Category Archives: Tourism management

Climate Change Impact on Tourism

We all love to travel to new places irrespective of the country that we belong to. At one point of time tourism was restricted to a section of people as it involved significant amount of expenditure. Perhaps till 30 years back years back tourism was majorly related to travel for leisure purpose. But in today’s world the scenario changed to a large extent. A significant proportion of tourists travel for professional reasons too. Therefore, the combined impact along with affordability and spread of awareness through marketing and social media led to increased tourism activities throughout the world. In 2016 total number of international tourists (visiting foreign countries) in the world was to the tune of 1234 million. The same was 683.3 million in 2000.[1] This simple statistic suggests that number of international travelers has increased by more than 80% in just a little over 15 years. Please do remember that we have not included domestic tourists of any of the countries, which are several times of that of international tourists.

We were relatively unaware of the implications of tourism and the scale of impact till a couple of decades ago. This started gaining notices of the researchers, governments, other stakeholders once the world stated envisioning global warming and the pace it was setting in. The global community is experiencing climate change and has already been recognized the same as the biggest threat to human existence. Tourism activities, spreading across large number of sectors, play a critical role in shaping global warming. Various researches suggest that tourism contributes to more than 5% of the total carbon footprint in the world and is considered as the largest contributor to climate change process. However, it’s a two way relationship. Tourism also gets affected adversely by climate to a large extent. This article brings out certain nuances of how tourism at present and in future are impacted by climate change in a non-technical manner.

What are we experiencing because of climate change compared to the past? Everyone can count those easily. Following are a few examples that are concerns for all of us in whichever part of the globe we live in.

  • Global land and ocean temperature are increasing in fast pace. Polar ice caps are melting soon. It is a big threat to all cities or regions near coastal areas due to sea level rise.
  • Rainfall patterns are changing affecting agriculture production to a major way
  • Storms, hurricanes and typhoons causing catastrophes and disaster in every corner of the world
  • Melting and receding of glaciers in our mountains

When the above are common phenomena, how do we connect these to understand the way tourism sector is going to be impacted? Climate change will impact tourism at two levels – at the destination and from operational perspective. At the destination level it will cause the following adverse impacts:

  • Rising sea levels and extreme weather conditions threatens coastal or beach tourism significantly. Apart from beaches being submerged and infrastructure destroyed, it is affecting coral reefs also. Coral reefs of Philippines are already affected due to increase in ocean temperature that leads to coral bleaching and also acidification of ocean water.
  • Mountain areas are experiencing lower snowfalls and also the duration of winter season has been reduced. Along with reducing the viability of some winter sports destinations, this causes lesser tourist to many of the destinations where tourists used to travel to enjoy cold weather. Increase in temperature and less precipitation have adverse impact on biodiversity and lead to more forest fires in many parts of the world. These uncertainties impact tourist arrivals to a large way. Mountain tourism will also be affected as the glaciers are disappearing in many places.

While the changes in physical conditions of destinations reduce number of tourists due to uncertainties and absence of attractions for the tourists, there are several operational hazards to face by the tourism operators:

  • Vulnerable environment may lead to conflict of tourism activities with local communities due to scarcity of natural resources, for instance reduced water availability
  • Extreme weather events will increase operational uncertainty, particularly in unfriendly terrains
  • Services will be affected in areas exposed to extreme weather or sea-level rise.
  • Any attempt to reduce carbon emissions and make activities environmental friendly will add costs to the industry, particularly from transport emissions. Apart from acceptability to such changes, it will increase price for the tourists which may impact the tourist flows.

To end this article, I just want to mention couple of my own experiences in India. There is a place called Chamba in Uttarakhand hills which was a well known tourist destination at one point of time. At present the number of tourists visit and stay in that destination has declined significantly. One of the reason is the place has become quite hot for last few years. Where people never used fan in earlier years due to its cool weather, now requires air-condition machines during summer months of the year.  Most of the hotel owners are grappling with the problem of renovating rooms as there was no provision even for ceiling fans.

Hope the world community will be able to tackle or at least curb the pace of climate change so that the human society can cope of with the same and our economic activities including tourism management are ready with climate change adaptation to run their activities relative smoothly and in a predictable path. Government tourism policies also promote only sustainable tourism in practice instead of making it a paper document only.

