Merry-go-rounds may be scary for some people. But who does not love to go for a merry-go-round around the world? You have to understand the current Global Tourism Industry.
Yes, you might have guessed the agenda of this blog is linked with traveling. Let’s be a bit specific. It’s linked with the changing trends in the tourism sector happening all around the globe. They will serve as your guidelines when you travel to any corner of the world and understand the Global Tourism Industry.
In this blog, we’ll bring those changing trends in the global tourism industry into the spotlight.
What’s the Need for Analyzing the Trends?
Tourism has been a budding sector since humans emerged as bipedal creatures. Though we didn’t recognize it as tourism, a particular form of traveling from one place to place to another was observed. These were generally guided by motives of looking for food and shelter. As time progressed, we organized ourselves into colonies and urban settlements. We should also understand the Global Tourism Industry.
With the further development of trade and commerce, tourism emerged as a recognized component of the local economy and brought modification in the Global Tourism Industry with the digital era.
As per UNWTO, tourism accounts for 7% of global trade and supports one in 10 jobs today. Many small island nations have the tourism sector as the backbone of their domestic economy. Hence, analyzing the trends of such an important sector of the economy becomes necessary, especially when the entire global economy faced a massive slowdown after the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Changing Trends in Global Tourism: What’s Coming Ahead of Us?
Besides having a multiplier effect on the world economy, many things are happening in the background and the same in the Global Tourism Industry. These changes are quickly becoming a part of our lives as we move toward the next decade. They can be listed as:
The Globe Turning Cashless: Reduced Exchange Problems
India emerged as the global leader when it introduced the Unified Payments Interface, popularly referred to as UPI. Introduced in 2016 by NPCI, it came with a big bang in the global ecosystem and a great output for the Global Tourism Industry.
After constant revisions, the security and ease of transactions have been enhanced. This has attracted many countries who have willingly accepted to be a part of our UPI system.
NRIs in 10 countries can access this facility without being dependent on an Indian mobile number. This list includes popular destinations like the USA, Singapore, Canada, UAE, and Australia. Besides this revolutionary option available at people’s disposal, there’s a pan-global network for contactless payments of Visa and MasterCard. They facilitate tourists to pay at any destination worldwide without swapping their cards.
This trend has emerged recently, making travel more convenient and hassle-free. Shops and shopping centers with PoS machines allow you to pay seamlessly with international networks of companies like Visa and Mastercard. India’s system of RuPay is accepted in many neighboring countries. So no need to give your shopping spree a second thought.
Shift in Attitude of Countries Around the Globe
Countries have now realized there’s no point in unnecessarily tightening visa regulations. The adoption of stringent laws makes it difficult for travelers to access popular tourist destinations, thus impacting the global tourism industry. Parting away with this tendency has twin benefits. Firstly, they can earn precious foreign exchange. Secondly, tourists give a boost to the domestic industries, thus generating more employment within the country.
The most popular trend that many countries like India follow is to forge strong diplomatic relations with other countries and then allow for “Border Gate Visa” or on-arrival visas. For an average-income person, this is the best alternative as he is relieved from the problem of obtaining permits for his family. He can quickly pay a visit to countries that allow border gate visas. However, one should note that these visas have limited validity.
Technology Adding to Your Travel Experience: The New Big B
The Internet has made our lives way easier since its advent into human life. It’s also playing a major role in transforming the global tourism industry. Tell me one thing. How do you decide that a place in the nearby city is a must-visit? Or suppose you go on a trip with your friends to a popular tourist destination. Then how do you all plan your day out? It’s all because of the Internet.
Pictures, insider reviews, and special certifications guide the global tourism industry ranging from popular places to hotels and hospitality. All these details are readily available over the Internet. These have become more reliable sources of information compared to conventional word of mouth. You can easily book tickets and get your desired personalization to maximize the essence of traveling. Moreover, platforms like Airbnb have AI chatbots on their website to help you customize your experience.
