So, what is the tourism industry? First, it is important to define what is meant by the ‘tourism industry’. Essentially, it refers to all activity related to the short-term movement of people to locations away from where they usually reside. It is one of the world’s largest industries and the economies of many nations are driven, to a large extent, by their tourist trade.
It is also a wide-ranging industry, which includes the hotel industry, the transport industry and a number of additional industries or sectors. It is vital to understand that the tourist industry is linked to movement to different locations, based not only on leisure, but also business and some additional travel motivators.
With that being said, according to the most common definitions, the tourism industry does not cover activities related to travel where the person intends to stay in their destination for longer than one year. As an example, this means that expatriates and long-term international students are not technically classed as tourists.
The tourism industry, also known as the travel industry, is linked to the idea of people travelling to other locations, either domestically or internationally, for leisure, social or business purposes. It is closely connected to the hotel industry, the hospitality industry and the transport industry, and much of it is based around keeping tourists happy, occupied and equipped with the things they need during their time away from home.
The transportation sector is concerned with helping tourists to get where they need to go, via the provision of transport. This may include providing them with the means to get to their intended holiday destination in the first place, but may also include assisting them with getting around after they arrive at their destination.
Included within this sector are services related to road, rail, air and sea travel.
The airline industry plays a vital role in the modern travel industry, providing passengers with access to both domestic and overseas flights, allowing them to quickly reach their intended destinations via commercial aircraft. Airline services are generally divided into scheduled and chartered flights.
For many tourists, having access to a car is an important part of their tourist experience, ensuring they have the freedom to explore and travel freely. Car rental services provide this kind of access and often operate in close proximity to airports, or even in partnership with particular airlines or travel companies.
As the name suggests, the water transport sub-section is concerned with movement across the water. This includes things like ocean liners and ferry transport, where the objective is usually to get passengers from A to B, but also includes cruise liners, where being on the cruise liner itself forms the main part of the travel experience.
Coach and bus services are an important part of the tourism industry, offering long-distance travel, assisting airport passengers with travel to their accommodation, taking groups of tourists on day trips to local attractions or popular tourist destinations, and offering access to other nearby towns and cities.
Rail travel has played a key role in the tourism industry since the 19th century and continues to do so. Railways not only provide a means for travellers to get to their destination, but over ground and underground rail services also provide options for navigating many of the major towns and cities that tourists visit as well.
A new element of the transport sector – and one that will become increasingly important in the years ahead – involves the use of spacecraft to carry tourists into space. Indeed, Virgin Galactic, recently sent the VSS Unity spaceplane into outer space and is planning to offer commercial flights to ‘space tourists’ in the near future.