A Comprehensive Guide to Tourism in the United Kingdom

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Tourism in the United Kingdom

Tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in the United Kingdom since 2010. The Deloitte Tourism estimates that Britain will acquire approximately £257 billion by the year 2025 with a yearly increment rate of 3.8%. The growth of the tourism market has resulted in creating nearly 3.1 million employment opportunities. Additionally, the UK has experienced a boost in their economy due to the income generated from the sector. In the event tourism is not managed correctly it can be problematic. The regular flow of overseas visitors to the United Kingdom undermines the uniqueness, character, and beauty of tourist destination sites over the years.

Full Integration and Diverse Nature of Tourism

The tourism industry is a multifaceted sector composed of different businesses which aim at providing services and products to tourists. According to World Tourism Organization (WTO), 'Tourism comprises the activities of persons travelling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business, and other purposes.' (Dwyer 2015, p. 330) international tourism is expected to keep on growing as the number of aspiring visitors become wealthier hence their disposable earnings increases. Additionally, it is probable that tourism will outperform the global market in the subsequent decades, growing by an approximate 4% on average yearly in within the next ten years (Dwyer2015, p.330).

The Department of Culture, Sports, and Media

The Department of Culture, Sports, and Media, recorded the total number of the travel and tourism sectors between the years 2002–2003 in the United Kingdom as £91.8 billion. Most of the income came from the local tourist rather than the foreign visitors. The World Tourism Organisation acknowledges that the sector is among the fastest new economic industry hence creating employment and bringing the exchange of foreign currencies to the United Kingdom. Apart from the market being a fast-growing sector in the UK, it is also an important industry as it has resulted in more hotels and resorts providing conference facilities. The local community is the direct beneficiary of the gradually growing tourism in the country as it brings forth opportunities to the people (Hall2015, p. 2). Tourists are categorized according to the purpose of their travel. For example, some people visit counties for business, leisure, education, or even touring relatives or friends’ purposes (Mowforth et al .2015, p. 35). The information about the type of visitors enables the WTO to keep statistics which they will use in the future for decision-making processes. Globalisation has improved the diversity in the tourism and hospitality sector as it has a multicultural nature.

Tourism in the United Kingdom highly complex and diverse

Tourism in the United Kingdom highly complex and diverse as it depends heavily on the road, rail and aviation infrastructure, and progressively more digital connectivity. International access and Visa are a link to the United Kingdom’s inbound sector and also significant to success. The diversity and scale of the tourism industry mean that the market is occasionally fragmented and very broad. Nevertheless, the overall wants of the sector are vivid, and necessitate for an industry deal is in both the UK Governments and a sector’s interest (Hall2015, p. 2). Productivity is one of the critical issues that the government needs to address as it encourages the proper business practices, work ethics in the industry and adequate use of the allocated and available assets. Cumulatively, the industry has around 3.1 million employers hence making it a complicated and technical sector. The Sector Deal procedure has enabled the government, business, and companies in the field to identify the niche in the market by identifying the specific areas that need improvement in productivity. The plan has detailed evidence from abroad and currently underperforming regions in the United Kingdom (Mowforth et al. 2015, p. 35). According to the World Tourism Organization, the richness of United Kingdom Tourism industry will improve if they ensure proper use of the available assets and venues; create seasonality and more event and business visits to seasonality, the use of assets, and creating more business visits and activities to promote their regions.

Globalisation and Tourism

Globalisation refers to the integration and interaction among companies, people, and governments of various countries. The process is driven by investment and international trade supported by informational know-how. The tourism sector is one of the most necessary fields that globalisation has affected (Mowforth et al. 2015, p. 35). However, the industry is instituted with globalisation, and its development supports system which ensures the needs of different cultures have been met. Competition and globalisation in the market have been intensified by the development of informational and technical systems which has resulted in the invention of distribution and mondial communication system. Additionally, the expansion of the tourist industry will be enhanced by the development of better transport system which will result in liberalisation and opening of boundaries of different nations (Dwyer 2015, p. 330).

