The Growth of Global Tourism

Globalisation is not just about manufacturing, it is also about services. No services has grown and spread more over the last 50 years than tourism. Today around 1 billion people (more that one -tenth of the worlds population) become international tourists each year.

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The image above shows that during the second half of the 20th century, the number of international tourists increased nearly 30 times. International tourism was started in Europe and is still the leading continent – it both receives and supplies the most tourists. However many other parts of the world are now sharing in the benefits of global tourism

For centuries only wealthy people took foreign holidays for months at a time, up until the 20th century. Today international tourists don’t have to be wealthy and most foreign visits only last a week or two, there are many reasons for this `explosion`.

  • Most workers in HIC’s now work less than 40 hours a week with up to six weeks of paid annual leave. This boost in tourism is due to more leisure time and paid leave. People are now looking for new tourist destinations and leisure activities. Many people now take early retirement to travel.
  • A benefit if living in a MIC or HIC is that regular work means a disposable income, that money is the spent on luxuries – including tourist activities such as cruises and/or safari’s. Whilst it’s HIC’s that get disposable income it’s actually LIC’s that get that money through tourism, as a result a boost in tourism can mean a boost in economics’ and therefore economic development in LIC’s.
  • Developments in travel efficiency now mean that journey times and cost have been dramatically reduced. Also because of developments in modes of transport e.g. bigger planes and large cruise ships it now means that global travel is a reality for more people. You can now go almost anywhere.

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  • Because of mass media, TV and the internet people are now aware of the world and therefore can be more aware of tourism, not only people now know about tourism they can browse and research parts of tourism on the internet. People now also have an awareness of tourist activities so pay for them.
  • Because of these benefits governments now relax their borders to tourists and stand to make large sums of money form tourist visas  and departure taxes. Even the EU, which makes it difficult for workers to enter, warmly welcomes tourist.
  • Tourism can be treated much like a business and is marketed in much the same as anything else, the internet advertises it and sells it. A particularly big promotion has been  the package holiday, this consist of transport accommodation advertised and sold together by a tour operator. Other services include a rental car and special activities. For example popular destinations for UK people are holiday resorts on the Spanish `costas` and islands (Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza and Canaries). The appeal of such holidays is that they are relatively cheap, everything is organised and there is plenty of entertainment and socialising.
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