by Donald Johannesson
In today’s world, consumers have become the all-important last word on any product or service set before them. Tourism receives no special treatment during these decision-making processes; if anything, this important service industry is often held up to closer scrutiny than most others on the same playing field. Travel has become so crucial to experiencing today’s world that it seems to supersede all boundaries put upon it as it solidifies as an emotional extension of our quest to enhance our lives in diverse ways.
Once the domain of wealthy vacationers or well-heeled business travellers, tourism has taken on a whole new look just within the last fifty years in order to keep up with consumers’ dreams and demands as their purchasing power began to speak louder and louder … and Lloyds Travel & Cruises has been there every step of the way. Today there are vacations priced to fit into almost anyone’s budget, whether it be a super luxury cruise or a bare-bones freighter adventure seeing the world from a sailor’s viewpoint; a famed first class train excursion reliving the historic glory of this mode of transportation or boxcar hopping to cross a third world country relating to it like a local; biking through Europe or riding in camel caravans throughout the Middle East; experiencing catamarans in the South Pacific or kayaking in the Arctic. There are also trips waiting to satisfy almost any need one might have to live today’s news headlines for oneself, or any urge that arises to blindly follow the latest reality adventure television show shot on location in exotic locales! Think of any way (or reason) to see the world and you’ll immediately understand how diverse the tourist industry has become from those early days of simple transportation getting you from place to place to catch a glimpse of how others lived! Today you have unlimited choice to experience the world’s cultures, archaeological wonders, hallowed religious observances, and anthropological histories.
Diversity also surfaces when you observe just how many types of businesses are dedicated to servicing the tourist industry. From call centres with multi-agents to “in-plants” specializing in one corporation’s needs; from general agencies who book each step of a trip for each client to specialty providers for certain niche markets (for example, destination weddings); from bare-bone budget getaway opportunities to luxury cruise agencies offering unprecedented pampered care; and from tours selling their own wares to personal planners and counsellors custom tailoring every detail. The choices are almost mind-boggling! Fortunately, some independent agencies, like Lloyds Travel & Cruises, are still around to personally guide you through all these options to find the perfect choice for you.
Beyond these first points of contact for the travel enthusiast, there exists a community of capable support staff groomed to cater to travellers needs. There are the “front-of-the-house” employees having direct contact as concierges, reception desk staff, bellboys, etc., while behind them is an even larger force of “back-of-the-house” workers, housekeeping, serving, cooking, and hopefully keeping financial matters running smoothly for everyone. In British Columbia alone, according to 2012 government statistics and World Host information, there were 127, 300 jobs directly related to tourism!
Changes in societal needs and attitudes is reflected by the travel industry. Eco-tourism and sustainable travel are on the rise as we gain awareness and perspective on the environmental impact that travel has on the world. New industries of medical tourism include organ transplant, plastic surgery and dental surgery are on the rise. For better or worse, these new industries have been created because consumers are demanding options.
With everything that has occurred over the past fifty years it’s difficult to imagine the innovations to come. As everything else in the world changes, you can be sure that tourism will be greatly impacted. Ever changing, ever new, the diversification will multiply exponentially, perhaps even to the point where tourism dictates lifestyle trends, with Lloyds Travel & Cruises right there leading the pack. Perhaps you better fasten your seatbelt now.