p.27). For instance, climate change, the impending global financial crisis, terrorism, and sustainability variables.
These variables are hence important in assessing tourism trends on a continental scale in order to establish significant global tourism tendencies. Apart from that, they form an important background in forming critical parameters used in measuring the achievement of previously set milestones with regard to previously set tourism goals (Jefferson 2001, p.27). These parameters are thereby applicable on various and can reflect tendencies on the local situation, regional scale, and global scale in the critical tourism industry. Their adoption by tourism authorities provides a moral force and gives them significance as applicable measuring points. In as much as there is supporting evidence available regarding tourism approaches having undergone significant transformation there is need to develop beneficial and strategic components, which are efficient towards the emancipation of tourism planning and development on local, regional, and global scale.
The international tourism environment
Emerging Tourism trends
The role of the public sector is very central in the enactment of economic and administrative factors, which are critical in the delivery of standardised touristic goods and services to an entire population. In the recent past, their role has been more centred towards the provision of important legal, institutional, and regulatory frameworks suitable for the industry. As a result, this has led to the development of interest from various stakeholders in the public sector to formalise arrangements that would see them become more innovative (Elvis 2003, p. 47).
This gives them significant role in the development and contribution of new information and strategies to the already existing information pool on the tourism industry. For instance, previously failed projects were undertaken by the Australian Government in order to revive growth, retain that specific customer niche, and establish new milestones for growth (Elvis 2003, p. 47). The driving force behind such direct and indirect involvement by the Australian government aims at protecting critical employment, revenue, and income points since these are very critical in the enhancement of common citizen goals.
Approaches to Development
Development strategies critical to the tourism environment require significant involvement of authorities at different levels of decision making that includes the private sector. The achievement of specific milestones cannot be achieved successfully through individual effort but rather a combined effort through infusion of different applicable views. For instance, the role of the private sector in developing required infrastructure for a local state is very central. This is attributed to the fact that development of urban enterprises and corporations serves to rejuvenate the rating of an urban complex through inclusion of leisure spots, casinos, sports centres, conference facilities, festival market centres, sceneries like botanical gardens among others (Adrian 2005, p 87). This type of developments have the potential of attracting new investment strategies leading to the influx of tourists in the area since majority of them will prefer making such centres stopovers as they proceed to other areas.
There is also a developing trend towards the enhancement of marketing strategies through a combined marketing effort by local private and public entities. This is motivated by the fact that marketing of tourism spots and centres is taken as an economically intensive activity hence very expensive in the process (Adrian 2005, p 88). This is achievable through the adoption of a strategic approach towards the development of marketing planning, identification of potential market targets for touristic activities, elaborate definition of the tourism product in focus, identification of the most appropriate media to be used, and the final implementation of a unique efficient marketing campaign strategy for each destination. The destinations are essentially packaged into individual portfolios with the essence of promoting the site as a desired tourism spot among other spots in a single location (Adrian 2005, p 90).
Role distribution regarding marketing responsibility is equally distributed across the participating partners such that costs are spread among partners without over burdening the other. This marketing strategy pursues branding options aimed at marketing destinations as potential centres while appealing to the conservative community as well as the highly mobile business community. Digital marketing, trade marketing, and consumer marketing are among the options preferred for making these destinations as the most desired brands among other equally important brands (Adrian 2005, p 89). This type of destination strategy components are currently widely used by a number of countries in the world. For instance, Uganda in the East African part of Africa has adequately promoted public and private institution and individual participatory approaches in branding the country as a desired destination among other equally attractive ones in East Africa like Kenya (Adrian 2005, p 97). This has seen it grow its tourism potential substantially. Currently its tourism potential stands at a significant 25% of the total East African tourism potential (Adrian 2005, p 97).
Planning and development issues
Stakeholders in tourism
The nature of tourism gives it various strategic partnership levels composed of individual, local, regional, national, regulatory authorities, and institutional arrangements all of whom form strategic stakeholders of the massive tourism industry. Case studies in Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Nepal, and India have served to bring out the impending relationship between various tourism stakeholders and their potential influence on the industry. For instance, in India the hill districts of Uttar Pradesh are known to be pilgrim centres hence the role played by traditional religion based pilgrims have greatly developed tourism potential (Gupta, Shah, and Boyd 2000, p.25). Tourism occurs on a wide context of religion, modernisation, globalisation, and development activities.
