Effects of Tourism on Portsmouth’s Economy
Tourism is one of the major sectors that contribute towards Portsmouth’s economy. It is linked to the travel industry, retail and service industries. Through its economic activities, Portsmouth serves close to a third of the country’s population including parts of Eastern Canada. It is estimated that an average of 638,000 trips were made in Portsmouth in 2008. The domestic visitors make the bulk of these trips, a sign that the country is committed towards improving its economic situation through tourism. The trend in tourism activities has been increasing steadily and this trend is expected to remain even in the future. Tourist expenditure has also been increasing as a result of the diversity in the tourism products and services offered. There was a 4.1% increase between 2006 and 2008 (Tourism South East Research Unit 2008). The city is rich in historical attractions, the sea and other natural sceneries that make tourism an important industry. It is approximated the 470 dollars are obtained from tourism annually. Employment opportunities are plenty in this region; approximately 17,200 people are engaged in tourist related activities. Portsmouth has the potential of growing its economy tremendously through tourism. This paper will discuss on the economic impacts of tourism in Portsmouth.
The economic Benefits
Tourism consists of an important part of the local economies since it is interlinked with the rest of the sectors available. For instance, the business of accommodation, destinations made for visitor attraction, the retail business, the food and entertainment industry as well as tea rooms are all a plethora of businesses that are influenced by the tourist activities. In 2008, the actual amount that was spent by the tourists was 375,569,000 dollars. This was exclusive of 11.82 million dollars that was spent on other activities related to the trips. These include the fees paid in the tourist destinations, the cost of food and drinks and accommodation. This is an indication that the economic benefits obtained from tourism in this city are both direct and indirect. Once visitors make a trip into the city, they are bound to affect the business activities around the destination as in the case of Portsmouth (Tourism South East Research Unit, 2008).
According to Tourism South East Research Unit (2008), some tourists opt to save on cost by seeking for accommodation from their relatives. This however, increases the expenses made by these families forcing the local supplies business to increase their supplies to meet the increased demand. The local service providers also experienced increased business since the population levels go up during the tourist activities. Expenditure also includes the employees who work in the tourist destinations. When the tourism levels go up, the tourist destinations are forced to increase their staff numbers to meet the increased demand. This consequently increases the population levels in the region. In addition to increasing the population levels, employment in itself is a form of economic development. Increase in population levels leads to the need for health care professionals in hospitals, retailers, catering and travel institution attendants. Some of these jobs may be temporal depending on the demand, but they always make a difference in the city’s economy.
According Boniface (2001), transport and infrastructure benefit a lot from tourism. The continental ferry port in Portland has been improved continuously to serve the growing demand in travel. The convenience provi9ded by this ferry has helped in maintaining the high numbers of traveller. While tourists are moving across destinations like France, Spain and the adjacent islands, they prefer using the ferry services. This ferry business has provided a lot of revenue to Portsmouth and if the current trend is maintained, there is a likelihood that this revenue will increase. Demand for these services by tourists has made the ferry services popular; it is an advantage to Portsmouth because business will continue thriving (PUSH, 2011). The growth is the transportation business is also attracting other influential partners to try out the destination. For example, MS Europa visited the continental ferry port in Portsmouth in 2007. This is a privilege for the region to host a 5 star cruise ship. It implies that the growth that has been experienced in the past is likely to attract more business opportunities. Partnering with prestigious corporations is a promise for multiplication in revenue generation (City Growth, 2007).
Another major economic achievement is the construction of the Hind head tunnel that was completed in 2011. This has reduced the duration taken to reach Portsmouth from London by more than half an hour, a promise that business activities in Portsmouth will be well linked to the country’s capital. The use of buses and taxis by tourists has also become very popular and this has encouraged the locals to invest in this business. An approximate of 12 million passengers is carried within Portsmouth every year. An average of 7.6 million passengers is served by the Stage Coach buses. This has also promoted the taxi business, for instance, Aqua cars, a Portsmouth based taxi business was recognized as the 4th largest taxi business in the country. It has about 700 cars operating in Portsmouth. The demand for travel is as a result of the increased tourist activities in the region (City Growth, 2007). IT infrastructure has also grown due to the increased business activities in the region. A lot of companies have expressed their interest in establishing centers in which the businesses can be provided with internet services. The region has attracted one of the best internet providers, Newnet, to make the internet experience good to the end users. These services are consequently extended to the tourists who are the main consumers of the services offered (PUSH, 2011).
Moody (2010), argues that, with tourism, leisure and entertainment make the bulk of the businesses opportunities. This has encouraged many entrepreneurs to invest and try their hand in leisure and entertainment. These investors have the option to join business franchises like Marriot or simply start their own brands. When a region offers business opportunities to the locals and other interested parties, this is a sign that the economy growing. There is also the advantage of long term changes since this industry is expanding with the increasing number of tourists and demand. The region also has the advantage of its proximity to the sea. This has attracted the diving businesses to offer the tourists with leisure and entertainment. These centers, for instance, Sunsail and Watersports have established training facilities that will provide the locals with an opportunity to learn about this business. Once they are harmed with this knowledge they can seek for business opportunities or establish their own diving centers. The locals benefit a lot from the tourist activities has the chance to improve their living standards by working with the tourists. They are able to learn and give back to the society in which they belong (PUSH, 2011). Portsmouth also participates in sport tourism and its popularity has attracted many tourists (Standeven & DeKnop, 1999).
The nature of the entrepreneurial activities of tourism makes economic growth viable to a wide range of individuals. This is because majority of the business are operated on a small scale basis. It is not only the business activity, but also the process that follow it. This makes the range of opportunities wide. For instance, a business activity requires creators and founders before it can be adopted and managed by the owners. Therefore, consultation services are also part of the business opportunities provided by tourism. This form of growth that is led by tourism encourages innovation which is a key theme in growing regionals economies. Portsmouth has benefited from tourism led growth as evident in the thriving business activities (Apostolakis & Clark, 2011).
Tourism provides business and employment opportunities to the locals as well as foreign investors. It also generates revenue which is used to develop a region for it to attract even more business. Portsmouth economy is dependent on tourism since it is the main economic activity in the city. There are direct benefits from the revenue generated from the fees paid by the tourists as well as indirect benefits such as travel and leisure. As the tourist numbers and activities increase, demand for services also increases. Therefore, this increases a regions business potential, businesses thrive, infrastructure is improved and the economy grows. The unemployment rate is also reduced, and the locals can improve their living standards by investing in this industry. Investing in tourism development is a major step towards economic growth.
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