Tourism and the UK Economy and The Tourism Life Cycle Model

Tourism and the UK Economy and The Tourism Life Cycle Model

What is the contribution of tourism to the UK economy?

Tourism Life Cycle

The United Kingdom has long been popular with tourists because of its many landmarks, ancient buildings, cultural heritage and relative safety as a destination. It is now the sixth most popular destination in the world but the make-up of visitors who come from abroad is changing. A few years ago a large proportion of the UK’s visitors came from the United States, but in recent years these numbers have dropped. This is partly due to fears following the 11 September 2001 New York terrorist attacks, partly due to the costs of flying and partly because of the financial crisis.

In recent years tourists from Europe have been visiting in increasing numbers, particularly people from France and Germany. Now however a large number of tourists are from the Far East, especially from China, Korea and Japan. Tourism accounts for almost 10 per cent of the UK’s annual GNP and employs almost 2 million people.

Tourism Life Cycle Model

What is the tourism life cycle model?

Tourist researchers have proposed that a typical resort, both in the UK and abroad, goes through varying stages of a cycle: exploration, development, and stagnation:

Exploration: a resort is still relatively unknown. Small numbers of tourists come but there is a lack of availability of hotels, restaurants etc.

Development: word spreads about a resort. More people visit and more facilities become economically viable: larger hotels, more places to eat and better leisure activities.

Stagnation: the resort reaches its limit in terms of visitors. Most resorts only have a finite amount of beach space and hotel rooms, and once these hare reached the resort begins to stagnate.

After this, there are a number of further possibilities. Some resorts, like Brighton, reinvent themselves; they are large enough to have a large host population who ensure facilities are in use all year round. Other resorts begin to deteriorate: fewer people come, the facilities become tatty, and the town acquires a bad reputation that may be hard to shake off.