Tag: Tourism trends

Tourism is one of the world’s largest industries. According to WTTC, tourism prior to the pandemic accounted for 1 in 4 of all new jobs created across the world, 10.3% of all jobs (333 million), and 10.3% of the global GDP (US $9.6 trillion). Taking the above statistics into consideration, we can conclude that the sector contributes significantly to the economies and employment, being one of the main economic engines for nations. But how is it exactly possible that tourism creates so many jobs?

This article explores all the different employment opportunities tourism provides, explains why they are so important for the industry, and presents some of the challenges in the current workforce stemming mostly from the COVID-19 pandemic:

restaurant workers like these speciality coffee makers contribute meaningfully to the tourism industry

What are the employment opportunities in tourism?

Tourism can provide diversified employment in many different sectors, as the travel industry comprises various activities and services that create an overall tourist experience. Industries within the tourism value chain include accommodation, transport, food and beverage services, entertainment, and many more. Just think of your recent vacation – you first hopped on a plane, booked a hotel, and during your stay, you ate in different restaurants, went to different shops, and maybe even participated in local events. All the above aspects are part of the tourism industry, because you got involved in them as a tourist. 

The employment opportunities in tourism can be divided into those created directly or indirectly. This is because the tourism value chain is exceptionally vast and creates further employment impacts, which are not necessarily limited to tourism. 

man commands river boat, connected to tourism industry

Direct employment in tourism

All jobs where employees are involved in the creation of a direct tourism output fall under the category of direct tourism employment. Examples include hotels, airlines, travel agencies, tour operators, museums, national parks, state parks, cruise lines… and the list goes on. What these industries have in common is their sole focus on tourism – they operate for tourists, and because of tourists.  

Accommodation and transport activities are the most vital and integral ones in the tourism industry. They provide a base from which people can start their travel journey. Within the accommodation sector, there are multiple different types of lodging, ranging from hotels, hostels, B&B’s, or guesthouses. These can be either individually or family-owned, but also belong to the multi-chain operators. Therefore, employment opportunities are endless, as each accommodation type requires both high-skilled and low-skilled workers – from managers, and finance operators, to the housekeeping and cooking team. 

flight attendant connected to tourism industry


Indirect employment in tourism

According to the UNWTO report, “one job in the core tourism industry creates about one and a half additional (indirect) jobs in the tourism-related economy”. Moreover, “there are three workers indirectly dependent on each person working in hotels, such as travel agency staff, guides, taxi and bus drivers, food and beverage suppliers, laundry workers, textile workers, gardeners, shop staff for souvenirs and others, as well as airport employees”. 

Tourism is an extraordinarily labor-intensive industry. Each direct tourism provider carries several different suppliers crucial for the efficient operation of that provider. Some of the examples of indirect employment opportunities that tourism supports are restaurant suppliers, marketing agencies, accounting services, manufacturers, or souvenir producers. They may not be exclusively linked to tourism, but they are essential for its success. Therefore, these types of jobs are also considered part of the tourism industry – just behind the scenes. And when they all add up together, there’s no wonder why tourism holds such a great power to generate employment!

supermarket supplier indirectly connected to tourism

The importance of tourism in providing employment opportunities 

Anyone can start working in tourism

In terms of employment opportunities, tourism is a great industry for anyone starting their career journey. There are many roles that do not require any specific qualifications and are relatively easy to get into – for example in hospitality. This is especially important for young people seeking a part-time job alongside school or university, migrant workers, women, minority groups, and many more. 

People are at the heart of the tourism industry

Given that tourism is such a vast and diverse industry, it can attract people from different backgrounds. Tourism relies on its exceptionally skilled workforce in order to provide high-quality services and experiences to visitors. Therefore, recruiting suitable staff should be at the heart of each tourism business. Tourists’ experiences are highly dependent on the service they are provided, so fostering relationships between human resources and the tourism industry is crucial.

local guide tourism employment

Connecting with local people during travels

Tourism is a tool for poverty alleviation

Tourism can also be a fantastic tool for poverty alleviation, which is especially important in underdeveloped countries. The industry has a great potential to generate direct income for the poor in the places they live. Many tourism businesses are owned by individuals and their families, which in turn enables deeper interactions between guests and host communities. These small-scale businesses often include guesthouses and restaurants as they often do not require much capital to invest into. Therefore, many communities can start making their living through tourism.

