The tourism industry is outlined by continuous technological evolution and personalization, altering consumer attitudes and fuming competition (Jaelani, 2017). The tourism industry is an array of spheres that coordinate together to deliver the quality services to the customers with the assistance of robust infrastructure. Tourism is an integral driver of the global economy. For supporting the actions and operations of the tourism industry, information has become one of the vital quality parameters and this is the reason that it is continuously becoming more technology-intensive than ever before (Jaelani, 2017). It is routing towards a more promising economy. Tourism sphere is becoming more commercially organized busies and is navigating towards fitting in the business-oriented industries.
This report is an extensive investigation of the challenges faced by the tourism industry. It envisages proposing the valid solutions for overcoming the key challenges. It is segmented into three key sections. The initial section lays prominence on the key challenges that barricade the operations of the tourism industry. The key challenges discussed in this section are the technology skill gap, the threat of competition, changing consumer taste and issues in the local infrastructure. The following section proposes potential solutions to the discussed challenges. The concluding section highlights the key underpinnings of the report.
1.1 Context of the tourism industry
Tourism encompasses a set of activities that tourists perform while travelling. It is a vibrant and dynamic industry which is continuously ballooning as it is no more viewed as a luxury but as a need for tranquility and leisure. It is a broad industry that entails different sub-industries involving transportation sector and the accommodation sector. Authors Olya & Al-ansi (2018) have defined the tourism industry as an interconnection of a wide range of industries that facilitate travelling for leisure or business purposes by providing the relevant service and infrastructure. It is also regarded to as the summation of the products and services that are consumed by the tourists in their tenure of travelling.
The value chain of this industry is quite wide and encompasses many spheres such as the food & beverages, local travel and transportation, hospitality industry tourism products and destinations and many more (Jaelani, 2017). The key characteristics associated with this industry involve expandability and flexibility and being widespread across varied industries. Natural tourist attractions, cultural and other festivals & events, tourism and travel trade services, accommodation, business tourism sector, food and beverages industry, mice sector, man-made tourist attractions and sports and recreational sector and activities are some of the major spheres that fall under the umbrella of the tourism industry.
2.1 Innovation and technology
Technology has changed almost all spheres of the industries. Digitization and personalization have resulted in the industry becoming more emphasized in adopting the latest technologies. Most of the airline or train reservation occur via online medium and has revolutionized the travel industry. However, the latest technological innovations are compelling the tourism industry to adopt the latest technologies. It becomes difficult for the industry to ensure that the staff and the workforce to provide the relevant training. In the European tourism industry, it was found that the technical skill gaps among the workers indulged in this industry accounted for a key challenge in adopting the latest advancements; it accounted for around 40 per cent (Ling, 2018). Also, the increasing impact of information technology has compelled the industry to adopt artificial intelligence that requires new personnel requirements, higher industry competition and faster reaction time. It has cultivated the industry to become more competitive and has also forged it become more dependent on electronic commerce. Also, adhering to the new technology makes the industry to be more vulnerable to the additional workload on the stakeholders. The Internet has changed the way the industry performs (Ukpabi & Karjaluoto, 2017). Innovative technology is also accompanied by ethical issues as technology adoption leads to the intrusiveness in the consumer data collection.
2.2 Threat of competition
The emergence of large conglomerates in tourism has focused on the evolving competition in the industry. Competition in the tourism industry has been localized and has resulted in the competition in the wide airline networks. The main competition concern occurs due to the collusive behaviour among the airlines. Competition is majorly observed in the tourism industry in the travel and transportation zone (Weidenfeld, Butler & Williams, 2016). The increasing competition results in stressing on the network enhancement in terms of merging with the carriers. Aggressive competition is also witnessed in the sphere of the hospitality industry. The competition is witnessed on the grounds of quality and price.
2.3 Issus in the local infrastructure
Many destinations are yet not prepared for tourists. This is because of the lack of proper sanitation facilities and virtuous water treatment plants (Petrova, Dekhtyar, Klok & Loseva, 2018). Also, a major problem exists in the realm of the construction of airports. Also, the infrastructural needs of the customers are not fulfilled in terms of poor pathways and poorly maintained sidewalks. This is a key reason that tourists often feel risky to visit certain places. Safety and security are some of the integral needs that the customers want as a part of their travel experience (Petrova, Dekhtyar, Klok & Loseva, 2018). The lack of infrastructure and poorly maintained locations can leave an unpleasant memory in the minds of customers which can also impact their future visitations. Other areas where the poor infrastructure can be witnessed in the industry are directional signage, parks, toilets and parking areas.
2.4 changing consumer needs
Consumer behaviour incorporates a bundle of factors that are accountable for framing the overall needs and satisfaction. The marketing strategy of the tourism industry is completely based upon the needs and wants of the consumers. Due to continually fluctuating needs, it becomes intricate for the sector to maintain a stable strategy. Authors Narangajavana, Fiol, Tena, Artola & García (2017) have stated that the travel decisions of the tourists can be planned as well as unplanned and are dependent on the impulse of the social media, word-of-mouth and promotions.
