The travel and leisure industry was hit hard by the recession of 2007/8.
Two years on from that article and this industry is being robustly re-built – with BRICs:
“In 2011 some 150,000 Chinese tourists made it to Britain, compared with 3.6m visitors from France. Their numbers are growing fast, though, rising by 35% from 2010 to 2011 and 20% year-on-year in the first 11 months of 2012, according to VisitBritain, the national tourist board. To lure more visitors, Theresa May, the home secretary, is moving to simplify the process of applying for visas—something that currently puts off many Chinese. With China’s total outbound market likely to be three times as big as Japan’s by 2020, according to the Boston Consulting Group, the British government is reluctant to miss out on a lot of potential shoppers2.”
The prediction is for tourists from Brazil, Russia, India and China to head for Europe in increasing numbers as their own economies experience dynamic growth and their newly affluent citizens embrace the pleasures of international shopping3.
Related developments include the growth of shopping hotels with the Middle East as a destination of choice:
“Megamalls are booming in the UAE, Lebanon, Egypt and Qatar, while associated hotel developments, Euromonitor notes, are key to the recovery of tourism in many nations that saw a tough year after the Arab Spring in 2011. Following the popularity of shopping in the Middle East, hotels are locating within or next to shopping malls. Even with a slow year, the Dubai Shopping Festival drew 3.5 million visitors last year and saw hotels at 90 percent occupancy4.”
Technology is also coming to the fore as a catalyst for industry growth.
Reflecting the dominant trend in Telecommunications[MB1] , for example, mobility will be key as customers make the move in increasing numbers to browsing and booking their travel on smartphones and tablets:
“For online hotel booking firm, HotelTonight, the single biggest trend to emerge in 2012 will be the continued penetration of smartphones and the resulting shift of everyday activities from PC-based websites to the device in the customers’ pocket. “We believe the smartphone will become the new laptop and the resulting opportunities and challenges for businesses will be extreme,” says Jared Simon chief operating officer of HotelTonight.com5. ”
We can also expect to see technology permeate journeys from end-to-end with innovations such as virtual agents at airports and other travel hubs, mobile WiFi connectivity, closer integration with social media platforms and a wide choice of business travel apps.
In fact, technology may well prove to be the clearest area where it makes for operators to outsource their requirements to trusted specialists as they concentrate on their core task of taking care of travellers.