Mass tourism has experienced multiple increases since the Second World War, post Fordism. According to the latest figures from the United Nations World Tourism Organization World Tourism Barometer, a total of 298 million international tourists travelled worldwide between January and April 2013, 12 million more than in the same period last year.
Mass tourism is defined as a large number of people enjoying tourism in the same destination, enjoying holidays that are standardized, inflexible to an extent and packaged or bundled. (insert author). The two theories that are often associated with mass tourism are “McDisneyfication” and “McDonaldization” which offered holidays that are efficient, controlled and obviously highly predictable.
This essay will look at how mass tourism affects reasons for travelers to travel especially in large numbers at the same time and the parties that tend to gain economically when this take effect. In comparison, when travelers do not travel in groups, the significance this brings to the economy will also be discussed. Through the journey of travel, there will be impact to the customs and culture of the countries that are being visited and this paper will also look into these aspects as well.
In conclusion, the final argument of this essay is that mass tourism is not here to stay as travelers are presented with greater flexibility, customizations and options.
Discussion As defined earlier, mass tourism happens when large number of people enjoy tourism in the same destination, enjoy holidays that are standardized, inflexible to an extent and packaged or bundled. Destinations are defined as places that travelers can visit, for example, in Singapore, travelers can visit Sentosa. Sentosa offers accommodation as well as attractions such as Universal Studios. On a small scale, these destinations can be defined as shopping malls, eateries and entertainment avenues and on a large scale; the entire country can be classified as the destination.
Mass tourism is a considered a form of "Fordism". Fordism is a system pioneered by Henry Ford that involved the introduction of the moving assembly lines, linking methods of mass production to the cultivation of mass market for the goods produced. In Ford's case, particularly his famous Model T Ford car. In essence, Fordism involved breaking the tasks into smaller ones so that high productivity can be achieved through standardization. Henry Ford's techniques of mass production led to mass consumption. This was based on standardization of product i.e. all products are the same, standardization of production process by using machines, standardization of work in a team where one employee completes one specific task and the product moves in an assembly line and not the product.
This was then applied to tourism, when it came to packaged tours (pioneered by Thomas Cook in 1841), in the production line, the tour operators combined different standard products such as hotel accommodation, transportation and attractions to make a package. This allows the operators to minimize the cost per unit through a high level of production, where packaged tours, produced in large quantities, permits the operators to offer very competitive prices to the traveler and in turn produce the tourism product in mass numbers.
However, the operators were only able to enjoy continued success of these package tours to a large group if the travelers can accept the lack of choices, basic transportation and mediocre room accommodation. This is true until at least a decade ago when low cost or budget airlines came into the picture.
The concept of McDonaldization and McDisneyfication by Relph is a major criticism of tourism and contemporary cultural processes. The former dwells on the concept of consistency and according to the statement, travelers like this concept. Comparing it to a burger where the taste, size, presentation and look and feel are exactly the same, no matter which country the McDonald's burger was purchased from. The latter involved a large number of people (think mass tourism) who like a similar and consistent package, similar especially in terms of product consistency i.e. Mickey Mouse in Tokyo or Hong Kong or Europe is of the same size, height, look, physical build and behaviour. Due to the similarity in dimension, service is assumed to be directly consistently, therefore, customers like to visit destinations that look and feel the same like Disneyland.
At first glance, the appeal of unique attractions should be anything but homogenizing but the discourse of packed, newly post-industrial cities that seem to mirror the same images and amenities are found to be no longer appealing.
The advantages of taking a packaged holiday are clear if one looked at the issue of convenience. Some travelers simply do not have the time to explore different budget airlines' websites to get the best airfare deals or scour the different guides books to look for places to visit. Generally what is paid in the total price of the packaged holiday meant that the traveler needed only to bring spending money and not worry about paying unnecessary "extras" when they embarked on their holiday. Tour operators also have to ensure they deliver what is promised so that travelers can then travel worry-free.
In reality, packaged holidays are inflexible to a certain extent especially when it comes to the choice of dates. Travelers have to follow the designated date arranged by the tour operators and generally no deviation is allowed. This is because, the flights have been chartered from the airlines to maximize occupancy. Prices are also rigid and the choices of hotel are limited or none at all. the tour operators would already have planned the travel itinerary day by day therefore the traveler have no choice to follow them as they were.
Motivation is only one of the many reasons why people travel and behave they do but it is considered a very critical one. It sets the stage for one's goals and is reflected in both the choice of travel and behaviour. Basic motivation theory suggests the satisfaction of basic needs, wants and goals. For tourism, it has been argued that the needs namely psychological, satisfied by leisure activities and proposed leisure activities such as relaxation and belongingness are merely culturally learned.
The discussion has therefore traditionally revolved around either push or pull factors influencing tourist behaviour. Push factors represent internally generated motives for a traveler who will then search objects for the promise of drive reduction and develop a motive. Pull factors include those of marketing stimuli as well as the destination's and service's attributes responding to and reinforcing the push factors. As a result it became evident that people's intrinsic needs are influenced by external factors. If a drive is reduced satisfactorily, the individual is likely to remember the behaviour and employ the same behaviour again and those eventually become habits. Tourism experiences may therefore become learned behaviour and acquire the role of habit enforcers. It may be concluded that motives merely represent learned behaviour, which are influenced by offered objects or tourism activities, while motivations represent knowledge and beliefs formed by society and culture or tourism marketers.
The following are some examples of why people travel - to meet local people and enjoy the host country by observing how other culture works, this is particularly true for Asian visitors notably Koreans and Chinese who are less exposed to international culture. Another example is the enhance family life where travel and holiday are seen as time to integrate and solidify the functioning of a family.