This necessitates the involvement of a great number of tourism stakeholders in order to make all these activities a continuous success. The stakeholders include formal and informal market players both of whom have contributed widely to the emancipation of tourism authorities. Their actions are widely dependent on contextual variations observed among industry organs. For instance, international agencies like the International Monetary Fund and soft loan credit organisations have unnoticeably developed the industry through enhancement of domestic tourism potential (Gupta, Shah, and Boyd 2000, p.27).
The formal sector plays a critical role in the enhancement transport network, which is critical in the development of touristic potential of a specific geographical area. The informal sector also has a critical role in the recent events seen in the industry, for instance, the influx of lodges and hotels (Gupta, Shah, and Boyd 2000, p.28). Their role is essentially that of an investor through expansion of critical tourism facilities in attractive locations. Several case studies carried out have shown the critical role played by informal sector through sale of fuel wood for tourism industry, operating of coffee and tea stalls in India. However, the informal sector gets little attention in comparison to traditional formal sector arrangements.
Tourism a Real Life Cycle
The Mediterranean Tourism Life Cycle Model
(Barcelona Field Studies Centre 2010)
The above tourism real life cycle model portrays the Mediterranean life cycle model of the tourism product (Barcelona Field Studies Centre 2010). This gives the progression of the essential tourism product in the Mediterranean peninsula. In the discovery stage, there is an impending social impact local culture exchange. Components here are the gradual arrival of visitors into the touristic scene. In the launch stage, there is an evident increase in the number of tourists and the role of trans-national corporations in foreign investment becomes more pronounced (Barcelona Field Studies Centre 2010). This potentially elevates the tourism destination profile to that of a business status. During stagnation, saturation levels of the tourism level begin to set in as demand levels begin to decline (Barcelona Field Studies Centre 2010). This is what the tourism analysts call the maturity stage. The decline stage represents the present mature tourist destinations, for instance, Costa Brava in Spain (Barcelona Field Studies Centre 2010). Environmental degradation is evident on these coasts to such a level that tourists no longer frequent these places.
A recent research analysis carried out on the Swiss Hotel Industry serves to show the level real life cycle of the phenomenal Swiss Hotel Industry (Sund 2004, p. 9). The launch stage for the Swiss Hotel industry sprung up in the mid eighteenth century. The development of tourism along the Alps becomes phenomenal during the discovery phase. Data analysis from the research of the show a progressive entry into the stagnation phase through statistical presentation of data from the number of existing hotels against the number of night out stays by visitors from the years 1934 up to 2000 (Sund 2004, p. 9). The data reveals significant impact with regard to fluctuations seen with regard to price index variations in different periodic quarters. The industry still has high demand despite these research presentations and the Swiss hotel industry appears to be constantly booming and despising the natural trends. Some of the factors attributing to this observation could be the level of environmental conservation of the Alps and other frequented touristic locations and affiliations (Leon, Hernandez and Gonzalez 1999, p.16). This could be leading to their currently impending popularity.
Laws and regulations
Legislators are continuously involved in the progressive formulation of land laws and regulations targeted at streamlining the contemporary tourism affairs in different geographical locations. The country of Maldives for instance has several laws and regulations stipulating the manner in which responsible public authorities, private establishments, civilians, and visiting tourists. These laws and regulations are adequately supplied in the accompanying tourist guides for tourists to have a review of them prior to choosing s destination. Some of the Maldives laws translated from various Acts of parliament include Civil Aviation Act of Maldives 2001, Sale of Good Act 1991, and Tourism Act 1999 (Maldiveisle.com 2010).
The Tourism Act provides a comprehensive list of islands and zones meant for tourism development, leasing rules for tourists resort development, leasing rights for marinas, subsequent management of facilities, rules for travel agencies and tour operators, and tourist vessels operation (Maldiveisle.com 2010). Surveys and case studies carried out in other countries reveal the role played by statutory requirements in the regulation of touristic activities. These are made possible through the institution of banking and credit laws, civil codes, bankruptcy and collateral laws, civil procedure codes, constitutions, company and commercial laws, security laws, trade laws, and tax laws (TourismROI 2010).
The effect of tourism on the social life cycle of human beings is distributed over a large geographical scale. For instance, the Seychelles islands are currently dominated by dominated by major touristic facilities and the constantly increasing number of tourists to this island has led to an overarching effect on their social life style in many ways (Abella 2001, p.4). Despite the perceived tourism benefits the social degradation experienced very evident in the local population. The displacement of the indigenous population and acclimatization of settling tourists’ cultures is eminent (Abella 2001, p.6).
