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Please select a tourist destination and thoroughly investigate the tourism environment first. Now carefully examine the currently developing issues such as terrorism and security, health and safety concerns, or negative social/cultural impacts. You will also need to identify the emerging trends in terms of tourism products and attractions offered and the type and the number of visitors arriving over a period of time.

You are recommended to identify and choose a relevant travel and tourism organisation operating in the UK to carry out tasks 3 and 4. You will need to investigate the production and delivery of tourism related goods and services (such as passenger transport or tour operations, packaging and marketing tours and holidays) possibly to your chosen destination.

You will require to collect information and data on customer profile, organisational goals and strategies, scale of operation and number of destinations served as well as the changes in their product portfolio and recent strategies.

Avoid using cut and paste materials when writing and completing assignment.

The tasks in this coursework assignment are all based on the scenario provided above but your discussion should be supported by relevant theories and concepts

Identify and analyze the current issues that are driving change in the travel and tourism sector and analyze at least two issues of a chosen destination using relevant methods and resources.

Evaluate and discuss the emerging trends that are influencing change in the travel and tourism sector and analyze how these trends affects the chosen destination in terms of tourism product and service offerings such as attractions and accommodations.

Analyze and discuss how the selected travel and tourism organization has responded to the emerging trends in terms of type of travel and tourism products offered to meet the changing pattern of customer requirements. Critically examine how the responses (strategies) taken by the selected organization could be justified.

Examine how effective were the responses and analyse the impacts on the performance of the travel and tourism organisation chosen. Discuss the consequences of firms failing to response to the changing needs.

Task 1: Issues Facing Tourism Industry in Costa Rica

Costa Rica being a central American country with coastlines along the Caribbean and the Pacific areas forms quite an interesting option for the flourishing of the tourism sector in the country. It is in fact one of the countries where the tourism sector is growing at a rapid economic growth rate.  It is in fact considered to be the highest contributor in terms of foreign exchange earnings in the country. The massive increase in the tourism sector earnings increased since the year 1987.Because of the presence of a large number of preserved areas and national parks, this region has become one of the biggest natural tourism spots. The country is also equally rich in biodiversity and houses a variety of plants and animals within the geographical borders. Costa Rica is also know for many other geographical features including volcanoes, which are generally not found in most natural tourist destination spots. In other words it is one of the biggest international tourist spots in the world. There are many issues however facing this industry in the current time. These issues are basically based on the fact that some major tourism policies and events are harming the environment of the area and affecting the biodiversity of the region.  This is why firms are increasingly trying to take up initiatives that will help in mitigating these already existing problems. These problems generally arise from the construction of high rise buildings in the form of hotels or other tourism infrastructure.

This section of the report focuses on some of the issues that the tourism sector in Costa Rica imposes on the communities and the biodiversity of this area. The negative impacts of the tourism sector on the social and the environmental aspects of the region are discussed in details. Although, the tourism sector of Costa Rica has contributed vehemently to the gross domestic product generation, it has happened at the cost of the local inhabitants of the region being restricted from gaining access to regions earlier inhabited by them. Moreover, the environmental impacts have also been widespread covering both the land and the ocean areas thus affecting the species of both these regions.

Issue 1:

There are various issues which are faced by Costa Rica as a result of the tourism most of which are based on the notions of the nature and the environment of the place being adversely affected. There are other issues facing the tourism industry in this region including the local communities of the are being harmed and the diversity being lost (U.S. 2018). Thus, there exists a paradoxical situation in the region pertaining to the impacts of the tourism industry in Costa Rica. Reports and articles suggest that the level of eco-tourism that was once prevalent in the region. The coasts and the beaches are increasingly being inhabited and structures or buildings for the tourism purposes are being built. This in turn is causing the beaches to corrode which in turn is harming the reputation of the region as being one of the regions full of biodiversity. The tourism is also known to have impacts on the social and cultural aspects of the region (Hunt et al. 2015). This is so because foreigners are increasingly migrating to this region and building resorts and other tourism related infrastructure, which is impacting the upholding of the traditional social integrity of the place. It is also reported that not only the land and the society but also the water of this region is being polluted immensely due to causes related to tourism (Mowforth and Munt 2015). This includes the enormous number and frequency of cruises bringing in and taking back passengers as well as the different types of tourist attractive activities carried out in the waters surrounding this region.