The Integration of the Tourism Industry

Globalisation of the sector’s industrial technology is evident in the uniformity of the travellers’ behaviours, strategic and global players’ alliances, booking system, established international organisation in tourism, and standardised modification in the transport system technology (Sharpley et al. 2015, p.20). However, fully integrating the market has been faced by challenges such as political instabilities in some regions. Areas that are not peaceful yet resourceful and attractive it may be people will avoid touring to such places because of their security. Apart from that, communication barriers among the international organizations have acted as another hindrance to the integration of the industry entirely.

Globalisation and Environmental Impact

The gradual growth of tourism is a hazard to the surroundings, international, and social relations (Mason 2015, p.31). Nonetheless, to gain from globalisation the World Tourism Organization (WTO) should acknowledge the ideology of economic, social, and ecological, sustainable development (Mowforth et al. 2015, p. 35). Accepting the idea will contribute to having a world that is better and pleasant to its people and the environment. Additionally, the UK Government should enhance the progress and growth of tourism market in the country by focusing on creating new modernised tourism infrastructure, mainly in the regions that are underdeveloped thus, aid in improving the position in the global market.

Positive Impacts of Tourism

Tourism has indirect, direct, and induced consequences on the local economy, which differ from one country to another based on the structure of the tourism industry and the relationship between tourism and the local economy. Greater connections lead to increased levels of the growth of the local economy, which occurs when tourism-related businesses source their products and services locally. Low economic relationships take place when a country primarily imports goods and services to support the tourism sector (Lemma, 2014, p. 2).

Employment Opportunities in Tourism

Tourism creates employment; it is responsible for 3% of the global jobs (98 million individuals by 2013), and indirectly contributes to one out of every eleven jobs. As of 2013, the global contribution of tourism to both indirect and direct employment opportunities is 266 million jobs. Tourism accounts for 2.3 percent of the jobs in Sub-Saharan Africa and 10 percent in South Asia. There are also significant effects of tourism on the growth of several regions, i.e., 20 percent in South Asia (primarily because of Mauritius), 12.4 percent in Oceania, and 11.3 percent in the Caribbean (Lemma, 2014, p. 8). Another significant statistic to consider is the ratio of direct to total jobs created by the tourism sector. The average figure is 2.5 percent; in South Asia and the Caribbean, it is 2.0 and 3.1 percent respectively. The substantial contribution of tourism to the employment sector may be due to the difficulty of moving labour across borders, unlike goods. Hence, most entities have to employ locals to provide the various services needed by tourists (Lemma, 2014, p. 8). Governments promote tourism due to the number of jobs created by the industry in many sectors. Direct employment occurs in sectors such as transport operation, hotels, travel agencies, tour guides, tourist attractions and government agencies. Indirect employment is in construction, transport, design, and banking sectors (Kumar, Hussain and Kannan, 2015, p.406).

Infrastructure Development

Tourism also leads to the development of infrastructure to tourist destinations such as airport developments, rail and road improvements, and telecommunications advancements. Also, the local and federal government supplies power and water to the tourist destinations sites in remote areas. Some tourist sites are rarely developed unless they have significant contributions to the government’s earnings. They include mountainous regions and deserts. However, when tourists visit the site, the government gets the incentive to develop the region. The local people benefit from these improved facilities provided for tourists (Kumar, et. al., 2015 p. 406).

Positive Economic Impact

Additionally, the local area benefits from increased sales. Tourists have indirect effects on the revenue of local business when tourism-related enterprises such as hotels buy goods and services from local suppliers. Another induced effect is on the output or sales. The workers of tourist-related industries spend their earnings locally, thus leading to economic growth. Revenue from tourism is significant to a country due to the multiplier effect as the money spent during tourist visits recirculates in the local economy. Multipliers come from transaction tables located in input-output models, which is an intra-regional flow analysis that analyses the economic interdependence in an area. An in-depth understanding of the connections in the economic region is significant in gauging the feasibility of attracting specific tourism activities. There are several methods of constructing an input-output model. Some reveal the transactions of broad categories in the industry using a 39 by 39 matrix and the analyses are made according to a broad classification. Some have almost six hundred detailed classifications for a thorough review of industry connections (Kumar, et. al., 2015 p. 410).

