The tourism industry is a complex economic, social and cultural phenomenon and most of all one of the most important global sectors in the economy. It is also the largest industry of the world. The event industry on its part has become part of the major tourism sectors in the world and has brought about a very important economic contribution in the tourism industry. These two industries therefore work hand in hand and a threat to one of them would also be disadvantageous to the other. In the same way, opportunities in one of them could also benefit the other. The 21st century has provided a number of mixed effects on both the tourism and event industry. In as much as there might be opportunities to the two industries, there are also a number of challenges that they face.
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Technological advancements like the internet and widespread use of mobile phones have been a great opportunity to these industries. Through the internet, sectors such as the recreation and adventure tourism can advertise what they have to offer. Currently almost every homestead has access to a computer and the internet. Potential tourists are able to choose from a wide variety of attractions and decide where to visit for holidays. Telephone numbers are also provided on the websites giving the customers an option of calling to make bookings. The internet has therefore helped the tourism industry to market its products worldwide. Unlike in the past where you hard to wait for advertisements in newspapers of which not everyone buys, it is now possible to access a variety of tourism attraction sites at the click of the mouse. The travel and trade sector has also benefited from technological advancements. Tassiopoulos (2009) argues that tourists can now book their air tickets at the comfort of their houses or offices. This has reduced congestion in booking offices and therefore making it convenient to travel. With less hustle for tickets, it's very flexible to make traveling arrangements. More people are now willing to travel to various destinations for holiday. This promotes the tourism industry because more money will be spent by clients.
The change in people's lifestyle has been another great opportunity especially for the travel and adventure sectors of tourism. Before, not many people used to travel to various destinations during holidays. Most of them preferred to stay at home and watch movies or spend some good time with neighbors and so on. The situation has however changed especially with the affordable charges for reaction and adventure tourism and more people are traveling to various recreational sites to enjoy their summers. The change in lifestyle has allowed more people to try out new events and destinations during holidays (Tassiopoulos, 2009). Considering that more people are able to acquire jobs, they can save and take their families and friends for various treats. Unlike in the past where most people were unemployed and therefore could not afford to spend any fraction of their hard earned money for luxury purposes, the situation has at least improved and people are now employed in two or more jobs enabling them to save for holiday retreats. The food and beverage sector has therefore also improved because those who cannot afford to travel to fur destination can always find some nice restaurant where they can enjoy delicious meals with their friends and families. Improvement in agricultural production of foodstuff has also improved the food and beverage sector of the tourism industry because of the continuous supply of food to hotels and restaurants. Genetic modification of food has also ensured a continuous supply of high quality foodstuffs to hotels and restaurants making customers to come back whenever they feel like enjoying delicious meals.
The discovery of new tourist destinations and the improvement of previous ones has also provided a good opportunity to the tourism industry. For instance, not everyone has to travel to far places or countries to enjoy their holidays. Domestic tourism also ensures that local citizens can still remain in their various states and enjoy their holidays. This has increased the amount of revenue earned by the tourism industry. People are able to use their own personal vehicles to travel to tourist attractions locally available and therefore avoid pay for air tickets that might be a bit expensive for their budgets. This has ensured that even the middle class and the low class families can still enjoy what the tourism industry has to offer. In addition, there has been a general expansion of event facilities in every municipality in the US. Some have even constructed totally new event to accommodate the growing enthusiasms for social events such as theaters and conference halls. Bowdin, Allen & O'Toole (2006) say these arenas can now hold larger crowds than before and have class of the art sound system, seats and screens making them even more comfortable and therefore attracting more events.
According to Bowdin, Allen & O'Toole (2006) the events industry has also become vibrant over the past years because of its increased recognition in society. More people are now taking event organization as an area of professionalization and a career path as schools offer it in their curriculum. Unlike before when there was no professionalism in organization of event, we now have professional event organizers with the right skills to do what is required. This ensures that clients enjoy their time and wish for more of such events to be organized. Any call for events therefore attracts more than enough people and thus bringing more money to the organizers and the industry at large. As people attend events and conferences, they need places for accommodation. Providers of such services therefore also benefit from the events.