One of the greatest examples of how travel connects locals and visitors is ResiRest – a social enterprise that works as an impact connector between local families and travelers. This organization links local home-cooks to international visitors for a unique and authentic food experience. “Eating local” is a fantastic way not only to support local communities, but also allows for more enriching and memorable experiences during travels. And what better way to immerse in a different culture than by trying local food?  

Solimar is also involved in projects that facilitate revenue generation for the host communities – Artisan Development in Morocco is one of many examples. This project aimed to create direct linkages between local artisans and buyers, while decreasing the use of middlemen in sales of the crafts!

Current challenges in the tourism workforce

Although tourism is such a powerful industry for generating employment, it is currently facing significant challenges due to staff shortages. Resolving this issue is essential for tourism’s growth and bouncing back after the Covid-19 pandemic. Travel restrictions made a number of employees move into different industries – therefore, tourism must now compete with other sectors in order to attract new workers. Other contributing factors include the lack of migrant workers, whose number started shrinking dramatically in 2020. For example, when Brexit was introduced in the UK, many people decided to return to their home countries. This has resulted in the lack of a suitable workforce in many industries, not only tourism.

How can we ensure sustainability in the tourism workforce?

In order to attract new talent to the industry, tourism must implement various incentives and re-evaluate its human resources practices. This could be achieved by providing extensive training opportunities to enable people to work their way up in a company. Next, tourism must facilitate flexible and remote work opportunities. This should be executed not only for the employees’ convenience, but also as a way to overcome travel mobility restrictions. Utilizing digital technologies is a great step towards ensuring productive tourism operations as well.

Tourism truly is a one-of-a-kind industry, providing countless opportunities that can really make a positive impact on our society. If done the right way, tourism can be the most viable option for sustainable economic development. Therefore, considering a career journey in this industry leads to fantastic and rewarding opportunities.  

Interested in working with us? Learn more about our virtual internship opportunities here!

tourism planning trends

What is Tourism Planning? 

Tourism planning consists of creating strategies to develop tourism in a specific destination. Knowing and understanding current trends allows those in the industry to tailor their operations to meet demand. It is crucial for DMOs and tourism businesses to stay up-to-date.  

Origin and development of tourism planning

Tourism planning was born from the necessity of simultaneously balancing the economic goals of tourism and preserving the destination’s environment and local welfare. It arose in the second half of the 1990s, when mass tourism brought an unparalleled change in the travel environment. Consequently, the industry had to develop new standards to adapt to this change. 

The aim of tourism planning

The current objective of tourism planning is to control tourism’s unprecedented expansion to limit its negative social and environmental effects, while maximizing its benefits to locals. 

These goals can be reached by:   

  1. Analyzing the development of tourism in the destination
  2. Examining the state of affairs in a specific area and executing a competitive analysis
  3. Drafting tourism policies
  4. Defining a development strategy and actionable steps

Businesses looking for support through this process can reach out to Solimar International or check out this free toolkit. Solimar has a dedicated team of staff who employ a wide range of skills to promote economic growth, environmental preservation, and cultural heritage conservation. 

developing strategies and planning are key to improving destination tourism
Planning development strategies are necessary to improve tourism.

Why is Tourism Planning Important? 

Tourism planning should be part of destination development plans because it supports a destination’s long term success and incentivizes the collaboration of key stakeholders.

Tourism planning maximizes tourism benefits like: 

  • Promotion of local heritage and cross-cultural empathy
  • Optimization of tourism revenue
  • Natural environment and resource protection

Tourism planning also minimizes tourism drawbacks such as: 

  • Overtourism, and consequently anti-tourism feelings
  • Economic leakage
  • Disrespect for the local culture
  • Damage to the local environment

Tourism planning is also important because, by creating plans and strategies, destinations provide an example that other destinations can follow to improve tourism in their area. It ensures that the destination is consistent with changing market trends, constantly addressing tourist and resident needs as they arise. 

