The Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs in the Scottish Government has requested some information from VisitScotland to assist with a forthcoming debate about the future of the Tourism Industry in the UK and abroad. As an employee of VisitScotland, I am required to produce a briefing paper to be submitted to the Minister. This paper will explain how the following factors and current trends impact upon the industry now and in the future.
International Tourism Tax
People who are vacating to Japan are now having to pay 1,000 yen (approx. £7) tourism tax. This will expand and enhance Japan’s tourist infrastructure and will not be an extra charge – it is included in the airfare meaning there is no additional fare upon departure from Japan. This will impact the tourism industry because the income generated from the tourist tax is going to be spent on creating a comfortable and stress-free tourist environment, improving the access to information about the attractions Japan has to offer. Once these benefits are in place, more tourists will be inclined to visit Japan.
Due to the general election, it has been said that European citizens travelling to the UK are going to need to obtain a United States style clearance before entering the UK. It has been said that a visa waiver scheme will be in place for European citizens wanting to gain entry to the UK. At the same time, Brexit is currently happening which impacts how travellers enter the UK. After Brexit, it has been said that an Australian style points-based immigration system will be in place to ensure stronger border control and security of the UK. This will affect the tourism industry because many European citizens seek employment in the UK. The skills and salary assessed system means that jobs the government think are low skilled (tour guides, holiday reps, bus conductors, travel agents – many tourism jobs essentially) would be unlikely to qualify for a visa.
Income and employment levels: V&A
Within the first year of the V&A being built, they generated 830,000 visitors. Their initial visitor expectation was 500,000. The museum was expected to generate £10.3 million in the area of Dundee and £23 million across Scotland, from visitors in the first year. As well as this, 178 employment opportunities in Dundee and 604 employment opportunities across Scotland. The project has contributed to a £16 million boost in the value of tourism in Dundee in 2018, which at £187 million already exceeds the city’s target for 2020. “The city’s partners have a long-term vision to create local jobs and opportunities through investment in top-class facilities like V&A Dundee and the latest economic impact figures show this is already paying off, with record-breaking tourism numbers recorded in 2018”.
Funding of new development: V&A
The Scottish Government contributed £25m and the UK Government contributed £5m to help build the new project. These contributions from the governments allowed Dundee to be visited a lot more for people to see the V&A.
Low cost airlines (carbon footprint)
Travellers are becoming more aware of the environmental impact of flying. Qantas have come up with a plan to reduce the impact flying has on the environment. By 2050, Qantas want to get their carbon emissions down to 0 which means they will be the second airline group in the world to have made that commitment. From 2020, they want to cap their net emissions at 12 million tonnes and offset growth in emissions from domestic and outbound operations. “We’re doing this because it’s the responsible thing to do, but hopefully, it will also encourage more people to choose Qantas and Jetstar because of the action we’re taking.” Due to the environmental impact, Australian travellers are considering not to fly and instead, use environmentally friendly forms of transport. 45% of Australian travellers are planning to use slower modes of transport, such as trains, next year to reduce their environmental impact.
TUI have made the conscious decision to remove their paper brochures by 2020 and in place, make their brochures available digitally. This initiative is successful as digital copies are available and customers are being told they are “doing your bit to help the planet” if they did not request a printed copy. As well as this, the printed copy dropped from 58 different titles to 39. Printed brochures are still available due to some TUI customers’ preferences but they are in the process of reducing their paper wastage and carbon emissions as transportation of the brochures is reduced due to lack of demand in printed copies.
The ageing population is the cause of an increase in life expectancy. This demographic change has led to an increase in the number of people who are over 60. Those of the retiring age (ageing population), are spending the rest of their life expectancy not in employment. This gives them the chance to live the remaining years doing what they want essentially as some older adults are very active. As the ageing population is increasing, the tourism industry are trying to market for those type of tourists by offering more luxurious holidays and cruises because they will have the time and money to do so. Some cruise companies specialise in luxury cruises. Fred Olsen cruises are tailored for mainly over 65’s, SAGA Holidays are tailored to over 50’s and Hebridean Island Cruises are tailored to over 55’s who are wanting to spend more on luxury.
The number of orphanages in developing countries are increasing in response to demand from tourists wishing to volunteer. Orphanages are becoming a tourist attraction almost. Due to this, the rise in tourists volunteering in orphanages are encouraging the number of orphans to increase. This causes unnecessary separation from children and their families.