The social, cultural and political developments in the 21st century have also stimulated the event industry. For instance, there have been numerous political gatherings such as presidential campaigns in the US and other countries, Music concerts like the MTV awards and the Oscars, school competitions, numerous sports events such as the World Cup and the Super Bowl. Various conferences have also been held over and over to discuss issues to do with climate change and economic stabilization and so on. All these gatherings have boosted the event industry (Baum, Deery & Hanlon, 2009). The transportation sector of tourism has also improved because people have to travel to where the conferences and gatherings are to be held. The millennium celebrations have to be the most recognizable milestone that propelled the event industry. There were a number event management skills showcased in every country from great urban cities in London, Paris and Beijing to small islands in Polynesia. Both professionals and amateurs were able to organize their millennium razzmatazz brands. The combined funding from The Millennium Commission, Department of Culture, Media and Sports and so on also propelled the event industry to greater heights.
The greatest threat to the tourism and event industry has to be insecurity. Mansfeld & Pizam (2006) explain that the September 11 attack was a great blow to the US tourism sector. It scared away most would-be tourist therefore denying various sectors of the industry the much needed income from expenditure by tourists. The event resulted to about 3000 casualties and the destruction of four commercial airliners. The travelling sector is one of the sectors that felt the pinch because people were scared to board planes because of the fear of more attacks. There were several cancelation of traveling arrangement as most people preferred to remain at home. When flights resumed, the number of passengers fell by 45%. As you would expect, the accommodation and tourism sectors were also affected as most people canceled their bookings in various hotels and tourist destinations. This caused a loss of about $700 million in four days after the attack.
Insecurity is also a very huge blow to the event sector because terrorist use social gatherings to make their intentions known. They choose places where more people are gathered so as to cause more casualties hoping that their intentions will be understood by the leaders of the political class. Political situations in the world therefore also affect both the tourist industry and the event industry. Instability amongst Arab countries is one example of political instability that affects the industry (Mansfeld & Pizam, 2006). This has led to misunderstanding between supporters of different countries among the Arab world therefore threatening citizens from opposing sides from visiting other countries because of the fear of being attacked. Fair, festivals and social gatherings have been described as soft targets for the terrorists who wish to make quick statements to their enemies. There were several attacks in London on July 7, 2005 where Islamic militants caused the death of about 56 people. Any slight imbalance in security can cause so much harm to the industry.
Natural disasters such as floods and volcanic ash cloud have also been a blow to the travel sector of the industry. For instance, volcanic ash clouds that occurred in April 2010 led to cancelation of fights for security purposes. Various tourists remained stranded in their countries of destination while some canceled their flights and accommodation because they could not reach there in time leading to loss of business in tourism. The tourism services and the reaction and adventure sectors were also affected because they had to incur extra expenses in repatriating their customers (Hall, Smith & Marciszewska, 2006). The event industry was also affected because people canceled their traveling arrangements. For instance, the EUFA Champions League match between Inter Milan and Barcelona attracted a smaller crowd that expected because fans from Spain could only travel to Italy by train.
The economic crush that began around 2007 dealt a very huge blow to both the event and tourism industries in a number of ways. To begin with, many people were laid off from their jobs and therefore could not raise enough money for recreation. They were forced to spend the little cash they had sparingly so as to sustain their families. Tourism services like tour operators so a fall in business because there were no people to take around their attraction sites. This saw most accommodation facilities remain vacant because there was no one to use them. The traveling sector was also affected because of the increase in oil prices (Hall, Smith & Marciszewska, 2006). Most people could not afford the air tickets because prices were raised in order for the commercial airlines to make profits and therefore remain in business. If they could not do this, then they would have run into losses and this could have pushed them to close up. Moreover, the number of flights per day was also reduced because there were very few people traveling. Business people were the most common travelers because they had to go on with their business to try and make that extra profit which was not also easily forthcoming.
As the discussion has shown, transformations within the tourist and even industries in the 21st century must have been the most interesting events in history. However the future of these two industries look bright as long as peace and political stability is maintained. Economic recession can always be improved ones the economy stabilized but there is no alternative to security other than maintain peace and good international relations. If the tourism and the event industries are well managed they can bring a considerable amount of revenue to the country.