The role of multinational companies (tnc), airline companies and globalisation on the tourism industry, globally

There are many aspects of tourism and globalisation; some are good some aren’t so good. Tourists to the developing world behave badly. They disrespect their hosts by failing to observe dress codes and other cultural norms. Moreover tourism spreads dominant Western values at the expense of proud and ancient cultures. The trade is fixed by multinational companies from the richest countries that cream off the lion’s share of the profits, leaving little for local people, bar menial jobs. The plaintiffs include charities and human rights groups, communities affected by tourism and academics.

Experts have pointed to the saturation of domestic markets and the opening up of markets like India and China as the two major causes of globalisation. Thanks to new communications technology, citizens of developing countries have seen and sought the industrialized world’s standard of living. This creates a dream and an aim to work for.

The global aviation industry, which was just coming out of recession, was hit hard last year on September 11th 2001 by the attack on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon in the United States.

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This was an unexpected attack, however it still seriously affected major companies and even sent the world into a minor recession. This terrorist attack may not fit in with any expert’s model of aviation or tourism but it still changed the face of businesses all over the world and was, in fact, very real. Experts knew a slow down was to be expected, both in global aviation and tourism sectors, as large-scale cancellations of air and hotel bookings were reported hours after the crashes.

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E.g. ‘Brookland’s Princess Hotel’ in New York, which has over a thousand rooms, reported immediate cancellations from Central Asia of 95 per cent, 83 per cent British cancelled their stay, the few left were highly important business men and women doing company jobs.

The September 11 terror attacks in the United States and subsequent events have had a profound impact on worldwide air traffic, with destructive consequences on individual airlines, to the extent that the stability and sustainability of the international air transport system is at stake, having knock on effects to countries tourism industry.

A very quiet American airport.

Meanwhile, tour operators were incredibly disappointed that just when the season was picking up with students rushing from their Universities and homelands to the party places of the U.S. and Canada, this tragedy happened. The chairman of Pearl Aviation and Tours, Mr. Kishen Seth, said already there had been heavy cancellations and queries pouring in. “It is clear that in the days to come, only need-based travel will take place to the United States. Moreover passengers will now shift from the U.S. airlines, such as ‘American Airways’, to other, less well-known airlines. The effects of this attack has been catastrophic to the aviation and tourism industry.” The president of the ASSOCHAM Expert Committee on Aviation and Tourism said his company had reported cancellations up to 24 per cent in a day in tour bookings to the U.K. and the USA. Now the aviation and tourism industry has slipped into recession again.” Meanwhile, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has asked all its member airlines to tighten security, in order to reduce people’s fear of being hi-jacked in mid-flight and to search out any real terrorists.

Many American Airliners have been grounded through lack of ‘ passengers wanting to fly or go on holiday.

Table 1.5. International tourism receipts by region (US$ billion)

1985 1990 1995 1997 1998 1999

World 118.1 263.6 405.8 439.7 441.0 454.6 Africa Northern Africa 2.9 2.7 2.9 3.3 14.9 6.4

Western Africa 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 12.4 10.5

Middle Africa 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 3.5 -1.1

Eastern Africa 1.1 1.1 2.3 2.30 -1.8 5.9

Southern Africa 1.2 2.6 3.3 3.3 -1.3 7.2

Americas Northern America 54.8 77.5 89.7 88.5 -1.3 4.6

Caribbean 8.7 12.2 14.0 15.0 7.1 7.1

Central America 0.7 1.5 1.8 2.1 18.6 12.6

Southern America 4.9 9.3 11.4 12.3 8.3 9.7


East Asia 13.2 39.2 74.6 75.7 67.8 -10.4

North Asia 17.6 33.6 37.1 -4.8 1.7

Europe 63.5 143.5 211.7 224.5 232.5 3.6

Northern Europe 24.7 32.6 34.2 35.7 4.4 3.1

Western Europe 63.5 81.0 75.3 77.9 3.5 -1.3

Source: World Tourism Organization (WTO): Tourism highlights 2000, op. cit.