This was made clear in the Cayman Islands. The surge of cruise tourism caused a massive influx of tourists, which brought new challenges to the small islands. Consequently, the destination’s goal shifted from attracting tourists to sustainably managing them. The development of a National Tourism Management Plan was key to provide stakeholders with the tools they needed for sustainable tourism management. 

What are the Newest Tourism Trends?

In the planning process, it is fundamental to consider how new tourism trends influence the future of tourism planning and allow destination strategies to stay innovative.

1. Safety and Cleanness

The Covid-19 pandemic brought about significant change to tourism and tourists’ perception of travel. Tourists are now more concerned about safety and cleanliness. They have a preference for private home rental, contactless payments, and booking flexibility due to the constantly-evolving global health situation. They are also more willing to visit natural environments and less crowded destinations where they feel safer.

Tips for DMOs: Have safety and cleanliness standards, allow flexible bookings and contactless payments, and focus on open-air experiences. 

An excellent example of these practices is Thailand, which decided to boost tourism after Covid-19 by rebranding itself as a safe tourist destination, issuing safety certificates to infrastructures to build public trust. 

2. Social Media

Social media is the preferred channel for travel inspiration, influencing travelers’ decision-making because videos and pictures create an emotional bond between people and places. 

The preferred platform depends on the traveler’s generation:

  • Gen X uses Pinterest and aesthetically pleasing blogs
  • Millennials use Instagram
  • Gen Z uses TikTok

Generation Z is also more willing to travel after Covid, and they will have  high spending power in the next few years

Video content is favorable because of the high engagement and interaction it creates compared to pictures. In this context, TikTok is the future of travel marketing. On this fast-growing platform, videos are likely to become viral because of the app’s algorithm. For example, the travel campaign #TikTokTravel, where people were invited to share videos of their past trips, was viewed by 1.7 billion people

tourists use social media like Instagram to plan travel
A tourist searches for Instagrammable locations

Tips for DMOs: DMOs can use TikTok to promote attractions, restaurants, and tours partnering with influencers. Social media can attract new customers, monitor Instagrammable locations, and manage overcrowding by promoting lesser-known areas. This all helps shift tourists away from hot spots. 

Follow Solimar International’s success with social media promotion through their World Heritage Journeys of the European Union project. By providing research, media-rich itineraries, website promotion, and mobile maps, Solimar International can help your organization reach its target audience.

3. BLeisure Travel

Due to technology, the separation between work and life is blurred. This premise gives birth to the BLeisure travel, a genre of travel that combines business and leisure. Aside from those who travel for work, combining some leisure during their stay, there is an increasing number of digital nomads. These people are freelancers or smart workers who decide to adopt a traveling lifestyle. They will look for business hotels where they can easily obtain a fast Internet connection and a good working environment.

Some destinations are rebranding themselves, targeting those who work remotely. A good example is Aruba, which promotes itself as a paradise for workation.  

BLeisure tourists could work from their favorite destinations
How working as a BLeisure tourist could look

4. Destination Uniqueness

The tourism market is becoming increasingly competitive, especially for destinations with similar climates or natural features. To stand out, destinations need to focus on their distinctive assets. Places should identify a destination brand, which highlights their culture and the unique experiences they offer to tourists, instead of branding common and widely-available tourism practices.

An example of destination uniqueness as a trend of tourism planning is Uganda, which is widely known as a safari destination. The country rebranded itself by focusing on its one-of-a-kind cultures, landscapes, food, and traditions, labeling itself “The Pearl of Africa.” This is one aspect of Uganda’s tourism planning process. By identifying and promoting a destination brand, Uganda aims to develop an immersive tourism for meaningful and transformative experiences abroad. 

5. Transformative Travel 

Transformative travel is an expression of the experience economy combined with experiential travel. The latter is about living once-in-a-lifetime, off-the-beaten-track experiences rather than conventional ones, connecting visitors with local cultures. 

