When many people think about the tourist industry they visualise only those who are directly involved in it. They imagine the holiday representative, the waiter, the diving instructor. However, there are actually many different types of employees working within the tourism sector. This includes everyone from the tour guides and hotel receptionists to the chefs and waiters.
The infographic below demonstrates how tourism affects almost every part of our lives. Tourism plays such a crucial role in each of these areas that we often take it for granted.
Why tourism is important to the tourist
The importance of tourism to the visitor cannot be underestimated. Tourism provides jobs, income, and brings economic benefits to local communities. For example, in 2017, tourism generated $1.2 trillion worth of revenue globally, according to data from the World Travel & Tourism Council. In addition, tourism supports 2.9 million jobs worldwide. This number is expected to reach 3.3 million jobs by 2022.
Tourism is also important because it helps to build relationships between people and places. Visitors develop positive feelings about destinations and cultures, helping to foster social cohesion. They also learn about different cultures, customs, traditions, languages, and religions.
Enhanced quality of life
A holiday can provide many benefits to a person’s quality of living. A short break away from work, family and responsibilities can help you relax and enjoy yourself. Holidays often include trips out of town, giving you the chance to explore somewhere new. You might even meet someone special while away. For some people, it could mean taking up a hobby or learning something completely new – whatever helps you feel good about yourself.
Ability to broaden way of thinking
Travel broadens our minds. We learn about ourselves and others, we meet different cultures and we experience new things. Some people even find themselves during travel.
A study published in the journal Psychological Science found that people tend to think differently after spending some time away from home and interacting with foreigners. They are less likely to see the world in black and white terms and more willing to consider alternative views.
The researchers asked participants to write down what they thought about the environment, politics and culture around the globe. Then, half of the group took part in a weeklong trip abroad. After returning home, they repeated the exercise again.
The findings showed that those who had travelled were more open-minded towards the issues they wrote about. This included being more accepting of different lifestyles and social norms.
Jobs, economic growth and equality all hit
The coronavirus outbreak has wreaked havoc across the world economy, hitting jobs, economic growth and inequality. In the short term, it will take some time for the full extent of the damage to become clear. But the long-term effects are already being felt. This week, the United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospect Report, published annually by the UN Secretary General’s office, highlighted the scale of the problem.
In particular, the latest edition of the report used key UNWTO data to illustrate how the pandemics’ impact has been felt beyond just the sector itself.
International tourist arrivals dropped by 73% in 2020 compared to 2019, plunging to levels not seen since 1990.
And while tourism did register a slight recovery in the third quarter of this year, international arrivals between January–September 2021 were still 20 per cent below 2020 levels and 76 per cent below 2019 levels.
Meanwhile, the global supply chain has ground to a virtual standstill, with many businesses closing shop indefinitely.
The crisis has impacted people differently – particularly those most disadvantaged within society.
As the WHO noted recently, COVID-19 has disproportionately affected women, children, older adults, persons living with disabilities, migrants and ethnic minority populations.
5. Social Advantages
The term “social media” describes how people use social networks like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to communicate with each other. These platforms are used to build relationships, promote businesses, and even sell products.
Social media can help you gain followers, increase brand awareness, and grow your audience. However, it can also provide many benefits for your business. Here are five reasons why social media marketing works for small businesses.
1. Brand Awareness
When someone searches for your product online, they’ll see your name pop up. If they’re interested in buying what you offer, they’ll click on your site. And if they do decide to buy, they’ll likely tell others about it. When you make yourself visible online, you start building trust with potential customers.
People love talking about their purchases. They’ll talk about the things they bought with friends and family. Sharing stories about their experiences helps them bond with others and makes them more likely to purchase again.
3. Reputation Management
If someone posts negative comments or reviews about your company, it’s easy to ignore them. But when they share positive feedback, it becomes easier to respond and fix any problems.
4. Customer Service
Customers want to know that companies care about them. So when you reply to customer complaints, they feel heard and appreciated. It shows that you value their business and that you’re willing to work hard to keep them happy.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is one way to ensure that your website appears high in search results. You can improve your ranking by posting quality content regularly, optimizing images, using keywords, and making sure your site loads quickly.
Marketing is all about getting attention. With social media, you can connect directly with your target market. This means you can reach out to new customers, answer questions, and get feedback from current ones.
7. Data Collection
You can collect data about your customers through social media. For example, you can find out which days of the week people visit your store, where they live, and what time of day they tend to browse.
Diversification for recovery
The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has published its latest Global Destination Report, highlighting the importance of destination management organizations (DMOs), governments and the travel industry in helping to recover from COVID-19.
In the report, the organization stresses that while the global economy is recovering, there remain risks to the future growth prospects of tourism, particularly in low income and middle income countries where tourism accounts for around 12 per cent of GDP.
Further analyzing the sector’s role in economic recovery, it notes that many destinations, including tourism-dependent countries, are likely to need to diversify their tourist arrivals across different markets and sectors in the coming decade. This will require significant investment in infrastructure and capacity building, and will necessitate the development of domestic and rural tourism.
According to UNWTO analysis, many destinations are already taking action to support local businesses and workers to retain more of the economic benefit that international tourism brings. For example, the Caribbean region is working towards reducing tourism leakage – the amount of revenue lost due to people travelling abroad rather than staying locally.
Additionally, the report highlights how small island developing states can take steps to ensure that local businesses and workers retain most of the economic benefits that tourism provides. These include ensuring that tourism tax revenues are reinvested into local communities, supporting local SMEs and protecting local culture and natural resources.