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Tourism Industry – Sectors and Career Development
The Essential Elements of a Tourist Destination
The final essential element of a tourist destination is a functioning transportation network. Obviously, the existence of tourism is based around people’s desire to travel to a different place.
Most travellers want their destination to be exotic and noticeably different from their home. Today, tourists do not mind travelling great distances as long as they believe that they can travel in comfort and arrive quickly.
Having an effective transportation network will ensure that tourists will frequently travel to a destination. Tourists evaluate the transportation network of a destination on the following criteria:
The first thing people evaluate when considering a tourist destination is how convenient it is to travel to there. If two potential destinations have a similar transportation network the one that is closer to the tourists will be more appealing as it will take less time and effort to travel there. For example, a couple from the north-eastern United States are much more likely to travel to Florida than California for a sun holiday.
However, convenience is not always measured in distance. Some destinations will be relatively close to tourists yet take more time and effort to reach than other destinations. Some airports may not receive direct flights from the tourists’ local airport. Connection flights often involve extensive layovers and add to the overall cost of travel.
Tourists also consider the convenience provided by the public transportation within their destination. An advanced underground, light rail or bus system will ensure that tourists can easily access all of the attractions of an area.
Furthermore it will ensure that they do not have to deal with the inconvenience or cost of renting a car or hiring taxis. Public transportation may also provide a cheap and convenient way of transferring from the airport to accommodation. For example, both Amsterdam Schiphol and London Heathrow airports have underground services that offer transport directly to the city centre.
Increasingly, people are measuring distance in terms of time rather than miles or kilometres. People have very busy schedules, with a tight timeframe for vacationing. They see time as a commodity and in travelling they must "spend" time to get from one point to another. Because of this attitude, it is more important than ever that a tourist destination can be reached quickly.
Technological advancements since the mid-20th century have ensured that all modern modes of transport are effective at providing rapid transit for tourists. However, measures can still be taken to ensure that travel time is as fast as possible and continues to improve.
One such measure is improving travel infrastructure. Transportation can only be utilised to its full potential if the infrastructure that supports it is in good condition. For example, the US passenger rail service AMTRAK owns a number of modern trains. However, these trains cannot not reach their top speeds due to the current state of railways.
With this in mind, AMTRAK is spending $151 billion re-developing the Northeast Corridor line. Currently, a train trip between New York and Washington D.C. takes three hours. AMTRAK aims to reduce the trip time to 94 minutes by 2040. Such an improvement would greatly increase the number of tourists visiting New York from Washington D.C. and vice versa.
Travel times can also be improved via the use of new technologies. For several decades, airline passengers would have to queue for a long time to check in and receive their boarding pass.
Today, airlines allow passengers to check-in online, as well as print their boarding card at home. Travellers can also check-in via electronic kiosks in airports. These technological advancements have greatly reduced the time tourists need to spend in airports.
Time can also be saved if transit providers improve their service. An obvious way of improving service is to ensure that the transportation leaves and arrives on time. According to the US Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 18.45% of flights which originated in the USA in 2012 arrived late at their destination. Measures can be taken to improve transportation services. Under European Union law, a customer whose flight was delayed for over three hours or was cancelled is entitled to compensation. Legislation such as this encourages better service.
Collectively, time saving measures will ensure that more and more tourists visit far-away destinations.
Tourists also judge the transport network of a destination in terms of cost. A traveller is likely to choose one potential destination over another because it is cheaper to travel there.
Entrepreneurs that are considering establishing a tourism focused business should keep the cost of travelling in mind. They ought to establish their new business in an area with inexpensive transport services. For example, a property developer may be looking to build a hotel in a seaside resort. In this case, he/she should consider building the hotel near an international airport that receives budget airline flights.
Established tourists resorts should also try to lower the cost of travel for tourists. For example, a hotel could provide a free shuttle bus to and from the airport for its guests. Furthermore, if a hotel is on the outskirts of a town or city, it could include offer free transportation to the town centre. Tourists that are on a strict vacationing budget will greatly appreciate gestures these services.
As well as attracting tourists to a destination, low travel costs will ensure that a destination will receive repeat visitors. Their familiarity with an area combined with a low price barrier will entice some travellers to return.
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