Tourism industry is becoming a very important business in many developing countries. In some countries such as Maldives, tourism industry is the only business that earns the main income for the country. With a healthy development in air commercial transport, it makes travelling a lot easier for tourist makers and holiday planners (Font et al 2006, p. 51-55). The development of commercial transport accelerates the growth of international tourism. At the same time, the expansion of international tourism creates a new chapter in transport industry.
Today, travellers and tourists have many choices of transports to choose from. They can decide to travel by buses, trains, cruise or flights. The choice depends on budget and destination. Take the example of travelling from London to Paris. Some people may prefer flights as it is quicker than other modes. With the development of no-frill airline, some time people feel that the airfare of discount airline is nearly free. On the other hand, some may enjoy travelling by train with Eurostar as they hate flying.
This report will focus on examining the contribution of commercial air transport to the development of modern international tourism. The report will look at the factors affecting tourism development. In addition, the paper will investigate different types of transport modes and then will analyze weaknesses and strengths of each mode. The report will also include an overall idea that the development of commercial air transport is the most important factor that enables the development of modern international tourism.
Factors Influencing International Tourism Development
Transport and International Tourism Development
According to Babu George and Tony Henthorne (2007, p. 136-146), tourism is an economic activity while transport is the key component in the tourism industry. The demand in infrastructures of the international and national transport presents a large number of people who want to travel in an effective, fast and inexpensive way. This means that a good and heavy investment from complex organizations is needed in order to develop international tourism (George & Henthorne 2007, p. 136-146).
Paulo Rita (2000, p. 434-436) stated in this study that transport is the cause and effect of the expansion of international tourism. Rita explained that the improved facilities of transportation have stimulated tourism industry and at the same time, the growth of tourism has stimulated transport. The study also revealed that ease of access is the main function behind the basic of tourism transport (Rita 2000, p. 434-436).
In order to gain an access to the areas which are mainly targeted, travellers and tourists will use any type of transportation mode (Wong & Hailin 2004, p. 108-115). David Chan (2000, p. 489-514) claimed in his research focusing the development of the airline industry that air transport is the main mode for international tourism. The growth rates of international air traffic come together with the growing rate of international tourism (Chan 2000, p. 489-514). From the above discussion, it can be concluded that international tourism development needs good system of transportation.
Low-cost Airline influence International Tourism Development
Over the last decade, numbers of international tourists have been increasing. Stephen Shaw (2004, p. 22) discussed about the development of air commercial transport in his book titled ‘Airline Marketing and Management.’ He stated that the expansion of international tourism has a significant affect on transport characteristics. For example, international tourism influences the growth of commercial traditional airlines and gives birth to low-cost carriers.
David Coathup (1999, p. 69-72) revealed in his research titled ‘Dominant actors in international tourism’. He stated that the airlines are one of the key players that speed up the expansion of international tourism. Take Ryanair as an example. It offers over 60 destinations in Europe. It makes dream holiday of many people become realistic. The growth of low-cost airline makes air travelling possible for low budget customers (Coathup 1999, p. 69-72).
Hotel Development and International Tourism
In an article ‘International perspective on travel and tourism development’ Jorge Costa (1995, p. 10-19) reviewed the issues from travel and tourism analyst published in the period from 1989 to 1994. The journal is a leading reference source in the area of travel and tourism. Based on Costa’s research, the main issues and trends emerging in the field of hospitality, travel and tourism were traced. Costa stated that one of the main factors that influence international development is hotel sector (Costa 1995, p. 10-19).
Costa revealed that many international hotels start seeking business opportunities. Take Hilton as an example. It operates many hotels in Thailand’s tourist cities, including Phuket and Krabi provinces which have many beautiful tropical islands. He made an interesting conclusion regarding the development of international tourism which is influenced by the hospitality industry. He stated that without hotel development, international tourism would not grow. Imagine yourself on a luxurious holiday on an island that has no accommodation, but a camping tent (Costa 1995, p. 10-19).
