Can Travel Bug Kill Tourism?
Travel is the transfer of people from different distant geographical areas between different time zones. Travel can be to one place for a specific length of time or one way, generally across international borders. Travel can take many forms, such as leisure, business or pleasure, to exotic locations or back home. While traveling, people usually have two objectives: a destination and transportation. Transportation can include walking, riding a car, bicycle or bus to a destination, or flying on an airplane.
Tourism has become a major worldwide industry, supported by millions of dollars in investment, travel fees and ticket revenues. The tourism industry provides employment to millions of people who live outside of the metropolitan areas that generate the majority of the tourism revenue. Traveling brings individuals together from various walks of life and can provide some of the most special experiences available. Tourism may also be referred to as travel-related industries or, more commonly, tourism and leisure.
With so much travel occurring globally and internationally, several terms have been coined to describe the practice of traveling. Some of the most common are business travel, leisure travel, domestic travel, remote travel, cross-cultural travel, international travel, tourist travel and overseas travel. Many travelers do not consider themselves “travelers” per se; rather they are passing through or visiting a destination. For instance, a nurse may be traveling to China to help elderly patients who cannot travel on their own. When describing travel, it’s important to remember that the definition includes not only travel within a country, but travel to other countries as well.
Travel has become the foundation of the tourism industry and supports a wide range of economies. Economists view tourism and travel-related spending as an important driver of the international economic growth. Travel generates employment for thousands of people each year, which create jobs in the construction industry, tourism agencies, tourist guides, restaurants and hotels and the like. The global tourist industry supports many communities with the creation of cultural heritage and livelihoods in remote geographical locations. In turn, these cultural livelihoods support the economy of distant geographical locations because visitors to help support local livelihoods.
Travel contributes to the safety and security of the environment. It also provides a means to identify, evaluate and disseminate safety information. As travel increases, concerns about the environment should also increase. This is why the tourism industry is working hard to improve its environmental sustainability.
Travel also provides a means to increase cultural and recreational exchanges, which in turn benefits distant geographical locations. For instance, through tourism exchange services, an exchange of teaching and cultural practices can take place between students in a foreign school and students living in a different community. Warm showers, massages and visits often occur resulting from this type of exchange.
Travel may also be a vehicle to deliver social programs. The tourism industry often conducts programs that help at-risk travelers to improve their lives. For example, one program helps travelers adjust to life as a foreign guest in a new country. Through this program, travelers develop skills for accepting and understanding the way of life in that country.
While travel may provide opportunities for new cultures and manners of life, the culture associated with one place may cause negative effects on the traveler. Because of this, the U.S. Department of State warns against traveling to all types of conflict areas. While travel can provide opportunities to develop positive experiences, it can also expose travelers to negative behaviors and situations.
One reason that some disapprove of travel is its potential impact on tourism. Some fear that the tourism industry can become saturated with activities that have nothing to do with the area in which they are interested. According to the World Wildlife Fund, tourism can negatively affect wildlife conservation efforts. In turn, this can create negative publicity and can decrease support for wildlife protection. Some groups believe that there is a lack of focus on preserving world heritage species and their habitat because most tourism depends on tourism.
Another concern about travel relates to the negative impact of travel on American tourism. According to the Travel and Leisure Association of America, many American travelers have difficulty integrating into and fitting into local customs when returning home. In many cases, travelers report feeling alienated because of what they perceive to be superficial differences. The result is a decreased interest in American culture and American goods and services.
Concerns about tourism arise not only from issues regarding travelers’ privacy and security. Many foreign tourists who spend their money at the many short-term accommodations found along America’s shores also complain that they do not receive adequate care when they arrive at the airport. In some cases, American travelers have been hospitalized with diseases related to poor travel conditions. Experts in the tourism industry feel that the best solution to this type of hospitality problem is by encouraging travelers to book flights and hotels that provide more for their trip. Many hotels offer concierge services, personalized service, and onsite restaurants that provide dining options unique to the area in which the traveler is staying.