“No matter why and where you travel. There is always something wonderfully new to be found.”
Tourism is the bundle of tangible products and intangible services that can help to bring most profound experience one can get. With respect to time, tourism has been changing from the ancient form of religious tourism to a few new forms. Tourism industry contributes to 9% of the global GDP and offers one from every 11 jobs. In addition, the number of tourists have doubled over the past 20 years and a propelling growth is expected in coming few years among all market segments.
Tourism industry has an intense potential to grow and generate revenues. Let us see, the new shaping trends in tourism today.
Digital Technology in Tourism
Today, tour operators and tourists, both are equipped with latest technology. It has empowered the tourism business managers and tourists to explore, discover and reach new places by facilitating online travel and accommodation bookings, and more.
The tourists use various mobile apps as simple as a compass app, online booking apps, currency converter apps, world time apps, language translation apps, weather apps, google maps, and restaurant or accommodation locating services on their mobile device. The tourists can also add their own data to create overlay on the Google Map and explore all possibilities in visiting a location by using Google Maps API. Some apps help to plan the tour, find out cheap flights, local transport hubs, eating joints, and destination attractions.
The apps enhance the tourist experience before, during, and after the tour.
Today, the large tour operators invest finances to create their own mobile apps. They are inclined to use as less papers as they can and prefer to send pdf documents of itinerary to their customers and insurance documents to insurance service providing clients. They also use most of the apps the tourists use; plus, they highly rely on some apps such as Trafalgar app, Passport to Tour app, mTrip app, which can connect them with the tourists on the trip, track the itinerary, and get on-the-fly information of the tour.
Since technology is making tour operators reach their customers and clients at the speed of light, the tour operators use it for promoting their business and various products, increasing their brand awareness, knowing tourists’ preferences, and providing easy access to their products and services.
New Trends in Tourism
Tourism is an ever changing industry. A few previously unknown or unnoted forms of tourism are establishing today. Some of them are −
Arctic and Antarctic polar regions have always attracted tourists. Polar tourism is a dynamically growing industry due to the efforts tour operators take to provide various attractions, destinations, and activities for their customers. Adventure tourists and common tourists who long for unique weather experience, solitude, and view of wild life in its natural habitat opt for polar tourism.
It includes orbital and suborbital rocket flights into the space. Riding into the space for recreation and unique experience was the idea behind this tourism. Till date, only very rich tourists paying very large sum of money could possibly realize the dream to see beyond the blue planet. In coming years, this extravagant tourism can be made available for common people too.
Dark tourism is the oldest form of tourism developed recently. Due to the fear and natural attraction to uncover mystery of death human beings always have, some tourists prefer to visit the destinations such as battlefields, places of violent homicides, or any places where large number of people lost their lives naturally or forcefully in the span of last 100 to 125 years.
For example, tourists visit Pompeii to see the corpses of the victims of the volcanic disaster literally turned into plaster casts. The volcano on Mt. Vesuvius had destroyed the ancient town of Pompeii. Though the disaster occurred and claimed thousands of lives long ago, the threat of more such volcanic eruptions still exist today. Hence, Pompeii is an archeological and also a dark tourism site.
Some more places the tourists visit for dark tourism are −
Chernobyl and Prypiat, Ukraine − Tourists visit this place to see the ruins of the nuclear disaster that took place on 26 Apr 1986.
Ground Zero, USA − It is The World Trade Centre site attracting tourists since the 9/11 attacks that took place in 2001.
Auschwitz, Germany − This dark site is famous for Nazi concentration camps with various rooms piled with thousands of pairs of glasses, shoes, and human hair. It displays the walls of the corridor exerting the lists of their victims’ names and the dates of their death, and the house of the camp commandant.
Costa Concordia − On the coasts of Tuscany, Italy; the site of this wrecked ship attracted tourists for around two years.
It is taking volunteered vacation and touring for charity. People do not just go touring for recreation and fun but also to serve the community dealing with natural calamities. In case of flash floods or cyclones, the people in the affected areas need support. Some tourists voluntarily visit such places and extend their hands for help in whichever possible way they can.
Also, tourists are travelling to care for orphans, for plantation, protecting wildlife, and similar other tasks.
It mainly pertains to the rich business tourists, who strongly believe that time is of prime importance and they must pay to save time at any cost. Wealthy tourists are inclined to undergo unique experience such as staying at a private island, personal attention from the service providers and access to elite class attractions and amenities.
The tourists who like to receive local culinary experience, like to tour for this purpose. They attend food festivals, food competitions, visit local farms, vineries, and cheese manufacturing companies, interact with local community or cooks for special culinary experience.
The four major developing countries namely Brazil, Russia, India, and China have a great potential for driving global economy through hospitality and tourism industry. These countries are important for both inbound and outbound tourism. Global tour operators are adapting their tourism businesses to exploit the huge market these countries provide.
Future of Tourism
It is quite obvious that tomorrow’s tourists and tour operators will tend to rely more on technology. With the introduction of the next generation apps and online services, tourism is going to get further accessible and enjoyable.
According to Ari Steinbuerg, the founder of a travel startup Vamo, the tourists will tend to spend less time planning in advance. Efficient booking services and apps will enable the tourists to create versatile itineraries with reasonable price. Future tourists would not prefer to be confined to packaged tours. With the availability of large number of options, the tourists would prefer to realize every possible wish regarding tourism.
With more flight connectivity, travelling modes and accommodations introducing more comfort, technology helping mankind progressively, the tourism will continue to bring momentum in its sector.