The following academic paper highlights the up-to-date issues and questions of External Tourism. This sample provides just some ideas on how this topic can be analyzed and discussed.
Leiper’s whole basic tourist system consists of five main elements; at least one tourist, at least one tourist generating region, at least one tourist destination region, at least one transit region and at least one tourism industry. He suggests that without any one of these elements the tourist system would not function correctly.
As well as the main elements of the tourism system Leiper also refers to external factors and how they can affect the function of the tourist system.
External factors include; Human, socio-cultural, economic, technological, physical, political, Violence and terrorism and legal factors. External factors are factors which destinations are unable to control. This essay will explore how external factors affect tourism as a whole and in America. External Factors affecting Tourism Economic factors can be either positive or negative; the tourism industry can reap economic benefits by promoting developing tourist destinations.
Tourist boards promote developing destinations to attract tourists and improve the destination’s economic value, once the destination is economically stable components of the travel and tourism industry such as airlines and tour operators will begin to invest in the destination by selling holidays to tourists. Business men and women will invest in the development of hotels, restaurants and attractions, thus developing the destination further resulting in even more tourists visiting the destination.
Some destinations however are not as lucky, at present many destinations are faced with the negative effects of the recession.
When the recession hit many tour operators and airlines went bankrupt which resulted in a decrease in the number of flights and holidays available, unemployment figures increased which meant that people now have less disposable income to spend on travel, thus resulting in a decrease in tourist numbers to certain destinations. These destinations rapidly began the process of decline.
It takes a lot of time and money to rebuild a destination after decline. ‘Economies move in cycles from boom to slump, and occasionally to bust… while a fevered cycle of growth and decline can actually be healthy for an economy, since robust churning purges marginal businesses, recovery is often slow and awkward. ‘ (Michael Haywood in Ioannides and Debbage, 1998, p. 273) Political and legal factors are controlled by the government. Political factors such as war can have a devastating effect on a destination itself, its economy and the local community.
Once war has been declared on a destination tourists become deterrent and are usually not allowed to visit for safety reasons, the lack of tourism and the amount of money spent on ammunition reduces the destinations economic value and sends it into decline. The media over emphasises on the issue which creates a negative image of the destination for those who have not visited prior to war taking place and they will still maintain this image once the war is over.
War does not only affect the countries in battle but surrounding countries too, if tourists stop travelling to certain destinations tour operators and airlines may be on the verge of bankruptcy. However, political factors are not all negative; the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 marked the end of communism in Eastern and Central Europe after this event took place these countries saw an increase in tourists from the West.
Governments began to take tourism more seriously as an employment and income-generating response to the rising unemployment and fiscal problems created by the transition to a market economy. ‘ (Brown, 1998, p. 25) Legal factors include laws and legislation set by the government, which include; the economic policy, this policy sets the levels of taxation and expenditure in the country, which can help to determine how much money can be spent on the development of tourist facilities and international promotion campaigns.
The government international policy influences exchange rates; international trade etc, depending on the exchange rate this can be either a positive or negative external factor as a high exchange rate will attract incoming tourists as they will gaining more for their money, on the other hand a low exchange rate will mean tourists are getting less for their money and will most likely visit another destination where the exchange rate is higher.
International trade is a positive factor as it generates money for the economy, helps to build relationships with other destinations and allows the local population to have access to products which their destination cannot produce. International trade can have a negative effect on tourism in a destination as many tourists travel primarily to gain an insight into foreign cultures and taste local delicacies, if these foreign delicacies are imported into their country they may feel that there is no need to visit the destination as they can purchase them from local stores saving the cost of travel.
Other laws and regulations set by the government include; consumer protection laws which ensure that consumers are sold quality products, organisations must abide by the trades description act 1968. These laws and regulations have a positive effect on the tourism industry as tourists have more trust in travel and tourism organisations to sell them quality products and services and thus are more willing to travel. Employment laws include paid holidays, which allow employees to have paid time off work to travel.
