Recreational and educational travel exists since the beginning

Recreational and educational travel exists since the
beginning of the classical world. There is evidence of journeys emanating from
a luxury lifestyle and the search for amusement, experience and relaxation. In
the meantime, Tourism has transformed the global economy and is it has become
the core business and development of certain regions (Gyr, 2010).

According to UNWTO, ” tourism is
a social, cultural and economic phenomenon which entails the movement of people
to countries or places outside their usual environment for personal or
business/professional purposes”1.

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Tourism industry entails a vast variety of services that interconnect,
such as Accommodation, Food and Beverages, Recreation and Entertainment,
Transportation, and Travel Services (Westcott, 2012).

For the purpose of this dissertation, the focus shall be the
hospitality industry, which, putting simply, is the business of helping people
to feel welcome and relaxed and to enjoy themselves. Hospitality is the largest
segment of the industry since it offers services that may include
accommodation, transportation, food and beverage, recreation and leisure (Westcott,
2012).

The Tourism industry, over the past six decades, has gone
through such development which enabled it to be one of the biggest and
fastest-growing sectors. In 2016, the number of international tourist arrivals
reached a total of 1,235 million worldwide, an increase of 46 million over the
previous year. (UNWTO, 2017 (b)). While the
hospitality industry, specifically, has generated approximately between 400 and
500 billion U.S. dollars in revenue each year (BLS, s.d.).

Tourism is a key sector for economic development and job
creation throughout the world. In 2016, the sector directly contributed US$2.3
trillion and 109 million jobs worldwide. Subsequently, it has contributed to
GDP with 3.1% in 2016. This was faster than the global economy as a whole which
grew at 2.5%, meaning that for six consecutive years, the Tourism sector has
outperformed the global economy. On the indirect side, the sector contributed
US$7.6 trillion to the global economy and provided 292 million jobs in 2016.
This was equal to 10.2% of the world’s GDP, and approximately 1 in 10 of all
jobs. (WTTC, 2017 (a))

Furthermore, Tourism also outperformed several other major
global economic sectors in 2016 – 
financial and business services, manufacturing, public services, retail
and distribution, and transport sectors (WTTC, 2017 (a)).

On the other hand, domestic travel generated 72% of the
sector’s contribution to GDP, thus making a significantly larger contribution
than international travel, with foreign visitor spending at 28% (WTTC, 2017
(a)).

Europe, due to its cultural richness, its excellent
infrastructures, its international openness as well as its perceived safety, it
is the region with the strongest Tourism competitiveness performance. Despite the
declining security perceptions resulting from the recent terrorist attacks, the
impact on international arrivals was only short-term (WEF, 2017
(a)).
At country level, France, the United States, Spain and China continued in the top
for international arrivals in 2016. However, over the years, the fastest
growing destinations are expected to be China, India, Thailand, and Indonesia.
By 2027, China is expected to have overtaken the USA in terms of total Tourism GDP,
domestic Tourism spending and investment (WTTC, 2017 (a)).

Tourism is among the biggest job creating sectors through
the creation of enterprises. It has also a labor-intensive nature and a significant
multiplier effect on employment in other sectors. Yet, the sector has a
reputation of poor working conditions. The industry is characterized by low
wages and low levels of skill requirements, shift and night work, and
seasonality (ILO, s.d.).
It allows for quick entry into the workforce for youth, women and migrant
workers (ILO, 2010).
The industry has difficulties in attracting talent, mainly, due to the lack of
career attractiveness and prospective (WEF, 2017 (a)).

Some of the fastest growing Tourism destinations have a sustainability
issue. Tourism has opened a path to large numbers of international visitors which
may put a destination’s sustainability at risk. Pollution (air and noise, solid
waste and littering, sewage and aesthetic pollution), depletion of natural
resources (water, land and local resources) and physical impacts (alteration of
ecosystems, constructions and deforestation) are just a few of the
environmental consequences that the Tourism growth has caused (GDRC, s.d.).

In short, Tourism is the fifth largest polluting industry –
generates 5% of global CO2 emissions, with aviation contributing 40%, cars 32%
and accommodation 21% (UNEP & UNWTO, 2007). Although the
balance of the environmental impacts that Tourism tends more for the negative
side, there are also positive impacts such as preservation of animal species
(as attractions), establishment of protected areas, rehabilitation of sites and
infrastructures, cleaning programs to guarantee attractiveness, improved
sources of resources supply and modernization of environment (Mason, 2003).

1 https://statistics.unwto.org/sites/all/files/docpdf/glossaryterms.pdf