[1] Tourism Statistics of India 2017

Advertisements

First Time a Prime Minister in India Identifies Tourism as an Instrument to Boost Local Economy

August 15th 2014, should be marked as an important day for the Indian tourism sector. It is not because there is a new toruism policy declared since 2002, nor beause of some bold and innovative steps taken by Ministry of Tourism of Indian Government. It is simply because the new prime minister Mr. Narendra Modi’s speech on the eve of India’s Indepence Day ceremony acknowledging the potential role that can be played by tourism activities in generating income and alleviating poverty at the local level. This is one of the simplest common sense, yet unaddressed by any past prime ministers of the country in any occassion as far as I remember.

Mr. Modi has exactly mentioned the grass root level linkage of tourism sector that needs to be harnessed for a sustainable toruism development strategy in the country. His words that captured implications of tourism development for a tea stall owner, petty service providors and the similar ones are the most cricual ones. A sustainable roadmap of tourism sector is always envisaged in the form that generates income and employment for local comminity and local economy. The strong multiplier effect of tourism automatically starts turning the unturned stones of development once these acticities are started at the local level.

This is nothing new to anyone involved with tourism development in some way or other. The major problem faced till now was that the tourism officials were more concerned about how to increase the number of foreign tourists instead of domestic tourists. Recognizing the fact that only 2% of the total toturists arrivals are of foreign origin and 98% are domestic, one fails to understand why we ignore dmestic tourists and concentrate more on foreign tourists. Perhaps it is time that we focus on developing domestic tourism also without taking it for granted. Increasing the number of domestic tourists will boost local economic development much more than that can be harnessed from foreign tourists. However, a few cautionary steps must be taken to develop a sustainable tourism across destinations:

1. Awareness generation amongst domenstic toruists to conserve and protect environemnt and destination which is perhaps completely missing at present.

2. Importance of maintaining cleanliness and respect the local culture while harnessing maximum pleasure from tourism

3. To prefer eco-friendly modes of travel/activities rather than those that increase carbon footprint in the region

Local authorities need to play important role in this. It cannot be expected that behavioural characteristics the the travelers will change automatically as desired for sustainable tourism development. The destination management should be in suach manner that the tourists are made to follow the rules strictly, else penalised severely, so that over a time the scenario changes towards a more disciplined tourism sector in the country. Large number of countries in the world are examples of creating such environment over time. The major role played was by governance than anything else. Hope, the new prime minister’s views to connect the grass root level to tourism activities will be translated into some changes in policy making of the authorities who are at the helm of decision making at central, state as well as local level.

Tourism Scenario in India – Some Revelations

In the previous blog I wrote about foreign tourists arrivals to india and some critical concerns about those. In this blog I have shown a more complete picture regarding Indian tourism scenario, including both domestic and international, and its spatial impolications. To make this blog more reader friendly I have given more visual impressions and tried to lessen the burden of text. The latest complete data available on Indian tourism is for the year 2012. Thus, the article talked about 2012 scenario only.

In Figure 1 exhibits number of domestic tourists, foreign tourists and total tourists travelled to different Indian states. If we look carefully at the graph, we find that:

1. Toruists visits are largely concentrated in a 5/6 states. These states are Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, karnataka and Tamil Nadu – the top 5 states in terms of total toruists arrivals.

1

Figure 2 shows the distribution of domestic tourists and total tourists in Indian states. As seen in previous figure, the share shows that about 65% of the total tourists travel to these 5 states. The top ranking state is Andhra Pradesh, which accounts for 20% of the tourists. Continue reading

Aside

Foreign Tourists Arrivals and Foreign Exchange Earnings in India By Dripto Mukhopadhyay With declining impact of global recession, especially in develped countries, Indian tourism has seen an increase in foreign tourists arrivals to various destination in the country. This is … Continue reading

Hotel Industry in India – Some Correlates between Prices and Macro Economic Issues

By Dripto Mukhopadhyay

Hospitality has become one of the major businesses in the India. Large number of international brands has entered the sector in recent times. The sector has been marked with increase in number of premium segment hotels in different parts of the country, along with smaller ones that cater the need for the middle class and lower middle class domestic tourists. In this particular blog, I would restrict myself in highlighting a few crucial attributes of the hospitality sector in India and some of the consequences thereof.

