Developments in the travel and tourism industry

Select two recent or current developments in the travel and tourism industry and explain how these developments have affected career opportunities and job roles within the industry.

In this first part of the question, I will talk about how technology has affected careers and job roles within the travel & tourism industry.

Technology has been the biggest development on the travel & tourism industry within the last ten years. It has allowed many companies to offer improved service to customers and help with the start up of many other businesses. Computers have been used for many years especially within the airline industry for tasks such as check in and ATC (Air Traffic Control), but now computers are being used in travel agents and tour operators. This could have affect on jobs, as computerisation will lead to less paper work. Computers are also used to access the Internet and customers are seeing the benefits of using this method of booking. Online booking also cuts out paying the travel agent commission; prices are also generally lower on the Internet.

A new type of travel agent is appearing on the Internet, which specialises in e-commerce (electronic business) and example of this type of organisation is Expedia. Organisations such as this can be used to book all the principles of a holiday in one place. This also affects jobs, as only two or three people will need to be employed to ensure the systems work properly. This could affect many travel agents; some have already closed, as they cannot compete with the competition that is being given from online organisations. Some companies may choose to integrate, but this can also lead to a loss in jobs, as the amount of staff required maybe lower.

As I mentioned previously, computers have been used in the airline and airport sector for many years. Airlines now use computers in a different way. Thanks to the advances in technology, passengers can now check in using a kiosk within the terminal building and at Waterloo Station, London, when travelling with British Airways. It is also possible to check in online 24 hours before a flight departure. The introduction of check in kiosks will inevitably mean that fewer customer service agents will be required. Not all development within the industry will lead to loss of jobs; one example of this is Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport. More staff will be employed when British Airways moves all of its flights and services from Terminal 1 & 4 to Terminal 5. More staff will be employed to work within shops, stations and facilities that will be available to customers when the terminal opens in 2008.

Aircraft are also becoming more technologically advanced, two of the world biggest aircraft manufactures, Boeing and Airbus are developing new aircraft that will changed the way passengers travel. The Airbus A380 will become the largest civil aircraft in the world; and will have a maximum captivity will be 840 passengers. Singapore Airlines among others will be modifying the cabin to included bars, shops and gyms that will require staff to attend and maintain while in the air. There will be more career opportunities such as cabin crew and aircraft pilot when the new aircraft are introduced into service. An extension of aircraft is the possibility of space travel. Staff that will be employed for space travel will have to be trained to a higher level of health and safety and will be specialised in the working of and running of the craft.

Visitor attractions have been using technology to their advantage. The safety of rides in theme parks can closely be monitored with computers, if a hazard occurs it can be located quickly and action can be taken. This will reduced the amount of mechanics needed to look after the rides. Technology has also allowed rides to have a higher thrill factor without compromising the safety of riders. Thorpe Park is the first theme park in the world to have a ten-loop roller coaster. It is kept safe with the use of computers, so that the ride operators can ensure high levels of safety.

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