Throughout this assignment, I will partly describe how the travel & tourism industry has developed into one of the largest businesses in the world. There will be information on package holidays and the evolution of them, the types of travel agents in existence (i.e. multiples, miniples, independents), and the difference between leisure and business travel agents.
Next, I will include a PowerPoint Presentation of how air travel has advanced, taken the most important changes into consideration. This will basically be from the introduction of the first turbo-jet propelled aircraft (the Comet 1), stretching right through to the present day with the two duopolies of the aviation industry (Boeing and Airbus), and a thorough assessment of them.
To finish with, a shorter piece on how other forms of transport (like rail and sea) have changed in the last 50 or so years will be put into my work, with a precise account of each. Images will also be included in great demand.
A package holiday is a convenient, money-saving option that enables customers to book their vacation without the need of separate suppliers (like transport and accommodation vendors), and is in turn, more hassle-free, both for the consumer and the tour operator (the company who organise the holiday and recommends it to a travel agent who will decide to sell it depending on whether they think it will be profitable or not).
Package holidays generally consist of transport and accommodation included, though other services may be provided like a rental car (e.g. from Hertz or Avis), or discounts on certain ‘adventurous’ activities (like skiing, ab-sailing or even sky-diving).
An example would be Thomson Holidays (a major tour operator in the U.K.), striking a deal with an overseas hotel resort and combining it with one of their outbound flights to create a holiday (say in the Alps), which would then be partly sold on to a travel agent (like Going Places) to sell and make profitable for both companies.
History of Package Holidays
The term ‘package holiday’ dates back to the mid 19th Century, when in the July of 1841, Thomas Cook first organised tours by chartering a train to take a group of temperance campaigners (people who wanted a stop to alcohol) from Leicester to Loughborough (a twenty mile trip) to watch a rally. Years later, after Thomas Cook became well-established, did they notice a decline of visits to British seaside resorts (after WW2), which resulted in them creating foreign holidays to countries like Spain, Italy and France. Information films were shown throughout Britain in town halls to promote these at-the-time new breaks for the residents of the U.K. The company (not surprisingly called Thomas Cook), grew to becoming one of the largest and well-known tour operators in Western Europe, now part of the Thomson Holidays AG group, even after near bankruptcy, when a ‘consortium buy-out’ just managed to save the business in 1972.
By the late 1950s and 1960s, these cheap package holidays (combining flight, transport to resort and accommodation) offered the first chance for most people in the U.K. to have affordable travel abroad. One of the first charter airlines was Euravia, which began flights from Manchester in 1961 and Luton Airport in 1962. Even when tourism interest was popular to Crete and Sicily in 1970, package holidays went for a down-turn in a few years to come. In August, 1974, the industry weakened when the second-largest tour operator, Court Line, collapsed. Just fewer than 50,000 tourists were cut off overseas and another 100,000 faced the loss of a refund.
Recently a large amount of customers are looking away from package holidays and use budget airlines (like easyJet and Ryanair) and book their own accommodation. In the UK, the dip in package holiday interest led to the merging of the largest tour operators (like Thomson, Thomas Cook, My Travel and First choice), which made them the ‘big four’ in the market and today is the primary way of booking these types of holidays, which in turn is seeing an upward trend once again.
These are travel agents that typically have 50+ branches across the country. Most of them will possess their own airline, and use the fleet for their own package holidays. Booking is available both direct from a high street store, or for flexibility and reduce costs; customers can also use a secure and safe online booking procedure. Telephone booking is on a downward trend, as more people are beginning to use the internet. Holidays vary greatly, from city breaks to Budapest or Prague which usually start from around ï¿½49 per person for one day, to major package holiday cruises or connecting flights which near the ï¿½1000 region, and can soar to over ï¿½10,000, depending on duration of stay. These are generally transcontinental breaks, lasting up to 1 month. Examples would be ‘Going Places’ and ‘Virgin Travel’.
Smaller than multiples, miniple travel agents have between 5 and 50 branches in a smaller region, aiming in mainly creating day outings for schools, O.A.P.s or other groups of consumers, and serve to destinations like museums, theme parks or other sites of interest (like the Eden Project or Stone Henge). They do this with a large fleet of coaches, varying in size (from around 15 seaters to even 60 or 70). Miniples are very unlikely to own an airline, and international holidays will be only occasional using more capable, larger coaches. Coach hire is also common for the consumer’s own use (e.g. for football or rugby teams, or special occasions [like anniversaries or birthday parties]). Booking is done mostly by telephone, or visiting the branch and talking to the staff in person. Web sites for these agents are rare, although many are considering adopting the strategy. Example would be ‘Bath Travel’ and ‘Business Travel Connections’, each ultimately serving on area with a radius of no more than 50 miles.
The smallest travel agents of the trio, the independents, have around 5 branches in an even smaller area than the miniples, and are mostly privatized businesses. They will almost always serve on short, chartered routes, and never further than 20 miles from their ‘base’. A small handful of 30-40 seating coaches will be used for this reason, possibly no more than 15 in total. Booking is via telephone or visitation of the branch only, and never on the internet. Two examples are ‘Travelbag Ltd.’ and ‘Meon Valley Travel’, who make their profits by bookings mainly made from people over 50, looking for excursions for relaxation.
Leisure versus Business Travel Agents
The two only types of travel agents that have ever existed are leisure and business. Leisure travel agents are primarily found in shopping centres of towns and cities, and are there for customers to enjoy choosing their desired brochure holiday, and who are likely to need help/advice on components for their holiday.
Business travel agents (sometimes reffered to as business travel management companies), handle the travel accounts of businessman. Business travellers tend to make the majority of their bookings by telephone or e-mail, so business travel agencies are not so visible on the high street, and may often be located in the clients’ office.