Social determinants of tourists influence impact on the local culture has proven to be a difficult to deter for many reasons. Some of them include the perceived economic benefits accrued from the interpersonal interaction between locals and visitors through trade, prostitution, and illicit drug sales. There have also been instances of child prostitution. This has led to an advanced form of exploitation of the local population through the carrying out of the very much unethical and illegal child trafficking incidents seen in many famous tourist destinations (Jill 2002, p. 18). This form of exploitation on the local population has been evident on a larger scope until the recent involvement of the intervention by law enforcement authorities and non-governmental organizations focused on launching rehabilitation campaigns for affected victims. This offers social construction strategies for the victims and empowerment of local communities of the potential effects of tourism due to conflicting cultural backgrounds (Jill 2002, p. 21). However, the tourism is yet to establish a working regulation to control the social effects due to the associated economic benefits by some of the receiving countries. Thus, many destinations are still experiencing an increase in the levels of criminality, alcohol, prostitution, and drug abuse incidents (Department of Economic and Social Affairs 1999, p. 7).
The contemporary tourism industry is associated with high levels of monopoly leading to a concentration of profits and services among large transnational corporations (Department of Economic and Social Affairs 1999, p. 2). Various case studies reveal the manner in which local host communities are alienated from accruing benefits from the large industry. Education is a requirement for basic employment in this industry due to the nature of clientele. Hence, most relatively small number of members from the local communities actually benefit from the resultant economic benefits. Majority of employees are therefore recruited from the urban centres, neighbouring developed nations, and countries of origins of the investors (Department of Economic and Social Affairs 1999, p. 2).
A research study by WTTC/WEFA carried out in 2000 forecasted that travel and tourism will through direct and indirect means generate 11.7% of the Gross Development Product and create 200 million jobs in the world economy (Department of Economic and Social Affairs 1999, p. 1). Indeed the jobs generated as a result of travel and tourism continues to spread significantly across major economies of the world. This projection is currently estimated to have gone way past this percentage. Investment strategies in the hotel industry continue to create jobs in the retail, telecommunications, and manufacturing industry as touristic destinations continues expanding (Department of Economic and Social Affairs 1999, p. 1). These economic benefits provide some of the parameters used in assessing the continuous progression of the tourism industry invariably. This essentially achieved through subjecting these parameters to the already established economic indices used in carrying out performance assessment. Some of the indices include creation of jobs, turnover in terms of income, and accrued taxes from the increased income (Diara 2003, p. 2).
The enhancement of tourism packages has led to the development of unique tourism applications with regard to information and technology. The development of tourism packages is an important factor in the enhancement of applications critical in the hotel and reservations industry (Young, Liffmann, and Jones 2004, p. 49). This has seen the development of critical packages, which are necessity with the current state of the world’s demand for information and technology use. This has seen the development of packages, which can be used in the online environment especially with regard to enabling individual reservation of destinations, hotels, and transport arrangements (Young, Liffmann, and Jones 2004, p. 48). This has significantly transformed the tourism experience leading to an increased ease with which clients can make airline ticket reservations to the favourite destinations.
The development of the World Wide Web has led to the enhancement of information access by tourists. Currently, tourists wanting to visit a particular location can get critical information on the site at the click of a mouse button. They can therefore make adjustments on their site preference by looking for alternative sites. The tourist can also access information on weather situation, climate change, and regional times in order to make decisions and accurate financial planning (Young, Liffmann, and Jones 2004, p. 38). This improvement has led to increased convenience in terms of access through the elimination of the initial weak systems. A case study carried out on the state of Louisiana resident’s utilisation of technology in accessing tourism information reveals a significant transformation in the reliance on traditional travel agents (Young, Liffmann, and Jones 2004, p. 42). The following shows a graphical display of results from the survey carried out in Louisiana depicting the utilisation of technology with regard to access of tourism packages. Thus, the contemporary approaches previously applied in the marketing of tourism destinations has undergone changes through the utilization of modern programming languages, electronic bill boards, e mail marketing, and online web portals.
