Jean-Paul Rodrigue (2013), New York:
Routledge, 416 pages.
International Tourism and Transport
Author: Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue
Since the 1970s where tourism became increasingly affordable for
developed economies, the
number of international tourists has more than doubled. The expansion
of international tourism has a large impact on the discipline of
transport geography. As of 2013, 1,087 million international tourist receipts
were accounted for, representing more than 10% of the global population.
Tourism dominantly takes place in
Europe and North America.
Traveling has always been an important feature of society. First the
explorers traveled the world to learn more about geographical regions,
potential markets and to exploit resources. As time moved on an as transportation
became more reliable, traveling became a mundane activity taking place
in an organized environment; tourism. In the modern world, traveling
is more centered around the annual holidays and can be fairly well predicted.
Tourism, as an economic activity, is characterized by a high level
of elasticity. As transport costs are significant for international
transportation, demand is strongly influenced by cost fluctuations.
Therefore, transport is the key element in the tourism industry.
The demand in international and even national transport infrastructures
implies a very large number of people who wants to move in an efficient,
fast and inexpensive manner. It requires heavy investments and complex
organization. Well organized terminals and intelligently planned schedules
are essential in promoting effective transportation facilities for tourists,
notably since the industry is growing at a fast rate.
Transport is the cause and the effect of the growth of tourism. To
start with, the improved facilities have stimulated tourism,
and the expansion of tourism has stimulated transport. Accessibility
is the main function behind the basics of tourism transport. In order
to access the areas that are mainly aimed, tourists will use any transportation
mode. However, air transport is the main mode for international
tourism, which normally entails travel over long distances.
of international air traffic are pegged with growth rates of international
Transport policies and decisions of governments can make a big difference
in the destinations available to tourists. One dimension concerns
the openness to tourism through travel
visa restrictions, which vary
substantially depending on the countries of origin of tourists.
Unsurprisingly, travellers from developed countries, particularly
Europe, are facing the least restrictions while travelers from
developing countries are facing a much more stringent array of
restrictions. Another dimension concerns the provision of
infrastructures. If the public sector does
not cope with the demand in terms of transport infrastructures, the
tourist industry might be impaired in its development. However, land transport
networks in various countries are designed to meet the needs of commercial
movements that tourism requires.
"Holiday spenders" usually
make enough contribution to the local economy that governments are more
than willing to invest in efficient road networks or airport facilities,
especially in locations that have limited economic opportunities other
than tourism. There are however significant differences in the amount
of spending per type of mode, namely between cruise and air transport
tourism. Cruise shipping tourism provides much less revenue, with $15
per passengers spent per port of call on average. A significant reason
is that cruise lines are capturing as much tourism expenses within
their ships as possible (food, beverages, entertainment, shopping).
The main transport modes used are:
3. Mass Tourism and Mass Transportation
Tourism transport can be divided in two categories:
- Car traveling is usually an independent mean of transport.
The driver decides where, when and how he is going to get to a destination.
It is usually cheaper since roads fees are not directly paid but
rather from taxes. It is the only transportation mode that does
not require transfers, in the sense that the whole journey, from
door to door can be achieve without even stopping. Car transport
is the dominant mode in world tourism (77% of all journeys), notably
because of advantages such as flexibility, price, and independence. Tourists will often rent cars to journey within their destinations,
which has triggered an active clustering of car rental companies
have emerged adjacent to main transport terminals (airports,
train stations) and touristic venues.
- Coach traveling uses the
same road network as cars. Coaches are well suited for local mass tourism
but can be perceived as a nuisance if in too large numbers since
they require a large amount of parking space. They can be used
for short duration local tours (hours) but also can be set for
multi-days journeys where the coach is the conveyance
- Rail travel was the dominant
form of mass public transport before the age of the automobile. Even if trains are very fast, the network is not too
flexible, pre-established routes have to be followed. The railway
network usually reflects more the commercial needs of the national
economy then the holiday tourist flow which can make it a second
choice as a traveling mode. The railway systems of several countries,
notably in Europe, have seen massive investments for long-distance
routes and high speed services. Due to the scenery or the
amenities provided, rail transportation can also be a touristic
destination in itself. Several short rail lines that no longer
had commercial potential have been converted for tourism.
- Air transport is by far the most effective transport
mode. Notably because of prices, only 12.5% of the tourist
travel by plane. but for international travel this share is
around 40%. Air transport has revolutionized the geographical
aspect of distances; the most remote areas can now be attained,
any journey around the world can be measured in terms of hours
of traveling. Businesspeople are among the biggest users of airline
facilities, but a low
cost air carriers have attracted a significant market segment.
- Cruises are mainly concentrated towards short sea journeys
of about a week. Cruising has become a significant tourist industry;
big cruisers are like floating resorts where guests can enjoy luxury
and entertainment while moving towards their multiple destinations.
The international market for cruising was about 18.3 million tourists
in 2010, which involves an annual growth rate above 7% since 1990. The
markets are the Caribbean and
the Mediterranean, which Alaska and Northern
Europe fjords also popular during the summer season. This industry
is characterized by a high level of market concentration with a
few companies, such as Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean
Cruises who account for about 70% of the market. The impacts of cruising
on the local economy are mitigated as the strategy of cruising companies
is to retain as much income as possible. This implies that tourists
spend most of their money in the cruise ship itself (gift shops,
entertainment, casinos, bars, etc.) or on island facilities owned
by cruise shipping companies.
When tourism was meanly for the elite, independent means of
travel prevailed. However, the emergence of mass tourism, and the
significant revenue it provides for local economies, required the
setting of mass transportation systems.
- Independent means of travel; controlled by individual
- Mass travel; where tourists travel in groups.