One thing that many people in the travel industry may not realise is the important and vital relationship between transport and tourism. Without transport, the tourism sector would not be able to exist. Therefore, transport is a fundamental part of the tourism industry.
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As seen in the dictionary, the definition of transport is to “take or carry (people or goods) from one place to another by means of a vehicle, aircraft, or ship.” Also found in the dictionary is the definition of tourism which is “the commercial organization and operation of vacations and visits to places of interest.”
Transport is a hugely complex activity, impacting on every one of us in our daily lives. In a sense, we are all transport stakeholders. Whether that means traveling to your job every day or flying to your vacation spot, transportation is essential to each of us in many different ways.
To put it simply, transport is tourism. The two go hand in hand and rely on each other.
The key task for the tourism sector is to comprehend and present the vital importance of adequate transport links to destinations – recognising the appropriate modes of travel for the different types of journeys – and to advocate a proper understanding of those links and the value that they have to local economies among the transport policy and planning community.
A better understanding of the tourism sector must be built with those public bodies (government, local authorities and relevant agencies) responsible for transport policy and planning, and for maintaining and developing transport infrastructure.
Likewise, the tourism sector must understand how the transport sector operates in England and to what extent it is able to influence decisions and planning.
Compared to some of our European competitors such as Switzerland, England has a lack of transport integration and this is compounded by deregulated service provision in areas outside London.
This is an area where destination organisations can take a lead by ensuring transport is integrated into destination management planning. More can also be done to ensure that individual attractions and organisations that operate a number of sites develop travel plans and provide options to reach them by public transport.
Tourism helps support transport services and infrastructure across the country. Without tourism many areas of England would be likely to lose many of the public transport services that are currently provided and benefit residents as well as visitors.
Benefits particularly apply to remote communities with low population thresholds and in rural areas throughout the country. However, even in popular destinations such as seaside resorts or in the densely populated South East, the transport infrastructure that serves visitors provides benefits to local residents as well.
Something that is often overlooked when looking at the two sectors is that not only are they interrelated but the transport experience can also be an important component of the holiday itself.
This will be increasingly important if seeking to extend the use of public transport for leisure use but a holiday experience might also encompass activities such as following a cycling route, visiting a motorway services or enjoying a scenic route by car or coach to a destination.
All in all, it is important to understand the relationship between the two sectors and the benefits that tourism brings to the economy. One cannot be successful without the other!