Transformative travel is defined by the Transformational Travel Council as:

 “intentionally traveling to stretch, learn and grow into new ways of being and engaging with the world.”

Therefore, transformative travel is an immersive experience that aims to inspire personal transformation, growth, and self-fulfillment. People travel to transform their own lives and the lives of those who live in the destination. 

Tips for DMOs: Destinations should focus on providing unique and authentic experiences that connect travelers with locals. This enables tourists to experience local culture, food, and lifestyles, lending way to authentic experiences that they are sure to remember.

6. Sustainability and Community Engagement

Travelers are becoming more conscious of their environmental impact, and they are more willing to adopt a sustainable travel style. This means not only doing less harm to the environment, but also making a positive impact on cultures and economies, generating mutually beneficial relationships between tourists and locals.

An excellent example of a country that stays ahead of trends in tourism planning is Jamaica. Instead of boosting sun and beach tourism development, Jamaica has recently focused on community-based tourism, providing several experiences that empower locals. 

By focusing on poverty reduction, gender empowerment, equality and employment, Jamaica utilizes tourism to achieve social justice goals. 

Similarly, Solimar contributed to an Artisan Development project in Morocco. By strengthening the connection between local artisans and tourists, Marrakech and Fez saw a significant increase in direct selling to consumers, which contributed to increased local welfare.

developing sustainable framework is ket to the tourism planning process
Giving tourism a sustainable framework is a necessity for tourism planning

7. Technology to Manage Overtourism

The rise of charter flights boosted mass tourism. This has pressurized cities, raising the debate on the limits of acceptable change and generating anti-tourism sentiments among residents. One example of this is in Sedona, Arizona, where we helped manage visitor flow by marketing and promoting the nearby towns and attractions in Arizona’s Verde Valley

Tips for DMOs: Destinations should exploit technological advances to develop crowd management techniques. Some DMOs used gamification to manage tourism flow, spreading visitors in less known or less crowded areas. This is popular in London, for example, with the Play London with Mr. Bean app, a program that allows tourists navigate to different parts of the city and find points of interest quickly. This gives the city the opportunity to redirect tourist flows to spread-out spots in London.

To learn more about the tourism planning process and future trends in the tourism industry, visit our Institute for Sustainable Destinations website today. 

By Greta Dallan & Hannah Lambert

Domestic Travel in a COVID travel world

COVID-19 Recovery: Trends in Tourism

The tourism industry has shifted as a result of the pandemic

The summer of 2020 gave everyone hope of a quick recovery for the tourism industry, as COVID-19 cases seemed to drop across the globe and countries dependent on tourism eagerly opened their borders to travelers again. As many experts predicted, cases began to rise in the fall and the world saw a new and more intense wave of the pandemic, and the most cautious of countries like Australia and New Zealand announced their borders would remain shut until at least 2022. Now, more than a year after the pandemic began, the best outcome seems to be a return to pre-pandemic levels of travel by 2023 at the earliest.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted both the fragility of the tourism industry and its global importance: once representing 1 in 10 jobs and the 2nd fastest growing industry in the world, its near overnight shutdown left many destinations reeling. The beginning of vaccine rollout has given the tourism industry new hope for Covid-19 recovery and a safe return to travel. Already a growing number of countries have started to ease restrictions on travel which is one of the first steps to rebuild tourism and welcome guests. Now the main topic that keeps popping up in every conversation is that the industry cannot go back to ‘normal’–it must become more sustainable and resilient than before.

As much as the whole world is trying to fight the pandemic, countries are developing their own strategies to ensure fast recovery and support the tourism industry. For instance, New Zealand has decided to close its borders completely from April 2020, without any further notice. Meanwhile, countries like Georgia have chosen to welcome tourists who are either fully vaccinated or can show a negative PCR test result at the border. Despite a huge difference in the steps taken to fight the pandemic and keep the tourism industry alive, a few trends seem to be on most countries’ agendas.