Issue 1

The impact on the environment has been immense and is actually stringent. This is proven from the fact that the increase in the amount of tourism in this region has adversely impacted various species like the  leatherback turtles. These turtles are affected due to the light pollution caused by the tourism activities and initiatives that take place at the beaches and costs of the region where they used to thrive and breed. There has also been a lot of construction in the last few years that has contributed to the increase in income for this sector and hence the generation of employment. However, this has led to the disruption of the sewage systems in these areas where the same sewage has leaked into the oceans causing substantial levels of water pollution which in turn has had harmed the natural ecosystem of the oceans of the region (Blackman et al. 2017). All of these factors might soon cause the downfall of the rank of the region as a naturally vibrant region for tourism. This increase in the number of constructions is occurring because of the lack of proper rules and regulations on which the infrastructure and construction should be based.

Moreover, as has been mentioned before, the development of the place based on the revenue generated has come at the cost of the cultures not being preserved in this area. Even though the number of people who live in the rural areas is small, their livelihood is being greatly affected in a negative way due to the influx of foreigners who are generally not able to recruit these people because of the lack of the appropriate skills needed. There are privatised beaches in Costa Rica which are taking away the livelihood of the aboriginals of the region.  To avoid this consequence the privatisation of beaches should be boycotted and the hotels and resorts which do not employ the aboriginal population of the region should not be considered for tourist’s residential purposes. Steps should also be taken so that the local communities are increasingly able to access the beaches and the costs which have already been privatised.

This portion of the report deals with the major issues existing in the region of Costa Rica and how the same can be avoided. This portion of the report also deals with the trends in the tourism industry in Costa Rica in terms of the number of tourist visitors over the past few years and the number of international visitors in this region. Costa Rica is the most visited region in Central America. The major attractions of this tourist destination and the developments in this particular industry are also discussed in detail.

The major attractions of Costa Rica as a tourist region include a number of national parks and reserves. It also includes natural attractions which are rare to find like volcanoes. There are around twenty six national parks in the region and twenty five percentage of the total land area in Costa Rica. The country has a number of policies and regulations in place to cater to the needs of conserving and protecting these national parks and environment tally rich areas (Jiménez et al. 2017). Costa Rica houses some of the best beaches as well being situated along the Caribbean and Pacific coasts. The most important and well known national park in this region is Manuel Antonio National Park and it was listed in Forbes list of twelve most beautiful beaches in the world. Barbilla National Park, Barra Honda National Park, Cahuita National Park, Carrara National Park, Diria National Park, Irazu Volcano National Park and so on. Puerto Viejo de Talamanca,  Manzanillo Beach,  Tamarindo Beach,  Gandoca Beach, Montezuma Beach,  and Zancudo Beach are similarly some of the best beaches in Costa Rica. Further, there are seven tourist spots in Costa Rica which are considered to be the seven wonders in this place. These include Cocos Island, Poas Volcano, Monteverde Reserve, Tortuguero Canals, Celeste River, Chirripo Mountain and Arenal Volcano. In the year 2009, around a total of 1.2 million tourists visited the national parks and biodiversity reserves of Costa Rica. Reports state that since the year 2003 most of the tourists who visited this area were found to be foreign tourists. Because of the presence of this substantially vast area of natural beauty and rich biodiversity, Costa Rica was declared to be one of the world’s top ten ethical travel destinations. Even the parks inside the region are properly guided with paths that make spotting and locating the wildlife easy and more accessible than most other regions in the world. Various activities and events add to the attractiveness of Costa Rica as a tourist destination.

Issue 2

The number of tourist visits in this region has been increasing an an exponential rate and this in turn has fueled the increase in the revenue generation from this industry. This in turn has increased the total amount of GDP generated by Costa Rica. This is demonstrated in the following table. The data in the table demonstrates rise in the number of tourists and hence the growth of the tourism industry in Costa Rica over a period of six years from 2003 to 2008 (Costarica-information.com. 2018). Even though there have been some fluctuations in the numbers, the average rate of growth has been primarily high.

Table 1: Increase in Number of Tourists in Costa Rica

Source: Costarica-information.com. (2018)

Moreover, as mentioned earlier, the total number of visitors in Costa Rica is composed primarily of international tourist visitors and the same is demonstrated in the following graph.

This graph portrays data for a period of around twenty eight years starting from 1988 until 2015. As is demonstrated by this graph, the number of international tourist visits have increased every year compared to the previous year except for a few years like 2009 and 2002 (Ipfs.io. 2018). This itself shows how the region has developed the industry at a progressive rate and is now one of the leading sectors in Costa Rica (Vanegas Sr, Gartner and Senauer 2015). Reports suggest that the ports of Costa Rica contribute to the largest number of international tourist influx through the means of cruise. Reports and studies also assert that the duration of stay of the visitors also increased with time over the years.

The above graph portrays the total contribution to GDP by the Costa Rican tourism and travel industry and also shows the estimates for the year 2027 (ttc.org. 2018). The data represented is for a period of ten years and again some fluctuations are noticed but on the whole there is an increase in the total amount o contribution to the Gross Domestic Product which is why the estimates for the year 2027 are as high as shown in the graph.

