Travel is not just an activity. It is a comprehensive experience. When the dimensions of leisure and recreation connect with the concept of travel it assumes the form of tourism. Humankind’s desire to break away from monotony, explore the unexplored, discover the undiscovered with elements of curiosity, relaxation and fun make travel and tourism much sought after. The facilities of travel have increased so much today. From airline bookings to hotel reservations, travel has been simplified as a process. Information can be retrieved at the click of the mouse. Even before you set out of your house, every detail can be executed to perfection.
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The travel and tourism industry has seen a boom. Most countries have diversified their vision with special emphasis on developing the travel and tourism sector. In fact, the tourism sector hard sells and promotes itself vociferously. It has left nothing to the imagination. A traveler is so very sure of what to look for where when he takes up his journey. Only a well-organized travel and tourism network can offer this ease to a tourist.
The American tourism industry is one of the biggest and varied. The USA is the destination of so many travelers from the world over. With a range of attractions, museums, gambling, amusement parks, campgrounds, outdoor adventures, and great auto-rental, lodging, and dining facilities, it is indeed lucrative, to say the least. The entire tourism and travel network has been well identified, planned, and coordinated. The World Tourism Organization listed the USA as the third most visited destination by tourists in the year 2006 after France and Spain. In fact, Forbes magazine rated the hot tourist attractions in the world, and Times Square in New York, National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington D.C, and Walt Disney’s Magic World in Orlando bagged the top three positions.
Despite these cherries on the cake, there are numerous blots that make the American travel and tourism industry open to criticism. After the 9/11 attacks, the US visa rules have become very bureaucratic and stringent. This has deterred tourism. The international travelers in fact have a feeling that America has been inhospitable off late. Though this was completely evident after statistical analyses of the number of tourists who visited America in 2002, yet tourism picked up in 2006. As mentioned earlier, the USA recorded the third-highest tourist influx in the world in 2006. But the graph saw the downhill slope in 2007 again. In fact, most visitors find the US difficult to visit. The complex travel policies need to be reworked and re-strategized. ‘The Travel Promotion Act’ would help redress problems related to the aforementioned issue. The program would better communicate complex travel policies and assure foreign travelers that they are welcome to visit the United States. Studies show that such a campaign could attract millions of additional overseas visitors per year, resulting in billions of dollars of new visitor spending.
The United States of America has no central tourism office. This deters first-time travelers. Such an initiative can very well take care of their apprehensions. In terms of development on the terms of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), a certain change of approach is much needed. There has been a 21% growth rate in the online travel industry in the last ear. The American travel industry has to take this seriously and line up the changes it wishes to make keeping in mind the very fact that the processes would have to be simplified for the end-users.
Another discouraging factor has been the rising fuel prices that have made air travel costlier. Though these economics of fuel pricing are far from the travel industry’s control, yet a more strategic outlook at giving some other facilities to the travelers would have to be seriously looked at. The fact that there is stiff competition in the travel industry is both a problem and a challenge. The travel industry players can make diverse plans to benefit from the emerging business opportunities.
The travel industry needs to become more tourist-savvy. Its job should not only be to update tourists on factual data but take care of their concerns. In fact, the travel industry should devise ways of dealing with duping by fraudulent tour operators. Travel needs to be made a more wholesome experience. With more customers that the tourism industry across the world is vying for, it is imperative that it becomes more communicative and flexible. Today’s outlook for the travel industry is one of innovation, high occupancy rates, healthy competition, and, outside of the legacy airlines, returning profits.
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Ian Stewart, The Associated Press, 2008, Web.
Plunket Research Ltd., 2008. Web.