International trips are now the travel industry’s driving force
Friday, June 27, 2014
A recent report by the Kendall College School of Hospitality Management provides valuable insight to the future of the travel and hospitality industries. One dominant trend that stands out is the increasing demand and focus on international services to better cater to changing demographics.
With the shrinking global economy and increase in outbound travel from more developing nations, it has become imperative for hospitality businesses around the world to rise and brush up on their international service skills. Expansion is the key to surviving the tough competition today, and one cannot hope to do that without learning more.
That's why the Kendall College report has earmarked international knowledge as a top industry trend.
As per the World Travel & Tourism Council, travel and tourism is the fastest growing industry in the world today. By 2022, the industry is projected to support almost 328 million jobs globally. In the U.S, it has already shown remarkable promise by adding around 55,000 jobs per month in 2013.
In fact, reports suggest that the growth of the U.S. travel and tourism industry will see strong inputs from global travelers with almost a 30 percent increase in international arrivals by 2018.
For businesses to truly leverage these figures, just being there and offering their services is not going to be enough. They have to start brushing up on their international knowledge and train their staff to deal with all kinds of cultural idiosyncrasies without faltering.
Recent press releases by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) have revealed that earnings from international tourism reached a staggering figure of $1.4 trillion in 2013. The Pacific and Asian nations showed fast and steady growth (31 percent of all tourism receipts), but the bigger market share was definitely Europe (42 percent of all international tourism receipts).
The Americas showed a 20 percent share of the pie, while the Middle Eastern and African countries showed 4 percent and 3 percent, respectively. In terms of countries, however, Brazil, Russia and China totaled half of the increase in tourism expenditure around the world. These countries have not just lured in tourists from all over the world, but have also been responsible for the largest outbound tourism in recent years.
What this picture clearly represents is the need for a solid two-way communication program that will open up and blend the cultural and social difference between countries and create a uniform language for all. This will lead to exciting information and knowledge exchange for both businesses as well as consumers and create a real-world perspective for growth.
Leading business schools understood the importance of international knowledge and have introduced the same in their modules so that new-generation managers can deal with global business competition and pressure. The same should be true of the travel and hospitality industries. Students need to learn about international business and travel trends, along with various sociocultural differences of global demographics.
The way the industry is growing, however, travel hospitality businesses cannot wait for students to graduate and become global-ready professionals. The demand in here now, so they need to plan reverse-training as well, opting for specialized courses to train their existing staff.
The UNWTO forecasts 4-4.5 percent growth in international tourism in 2014, so there is no time to lose. In order to grab a lucrative share of the pie, existing personnel need to be trained in the customs, manners and etiquettes that vary from one country to another. Emerging technologies should be harnessed to enable the staff to deal with all kinds of cultural barriers and language issues, even instantly translate for them if necessary.
There is an interesting insight made in this regard by the report, "55 Trends Shaping the Future of the Hospitality Industry, and the World Hospitality and Travel 2015." Among many other revelations, the report states that growing acceptance of diversity and decreasing xenophobia have stimulated the growing demand for foreign travel. People are keen to learn more about other cultures than ever before.
The growing sophistication of communication technology and social media have all come together to forge deeper links between distant corners of the world. Multicultural knowledge and awareness of international hospitality trends are therefore going to be key drivers for businesses to compete and survive in the global marketplace.
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