The contribution to the total amount of employment in the economy of Costa Rica has also been high with all the effects and impacts of the industry combined. The total amount of investment and the effects of supply chain has contributed immensely to the total percentage of employment generation.

Figure 3: Contribution to GDP

Source:  ttc.org. (2018)

This graph demonstrates the contribution to the total employment generation with the help of the tourism industry in different ways in Costa Rica. It is reported that in the year 2016 the total number of job creation with respect to this sector was 271,000 with 12.9% of total employment generation (ttc.org. 2018).

This portion of the report deals with the operations and functioning of a major Airlines firm in UK. The firm chosen extends services all around the world including Costa Rica. In this case, we consider the This section also provides insights into the strategies and customer profiling of Virgin Atlantic along with the products and services offered by the firm. The background of the firm along with the destinations it provides services to and the base of the airline firm are also mentioned in the sub sequent sections of this part of the report.

Measures to be Taken

Virgin Atlantic, which is one of the leading aviation firms in the United Kingdom and provides cheap and some of the best quality flights to various tourist destinations in the United States including Costa Rica. Virgin Atlantic is the business name for Virgin Atlantic Airways Limited and Virgin Atlantic International Limited which is based out of Britain and has its headquarters situated in Crawley, United Kingdom (Virginatlantic.com. 2018). It was established long back in the year 1984. The firm is popularly known for using a combination of both Airbus and Boeing aircrafts and the most widely travelled destinations of the firm include North America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The major base destinations of the firm include London and Manchester. There are two additional bases which are Glasgow and Belfast. Particularly the fights of Virgin Atlantic that travel to Costa Rica are known for the quality along with the cheap rates (Virgin. 2018).  The frequency of the flights to Costa Rica provided by Virgin Atlantic is such that there is twenty four seven availability of these flights which makes the travel to this region in case of a sudden plan or an emergency easy to operate and execute. The total number of destinations that this firm provides flights are thirty and they have also opened up another operational office in Sussex, England (Virginatlantic.com. 2018). The various growth and operational strategies used by the firm makes it one of the most successful aviation firms in the world and some of these strategies are discussed and evaluated below.

Strategic management is the key to any firm’s growth as it helps the firm to reach the objectives and mission facing the firm in lesser periods of time and with greater cooperation among the employees. A strategy in action is a technique that helps to guide the execution of the vision stated by the firm so that the firm is able to reap greater revenues by incurring lesser amounts of cost. Virgin Atlantic has been extremely successful in examining both the external and the internal environment of the firm which has in turn led them to understand how to execute infirmed decision making as well as better division of work. The firm increasingly focuses on the financial goals including the profitability and the growth in terms of the service areas where the firm provides its services. This helps the firm to en sure that the employees are compensated enough which in turn motivates them and help in smooth functioning of the firm. This ensures growth of Virgin Atlantic. The brand value improvisation is another strategy that is used by the firm to increase growth and profitability. The firm is continuously trying to create the best impression possible in front of it customer base and this in turn helping the employees to gain a feeling of belonging to the firm. The brand vale of the firm is maintained by using customer satisfaction index and making sure that the customers are continuously catered to and their changing demand patterns are tracked so that the firm is able to cater to the changing needs of the customers. This is one of the most important strategies as the improvement of the brand loyalty on the part of the customers helps to increase the revenues generated by the firm in the long run. This contributes towards the upholding of the sustainability of the firm.  

Task 2: Emerging Trends in Travel and Tourism Sector

Virgin Atlantic has been able to use some of the best combinations of pricing and marketing techniques to attract customers and satisfy the changing demands of the customers. The firm has three distinct classes for its customers so that the cohort of customers increases (Ruby: a blog by Virgin Atlantic. 2018). These include the economy class, the upper class and the premium economy class. The firm provides additional comfort features including therapies to the passengers. These services include massages and manicures. Moreover, the flight provides its passengers with amenities like cuisines of the styles of normal restaurants, on board stand up bar and video screenings for every passenger which is usually programmed for customised usage. The other amenities and luxuries are provided to the premium class of passengers which includes separate cabins sometimes furnished with furniture like desks and sleeping arrangements,  pre-flight champagne services and flexible ticket booking and confirmation services. The economy class of passengers are furnished with other sorts of amenities, which include free amenity kits, set back video screens with a variety of channels as well as complimentary beverages.

There are other strategies used by Virgin Atlantic include sharing of codes through agreements with firms like Malaysia Airlines, British Midland and Continental Airlines. These strategies help the firm o enhance the quality of services provided to the customers and hence gain higher amounts of customer satisfaction (Virginatlantic.com. 2018). The firm is able to provide better services and higher frequency of flights through the code sharing strategies with Continental Airlines. Moreover there are numerous alliances that allow the firm to extend services to various cities where it would otherwise not be able to provide services. Moreover the firm uses a lot of strategies in the context of partnerships which enables the firm to provide quick services and cater to the emergencies of the customers.