To start with let’s look at some of the macro economic indicators relating to hospitality sector. As obvious, hospitality sector includes hotels and restaurants. Though apparently this should include informal sector also, as the norm goes in national accounting system, data pertaining to this sector majorly reflects the trend of the registered sector because of sheer nature of the sector. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) relating to hotel & restaurant sector is presented in Figure 1. The visual presents the GDP of the sector at 2004-05 prices and the share of hotel and restaurant sector to total GDP of the country from 2000-01 to 2011-12. It is evident from the graph that hotel and restaurant sector GDP has increased to 3 times during the last decade starting 2000-01. It showed a gradual increasing barring the period 2008-09 and 2009-10 as the period was marked with global economic recession. However, the share of the sector in total country GDP rose till 2007-08 significantly and since 2008-09 suffering a dip followed by a stagnating share. This is a reflection of happenings in the world economy as well as of the Indian economy. Though apparently India recovered quickly enough from the recession, due to some of the fiscal measures by the Central Government, but the recovery was quite brittle in nature. It has become evident from high GDP growth registered soon after 2008-09, but poor GDP growth during last couple of years. Poor performance of industry sector, majorly due to reduced demand from domestic market, led the slow down.

However, investment in hotel and restaurant sector was not hampered by timid GDP growth during recent years. Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF) in hotel and restaurant sector and its share in total GFCF of the country is given in Figure 2 below. There was a steady growth in investment in this sector, especially since 2003-04. The momentum dampened a little during the year 2008-09, but picked up again and has shown steep growth. The red line in the graph Continue reading

Price Index for Hotel Industry in India

By Dripto Mukhopadhyay

Whenever someone wants to work on estimating tourism demand or look into issues related price impact on tourism, price of accommodation is a crucial one to incorporate in analysis. In India lack of any time series on accommodation prices was a serious bottleneck for researchers who wanted to look into these relationships. Measuring price sensitivity is crucial for predicting tourism behaviour, be it domestic or international or for any specific country per say. This article tries to bridge that gap in a systematic manner through constructing a Hotel Price Index (HPI) for India. This HPI has taken care of different categories of accommodation also. In general, hospitality service providers are categorized into following by ministry of tourism as well as well accepted among the industry players:

  • Five star deluxe
  • Five star
  • Four star
  • Three star
  • Two star
  • One star
  • Heritage
  • Others

Heritage hotels have become popular during last decade or so. Whereas several other accommodation services are available currently, that cannot be categorized under anyone under star categories or heritage category such as service apartments, paying guest accommodations etc, which are clubbed under the category of others. An HPI at India level should represent all these categories and also should cover different corners of the country to be considered as a representative Index for hotel prices in India. The HPI presented in this article has used HVS data sets. Though HVS data is a robust one in terms of coverage, however, it captures information from 40 odd cities in India. Therefore, to some extent this HPI may be considered as slightly over-estimated one. The reason being hotels in remote areas, especially that are not well known tourist destinations, might have lower rates than that captured from the cities covered under the said survey. Continue reading

Inbound Tourism to India Affected Badly due to rape Incidences? – The Answer is NO

By Dripto Mukhopadhyay

Last week, suddenly I saw an article on the Indian tourism in one of the newspapers of a European country. The article cited a report by Assocham Social Development Foundation (ASDF). The news indicated that foreign tourist inflow into India has gone down by 25% in the last three months of the year in the wake of rape incidents. It struck me at that point itself since it is quite an unlikely proposition for anyone who has done some work on Foreign Tourists Arrivals (FTA) in India and its driving forces. By now, I have seen this news in several Indian newspapers also citing the same source ASDF. Being a researcher with keen interests in tourism development, especially in India, I was quite perplexed and could not really grasp the situation which is beyond all theoretical construct of tourism demand. The reason being terrorist attacks, rapes, incidences of other law and order problems have their impacts on tourism, but to a much lesser extent. Is it believable that suddenly the demand function of tourism has changed drastically to make such an adverse impact of some rape incidences that has been highlighted because of media attention? Continue reading