Challenges Faced by Tour Firms in the UK

Tourism and Hospitality

 

 

Introduction

            Tourism is meant to facilitate travel for purposes of relaxation, business, or recreation. On the other hand, a tourist refers to an individual who goes to places outside or away from their usual surroundings for more than 24 hours and not more than a year for business or leisure purposes (Glaesser, 2006). Tourism is an ordinary human affair, it has been an industry of a variety of dimensions and is also significant in the economic and social growth of many countries. Tourism around the world has gradually developed to become a thriving industry with more than 700 million people. It has drawn up to be one of the world’s largest industries generating revenues of approximately half a trillion dollars a year and an average of five percent annual growth. On the other hand, Hospitality is the relationship between a guest and a host, whereby the host receives the guest warmly, including availing entertainment and the available luxury to strangers, visitors, and guests. According to Jaucourt (2013), “hospitality in the encyclopedia is the quality of a prodigious soul that cares for the whole universe through the ties of humanity.” (n.p.).

            In ancient Greece, hospitality was considered a right, with the host expected to make the needs of the visitors met. The Greece term xenia, when a god was involved, showed a culturalist guest-friendship relation. In that society, for a person to be considered to be noble and socially standing, they had to be able to offer hospitality to strangers and guests. According to the Stoics, hospitality was regarded as a duty that was inspired by Zeus. Nevertheless, tourism is prone to various challenges, including terrorism, climate change, and government policies. The recent development in which Britain voted to leave the EU (European Union) represents a government policy that could have far-reaching implications on the UK tours and travel industry. Accordingly, the main purpose of conducting this study is to establish the projected effects of this decision on the industry and the strategies that players in the industry have put in place to cushion themselves against undesirable effects.

            Recently, more people are venturing into the tourism and hospitality management industry because of the benefits that come along with them. In fact, the world travel and tourism council recently affirmed the industry accounts for about 9% of the total jobs in the world (Theobald, 2012). The council also boasted a steady growth in the industry than any other. The fact is that people will always travel either for business or leisure and when they are away from their homes, they rely upon hospitality to provide them an environment similar to or better than that in their homes. The reason I have decided to look into this industry is for several reasons. The first is the entry-level job opportunities: unlike other industries that demand many years of experience before one is employed, the tourism industry offers a broad range of career options that contain proper training, and jobs are easy to get because it requires a person’s ability to interact and serve strangers and an outgoing personality.

Research Problem

            Like any other sector, the UK tours and travel industry encounters various environmental challenges, with individual tours and travel companies resorting to various strategies in an attempt to deal with the challenges that they face. This is made possible by conducting a SWOT analysis of the industry. It is important to constantly explore the environmental challenges facing tourism, considering that this is a very dynamic industry that is prone to such diverse challenges as terrorism, disasters, as well as climate change. (Conrady and Buck, 2012). Moreover, various stakeholders such as the shareholders and employees are concerned with the stability of the business operations. Consequently, businesses must work hard to guarantee these stakeholders sustainable operations, in addition to developing ingenious ways of handling the challenges facing them.  Although the tourism industry is highly vulnerable to the aforementioned changes, not much research has been done to examine the strategic responses of the management of tours and travel companies in dealing with these challenges. One such challenge is the impending decision by the UK to exit from the European Union. This is a very recent development and not much has been done in the way of research into the matter. This, therefore, presents a gap in the existing literature. It was deemed necessary therefore to conduct this study with a view to shedding more light on the issues at hand and also to contribute to the existing knowledge base on the subject.

Research Objectives

            The proposed study seeks to do the following:

 

i)To identify the anticipated challenges by tours and travel firms in the UK following Brexit

ii)To determine the strategies that tours and travel firms in the UK intend to use in trying to cope with the aftermath of Brexit.

Literature Review

            Some content analyses with different themes and frameworks have been published. Pearce and Dann (2014) focused on journals in Annals of tourism research and the Journal of Leisure Research revising magazines over the period of 1970 to 1980. Evans (2015) presented interesting facts concerning books in four tourism and hospitality journals (FUHR, JHTR, CHRAQ and IJHM). Reid (2013) provided a research analysis of magazines and articles in four travel magazines (TM, Annals, and JTR). Later, a study looked into five leading articles on hospitality and management which showed that there was an increase in the use of multivariate statistics from research done earlier (Hall, 2017).

            The narrow scope of a study done earlier on hospitality and management can be reflective of the limited number of articles on hospitality and tourism during those years. In recent years, there has been a proliferation of additional academic articles in the field. There are some reports on the existence of about 80 academic journals on hospitality and management and publication avenues for the same. Though the scope has increased from studies done previously, most writers acknowledged the many outlets for publication. This increase keeps the focus on only 11 journals available for analysing.