The most recent strategies used by the firm involve a lot of innovation and creativity in the context of the service line of the firm.  To improve the quality of service provided to the customers, the firm has recently started installing additional electronic gadgets for the entertaining purposes of the customers in addition to the amenities provided by the firm (Ruby: a blog by Virgin Atlantic. 2018). The firm uses excellent service options in case of baggage claims, ticket refunding options and alternative flights in case of disruptions. The brand has worked to use its brand image in the field of innovation and creativity. This had led to the international success of the firm. The form has also recently started using a lot of selling strategies in the form of point awards, gift cards and discounts which in turn help the firm to increase the total number of customers. The firm is also reported to use the concepts of strategic change management through the implementation and usage of disruptive business models and smart devices. These devices and models are used to introduce both organisational and technological changes with the help of collection, evaluation and analysis of data of the industry based on the preferences and needs of the customers.

The customer cohort for Virgin Atlantic includes customers from all levels and the firm is well known  for attracting customers who want to experience something new and are accustomed with innovations. Moreover, as the flight covers a lot of destinations, the firm is able to attract a wide target market and with the help of the innovative supply chain and disruptive business models, the firm is able to remain in competition and be ahead of other firms.

The products and services provided by the firm include general cargo services which are famous for the amount of reliability associated with them. The other products of the firm include premium service which are accessibility on a priority basis. Moreover, for timely services, the firm has faster services in the form of express service options. Moreover the firm is increasingly trying to diversify the resources and the services into other industries as well.

References:

Blackman, A., Naranjo, M.A., Robalino, J., Alpízar, F. and Rivera, J., 2014. Does tourism eco-certification pay? Costa Rica’s blue flag program. World Development, 58, pp.41-52.

Costarica-information.com. (2018). Tourism Statistics — costarica-information.com. [online] Available at: https://costarica-information.com/about-costa-rica/economy/economic-sectors-industries/tourism/tourism-statistics [Accessed 13 Nov. 2018].

Hunt, C.A., Durham, W.H., Driscoll, L. and Honey, M., 2015. Can ecotourism deliver real economic, social, and environmental benefits? A study of the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 23(3), pp.339-357.

Ipfs.io. (2018). Tourism in Costa Rica. [online] Available at: https://ipfs.io/ipfs/QmXoypizjW3WknFiJnKLwHCnL72vedxjQkDDP1mXWo6uco/wiki/Tourism_in_Costa_Rica.html [Accessed 13 Nov. 2018].

Jiménez, A., Monroe, M.C., Zamora, N. and Benayas, J., 2017. Trends in environmental education for biodiversity conservation in Costa Rica. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 19(1), pp.221-238.

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

Ruby: a blog by Virgin Atlantic. (2018). Our Style Archives | Ruby: a blog by Virgin Atlantic. [online] Available at: https://blog.virginatlantic.com/category/our-style/ [Accessed 14 Nov. 2018].

Ruby: a blog by Virgin Atlantic. (2018). Ruby: a blog by Virgin Atlantic. [online] Available at: https://blog.virginatlantic.com/ [Accessed 14 Nov. 2018].

ttc.org. (2018). [online] Available at: https://www.wttc.org/-/media/files/reports/economic-impact-research/countries-2017/costarica2017.pdf [Accessed 13 Nov. 2018].

U.S. (2018). Colombia's island fishermen dive into battle to protect coral reefs. [online] Available at: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-colombia-environment-climatechange/colombias-island-fishermen-dive-into-battle-to-protect-coral-reefs-idUSKCN1NH142 [Accessed 13 Nov. 2018].

Vanegas Sr, M., Gartner, W. and Senauer, B., 2015. Tourism and poverty reduction: An economic sector analysis for Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Tourism economics, 21(1), pp.159-182.

Virgin. (2018). Virgin Atlantic. [online] Available at: https://www.virgin.com/company/virgin-atlantic [Accessed 14 Nov. 2018].

Virginatlantic.com. (2018). system-unavailable. [online] Available at: https://www.virginatlantic.com/in/en/footer/our-story.html [Accessed 13 Nov. 2018].

Virginatlantic.com. (2018). system-unavailable. [online] Available at: https://www.virginatlantic.com/content/vaa/global/en/footer/our-story.html [Accessed 14 Nov. 2018].

Virginatlantic.com. (2018). system-unavailable. [online] Available at: https://www.virginatlantic.com/in/en/media-centre/annual-reports.html [Accessed 14 Nov. 2018].

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