This is a positive external factor because without paid holidays a lot of working and lower class citizens may not be able to afford to take unpaid time off work which will reduce tourist numbers dramatically thus reducing the economic value of most destinations. Socio- cultural factors are influences that society has on an individual, for example society has created a stigma about travelling to certain destinations such as Benidorm, this influences whether or not a tourist will choose to travel to Benidorm.
Developments in information technology such as personal laptops, wireless internet and better software has changed the way businesses operate; With advanced technology it is much easier and time effective to carry out paper work online and consumers can now purchase travel components such as flights and hotel rooms online which means very few employees are required. ‘Many companies such as British Airways have cut costs through reducing the numbers of people employed particularly at middle levels of the organisation. (Evans et al, 2003, p. 161) Developments in transport such as low cost airlines increases the number of times people travel as it is more affordable, it also increases the amount of money tourists have left to spend on attractions and other tourist facilities.
Developments of public transport within a destination such as trams, buses, trains etc make it much easier for tourists to explore the destination, one of the main factors tourists will assess before visiting a destination is its accessibility. These improvements in transport have also increased the total amount of personal and business travel that people undertake. ‘ (Evans et al, 2003, p. 161) Violence and Terrorism are external factors which have devastating negative effects on a destination. When violence and terrorist attacks occur in a particular destination tourists are reluctant to visit for months even years later and some tourists will never visit as they believe there is a risk of another attack.
Not only does the destinations economic value decrease due to repairs having to be made but the lack of tourists also has a major impact on the economy especially for those destinations who are dependant on tourism to generate income. ‘Criminal activities are indeed a continuous component of daily life but, in the context of tourism they increase in significance. Above all, the fact that the tourism activity as such is strongly related to such things as discovering new areas and taking risks makes tourists especially vulnerable targets. ‘ (Glaesser, 2003, p. 53)
External Factors Affecting Tourism in America On September 11th 2001 America was hit by one of the most devastating terrorist attacks in history. Terrorists crashed two aircrafts into the twin towers of the world trade centre in New York, killing Nearly 3,000 people and destroying the surrounding area. The terrorists then crashed another aircraft into the Pentagon in Virginia and a fourth aircraft into a field in Washington. There were no survivors from any of the attacks. The Pentagon was rebuilt within a year and cost $700 million; the World Trade Centre is currently in the process of being rebuilt.
After the events of September 11th visitor numbers to America decreased by 5 million as tourists were afraid to visit in case America was attacked again; this shows how a terrorist attack in one city can affect the country as a whole. As a result of a decrease in tourist numbers America’s economic value also plummeted and many people working within America’s tourist industry soon became unemployed. It is thought that terrorists target major tourist destinations as they know it will cause the most damage to the destination.
‘Tourists are not the only parties to be harmed by terrorism-local elites, foreign tour operators and the whole national economy can be acutely affected- and it is for this reason that tourists are so useful to terrorists. ‘ (Brown, 1998, p. 23) America is currently experiencing a recession which has resulted in a poor exchange rate; this can have both positive and negative effects on America’s tourism industry; because of the poor exchange rate incoming tourists are not getting enough currency in exchange and therefore are reluctant to visit.
However the poor exchange rate also means that American tourists are not getting as much currency in exchange for their Dollars when visiting foreign destinations and have decided to go on domestic holidays within America instead. As the majority of America’s tourists were incoming tourists tourist numbers have rapidly decreased since the recession hit, which has lowered the country’s economic value. The recession has also lead to a rise in unemployment and the collapse of businesses especially within the tourism industry.
Conclusion External factors have a huge effect on the tourism system Leiper talks about. Whether they are positive effects or negative effects they can change a destination completely. For example economic factors can be negative such as the recession in America, as explained earlier, due to the recession many travel and tourism organisations such as hotels, airlines, attractions etc became bankrupt which could mean that some of America’s most popular tourist attractions and facilities no longer exist.
On the other hand a rise in the number of incoming tourists can increase the economic value of a destination. External factors can also change the dynamics of Leiper’s tourism system; a development in transportation could result in tourists travelling directly to their desired destination, thus losing the need for the transit route element within Leiper’s tourism system.