Domestic travel

Domestic Travel in a COVID travel world
Domestic Travel in a COVID travel world

Recovery might be slow and highly dependent on countries’ domestic tourism, thus many countries are actively reimagining their tourism sectors, supply chain management, and strategies. It is predicted that domestic tourism will return to its pre-crisis levels one or two years earlier than outbound travel. This is understandable as travel restrictions are significantly less for domestic travel, no Covid tests or vaccines are needed prior to travel, and people generally feel safer when being close to their homes. Countries tend to communicate with their own residents to discover homelands or neighboring countries and support local businesses.

Sustainability and Resilience 

Sustainability & Resilience in Tourism
Sustainability & Resilience in Tourism

The discussion about sustainable tourism has been active long before Covid-19. However, the current situation has put extra emphasis on the fact that the industry needs to change and take multiple aspects into consideration. Now more than ever, topics such as environmental protection, workforce development, community building, economic security and capacity building are on every country’s agenda. The need for a diverse tourism industry that is not only dependent on outside factors has become very clear. 

Read more about community based tourism in our article about the lessons from Timor-Leste.


Asset Inventory for Tourism
Asset Inventory for Tourism

In the world of social and physical distance where almost every aspect of human lives has moved online, the tourism industry has also actively shifted towards digitalization. The destinations are using social media platforms to communicate with potential customers, spread information and inspire them to choose particular holidays. Content creation has become one of the main tasks of tourism industry members.. Web platforms such as booking.com, airbnb.com, expedia.com, maps.google.com, etc. are nothing new to the planning phase for travelers. Using digital tools to conduct business and communicate with suppliers, contractors and generally plan the business side of the tourism industry has also been increased. The newest addition to the digitization process of the industry would be the digital products and services the travelers are receiving in this Covid era. Things like 3D virtual travel, digital guidebooks, online menus, travel planning apps are getting more popular and push the industry towards even bigger digital transformation.

Solimar International has built a website for Lewis and Clark National Trail, which is one of the great examples of how the industry can benefit from digital tools. The website includes content about almost 1,000 points of interest that was written and submitted by local experts who know the area best. 

For more information, check out the project insights about Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.

Emphasis on ‘safe’

Being safe is on every traveler’s agenda during the pandemic. There is no joy in traveling when the risk is as high as death and putting others at risk, so countries trying to open up for tourists put extra emphasis on being a safe travel destination. Countries do everything in their power to market themselves as Covid-free destinations, showcase the fact that all the guidelines are strictly followed, the staff is either fully vaccinated or tested regularly and that tourists will have a clean and disinfected environment all the time. In the hope of restoring traveler confidence, the destinations try to make safety their number one priority.

Undiscovered gems and less crowded areas

Another concept that keeps repeating in the messages that the destinations are sending out to the visitors is ‘less crowded’ or ‘undiscovered gem’. Today, people can feel uneasy being around too many people, and no one is happy about thinking of huge lines in front of the museums and packed cafes or restaurants. Therefore, destinations are actively promoting areas that are less crowded and still undiscovered, where travelers can keep their distance and still enjoy their holidays.  

Southern Tanzania is for instance one of the emerging destinations, welcoming tourists from all over the world. The majority of tourism to Tanzania is currently focused on the Northern and Eastern regions of the country. The Southern Circuit parks which are less visited at the moment, are home to incredible wildlife, including 10% of the world’s lion population and the most bird species found in the country. Visitors can enjoy fascinating scenery, authentic experiences with local communities, stunning beach and marine attractions along the Indian Ocean coastline.

For more, the UNWTO has published a Covid-19 Tourism Recovery Tracker that compiles all the relevant data in one place, giving governments and the private businesses the ability to track the recovery of tourism at global and regional level, alongside information on the top destinations for international tourism. It covers key tourism performance indicators by month, regions and subregions allowing for a real time comparison of the sector recovery across the world and industries. Follow the link to check out the tracker:



“We rely confidently on Solimar's deep technical experience and professionalism as tourism consultants. You always are exceeding our expectations.”
Leila Calnan, Senior Manager, Tourism Services Cardno Emerging Markets

Contact us

  • Address

    641 S Street NW, Third Floor
    Washington, DC 20001
  • Phone

    (202) 518-6192