aReferring to Figure 4.2, state when the predictions began to be made.
b What were the predictions for the number of visitors staying overnight at resort establishments - visitor nights - if the increase was
i3 per cent? ii5 per cent? iii10 per cent?
c Using your library's resources and/or direct inquiry, find out the actual levels of visitor nights for 1994 or 1995 and subsequent years.
Figure 4.2 Actual and predicted numbers of visitor nights for Great Barrier Reef island-resort establishments, 1985-95
It is common to predict what the future will hold by examining current trends. In using the word trend, a word closely connected with the idea of direction, we are reminded that we can often judge which direction a new road may lead us in by knowing where the road has come from and what type of terrain it is likely to traverse. By carefully studying what is happening at present and what is planned for the near future, we may be able to forecast something about tourism some distance ahead. It is much harder, though, to predict with certainty what may happen a long way ahead.
Australians and the people of many other countries apparently believe that tourism is likely to become their most important export earner. Indonesia's export earnings obtained through tourism, in Bali in particular but also in other places, have become that country's main overseas source of income. Governments have accordingly instigated policies and invested public moneys in an attempt to gain maximum benefit from tourism-industry growth. In 1993, the Australian federal government's proposals with reference to tourism included the following.
• Investment of $10 million in order to develop tourism based on the natural environment
• Investment of $4 million in order to help develop farm tourism
• Investment of $20.75 million in order to improve regional infrastaicture programs, many of which are targeted to support tourism
TOURISM AND THE
Figure 4.3 Passengers aboard Ansett Australia's inaugural flight to Denpasar, Bali, arriving at their destination, September 1993
In 1992, the federal government released a National Tourism Strategy covering the four broad areas of 'economic', 'environmental', 'social' and 'support'. Its main areas of concern include marketing, research, transport, worker training, economics issues, business management, environmental and social issues, a range of accommodation, and ways in which to co-ordinate tourism. The strategy is based on analyses of current trends and predictions about tourism's future and value to the Australian economy.
Bevelopment of market niehes
In Australia, an increase in demand for different experiences has accompanied tourism's growth. Because they had formed certain perceptions about Australian tourist destinations, many people were prompted to come to our country, and Australians themselves began to wish to explore their own country in depth. The perceptions included images of open spaces and adventure, a wide choice of product - for example the wilderness, the outback, the Great Barrier Reef and the surf - and personal safety in a world marred by increasing violence. Experienced and discerning tourists are increasingly seeking individually satisfying experiences, and the tourism industry is responding by developing products to fill market niches -see the diagram in Figure 1.17 on page 21.
Some of the influential trends occurring in Australia
and being reflected around the world are listed as
• Wealth has been redistributed, to the effect that by the late 1980s, 20 per cent of households controlled 62 per cent of the wealth whereas 25 per
91 cent controlled less than 5 per cent. This factor has led to changes in provision of more tourist amenities at both the high and the low end of the socioeconomic scale - five-star resorts and unpowered tent sites respectively, for example -along with less amenities in the middle range.
• An overall reduction has been made in most people's disposable income because of factors such as high mortgage-interest rates and property rents and reduced real wages. This has prompted tourists to be more selective and seek tourism experiences that provide value for money.
• The population is ageing: in the five years to 1991, the number of people more than sixty-five years of age grew from 1.75 million to 1.9 million. Over the next thirty years, the number of people in every fifty-plus age group will double. Those groups will seek less energetic activities and will be better educated in order to sidestep the hollow promises of insubstantial holiday packages.
• Until recently, Australian tourism was organised by Anglo-Celtic ethnic groups in order to cater for their own interests. The dramatic increase in the number and range of ethnic groups seeking satisfying tourism experiences may lead to the development of types of tourism aimed at their specific needs. Almost 25 per cent of Australians were bom overseas, and about seven million of us are first or second generation.
• The nature of the Australian household is changing: couples who have children now comprise only 11 per cent of households. The trend towards fewer births is expected to continue, and the traditional family holiday of thirty or forty years ago is much less common today.
• An often cited trend is that people now have more leisure time to devote to tourism and other leisure activities. Although this is true for some people, the reality is that most Australian workers spend much more time at their jobs and earn less income, whereas many other people have neither a job nor enough income to contemplate expensive tourism. The growth of offerings at the lower end of the tourism market has come about in response to this.
From all these tendencies and many others, some clear demands for specific types and characteristics of tourism can be noted - see Table 4.1 on pages 92 and 93-Some of the trends are stronger than others, some more recent. Which of them will be more enduring and therefore worthy of consideration when decisions about tourism are being made is not always easy to
Т О U R I SМ
Current tourism trend
judge. The most dominant trend of recent years is the worldwide trend towards ecotourism. which takes many forms, and we will examine this further on in the chapter.