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Tourism and Language

Executive summary

This is a discursive paper that analyses the tourism industry from a global perspective. Tourism has been noted as one of the most proactive industries in the service sector of the global economy. Therefore, the paper looks at many factors that affect the tourism industry in the world. The paper begins by giving a global overview of the tourism industry. This is then followed by the main task, which is the placement and analysis of the industry. The analytical discussion is based on how different pillars of development are affected by the industry and how the tourism industry affects them. The impact of tourism on political, economic, and sociocultural development has been brought out in the discussion. The discussion ends by giving a standpoint of what is considered to bethe future look of the industry.


Tourism has been mentioned as one of the fastest-growing sub-sector of the services sector in many countries around the world. With global tourism increasing, many economies that have good tourist destinations are ripping a lot of both financial and non-financial benefits from the sector. In most economies, tourism is valued because it is one of the main sectors that enhances foreign exchange earnings. This is considered as the sole benefit of tourism. Many activities occur within the tourism industry. This makes it not just a business but also a stimulator of growth for other factors in the economies. Among the economic growth factors that are stimulated by tourism is the growth in language use and cultural practices in tourist destinations. Increased global movements and interactions due to globalization are impacting positively on the growth of the global tourism industry. An increasing number of people are learning new international languages to enable them to transact with other people in proxy places. This is a booster to the global tourism industry. The tourism and language industry is expected to continue growing and bringing considerable positive impacts to the development of economies across the globe.

This paper discusses the tourism and language industry from a global approach. The paper begins by giving an overview of the industry. This is followed by an explanation of the role that is being played by language in tourism. It proceeds to discuss the role that is played by the industry in bringing about development among world economies. The paper explores all aspects of development that accrue to the tourism and language industry. This entails the expansiveness of the industry, as well as its effects on social and political developments in the international scene. The paper also covers the challenges or inhibiting factors to the growth of the tourism and language industry.

Overview of the tourism and language industry

As noted earlier, the tourism industry is becoming one of the most significant industries in most economies around the world. This forms the basis of the observation that many governments are safeguarding their tourism sectors with a lot of zeal. Tourism is still associated with the acquisition and growth of wealth. This happens at the local or national levels, as well as globally. Well, this is not in any way far from the truth. In this case, apart from international exports, tourism earns many countries’ foreign currencies. Foreign currencies are crucial in the enhancement of the balance of payments for any state. This is the main direct economic benefit that is born out of the industry. There are many other indirect benefits that are derived from the tourism industry. This can be explained in terms of many other industries that are heavily dependent on tourism. These include the hotel and restaurant industry, as well as the transport industry. Apart from the economic benefits that are gotten out of tourism, it is also important to note that the industry has many other social and political benefits. Tourism has an impact on socio-cultural development. This happens in cases where culture is considered to be the main attracting factor for tourists (Swarbrooke, 97).

National and international politics are also highly influenced by tourism. In addition, global tourism has effects on the way politics of relations between states are conducted. This is better understood by looking at issues such as travel advisories issued to potential tourist destinations due to security issues. The broadness of tourism and its impact on the growth and development of economies can be best looked into through understanding the different forms of tourism. Tourism is conducted in different ways. These include cultural tourism, which centers on historical sites and events; sports tourism, which focuses on sporting events and experiences and business tourism, which centers on business matters. Business tourism involves business trips in order to attend business seminars or conferences either at the local, regional or even at the global level. Other forms of tourism are shopping tourism, event of gastronomic tourism, health tourism, rural tourism, mountain tourism, and seaside tourism (Swarbrooke, 100).

Tourism and multilingual competence across the globe

Language plays an elaborate role in the tourism industry. All the service providers in the industry should factor in this important aspect while enhancing their efficiency and effectiveness in service provision. Multilingualism competence is considered as one of the requirements for service providers within the industry. Service providers include information offices that deal with tourism, tour operators, and transportation companies. These service providers deal with tourists from different parts of the world whose languages may not be the same as the language used in the tourist destinations. Therefore, they are forced to promote the learning of international languages for them to be fully equipped to attend to the tourists.

