An ‘issue’ is a topic for discussion and debate – something which is viewed differently by different people. Its effects spread far and wide and, although many people have their viewpoints, there seem to be no simple solutions or remedies. Many issues come to prominence through specific events. The 9/11 al-Qaeda attack in 2001, for example, was one such event, or the London bombings of July 2005. It is important that you distinguish between such events and the underlying issue – terrorism. The factors affecting the travel and tourism industry may be political or they may be influenced by worldwide economic developments, or they may be climatic, or even tectonic, such as witnessed by the tsunami disaster in 2004, which claimed the lives of around 300,000 people. This disaster, along with climatic phenomena such as hurricanes will be discussed, together with the broader issue of global warming and how this will affect the industry now and in the future.

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Advances in the ICT industry are having a profound effect on all our lives and some of these issues will be investigated, particularly the emergence of e-tourism which is leading to changes in the structure of the travel and tourism industry.

For some organisations in the industry, globalisation appears to be the most profitable solution, and we study the growth of the global conglomerates which are starting to appear, from hotel chains to tour operators.

The increasing number of acts of terrorism, such and those in New York, Bali, Madrid, Egypt and London – and the constant fear in many other areas – are investigated. But it is not just what humanity will do to itself that is a threat to travel and tourism – it is also the spread of diseases, such as SARS and avian flu, and how this threat affects people’s attitudes to travel that we will cover in this unit. It is clear that international relations can have a positive or negative effect on travel and tourism. Wars have an immediate adverse effect, and may limit tourism in an area for decades – as has happened in the Middle East. Political stability can only help the flow of tourists – as shown by the growing numbers of travellers who have chosen to holiday in America or Australia over the last few decades. Many people in the world’s less developed countries (LDCs) are often dependent on tourism for their livelihoods, so anything that affects the industry can have dramatic effect on them. Areas of Africa and South America, as well the Far East will be examined in this unit. The Industry Focus is an interview with David Harris – a typical world traveller – who shares his opinions on many of the current issues in travel and tourism.

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