Reasons for the growth of tourism

There are two main reasons why tourism has grown and is predicted to continue to grow:

Demand: There is a greater demand from people for tourism. As people have higher incomes, and as they have more leisure time, they want to travel to new places. This is also helped by technology such as TV, social media, online advertising, and online booking sites. Meanwhile, diaspora growth has meant that there are more people born in a different country to the one they live in, resulting in more travel for people to visit relatives.

Supply: There is a greater supply of tourist facilities worldwide – for example, most countries now have more tourist attractions compared to the past, and there are more hotels, restaurants and so on that make places suitable for tourism. This is sometimes due to a deliberate government policy to encourage tourism. Also, technology has increased the accessibility of new places through better transport and information systems. Also, there is a greater level of international security so tourism is now offered to more destinations worldwide. 

Social media

Social media is replacing traditional methods of marketing and advertising. Content is generated in three ways:
  1. · Government sources
  2. · Private companies and organizations
  3. · Individuals
The importance of governments and companies is declining as individuals create more of their own media. User-generated information about tourist destinations is increasingly important. Regardless of the social network being used, there are two main reasons why social media is so much more important:

1. Argument quality. This refers to the range and quality of the content provided. Governments and companies generally present a limited view of the destination because they want to appeal to as many people as possible. However, individuals generating their own content are aiming to appeal to a limited number of people who are likely to have similar interests to themselves, so the details that they give are more relevant and more likely to be detailed about the things that interest their audience. 

2. Peer tourist source. This means that the source of the information is a peer, or a ‘fellow tourist’ and therefore more likely to be trusted than a tour company of a government tourist board. 

User-generated content can provide a virtuous cycle as international tourists post pictures and descriptions which helps others to imagine themselves in that location. They then share their own experiences, which enables others to have more information about potential destinations. However, this can work in a negative cycle too – a bad experience shared on social media can influence future tourists to stay away (Lee, 2017). 

There are other ways in which the tourism industry is being affected by social media (Carnoy, 2017): 

Customer service. Feedback from tourists to the travel provider is quick and public, leading to quicker responses and the problem being solved.
Loyalty. Branded experiences are quickly shared and targeted advertising on social media can encourage future bookings.

Travel research reformed. People actively seek out comments from other travelers on social media, such as ratings for hotels, regardless of whether they know the person in real life.


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