Tourism - Discuss how changes in air transport since the 1950's are reflected in both leisure and business travel trends

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44128 Introduction to Tourism - General Essay

Question 3 - Discuss how changes in air transport since the 1950's are reflected in both leisure and business travel trends.

The first powered flight was in 1903 and carried out by the famous Wright Brothers. Therefore aircrafts are over one century old. In the first half of the century progress was extremely fast, with frequent breakthroughs and developments. In the second half of the century progress was much smaller. Aircraft's speed didn't increase, and the most significant changes in the industry were newly designed wide bodied planes and turbo engines. On the other hand it was only in this century that air transport changed people's lives.

In the travel market there are two major classifications of travel purpose, these are business and leisure.

Business travellers usually have a higher need than want to travel, as it is important for their jobs. They do not have to pay for their travel costs and often travel under short notice. This segment includes regular business travelling, business travel related to meetings, conventions, and congresses, and finally incentive business travel.

Leisure travellers usually have a lower need to travel and a much higher want or desire to. They pay for their tickets, and usually agree to plan their travelling well in advance in order to get a better price. This segment includes family and get-away travellers, adventurous and educational travellers, and gamblers and fun travellers.

The needs and wants of these travellers may be satisfied by any one of the many modes of transportation, for example train, ship, car, bus etc. But, as mentioned above, one of the main methods of travelling between two destinations is by air. The airplane had a revolutionary impact on tourism from World War two onwards, on both leisure and business travel trends. Airlines looked to restart the industry after the war with a much improved aircraft and navigation technology. They succeeded, and air travel is now a symbol of worldwide culture.

Modern air transportation began in the late 1950's with the introduction of the Boeing 707, the first durable long range high capacity commercial airliners. The introduction of these twin isle, wide bodied airplanes helped air travel to be accessible to an increasing number of travellers. This gave people the opportunity to travel further distances faster, particularly important for business travellers who have the time factor as a major consideration. But not forgetting the leisure travellers who were now able to purchase airline tickets and package holidays to further away destinations.

As the air travel industry grew, several large companies were formed through the merging of smaller airlines. Transcontinental air travel immediately made ocean long haul passenger liners obsolete, and began to erode long haul rail passenger traffic, with the growth of package holidays adding to the number of air passengers.

Business and leisure travellers were now travelling more and more by air, the market was growing fast. At the beginning people were wary to try this new commercial mode of transport, but as these fears decreased, the level of passengers rose. Between the years 1965 to 1989, the passenger kilometres travelled by air grew by 700%. And in 1998 the worldwide mileage of air travel was 2628 billion passenger kilometres.

The graph below shows the number of UK resident's visits abroad by air, according to purpose of visits.

In 1978 the US Air Deregulation Act meant that almost every country in the world liberalized, privatised or totally deregulated its domestic air transport system. This led to increased price competition and other forms of marketing activity in business and leisure travel markets. Although the airlines still operate in the interest of public safety and safety of air operations, and air travel is still a valid concern for government regulators.

During this deregulation, network...
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