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Travel and Tourism

Future Trends

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  • The Government's tourism policy, which was published in March 2011, has a number of objectives including strengthening the home (domestic) tourist market and increasing the overseas market by using the Olympics and other major sporting and cultural events to generate interest. 

  • Potentially there could be millions more tourists from the growing middle classes in Brazil, India and China - it's estimated that China will have 47 million tourists by 2020. However, the UK has to attract them, and in 2010 other countries in Europe were well ahead of us in attracting Chinese visitors.

  • Digital marketing will become even more important to attract tourists. According to VisitBritain, most of the communication with their customers is now carried out online.

  • The cost of flying is set to keep rising, due to a number of factors including high fuel prices and a further increase in UK departure tax (airline passenger duty) in 2012, following on from the increase in 2010 - UK airports, tour companies and airlines could all be negatively affected. Some firms also believe that it will put off visitors coming to the UK.

  • Airports are already going through a period of change. For instance, online booking and automated check in has affected the number of administration and airport services staff. In addition, BAA (which owns some of the biggest airports in the UK) has recently been told that it must sell Stansted Airport and either Edinburgh or Glasgow. Whether the airport sales will have an effect on jobs depends on the future new owners.

  • Travel experts say that airports in the UK have reached their full capacity and current ones (such as Heathrow or Stansted) must be expanded or new ones built. The debate continues but Biggin Hill Airport's expansion in South East England has recently been ditched.

  • Rail experts believe that train travel will continue to increase in popularity. Passenger numbers have now reached the highest they have been for 90 years.    

  • Travel agency retail outlets are set to continue the trend of becoming fewer in number but bigger.

  • The theme and leisure park market (such as those owned by Merlin Entertainments e.g. Alton Towers, Legoland, Sea Life) has done well for the last two or three years - partly because more people took short holidays and day trips in the UK, rather than go abroad. Visits to National Trust and other heritage properties are also on the up. 

Read more about this job sector, including the skills that might be needed in the future, on the National Guidance Research Forum site