Tourism Industry – Sectors and Career Development
The Essential Elements of a Tourist Destination
Whatever tourists’ main motivation for travelling to a destination, they will need certain amenities during their stay. The presence of amenities will not cause a destination to become popular with tourists; however, it will ensure its continued popularity. The major amenities needed in a tourist destination are:
Restaurants and Cafés
Accommodation accounts for 20%-25% of total tourist expenditure. To be successful, a destination area needs a sufficient variety of accommodation to appeal to all types of visitors. Furthermore, these accommodation types need to cater for a large variety of budgets and target markets.
Campsites and caravan parks are consistently popular with city dwellers who want a break from urban life. Campsites are also popular with young families as they provide plenty of space and activities for children.
Since the early 1990s, a number of luxury campsites have opened. These offer private, chalet style accommodation and include room service, en suite washrooms and food service. Such resorts appeal to people that would like to stay in open countryside and still have the amenities of a hotel.
Tourist destinations should also have a variety of bed and breakfasts (B&Bs). B&Bs appeal to budget conscious travellers who do not wish to pay for a hotel. Tourist areas should also contain guesthouses. Guesthouses are essentially luxury bed and breakfasts and charge a similar fee to hotels. Their appeal lies in the fact that they offer guests personalised service.
Most importantly, areas should have a variety of hotels. While other forms of accommodation are popular amongst tourists, most travellers prefer to stay in hotels. Today, chains dominate the hotel marketplace and each chain aims to appeal to a different type of customer. There are three main types of hotel chain; budget, mainstream and luxury.
In recent years boutique hotels have become popular. Boutique hotels are small, independent hotels that offer the comfort and facilities of a chain with the personal touch of a guesthouse. Many consumers see these as an antidote to the sterility of hotel chains.
Restaurants and Cafés
Tourists spend most of their holiday budget on food and drinks. Tourists tend to adopt one of two mind-sets when looking for food on their holiday; seeking familiar food or trying local cuisine.
Many tourists wish to eat the same food that they eat at home. Restaurants and hotels will need to make special provisions for these people. Most hotels catering to foreign visitors will have a selection of international foods. This is especially true in resorts offering an all-inclusive experience.
Often, restaurants and cafés in a tourist destination will specialise in offering tourists their local cuisine. For example, British food restaurants were established in Spain to cater to UK tourists. It should be noted that importing foreign food is less cost effective than sourcing locally as the mark-up is less favourable to business owners.
Other tourists will be keen to taste the local cuisine when they travel. Such tourists are seeking an authentic experience of foreign culture. Others may be keen cooks interested in world cuisine.
These travellers tend to veer of the tourist trail in order to find restaurants and cafés that are popular with locals. Such consumers provide important extra revenue for business owners.
Unsurprisingly, tourists will need a certain amount of services wherever they travel. Essential services such as laundry facilities are provided by hotels. People staying in other types of accommodation will need these services to be provided by businesses within the community. In utilising local services, tourists can have a very positive effect on a local economy.
Non-essential services are also an important part of the tourist experience, especially shopping. Tourists have enjoyed buying souvenirs for centuries. In buying souvenirs, tourists provide a number of benefits to communities. Souvenirs represent the place in which they are bought and can act as an advertisement for the destination. Souvenirs also provide an obvious financial benefit to local businesses and craftspeople.
Furthermore, the making and selling of authentic souvenirs can help preserve the culture of an area or people. For example, the Cuna Indians of Panama have continued to make traditional clothing because of tourist demand
For an area to be suitable for tourist visitation, it must have an adequate infrastructure. In the minds of tourists, there are two categories of infrastructure; essential and non-essential.
The essential infrastructure is a set of resources that ensures the basic health and wellness of people visiting or living in an area. These resources include water systems, power sources, sewage/drainage areas, health care facilities, road networks, transportation terminals and a police presence.
The essential infrastructure ensures that a tourist can arrive safely at a destination, will be safe from undue harm and will not become unwell during their stay. Almost all tourists will only travel to destinations that include these resources.
The non-essential infrastructure is a set or resources that are not necessary for people’s basic wellbeing. Instead they are modern amenities that make staying in an area more comfortable and convenient. Resources that fall into this category include high-speed/wireless internet and museums.
Some tourists will see these amenities as being vital to their overall enjoyment of a trip and will only travel to destinations with these resources. These consumers take holidays to relax and as such will desire the creature comforts of home.
Other tourists will actively seek out a destination that does not have a non-essential infrastructure. For example, hikers and hill walkers like to enjoy nature on their vacations and as such seek out remote locations.
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