The UK is a well-connected transport hub, facilitating movement to destinations across the globe as well as within the UK. After a difficult 2 years, the outbound and domestic sectors appear to be on the gradual road to recovery. Domestic tourism in particular has had a strong first half of 2011, with growth in visits, bed nights and expenditure. The UK Government values tourism and its economic benefits and is keen to invest to increase its return. Trips for other purposes such as business travel have also demonstrated an increase in the past 6 months. Weaknesses
The economy will play a significant role in boosting tourism and its stability is vital to this. Tour operators/agents have continued to cease trading throughout 2011 and this reduces consumer confidence, especially in smaller operators/agents. High-street sales have struggled during the recession against online sales, and the same can be said for high-street tour operators. For example, Thomas Cook has announced that it is closing 24 high-street stores. The current volatility of the financial markets and currencies will have a negative effect on outbound tourism. Opportunities
Emerging markets and exotic locations represent areas where a travel agent’s/operator’s expertise will still be required. Increased interest in eco-tourism will provide agents and operators an opportunity to market new products Major events in 2012 such as the Diamond Jubilee, the Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Cultural Olympiad represent opportunities for domestic tourism. For those with no interest in the major events of 2012, a foreign holiday or domestic holiday to a remote location during the busiest period may be a priority. Cloud computing represents an opportunity for agents and operators to improve the efficiency of their services. Threats
The increased penetration of the Internet into consumers’ lives has made it easier to independently organise holidays. As shown during the winter of 2010 and with...