Some research reports findings that focus on one publication, usually a commonly known premier article such as Annals.  Other studies have presented research done in some limited tourism journals like the (JTR and Annals) during the 1980s (Sheldon and Fesenmaier, 2015). The mentioned studies show a broader range of publication outlets, the entire focus on hospitality and tourism journals fails to account adequately for the productivity on the part of tourism researchers.  Absolute hospitality researchers such as Sturman (2015), conduct direct studies related to the resort, and spa. Casino and airline operations. For other practitioners, the primary focus involves traditional business disciplines such as human resource management. The latter group prefers to publish both articles and journals in hospitality. The content analysis should focus on a broader range of publication outlets to enable comprehensive coverage of different venues of hospitality researchers. Many educators and students frequent journals and articles on hospitality and management to get information concerning professional development and assignments.  The contributions of content analysis appear to focus on both quality and quantity-related issues. Moreover, most research departments are mixed between researchers espousing specialties in hospitality and tourism. The research helps improve relevance for reviews made in journals and articles based on hospitality and tourism and magazines with varied content. Citation analysis has been emphasised by researchers to determine both the quantity and quality of publications. The quantitative aspect is based on the number of times an author is cited in a publication and later contributions to literature. Weaver (2014) conducted research on a citation for academic writers and authors from 1984 to 1988 across several journals.  He extended this topic and included the period between the years 1984 to 1989. Additionally, Weaver examined publication activity from researchers of the journals in hospitality and tourism management; this was an extension of the previous study.

The tours and travel industry in the UK has enjoyed considerable growth both in terms of annual earnings and an increase in the number of players. This is an indication that the sector is growing at a time when other sectors of the economy have either been registering negative growth or no growth at all. The UK government views the tours and travel industry as a key sector of the economy on account of its crucial contribution to the country's GDP (Gross Domestic Product). However, the decision to leave the EU through the Brexit policy is likely to have far-reaching negative impacts on not just the torus and travel sector, but on the UK economy as a whole. Besides witnessing a reduction in the number of inbound tourists and outbound tourists, thousands of jobs in the sectors and other affiliated industries could also be at stake. Players in the industry thus need to develop workable solutions to this problem. 

Research Design

            The research design of a study is the overall strategy that the researcher has identified to incorporate the various aspects of the study in a logical and coherent manner. This enables the researcher to effectively deal with the study's research problem. The research design, therefore, functions as a blueprint that enables the researcher to collect data on the research questions, undertake measurements of such data, and analyse it accordingly (Cresswell, 2014).  The proposed study will be based on a cross-sectional research design.   This particular research design has been chosen because it entails the causal effects of one or several independent variables on a particular dependent variable under study. Moreover, cross-sectional studies tend to be descriptive in nature. Besides, it also means that the research will be conducted once and will hence be cost-effective both in terms of time and financial resources (Bernard, 2011). Sampling shall be done by simple random sampling. Participants will be drawn from managers of tours and travel firms in the UK. Data collection shall be achieved by administering a semi-structured survey questionnaire to study respondents. Once data has been collected, it will be analysed both qualitatively and quantitatively using content analysis and the SPSS software.        

Provisional timetable for the research     

The table below provides a breakdown of the proposed plan for this project over a duration of 7 months:

 Months:

 Activities

September

- Seeking approval from the university's ethics committee

-Writing the introduction section of the project

October

-Writing the literature review section of the project

November

- Developing the research questionnaire

- Writing the methodology section of the project

December

-Data collection and analysis

January

-Presentation of research findings

February

- Discussion of study findings 

March

- writing the conclusion section of the project

Editing and proofreading the various chapters of the project

April

- compiling, printing, binding, and presenting the completed project.

                   

 

 

 

References

Bernard, H. R. (2011). Research Methods in Anthropology: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches (5th ed., p. 681). Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press.

Conrady, R., and Buck, M., 2012. Trends and Issues in Global Tourism 2012. London: Springer.

Creswell, J. W., 2014. Research Design Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches (4th ed.).  Thousand Oaks, Ca: Sage.

Evans, N., 2015. Strategic Management for Tourism, Hospitality and Events, 2nd Edn., Abingdon UK: Routledge.

Glaesser, D., 2006. Crisis Management in the Tourism Industry. London: Routledge.

Hall, D.R., 2017. Tourism and Geopolitics: Issues and Concepts from Central and Eastern Europe. CABI.

Jaucourt, L., 2013."Hospitality." The Encyclopedia of Diderot & d'Alembert Collaborative Translation Project. Translated by Sophie Bourgault. Ann Arbor: Michigan Publishing, University of Michigan Library.

Pearce D. G., and Butler R. W., 2014  (Eds.), Tourism research: Critiques and challenges (pp. 20-35). London: Routledge.

Reid, R., 2013. How to Travel Like a Travel Writer.  National Geographic. [Online].

P. and D. Fesenmaier (2015), 'Tourism Education Futures Initiative: current and future curriculum influences', in D. Dredge, D. Airey and M.J. Gross  (eds.). The Routledge Handbook of Tourism and Hospitality Education (pp. 155-70). New York: Routledge.

Sturman, M.C. (2015). “Human Resources Management, Tourism” In J. Jafari & H. Xiao (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Tourism. London: Springer.     

 

Theobald, W.F., 2012. Global Tourism. London: Routledge. 

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