Lifestyle Trends: Plastic Surgery
Many people from the UK as well as other European countries will travel internationally to get plastic surgery. This can be because of the pricing and success rates. Some procedures cannot be done through the NHS therefore privatised healthcare is the only other option unless travelling abroad. There is a surgery tourism warning due to a woman travelling to Belfast for plastic surgery and losing her breast. There was a woman, aged 29 years old from Belfast who travelled to Turkey for a breast reduction. She contracted an infection leading to her breast being removed. This shows the lengths people will go to, to get cheaper plastic surgery abroad to achieve their desired looks.
Increased Interest: City Breaks
In recent research, there has been a decrease in the common two-week holiday. Due to there being an array of places to see, with not enough time or money, short breaks or city breaks are becoming a trend. This is partially because of budget airlines being introduced into the industry where passengers can go on a city break to Europe for basically the same price as spending a week in the UK. This impacts the tourism industry because although less people are choosing long-haul holidays where more money can be spent, but more people are choosing city breaks therefore are more likely to spend more money on city breaks more frequently than one long-haul holiday per year for example. More budget airlines may be introduced due to the high demand in city breaks. The UK are using alternative city break destinations to avoid over-tourism – a prime example is Venice and Barcelona.
Transport: Airbus A380
The Airbus A380 is the world’s largest passenger aircraft. The growing technology faced today combined with the wrong time meant that the Airbus A380 wasn’t as successful. Although Air France and Lufthansa are the manufacturers of the Airbus A380, they have stopped buying the planes. The Airbus A380 has been in the industry for 12 years and will be stopped by 2021 due to not enough planes being sold. In other words, more planes are being built than airlines purchasing them. Emirates invested in the Airbus A380 and have been successful. Due to their success, other airlines are struggling to find markets with a steady capacity to compete. The capacity of the Airbus A380 was to be the reason for its success. Many airlines stated they needed larger aircrafts to manage traffic growth and congestion. Introducing the Airbus A380 meant smaller number terminal gates would be needed to accommodate more people. As an advantage, more seats meant more passengers. In turn this would lead to lower fares for passengers.
Mobile apps are a new technology which is rapidly evolving in every industry and marketplace. The latest mobile apps are becoming competitive. Even the tourism industry has adopted to the use of mobile apps; EasyJet, British Airways – every airline has their own mobile app where checking in, boarding passes, and lots of useful information is held within their app. This is efficient and convenient to most passengers. As far as mobile apps go, you can even compare flights, accommodation, restaurants, and attractions all at a click of a button on an app. Since technology has evolved, mobile apps are becoming the trend.
In conclusion, there are many factors; political, economic, environmental, social, cultural and technological that will affect the tourism industry. Tourism tax in Japan will expand tourist infrastructure and how Brexit will affect how people enter and leave the UK. The Scottish and UK government contributed millions of pounds towards the construction of the V&A. The V&A generated £10.3m income and 178 employment opportunities towards the city of Dundee. Travelers are more aware of the effect flying has on the environment. Qantas hope to reduce their carbon emissions to 0 – the second airline to make such commitment. E-brochures are becoming more of a trend due to costs and sustainability – an example is TUI. Cruise companies such as SAGA and Fred Olsen are targeting over 50’s by introducing luxury cruise holidays. Volunteering in an orphanage is not as beneficial to local orphans as it is the volunteer. Numbers of orphans are increasing. People are travelling abroad to receive cheaper cosmetic surgery. City breaks are trending heavily as people do not have the time or funds for 2-week traditional holidays. Airbus A380 wasn’t as successful as anticipated. The Airbus A380 was the world’s largest passenger aircraft but more aircrafts were constructed than sold. The use of mobile apps has increased dramatically as technology is rapidly evolving.
- V&A Dundee (2019) “830,000 visitors in the first year” [online] Available from: https://www.vam.ac.uk/dundee/info/830000-visitors-welcomed-in-first-year/ (accessed on: 9 December 2019)
- News.com.au “Qantas to slash carbon emissions to zero by 2050” [online] Available from: https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-advice/flights/qantas-to-slash-carbon-emissions-to-zero-by-2050/news-story/47c671d590545476d832c4dddba2721b (accessed: 9 December 2019)
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