The learning of these languages promotes interaction between the tourists and the local providers. In turn, this results in the exploitation of opportunities associated with the tourist industry. With multilingual competence, which is boosted by globalization, service providers in the tourism industry can maximize the benefits. In other words, tourism promotes multilingual learning in many destinations across the globe. Through the development of multilingual competence, tourism is greatly enhanced. The learning of international languages increases the rate at which people transact, thereby promoting global interaction. International language competencies promote other aspects of social, political, cultural, and obviously economic development. The study of foreign languages is now being institutionalized in many tourist destinations around the globe. Many people are enrolling in these institutions to gain what is referred to as “lingual advantage” (Duchêne and Piller, 3).

The language also plays a critical role in the marketing and advertisement of tourism. The more the tourism texts are provided in different languages, the more they are likely to be understood by many people—diversity in language learning within the industry bases on the level of usage and significance of the language. Languages like English, French, German, and Spanish have dominated the global scene for a long time. However, recent developments at the global scene have made other languages be of equally great significance in international transactions. The Chinese and Japanese languages are among the languages that have gained significance. These countries present many opportunities in trade and investments because of the influence of these countries in trade. Therefore, competence in these languages is of value to the tourism industry (Pille, 58).

Influence of tourism on other industries

There are many industries that have a close relationship or link with the tourism industry (Mak, Lumbers and Eves, 72). One such industry is the global food industry. Research in the tourism industry has been focusing on the measures of attracting tourists to different destinations. There is stiff competition in the tourism industry, just as there is competition in other industries. This competition is perhaps different, as it emanates from the international stage. Nations that are known to be attractive tourist destinations have been working on ensuring that they remain competitive by attracting many tourists or guests. Research has revealed that there are many factors that serve as attractions to tourists in different tourist destinations.

Among the noted factors of attraction for tourists is the nature of development in the food industry within the tourist destinations. This argument is derived from the notion that the nature of foodservice in the destination area can serve as a determinant factor in choosing a tourist destination by tourists. Approximately one-third of tourism expenditure goes to food and accommodation. This reiterates the essence of having a well-developed food industry in tourist destinations. The food industry has attained a high level of growth due to the number of customers that are gotten from the tourism industry. Food consumption, as applied to the tourism industry, has a great symbolic significance. Food tourism is considered an experience by tourists who value exploring different food cultures (Hall and Mitchell, 30).

The food industry is being forced to be innovative in developing new menus that are attractive to tourists. The choice and preference of food are also widened by virtue of creativity and innovation in the food industry. The tourism and food industry is also being influenced by developments that result from globalization. While different tourist destinations try to come up with unique ways of preparing and servicing meals, the pressure for a global food culture has been mounting on them. The heavy presence of international food chains like Macdonald’s in many parts of the world has led to the development of global food culture. As a macro impact of globalization, many people in the food industry are considering developing global cuisines as is done by the multinational food chains. This is killing the use of the food industry as one of the main tools of attracting tourists (Mak, Lumbers and Eves, 172). According to Chang, Kivela, and Mak, globalization is presenting negative effects on the food industry(p 1090).

Numerous benefits that could have been derived from the creativity in the food industry as a supportive industry to globalization are being suppressed by ideas like Macdonaldism. This advocate for the embrace of the easting culture of the multinational food stores. Thus, local food menus are put on the edge by these ideas. Nations need to strive to promote tourism through the food industry by protecting the traditional menus, which might serve as factors of attraction for tourists. Without this, the image and tradition of the local food industries remain exposed to threats of collapse. However, local delicacies have become resistant to forces of globalization and the spreading of foreign eating cultures to different destinations (Chang, Kivela, and Mak, 308).

With tourism being considered as a factor for wealth creation, many aspects can be added to tourism to make it have a great impact on other aspects of development. One way through which a lot of income can be raised from the tourism sector is the application of information and communication technology in tourism promotion. Tourism is considered a global industry because its customers and tourist attractions are spread across the world. This denotes the essence of efficient communication to enhance tourist activities and their role in wealth creation and development.

The development in information and communication technology is argued to boost tourism. This is mostly from a single perspective of development, which is the marketing and promotion of tourism. The administration, marketing, and promotion of tourist marketing destinations have greatly improved due to the application of information technology in tourism. The marketing of tourism destinations has been improved because it is easy to access details of tourist destinations using the internet and information communication technologies. This is stimulated by the fact that most tourist destinations are located in developing nations. These destinations are visited by people from the developed nations who have high access to the internet besides having access to information technology gadgets. This enables them to study and identify tourist destinations that fit them (Minghetti, 270).

