The Value of the Tourist Experience

Just itching to get out and see the world, experience things you never have before, visit places you’ll likely never see again and learn new (and sometimes unusual) things about other cultures? Then now maybe the perfect time you became a tourist again.

But beyond being a mere form of entertainment, what else does “the tourist experience” offer? Why do 10 million people visit the Great Wall of China each year, why do 4 million people tour the Statue of Liberty annually, and why do half a million people trek their way through Redwood National Park?

The answers are as diverse as the places visited and the people spending their time, money, and energy on. But here are 5 key benefits of being a tourist that keep the travel industry alive and well year after year:

1. A Change of Pace and Scenery

Too many of us get ourselves into a rut. We go through much the same motions, day after day, week after week, all year long. Consider that no matter where you go as a tourist, someone is living there as “a local.” They may see every day what you’ve traveled hundreds of thousands of miles to see.

Breaking up the monotony of life, having a unique experience you’ve never had before, and finding plenty of memorable and photo-worthy moments, is part of what it’s all about.

2. Today, It’s Convenient and Affordable

Tourism is more “doable” to the average American today than it ever has been in the past. Anyone can quickly buy tour tickets at GoNYTours.com, for example, and be set up for a very affordable but very exciting and thorough New York City double decker bus tour.

In fact, you can plan and pay for nearly your entire trip (minus, perhaps, some restaurant and souvenir shop stops) from the comfort of your own computer chair. Additionally, if you can’t quite afford an international trip at the moment or are just a bit leery about leaving “the good ol’ USA,” there are endless worthwhile tourist opportunities right here at home.

3. Free From Usual Responsibilities

As a tourist, you are freer than at almost any other time during your life. While a certain over-your-shoulder or via-smartphone management of home matters is necessary, the fact is, you are largely freed up from your usual responsibilities. That alone can make tourism exhilarating. It also means you have more time to “take in all in,” contemplate the “meaning of life,” and mull over past treasured memories even as you are making new ones.

4. Family Time

Family vacation is a veritable American icon, a tradition so deeply ingrained in the national psyche that to remove it would be like ripping out our very heart and soul. OK, perhaps, there may be a bit of exaggeration there, but you catch my meaning. Time together with your same loved family but in a totally new environment is the ideal chance for family bonding time that leaves a lasting, positive impression.

5. Romantic Getaways

Finally, we mention one other prime reason for becoming a tourist: romance. There is no denying that tourism itself is “romantic” in a way, and thus, it’s no surprise that romantic partners love to spend time with the one they love as tourists exploring the sights, culture, cuisine, and historical landmarks of places they’ve never been before.

If honeymoon and anniversary getaways are any clue, it’s obvious that being a tourist is 100% compatible with being in love.

Sunshine Predicts Worst Year for Tourism Industry in a Quarter of a Century

Sunshine, a UK-based online travel agency, has predicted that, in the wake of political coup, terrorist attacks, and local referendum on transfers of power, Turkey will see its worse year for tourism in a quarter of a century this summer. This follows an already lower number of people interested in the country, before the attempted coup.

Normally, the end of July in any Turkish resort means overflowing bars, and beaches where you will struggle to find a seat. Crowds of foreign visitors visit to enjoy the food, beaches, and warmth. Unfortunately, due to the political turmoil that the country has been experiencing, the summer of 2016 was the worst in nearly a quarter of a century, and this year is set to be even worse.

According to UK-based online travel agency Sunshine, the political instability and terrorism attacks in Turkey have caused a switched towards destinations other than Turkey in an almost unprecedented way. Figures were released for 2016 before there was an attempted coup, and those showed that, compared to 2015, there was a 41% drop in the number of international arrivals. If this is indicative of an ongoing trend, which it is likely to be since the political situation in Turkey has only gotten worse, then this year is set to be the worst in 25 years.

In fact, it is expected that the height of the 2017 season will show just how bad it actually is. Preliminary figures state that there has been a 6% drop in tourism per month since July 2016. A representative from Sunshine says: “In July 2017, there was an expected 47% drop in the number of visitors, and a 53% drop in August. While this is already incredibly bad – a 50% on average drop in tourism translates into millions of dollars after all – the reality is that the figures, when (and if) they are released, will be even worse. After all, these were the figures we expected before there was an attempted coup on the 14th and 15th of July 2016, and the subsequent political crackdown.”

On July 21, 2016, Turkey declared a state of emergency, which lasted for three months. This means it coincided exactly with the end of the tourist season as well. Sunshine has joined forces with a number of other UK-based travel agencies to determine what the impact actually is. This revealed:

  • A 40% drop on average in capacity to the country from travel agencies.
  • A drop in revenue of £100 million between April and June 2016 alone.

The reason why Turkey’s tourism industry was suffering even before the attempted coup, was due to the terrorist attacks experienced during the early parts of 2016. What accepted figures for this period of time showed was that:

  • There was a drop of just over a third during June 2015 for British visitors to Turkey.
  • 12,000 UK tourists arrived in Turkey per day in 2015.
  • 8,000 UK tourists arrived in Turkey per day in the first half of 2016.

Indeed, even now the UK Foreign Office has warned that there continues to be a “potentially volatile” situation in Turkey. All visitors are asked to carry a copy of their e-visa and their passport with them at all times.

The Sunshine representative adds: “We continue to hope that there will be a greater demand for Turkey by British visitors as a result of the slump in Sterling. What this means is that the cost of Turkey is well below the cost of Spain. This could be the country’s saving grace, but it doesn’t look hopeful just yet.”