2. A closer look at the tourist industry
The definition of tourism is very wide and spending on tourism is spread out over many different industries. It is difficult to separate them from the spending from local people who likewise use the bus and go to shops. This makes it very hard to assess the real size of the growing tourist industry. Transport, hotel and food services, retail and entertainment industries all take advantage of tourism and are part of the tourism industry.
2.1 Industries related to tourism
Over the years, tourism has become a popular global activity. Depending upon the nature and purpose of their travel, tourists need and demand certain facilities and services. This has given rise to a wide range of commercial activities that have acquired industry proportions. Some of the industries that are more directly related to tourism are discussed below.
In the travel and tourism industry, the hotel industry plays a very significant role. All tourists need a place to stay at their destinations and often require many more services and facilities to suit their specific needs and tastes. Another way people might like to spend the night is camping. A lot of people like to spend time outdoors in more natural environments in pursuit of activities providing them enjoyment. Camping is becoming more and more popular among travelers who are worried about the negative effects of long-distance travel/ flying. People have to eat and often like to experiment with the local cuisines of the places they are visiting. Restaurants, and other food and beverage outlets are very close related to tourism and sometimes even depending on it.
The transport industry plays a very important role in tourism; without it tourism probably wouldn’t exist. The success of a tourism enterprise depends highly on the accessibility of (local) infrastructure and the quality of local and international transport. Like the transport sector, the retail industry too is closely connected with the tourist industry. Tourists shop for their day to day necessaries as well as look for mementos and souvenirs. In recent years, some cities in the world have been promoted as shopping destinations to attract people with a penchant for shopping by offering various products, such as garments, electronic goods, jewelry, and antiques. New York, Paris, London, and Milan are the famous fashion havens of the world.
The success of tourism is in large part due to the efforts of travel agents and tour operators. A travel agent acts as an intermediary or broker advising on and selling the products (holidays) that are created by other companies (sometimes referred to as tour operators or third parties). Travel agents are often referred to as ‘retailers’. A tour operator is a company that creates and operates a holiday. In the case of a larger tour operator, this may mean that they have their own aircraft or other transportation services, their own hotels, and/or their own ground staff. Tour operators are responsible for the fine detail of the operation of your travel arrangements and have a defined duty of care towards you. Tour Operators are often referred to as ‘wholesalers’.
Travel related websites and online booking platforms like Booking.com, Expedia, Hostel World, Airbnb, Redbus, Expedia, Skyscanner, etc. made it easier for travelers to plan their own trips and make their own reservations online without the help of any travel agency. Travel blogs and websites take advantage of the new trend of information sharing online, by trying to sell their (useful) information and opinion to visitors and sponsors. Google has now even become the biggest earner in the ‘Online Travel Industry’. Not yet directly, but indirectly there is no doubt. This is because all the other travel websites pay a small commission to Google to be found online.