Developments in the Rail Industry
Rail travel is sometimes seen as a popular alternative form of transport against sea or air travel, as frequent users may feel there is no need in paying more and sometimes the destination can be reached just as fast (frequent delays at airports and docks also back the idea). The U.K. rail transport was privatized in 1996 and experienced a major change and upgrading to enable it to compete with road and air travel across the country. This revamp also meant the U.K.’s rail infrastructure was comparable with other countries’ rail networks.
There are twenty-six train operating companies in the U.K., and most of these operate regional and local routes, like the Merseyrail and Island Line, but others create trunk routes (many people travelling between large centres) in major areas of the country, like Virgin Trains and First Scotrail. Additionally, visitor attractions are created by using private railway operations.
By providing regular and on-time services on routes which meet customers’ desires, train companies seek to win them over and have them impressed. They also try to include a range of added on conveniences at stations and aboard the train, with prices that intrigue the customers furthermore.
Some bullet-points to be considered:
* The so-called ‘Pendolino tilting trains’ have been introduced with Virgin. They are capable of travelling at 225Km/h (140mph), which the west coast line from London to Scotland benefits from the most. Bose sound systems with a variety of channels, laptop and mobile phone power points, shops selling a variety of goods (magazines, food, books ; toiletries), quiet zones and seats designed exclusively for disabled passengers make these Pendolino trains a true luxury in themselves.
* Lounges at some stations, coupled with sleeper trains on the London to Scotland line make First Scotrail the first choice and this route.
* Bicycles are carried free by Transpennine Express.
* Large baggage storage areas and an onboard T.V. are standard on Heathrow Express.
* People can now either take a trip by coach or use their cars to travel to France, after the opening of the Eurotunnel in the early 1990s. It would take only 150 minutes by using the similar Eurostar line to travel from London to either Paris or Brussels.
Overall, train companies have met their goal in providing a speedy substitute to other forms of the public getting around, and have met this target by supplying flexible fares, great service and a good punctuality rate. An increasing number of routes becoming available, together with arrangeable inclusive holidays, definitely make rail transport a winner in today’s society.
Developments in Sea Travel
Like the rail industry, sea travel is also experiencing a change for the better. International sea journeys which either departed from the U.K., or arrived in the country saw 25.8 million travellers in 2004. A further 3.6 million travellers went on domestic U.K. sea journeys (e.g. from the Isles of Shetland to the Outer Hebrides [Scotland]). From 1999 and leading up to 2004, budget airlines and the Eurotunnel could have been the cause to a slight downward trend in passenger volume using sea travel.
Speed, price and facilities are all aspects that sea travel companies use to compete against each with, and therefore, to gain credibility from foreseeable customers. Hydrofoils and other high-speed craft, though even before them the introduction of the hovercraft in 1962, improved time durations of journeys, and channel crossings were cut by up to 60% of the original route’s length, as were many other ferry lines.
Car ferries operated from and within the U.K. make up the bulk of the country’s sea routes, even when the world’s largest ferry is Irish Ferries’ Ulysses, boasting a staggering 12 decks, and weighing in at nearly 60,000 tonnes. 2,000 passengers and crew can be accommodated to fit on the vessel, which in turn will need almost three miles of parking space (to hold 1,350 cars or 240 trucks), making it truly a colossal of the seas. Catering facilities, business lounges, cabins and entertainment amenities are only a few of the features a modern day ferry incorporates, improving them substantially over the years, close to a cruise ship’s standard.
A popularity increase in cruising is also evident. Over 1 million residents from the U.K. choose cruising holidays as an alternative to flying. Increasing demand can only be coped with by building glorious ships from major companies all over the world (Norway’s Aker Yards in particular is a major supplier). Royal Caribbean International’s (a Norwegian-American company) MS Freedom of the Seas is the world’s largest, longest and tallest ocean liner (surpassing the previous champ, the QE2), and can carry over 4,300 passengers and 1,360 crew. The liner completed its maiden voyage on June 4th, 2006, and cost a staggering US$ 800,000,000 (or ï¿½520 million). A cruise to the Caribbean (departing Miami) costs from $1,000 to $10,000 per way per person when using the Freedom of the Seas.
Some inclusive holidays can also be considered as a cruise: entertainment, catering, accommodation and transport are provided by the ship. Excursions can be arranged from ports the cruise liners arrive at, though this will be charged at an extra cost, so pleasure for the customers doesn’t necessarily end at the docks! An ongoing argument still puts forward that the original, all-inclusive holiday is in fact cruising.
The Caribbean, Scandinavia and the Mediterranean are the U.K. tourists’ main areas for cruising. In addition, fly-cruises are advantageous for many; the time taken to take a cruise from a U.K. port can save passengers numerous days if they first fly to near the cruising area, (an example would be Miami for the Caribbean), and then use a coach or taxi to be transferred to the cruise ship.
Sometimes, customers may choose to travel by cruiseferry. This is a well-liked choice when using sea services, as this type of transport generally combines the luxuries of a cruise ship with the versatilities of a car ferry. The ships are often used by passengers for the cruise experience, and most will stay on the ship completely and possibly only debark at the destination port. Others use the ship as a means of transportation. The Baltic Sea and the North Sea of Northern Europe is mainly made use of by cruiseferry traffic. Nonetheless, the English Channel, the Irish Sea, the Mediterranean and the North Atlantic are used by these types of ships who travel across them.
The term ‘cruiseferry’ was rarely used up until the late 1980s, when people began to notice vessels that had large cabins and public spaces, added together with their car and passenger-carrying capabilities that the expression came into mainstream language. The ‘M.S. Colour Magic’ is today’s heaviest cruiseferry that weighs in at a total of 75,100 gross tonnes, operated by Colour Line of Norway.