As per the report released by UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, international tourist arrivals grew by a remarkable 7% in 2017 to reach a total of 1322 million. According to the report released by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, the number of international tourist arrival in India in 2016 reached 14.57 million with 9.7% annual growth rate while the number of domestic tourist visit stands at 1613.55 million with annual growth rate of 12.68%. Tourism continue to play an important role as a foreign exchange earner for the country. In 2016, foreign exchange earnings from tourist were US$ 22.92 billion as compared to US$ 21.07 billion in 2015, registering a growth of 8.8%. Due to the growing will of people to escape from their regular schedule and experience different culture and lifestyle as well as due to increasing disposable income of the people, both domestic and international tourism will continue to grow in the future.
Travel tourism being an experiential service i.e. a service in which the focus is on the experience coming from the interaction between the customer and the organization, emphasis would be given on this quality of service provided to the customer. Without the ability to provide an impeccable service to customers, an organization in this sector will not survive. Technological progress and tourism have been going hand in hand for years. Innovation is playing an increasing role in service and is particularly important for the travel tourism industry. Innovation could be based on technology or unique service provided by an enterprise. Competition in the market is a driving force behind innovation. For an individual enterprise, innovation can be a means of survival in competition with others. In many cases, innovations will be the result of changed customer requirements. This also applies to the travel and tourism industry, where the road to success lies in creating products that tourists and other travelers are willing to pay for. For example, Airbnb has changed the way how tourist book their hotels to stay while in their vacation. Rather than booking traditional hotels, tourist can book apartments, homestays or a room with amenities at a cheaper price through Airbnb. As a graduate or specialist in Travel Tourism, there will be lot of opportunity to innovate and thereby create value for both the organization and customers.
Tourists are making greater demands of suppliers in terms of service, knowledge and competence. Human capital is therefore important in the travel and tourism industry and the quality of the product offered by the enterprise depends on the people employed. This is where career and opportunity in travel tourism lie. The education offered should reflect the travel and tourism industry’s competence requirements. The travel and tourism industry’s competence requirements is affected by trends and developments in the market. The education offered should be able to imbibe the changes in the travel and tourism industry’s competence requirements in order to ensure that the industry has access to personnel with relevant qualifications of a high standard.
Branding and promotion of an experience, event, place or service is very important in the travel tourism sector. One would think of the Taj Mahal as a must-see when a person plan to visit India or one cannot ignore to experience the cherry blossom while in Japan in spring. The FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia, for instance, has resulted in more people travelling to the country inspite of higher airfares and hotels rate. There are lot of untapped tourist places in India which could be explored by the tourist. For example, rural tourism in India especially in North East India is still at a very virgin stage. From a social point of view, rural tourism may contribute to maintaining the population in rural areas, promoting the preservation of natural scenarios and traditional cultures, rehabilitating depressed areas and improving the socioeconomic conditions of (often poor) small producers. It may also be a channel to help women, young people, and socially vulnerable groups (e.g., native communities) enter into the labor market, get better jobs, or find new sources of revenues. Thus the role of a person working in this sector is very important as it influence in uplifting the social status of certain section of the society.
An organization need to connect with customers regularly through various medium such as blogs, videos and websites. Engagement with customers through contest and games is required to keep hold of the customers. Newsletter should be sent regularly to customers to update them about the latest news or updates in travel tourism. A person who is looking forward to a career in travel tourism should possess content writing skill and be creative and innovative to provide unique services to customers. An organization which communicate effectively to its target customer is AirAsia. AirAsia Berhad is a Malaysian low-cost airline headquartered near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia flying to more than 20 countries. The company sends regular updates about new routes, sales and offers, new blog and other offerings. The company is very active in social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram to name a few and it offers its monthly magazine downloadable in its website. This enable the company to survive and grow even though the sector is very competitive.
About the Author:
Prof. David Hangsing, an alumnus of Indian Institute of Management Bangalore and National Institute of Technology Silchar is currently the Batch-in-Charge and professor in Marketing in PIBM. His areas of interest include Basics of Marketing and Marketing Research.