Negative Impacts of Tourism


The freedom to visit new places has led to the development of drug tourism. Narco-tourism was introduced to the global scene in the second half of the twentieth century by Western Europe and North American participants of cultural movements, more so the hippies. Over the years, the practice has undergone an immensetransformation but maintains the objective is the same. The significant changes in narco-tourism include the expansion of drug deals, the adaption of tourist destinations to accommodate the requirements of narco-tourists, and the introduction of new geographical locations (Hoffman, 2014, p. 455).

Examples of Drug Tourism Destinations

There is evidence that some tourists frequent specific holiday destinations primarily to access and abuse drugs. However, drug tourism is not without challenges. There are no designated travel agencies, which major on this specific kind of tourism since the distribution and consumption of drugs is illegal in most countries. Drug use is often linked to social problems and criminal activity' thus, drug tourists have to be discreet about their actions. Also, drug tourism destinations are not marketed due to the legal penalties associated with such behavior. There are several drug tourist destinations in the world. An example of a well-known drug tourist destinations in Africa is Morocco (Rif), were tourists, especially Europeans, seek regions that produce hashish for their personal use. In some cases, they take the drug back to their countries for commercial purposes (Pereira and Paula, 2016, p.191).

In Europe, the city of Christiania, Denmark, is the hub for marijuana as the region is a free market area for the substance. In Prague, Czech Republic, the government permits the citizens to have specific drugs for their personal use, i.e., a maximum of 1.5 grams of heroin, 15 grams of marijuana, fourecstasy tablets, one gram of cocaine, and 5-40 hallucinogenic mushrooms. Ibiza in Spain is popular among tourists for its nightclubs and the simplicity of drug acquisition. In Lisbon, Portugal, the use of Magic Mushroom was decriminalized,and the drug is now available in stores. In Dutch coffee shops, the consumption and sale of hashish and cannabis are allowed by the government (Pereira and Paula, 2016, p.191).

Among Asian countries, the most famous drug tourism destination is Thailand. The Koh Phangan region offers the most extensive variety of drugs such as marijuana, mushrooms, opium, and methamphetamine. Others are Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, certain islands (Bali, Lombok, and Gili), Malaysia, and the Philippines (Hoffman, 2014, p. 458). In Goa, the most famous tourist destination in India, the local police state that there is no drug problem. However, narco-tourists say that the area provides a lot of access to a wide variety of psychoactive substances. Until recently, the availability of drugs was limited to resorts and beaches. However, drugs are now available in residential areas (Hoffman, 2014, p. 457).

In Central and South America, the Amazon region is a popular narco-tourism destination for hallucinogenic drugs. Bolivia is the largest producer of cocaine in South America. Mexico, another popular tourist destination site, is frequented by people seeking to abuse hallucinogenic drugs such as codeine, Xanax, Rohypnol, and Valium. Famous Mexican cities for drugs are Cancun, Tijuana, and Cabo SanLucas. In Peru, the favorite hallucinogenic substance is the San Pedro cactus, which has several psychoactive phenethylamine alkaloids (Hoffman, 2014, p. 457)

Environmental Degradation

Tourism can cause heritage destruction and pollution. The growth of tourism in India has caused dune erosion, loss of biodiversity, depletion of groundwater, siltation, and reduced fish population for the local communities, which depend on it for both domestic and commercial purposes. These issues typically occur when the number of tourists exceeds the environmental capacity. Tourism outs a lot of pressure on the region and results in long-term, permanent adverse impacts such as increased sewage and effluent discharge into water bodies, pollution, soil erosion, increased probability of forest fires, and heightened pressure on endangered plant and animal species (Mehta, 2013, p. 3).