However, access to information and communication is a limiting factor in most tourist destinations. This is especially among the destinations found in developing economies. The potential of utilizing ICT in tourism enhancement can be fully realized if ICT adoption in tourist destinations is enhanced. This is being done in many parts of the world. In the developed world, local tourism has been maximized because of the widespread presence and use of the internet in promoting local tourism. This is also being done in the developing world, though with very minimal progress.

ICT usage promotes international tourism. However, tourism destinations in developing countries are still constrained because of the low level of adoption and usage of the internet in promoting tourism (Minghetti and Buhalis, 268). As numerous digital technologies are availed the populations, the opportunities for destination marketing of tourism are enhanced. Many social media platforms are now available where tourism agencies can engage their potential customers or tourists. This is happening at a time when the role of the media in marketing has widened. Social media has even widened more the scope of tourism by opening up the channels through which people in distant places can exchange experiences, thence promoting tourism (Minghetti 269).

The economic benefits accruing to global tourism

The tourism industry fetches income for many individuals as well as industries across the world (Dwyer and Forsyth, 2). Many jobs and business opportunities in different sectors are crested out of the tourism industry. Many tourism firms have been developed from tourism. These include individual investments in offering services to the tourists. The services that are in the offing to tourists by the private investors include local transportation services, consultation, and facilitation of stay in tourist destinations. Other opportunities are presented in terms of the sales of wares by local populations to the tourists. This earns them income hence promoting local economies. Local populations are the main building blocks for national economies.

The local populations further become the building blocks for regional and global economies. As far as the economic benefits of tourism are concerned, there are many other examples. The tourism sector supports the transport sector. Most international plane companies benefit a lot from tourism by virtue of fetching the tourists to different destinations. Significant profits are made during tourist seasons in different parts of the world, like during the holidays. Holidaymakers travel to different destinations to spend holidays there. In addition, considerable profits are realized from sports tourism. The global sporting events carry a lot of aspects of tourism in them. Examples include the Olympic Games and the FIFA world cup. These are the two mega sporting events that take place internationally. These games involve millions of both direct and indirect participants. Massive transportation of people is a common activity in such events, thus denoting profit for transportation companies (Mak 142).

Companies that maximize on such events earn huge sums of money in terms of profits. The hotel industry is also another beneficiary form the tourism industry. The benefit to the hotel industry can be explained from two perspectives. The first one is that tourism encourages investment in the hotel and accommodation industry as it is the main source of customers for the hotel industry. Investors pump their money into the hotel industry, knowing that they will get profits from the industry because of the flow of tourists. This happens out of prospects or perceived benefit from the tourism industry. Therefore, the hotel industry grows as a result of the performance of the tourism industry. The second perspective of the contribution of the tourism industry to the growth of the hotel industry is that the hotel industry complements the functioning of the tourism industry. In fact, these two industries are, in most cases, interlinked. The tourism industry cannot survive without the presence of a fully functioning hotel industry. The vice versa is true because tourists are motivated by the assurance that there are good hotels in tourist destinations (Mak, 142).

The economic benefits of tourism cannot be fully exploited without mentioning the aspect of employment and job creation. Tourism is a source of employment for many people across the world. The employment is both direct and indirect. This is a sigh of relief to most economies bearing in mind that unemployment is the major macro-economic force affecting most countries in the world today. There are those people who are directly employed in the tourist sector. These include people working with tourist agencies. A majority of people are indirectly employed in the sector. This includes people who have been employed in other sectors that are supported by the tourism sector. They include people working in the hotel and restaurant industry. However, many people argue that the tourism industry cannot be entirely depended upon for improving economic development as full employment cannot be achieved in the industry itself. The argument resonates with the fact that tourist activities take place on a seasonal basis. In other words, there are high seasons of performance in tourism, as well as low season performance during which operations in the industry fluctuates (Dwyer and Forsyth, 2).