Technology and International Tourism Development
Technology is playing significant role in many sectors. The development of international tourism will not get success without technology (Coathup 1999, p. 69-72). Take internet and computer as an example. It allows people to find information about destinations and holiday locations with a few clicks through internet search engine. Today, people can even say that the best thing to do when planning a holiday is to search for deals and offers on the internet, not visiting travel agent. In addition, technology enables many airlines to integrate other services to customers. For example, EasyJet allows people to buy air tickets, book a hotel and hire a car via its website. It can be assumed technology helps smoothing international tourism activities (Coathup 1999, p. 69-72).
Desire to Travel and International Tourism Development
Desire to travel is the start of tourism industry. This means that without the interest of travelling and visiting other countries’ tourist attractions, international tourism would not get developed. Brotherton (2003, p. 110) stated that travelling has always been a very important element of the society. He stated that people have desire to travel around the world because they want to learn more about other countries around the world to find markets and resources. In these days, travelling is being perceived as annual holiday, which is quite well expected and predicted.
Transportation Means and Modes
According to Lumsdon and Stephen (2004, p. 45), tourism transport can be divided in two categories, including independent means of travel and mass travel. They also stated that the main transport modes that help develop international tourist industry include the following:
Lumsdon and Stephen (2004, p. 45) explained that car travelling is an independent means of transport. The good point of car travelling is that the drivers can decide where and when to get to the destinations. Also, it is normally cheaper when compared to other modes. This is because road fees are not directly paid as they come from taxes.
Car travelling is the only transport mode that does not need transferring. In other words, car travelling can give people door to door service. It is the main mode in the world of tourism because of the advantages of flexibility, price and independence. Numbers of tourists often hire cars to travel within their destinations (May 2005, p. 24-38). However, car travelling also has its weak point, which is the speed. The travelled distance in a car cannot be completed and compared to the efficiency of mass travel modes.
Coach travelling is one of the travelling options. Lumsdon and Stephen stated that buses use the same system with car travelling. They claimed that coaches are the best option for group travelling as it allows them to enjoy group activities on the coach. Coach travellers can also appreciate scenery better than other modes. However, the drawback of coach travelling is that it consumes a lot of time to reach destinations.
It is a main form of mass public transport before car development took place. It is still the main form of travel mode in many developing and third world countries. The good point of rail travelling is that it gives more legroom to travellers and some trains even have canteens and snack bars on board (Lumsdon & Stephen 2004, p. 46).
Trains are very fast compared to cars and coaches. However, the network is not very flexible. Trains normally represent commercial needs of national economy than the flow of holiday tourist (Lumsdon & Stephen 2004, p. 46). Many countries put a lot of investment to improve trail system. For example, long-distance route and high speed engine trains are the concentration in Europe (May 2005, p. 24-38).
Cruises are the best option for sea journey. It began to play an important part in tourist industry. Cruises can be compared to luxurious floating hotels. It provides guests with luxurious entertainment. It also takes travellers to visit many destinations. The main cruising lines include the Caribbean, Mediterranean, South China and Pacific Ocean (Lumsdon & Stephen 2004, p. 69).
Cruises’ travellers do not have to worry about lost luggage. They also have their own bedrooms. They can enjoy number of entertainments and facilities on board such as casino and swimming pool. However, cruising may not be suitable for those who have sea sickness. Moreover, bad weather can make cruising trip a nightmare like the case of Titanic, for instance.
Air transport is the most effective transport modes when compared to other mentioned modes. This is because it consumes less travelling time and it can reach most remote areas that other modes fail to complete. International tourism is no longer expensive. This is because the development and growth of low-cost airlines makes international tourism to become an activity for everyone, not just the rich (Lumsdon & Stephen 2004, p. 69).
Air transport also has its weak points. The serious concern on environment issue of global warming is one of the weak points. Air transport produces a lot of carbon dioxide emission. In some circumstances, many air travellers find themselves experiencing lost luggage situation, weather condition, delayed scheduled flights and security and terrorist issues (Lumsdon & Stephen 2004, p. 69).
According to the discussion in this paper, it can be presumed that the development of international tourism cannot be progressed rapidly without the support of air commercial transport, hospitality, technology and the desire to travel. However, based on the discussion, air transport helps making the desire of visiting other countries become realistic as it is the only mean that can really take tourists to their dream destinations in different countries and continents.