The socio-economic changes are continually impacting the tourism industry. The key factors that impact the consumers’ decision-making process of the customers are price consciousness, brand-loyal purchasing orientation and impulsiveness, brand consciousness (Narangajavana, Fiol, Tena, Artola & García, 2017). Since the taste of the consumers is a cornerstone in the marketing practices of the tourism industry, it is intricate to develop the best complaint promotional tactic.
3.1 Becoming more technologically literate
Technology has penetrated in the industry and has revolutionized most of its operations. For implementing the latest technological advancements, especially artificial intelligence, it is cardinal that the proper training is provided to the staff. To deal with the technological skill gap, it is crucial that the training is provided to them as a part of the training curriculum. It will be helpful in ensuring that the future skills needs are met in an optimum custom (Hsu, King, Wang & Buhalis, 2016). It is anticipated that by the end of the year 2030, the tourism arrivals worldwide are expected to elevate by an appreciable figure of 3.35 per cent (Hsu, King, Wang & Buhalis, 2016). It is cardinal that the change in the job designs is made so that the new advancements are easily implemented.
For dealing with the technological advancements, it is crucial that the partnerships with alliances are done such as the Next Tourism Generation Alliance (NTG) so that the technological advancements are fostered. International workshops can be held for the staff workers so that they become well aware of the operations in an advanced custom (Hsu, King, Wang & Buhalis, 2016). Artificial intelligence handling training must be provided to the staff members so that they are able to collect and analyze the data. It will serve to be helpful or the travel agencies in making sure that the better AI-powered systems are implemented. To reduce the workload that can occur as a result of the new technological innovation, it can be made sure that before incorporating the technology, the employees involved in the decision-making process so that the feeling of inclusiveness is cultivated among them. A motivated workforce will be more encouraged to ensure that the process of incorporation of the technology is a smooth procedure.
3.2 Dealing with the competition
Competitors are known to enhance service delivery in the industry; however, aggressive competitiveness is not desirable. Aggressive competitiveness can be diminished by zoning the customers on the basis of the region. This will make sure that the customers are distinguished on the basis of the regions. The regional accommodation and transportation facilities can ensure to collaborate so that the top-notch quality experience is provided to the customers. Businesses can ensure to deliver the standardized and easily distinguishable services and products to the customers so that the optimum profitability is maintained (Weidenfeld, Butler & Williams, 2016). ICTs prove to inescapable in the yield management, in such scenarios, it can be made sure that the smooth flow of information is sustained between the accommodation transportation sectors of that the customers do not have to waste time figuring out the best stay. This will provide a competitive edge to the businesses.
3.3 Strengthening the infrastructure
Infrastructural problems can only be solved when local governments come forward. The government can make sure that the street quality is enhanced and taxations are reduced. Corporate sponsorships can be promoted so that the heritage buildings are enhanced and more protected from any sort of damage. The emphasis must be laid on the experiences rather than the spots. This can be ensured by safeguarding the comfort and timely provision of the services. Infrastructure is the catalytic factor in trade and tourism and hence it can be emphasized by the tourism industry in collaboration with the government. This will not only ensure that the better road is built but will also guarantee safety to the tourists; it will also be beneficial in luring more travellers (Petrova, Dekhtyar, Klok & Loseva, 2018). This will also eradicate the funding issues in the forthcoming infrastructure-related projects. Ease in access to tourist spots can be enhanced as a temporary solution to the poor roads; this can be done by using the water transport system.
3.4 Employing social media platform
With the increasing number of users of social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, it has become a popular means of marketing and promotions. It is also used as a pathway of maintaining the brand reputation (Lim, Chan, Karunasekera & Leckie, 2018). Tourism industry already makes use of this platform to market its services however; it can also be employed to acknowledge the consumer taste regarding travelling (Sigala, 2017). Social media surveys can be employed by tourism businesses to gain information regarding the behaviour of the consumers (Narangajavana, Fiol, Tena, Artola & García, 2017). These surveys can be helpful in designing the new tactics that fit in with the needs of the tourists. It can be helpful in analyzing the latest needs of consumers.
The tourism industry is associated with the idea of providing high-quality services to people travelling and for leisure or business purposes. It is a part of the service industry and encompasses entertaining, attracting and accommodating the tourists. It is also known as the abridgment of the products and services that are consumed by the tourists in their occupancy of travelling. The value chain of this industry is quite broad and encompasses many sectors such as the local travel and transportation, hospitality industry tourism products food and beverages and destinations. It can be inferred from the report that the key challenges incurred by the industry are technology skill gap, the threat of competition, changing consumer taste and issues in the local infrastructure. The viable solutions for these challenges are promoting technological literacy, integrating the accommodation and transportation sector, strengthening the infrastructure with the assistance of government and making use of the social media platforms for acknowledging the consumer needs.
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