You must be aware that to travel by plane, you must check in at least an hour before the flight takes off. But technology is evolving at such a rapid pace that countries like Finland have developed their unique model requiring passengers to check in 16 minutes before the flight takes off. The most astonishing aspect is that they have installed a CT scan machine programmed with AI software that cuts short the manual needed to check the hand luggage. For the same reason, you’ll find no person involved in the security checks.
So how are you planning to choose your next tourist destination?
VR and AR entering tourism: Feel the ultimate experience
Hola Dreamers! Your dreams come true. Virtual Reality is constantly developing itself, getting better day by day. It gives you an immersive experience by stimulating your surroundings. It gives you a real-life incident at your home.
Augmented Reality, on the other hand, is even a step ahead of VR. It combines real-life experiences with virtual Reality, making the interface much more real and participative for the end user. Heard about the game Pokémon GO?
Kind of based on the same model. Your movement leads to movement in the virtual world, and all the information about the place is displayed on your smartphone.
The future comes with more promising platforms like Metaverse (proposed by Mark Zuckerberg) that aim to create an entirely virtual global space. Imagine you are roaming beneath the Eiffel Tower while sitting in your garden. Sounds fun?
Growing Variations in Tourism Industry
What do you think people travel for? Enjoyment or recreation? Well, there’s more to it today. People have moved beyond the #SOLO travel. Their preferences have moved away from the monotonous choices people used to have in the early 2000s. Concepts like Ecotourism, Bleisure Travel, Wellness Travel, Dark Tourism, etc., have emerged.
Ecotourism encapsulates the sudden change in the preferences of people towards natural beauty compared to those usual trips to bustling streets. Bleisure, on the other hand, is the new face of tourism. Corporates often go for some official work to different cities and sometimes to different countries. These people engage in some form of visiting places once their official work is done. Wellness travel has gained significance in recent years due to changes in the lifestyle of the people, piling more stress. Doctors recommend people for such trips to lower stress levels and calm the mind through natural aesthetics.
Dark tourism has always been an evergreen industry. It’s not only the historians who can connect to historical places. Many people enjoy visiting places that deeply connect with history or have been places of war. Visiting such tombs and ruined places seems to be thrilling for many.
There’s an emerging trend of people opting for destination weddings and also visiting places in the off-season. This allows for a feeling of luxury at an affordable price. This wasn’t the case earlier, due to which hotels and tourist places suffered when their peak months had ended.
The Safety and Hygiene Question
Besides social media, news and other factors affect our travel decisions. Earlier, people were not informed about the changing geopolitics, but the Internet has helped us overcome this barrier. News today spreads like wildfire.
Take Sri Lanka, for instance. After the Easter Bombings in 2019, over 300 people were killed. Three churches and luxury hotels had reported the bomb blast out of the eight blasts. This act of terror had sent a shudder to the entire world. For a country like Sri Lanka, where tourism alone contributes 12% of the nation’s GDP, it was a significant setback.
Something similar is the case with hygiene. This has grown even further after Covid-19 due to the contagious nature of the virus. Although people love to try the local food of a particular place, health and hygiene are their top priorities today.
No matter how the trends in global tourism change, one thing that remains constant is that tourism is a cultural homogenizer. When people visit different tourist destinations, it’s overall a positive sign for the economy. The trends in global tourism are tilting more towards obtaining a local experience. In light of the same ideology, our Prime Minister urged everyone to spend at least 5% of their travel budget towards purchasing local commodities. So despite changes in the various trends, one trend that will remain constant is cultural commodification.
Venice, for instance, struggles with a unique challenge amidst these global trends, i.e., the problem of over-tourism. It limits the number of tourists allowed in the city to protect the city from undue pressure from tourists. To keep up the pace of growing tourism, India has also introduced the PM-PRASAD scheme for rejuvenating its religious shrines that drive millions of tourists to these holy shrines.
What do you feel about these global trends in tourism? Share your comments below.
So what’s your next holiday destination?
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Written by : Rishi Jain