With Reference to Specific Tourism or Event Industry Sectors, Discuss the Key Challenges and Opportunities Facing the Tourism and Events Industry in the 21st Century.

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There have been and still are many key challenges and opportunities that face the tourism and events industry over the years. Throughout this essay I am going to outline and discuss a select few that we face now in the 21st century and relate them to specific industry sectors. The specific areas I am going to cover include the Social and Cultural impacts, the economic and financial trends, the ecological impacts and the trends formed over the last 60 years compared with forecasts for the next 10.

My first point to discuss will be the Social and Cultural impacts on the tourism industry. In 1998 (amended in 2003) a new law was introduced which stated that adult workers cannot be forced to work more than 48 hours a week on average (normally averaged over 17 weeks). This has a huge impact on many sectors in the industry as employees cannot be forced to work more that the previously stated 48 hours a week, therefore strategies to maybe have organisations opened later into the evening or even on the weekends will require hiring more staff. However, an employee can opt out of this law voluntarily in writing and this can also be cancelled at any time, nonetheless this is not a likely occurrence to happen.

My second point is the Economic and financial trends in the tourism industry. Leiper (2003) shows that in the 1980’s, governments started to recognise in many countries the value of the tourism industry. Once the value was recognised, greater levels of investment had begun by promoting destinations to tourists, educating and training programs were developed for new recruits and existing employees and in the 1990’s there was an increase in research projects on tourism. Following on from this the government was giving subsidies to sponsor dozens of new projects every year for the tourism industry. Leiper (2003) also stated ‘with the growing recognition of the tourism industry, banks and other financial institutions dealing with businesses have been more willing to deal with tourism interests than they were before.’ Leiper (2003) outlined that some organisations may rely on tourism to earn all or part of their income. Due to tourists spending being spread into numerous sectors nationwide, all employees can be said to earn a percentage of their incomes from tourism, even if they are not directly related to the industry. For instance, a restaurant based near a hotel will reap in income from tourists whether they are international or domestic as they still may stay at the hotel. This benefits the food and beverage sector due to the fact that even if there is a lack of inbound tourists to a given country, the organisations within the sector can still receive an income from domestic tourists. Leiper (2003) also suggests that a great amount of tourists usually buy an extensive variety of items which gives various organisations the opportunity to earn revenue. This benefits a wide range of sectors as tourist expenditure is so varied from food and drink to travel to gifts to take back home.

Knowles et al (2004) stated ‘The independence of thousands of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), including hotels and tour operators, is at risk when compared with multinationals. Whilst globalization of tourism and hospitality will certainly create jobs and boost investment, many developing countries are facing the prospects of a huge growth in leakage of foreign exchange earnings.’ The growth in jobs will benefit the tourism industry as a whole whereas a downfall in foreign exchange earnings will affect it massively, especially as Leiper (2003) states that ‘foreign exchange earnings are essential to the economic vitality of national economies, and this helps explain why national governments around the world have tried to foster inbound tourism’. If there is a decrease in this area then the industry will lose a lot of revenue.

Knowles et al (2004) states that ‘While globalization is irreversible, developing countries need to...
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