Current issues and their implications for tourism
Climate change has adversely affected the development of tourism potential largely. The impact has mostly been felt in the coastal peninsula and other continental areas. Mangroves are part of the attraction in the coastal areas. These are form a major habitat for coastal biodiversity as they provide the necessary shoreline protection and valuable resources for creatures (Wong 2008, p. 3). Bad practices of aquaculture have resulted in the destruction of basic mangroves consequently leading to a reduction in the average fish population. This has a significant effect on the marine park environment as it results in less fish varieties, destruction of the sea undergrowth, destruction of coral reefs, and coastal erosion. This has necessitated the carrying out Environmental Impact Assessment in order to mitigate some of the effect through creation of marine protected areas, imposing environmental tax, and ecolabelling of fragile coastlines and beaches (Wong 2008, p. 5).
The generation of air pollutants is an attribute of the role played by frequent air travel events through high emission levels (Wall 2004, p. 373). This has consequently led to an increased warning events witnessed in the recent past leading to the melting of ice. Increased warming events consequently lead to a reduced frequency of travel to low latitude countries while high latitude countries benefit (Wall 2004, p. 378). This leads to reduced touristic activities in the affected areas. The constant increase in sea levels threatens the development of wetland recreation activities to great lengths.
Current International Financial Crisis
The recent past global financial crisis led to the development of a critical financial deficit in terms of the monetary allocation needed for the support of the much needed tourism services. This led to a decrease in the spending patterns in accessing the available tourist packages. It also led to the development of a deficit in the financial markets and stick markets where some of the tourist franchise establishments have floated their shares for the public. (Department of Economic and Social Affairs 1999, p.13) The decreased spending also affected the then ongoing investment projects especially in the establishments of hotel services in the hot tourist destinations. One of the key effects witnessed was the decrease the job opportunities in the tourism industry while employers lay off significant number of employees from the hotels. The effects were also felt in the air travel industry, which massively relies upon the influx of tourists during the hot the seasons when there is abundant air traffic. However, the trend seems to be normalising as traditional touristic destinations are revamping their sales through the creation of cost effective tourism packages, which people can afford in the impending crisis.
The concept of travel safety and air security was drastically changed by the change in perception after the resulting vulnerabilities in the United states after the September 11 attacks (Valentin 2003, p. i). This is because of the negative media reports of these events. The same happened for Nairobi, Kenya in 1998 in which the US Embassy was targeted by terrorist attacks (Komondi 2009, p. 43). These events resulted in drastic drop in the tourist density and air travel to these locations. The effect of terrorism activities has major effect since safety is a major concern for majority of players in the industry. The industry is hence vulnerable to events of the potential terrorist activities. Despite the security arrangements, another terrorist attack occurred in Hotel paradise in Kenya in November 28 2003 killing 13 and injuring 80 tourists boarding the hotel (Bennet and Bray 2005, p. 40). This had the effect of decreasing confidence in the country as a tourist destination. Massive and expensive public relations exercises had to be carried out in order to decrease the negative associations.
Majority of these terrorist attacks are carried out by Muslim extremists and fundamentalists coming from the Far East countries. These attacks are well orchestrated in such a manner that they succeed in evading modern technologies used in identification on weaponry. These have great consequences resulting in the degradation of tourist confidence in certain destinations. These destinations are victims of circumstances and this severely affects countries, which derive most of their revenue from tourism like Kenya in East Africa.
Tourism activities have largely been connected with the resultant negative impacts on the human environment, socio-economy, and ecology. Studies carried out reveal some of the negative effects on tourism manifested as deforestation events, landscape alterations, pollution events, siltation events in water bodies, social alienation, and loss of wetlands, lifestyle change, and loss of traditions (Dhyani and Joshi 2009, p. 33). These events have led to the emancipation of various debates concerning the sustainability of tourism activities and the resultant loss events. The sustainability of tourism activities is largely dependent on the conservation of the currently available resource in order for future populations to accrue similar benefits.
There exists a critical balance between guest, host supplier, society, and environment variables in the emancipation of the contemporary tourism activities. A research analysis of the host supplier and guest relationship suggests that there should be a balance between the enclosed components. The guest for instance should be in a position to preserve value physical, emotional, and spiritual entities while tourism supplier should equally get valuable returns, purpose, and social fundamentals (The Icarus Foundation 2008, p. 39). This defines a balance between nature fundamentals and tourist fundamentals.
Tourism development and planning has undergone significant challenges in the recent past. The impending effects on the tourism industry can be traced to many factors. Sustainability has emerged as a major concern with regard to the interaction of various factors that lead to its emancipation. It is also evident that the above factors critically affect the normal progression of the tourism development cycle and there are major variations based on regional differences. Tourism is thus one of the major industries, which deserves a major focus and realignment in some of its current strategies.