Moreover, tourism leads to pressure on natural resources due to the increased population in tourist destinations. Tourism leads to massive deforestation (e.g., in the Himalayan region) due to the demand for fuel and the construction of accommodating facilities (hotels, restaurants, resorts, etc.) (Mehta, 2013, p. 6). They also increase the demand for water and food, which may be insufficient depending on the amount of arable and in a particular region. Hence, more water is used, which may result in water shortages for the locals.

Sex Tourism and Trafficking

There is evidence to support the prevalence of sex tourism and trafficking in tourist destinations. Thailand is a popular tourist destination in Asia and the world. However, this has increased the cases of prostitution in the country. Surprisingly, the participants in sex tourism are not only western men, but also Asians from Singapore, Malaysia, and China. Prostitution is illegal in Thailand But the laws cannot regulate prostitution in the nation due to being a crucial sex tourism destination in the world. This acts of negligence of the situation by the government promotes the notion that Thailand is the “promised land” for men. The legislation can control prostitution in the country, but this can affect the international relationship and the economy at large. The leading destinations for sex tourism in Thailand are Soi Cowboy, Pattaya, Bangkok, Phuket, Patpong, and Nana Plaza (Peltonen, 2016, p. 8).

Globalization has led to the interaction of people from many walks of life. However, it is closely related to trafficking, more so human trafficking. In Central America, women and children are kidnapped and forced into prostitution. Capitalism is a stumbling block to controlling these practices as the offenders pay bribes to the local and international authorities. In Mexico, sex tourism is rampant due to the societal perception of the female gender, i.e., women should be used for the sexual pleasure of men and discarded. Tourism promotes prostitution in the area as it provides a ready, continuous market. The limited employment for women in the Hispanic culture also pushes most of them to prostitution (Hirschhauser, 2014, p. 7).


The fast growing tourism sector in the UK has contributed to the thriving economical sate of the nation. The industry has attracted people from different race, sex, and ethnic group hence creating diversity in the market. Investment and international trade has enabled the spread of globalization and diversity in tourism.


Dwyer, L., 2015. Globalization of tourism: Drivers and outcomes. Tourism Recreation Research, 40(3), pp.326-339

Hall, C.M., Gossling, S. and Scott, D. eds., 2015. The Routledge handbook of tourism and sustainability. Rosutledge.p 2.

Hirschhauser, V., 2014. Sex Trafficking and Tourism: The Emergence of ‘Sex Hubs’ in Panama and Mexico, s.l.: s.n.

Hoffman, B., 2014. Drug Consumption Tourism as a Social Phenomenon. Trakia Journal of Sciences, pp. 455-460.

Jeetesh Kumar, K. H. a. S. K., 2015. Positive vs Negative Economic Impacts of Tourism Development: A Review of Economic Impact Studies, s.l.: s.n.

Lemma, A. F., 2014. Tourism Impacts: Evidence of Impacts on Employment, Gender, Income, s.l.: s.n.

Mason, P., 2015. Tourism impacts, planning and management. Routledge.p 31

Mehta, P., 2013. Tourism and Consequential Environmental Degradation: An Unfolding Equation of Impacts in Indian Context. Acta de Gerencia Ciencia, 1(3), pp. 1-9.

Mowforth, M. and Munt, I., 2015. Tourism and sustainability: Development, globalisation and new tourism in the third world. Routledge.p 35

Paula, T. F. P. D. P. a. L. B. d., 2016. Drug Tourism: General Overview, Case Studies and New Perspectives in the Contemporary World. European Journal of Tourism, Hospitality and Recreation, 7(3), pp. 188-202.

Peltonen, A., 2016. Ethics of Sex Tourism in Thailand: Finnish Tourists’ Stance to Prostitution and Human Trafficking, s.l.: s.n.

Sharpley., Hithero, R. and Telfer, D.J., 2015. Tourism and development in the developing world. Routledge. p.20

September 04, 2023

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