The only way to benefit from the sector is through the maximization of the high season so that enough profits are gathered to push the players through the low season. Maximizing on the high season is also dependent on many other factors, including the preparedness of the players in the industry. Many limitations may come into play, hindering the players in the industry from reaching their set targets. These limitations are most visible in countries or destinations that have low levels of development. Examples are countries that are still struggling to fully adopt and take advantage of information and communication advancements in enhancing tourism. While tourism presents many opportunities for economic development, the industry is still limited by many other factors of development, such as lack of adequate machinery to enhance the industry. This is unfortunate, especially for countries that are still struggling with minor development issues (Petra, 4).

Tourism and political development

Tourism is undoubtedly a big industry with a presence in almost every region of the world. Tourism is most significant to economies that are tourism-dependent. As mentioned earlier in this paper, some economies depend on tourism because it is the highest fetcher of foreign exchange. Such economies guard tourism with all the enthusiasm knowing that any ongoing political events are likely to have a huge impact on the industry. In most cases, political developments present an equal measure of consequences to the industry. When there are negative developments in a given destination, such as political conflicts, insecurity is most likely to occur. In such cases, other nations will often assess the developments and offer advice to their citizens concerning the decision to visit such countries. In most cases, the citizens are advised not to travel to such places in what is referred to as travel advisories (Tisdell, 3).

Travel advisories result in strenuous periods in the industry, especially in times when travel bans to certain destinations are implemented by countries that are considered to be the main sources of tourists. The affected states are thus forced to respond to the political situation with urgency so that they can salvage the tourism industry and the economy at large. Once peace is restored, countries are forced to communicate with other states to lift travel bans thence acting as a sigh of relief to the tourism industry. From this, it is evident that tourism has a lot of influence on the political landscape of many countries. At the same time, the political landscape of countries impacts the performance of countries. This means that tourism is more than just an affair of a single state, but also a factor that determines international relations between different states across the world. Nations strive to establish relations between themselves and other states because these relations are important in promoting tourism between these states (Mak, 142).

Tourism will continue to be a cross-border affair except for cases of local tourism, which happens within states. Even internal tourism itself needs a peaceful environment for it to thrive. Therefore, a good relationship between states is sometimes a consequence of tourism. Nations are forced to coexist because of the mutuality in economic benefit arising from tourism. This is a most likely trend, especially for states that are in high need of foreign currency because of the deficit in income from international trade. Countries that are highly reliant on tourism are forced to abide by the wishes of the countries that are not reliant on international trade. Tourism affects the position of such countries and their influence in international relations because they are dependent. Therefore, they have to be receptive rather than being reactive when relating to other states (Sharpley and Telfer, 35).

Future prospects for the industry

Tourism is one of the oldest industries in the world that has been gaining prominence with time. Different aspects or forms of tourism continue to emerge. A good example is the development of mega sporting and other events on the global scene. Such events encourage tourism in a big way. With the realization of many profits, governments and individuals have continues to invest in the industry through the creation of more attractive factors for tourism. More investments and income from the investments in the industry causes people to have high expectations from the industry. Governments are thus investing billions of dollars in their tourism sectors because of the fact that tourism presents significant opportunities than just the direct outcome of the industry. States are also making efforts to promote their profile so as to be eligible for hosting major events that promote tourism. Lots of opportunities are read by countries making tourism one of the most attractive areas of investment by the mere mention of tourism (Godfrey and Clarke, 43).


Tourism is one of the most active sectors in the larger services sector, as brought out in the discussion. Tourism and language cannot be easily set apart as the development of tourism entail the development of communication with the tourists. As tourism develops, multilingualism also develops to facilitate tourist operations. Tourism presents opportunities for development in all pillars of development, including economic, political, social, and cultural. When assessing the impacts and factors that are facing tourism, many analysts seem to concentrate on the economic impacts and factors. However, from this paper, it is evident that tourism is highly globalized and thus is impacted upon by many factors.

Works Cited

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Chang, Richard, Kivela Jakša, and Mak Athena. ‘Food preferences of Chinese tourists.’ Annals of Tourism Research, 37.4(2010): 989–1011. Print.

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Tisdell, Clement A. Tourism and Development: Economic, Social, Political and Environmental Issues. Commack, NY: Nova Science Publ, 1998. Print.

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