Although through all of this, tourism is arguably the world’s largest industry and its annual growth rates continue to increase. The industry’s gains grew to around $440 billion dollars last year. Nevertheless, the world’s natural areas are also being destroyed at an alarming rate; a hectare every two seconds. The tourism industry is encroaching on remote and biologically diverse areas, which can be home to Indigenous Peoples and threatens their situation and way of existence. According to the World Tourism Organization, in 1998 there were 635 million tourist arrivals around the globe, which has always been highly boosted by air travel and the highly funded airliners.

For the recipients (host countries) of international tourism, the tourism industry generates dependency upon an inconsistent and fluctuating global economy beyond their local control and personal carrying capacity. This is where multinational companies become involved. Local economic activities and resources are used less for the benefit and development of communities and increasingly for export and the pleasure of others (i.e., sightseers, consumers in other areas of the world). With hardly any international policies and guidelines restricting it, tourism has been given free reign to grow throughout the world. In fact, it has led the globalisation process in the areas of transportation, communications, and financial systems.

It has been promoted as a universal remedy for “sustainable” development. However, tourism’s supposed benefits (generation of employment, development of infrastructure, etc.) have not benefited Indigenous Peoples. The destructiveness of the tourism industry (environmental contamination and massive waste management problems, displacement from lands, human rights abuses, unjust labour and wages, modification of cultures, etc.) has brought great discomfort to many Indigenous Peoples and communities around the world. Recently anybody who reads a newspaper, listens to the radio or watches television has witnessed many government bodies, international environmental treaties, and other policies talking about “sustainable tourism”. Yet Indigenous Peoples have not been invited to participate adequately in these policies which will have consequences on them and their lifestyles. Indigenous peoples, their villages, their cultures and their lifestyles are being reduced to simply another consumer product that is quickly becoming exhaustible.

For example, St.Lucia in South Africa has two million tourists coming to visit it a year. The Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park is under the curatorship of the Natal Parks Board. The NPB runs several camps and activities in the area. The tourists come for St. Lucia’s sun, fishing, surfing, scuba diving along its nine mile reef and of course the social barbecues (braai) on the beach. All Parks Board camps are placed in tranquil surroundings, with many outdoor activities on offer as listed above. Demand by tourism has also made the park create tourist safaris e.g. ‘The Santa Lucia’, which is a Mississippi style boat that provides a scenic boat tour on the lake for up to 80 people. It has a viewing deck and a bar. There are regular departure times, and each tour lasts for one and a half hours. Crocodiles, hippos and water birds are the main attractions as well as beautiful scenery.

The area is considered critical to the survival of a large number of animal species, including South Africa’s largest populations of hippopotamus, crocodile, white-backed pelican, and pink-backed pelican. More than 530 species of birds use wetland and other areas of the lake region. 20,000 greater flamingos, 40,000 lesser flamingos, as well as thousands of ducks also grace these waters. With 36 species, this area has the highest diversity of amphibians in South Africa. Here, and nowhere else in the world, can you find hippopotamuses, crocodiles, and sharks sharing the same waters. Two species of sea turtles lay their eggs on the ocean shows of the eastern peninsula. From November to January, loggerhead and leatherback turtles come ashore at night, north of Cape Vidal, to lay their eggs in the sand on the beach. This is a fascinating seasonal phenomenon, and guided tours will get the tourists up close to this miracle of nature. Nevertheless all these tourists may stress out the turtles, effect where they lay their eggs or critically, the amount that each turtles lay. There is a fine line between observing nature and its work and intruding on nature’s work.

Although it may be good fun for the tourist for two or so weeks of the year but 50,000 indigenous people live locally. They have 200-300 people per clean water pump and most have no electricity. NPB built fences around the reserve not to keep animals in but to keep the local blacks out. This blocks out their usual fishing in the lakes and mussel collecting on the beach, which they have been doing for centuries before any tourist board was ever set up in the area.

People living close to Lake St. Lucia, historically fished in the lake, using spears and long sticks to either stab or stun the fish. This had no influence on the fish stocks but during the 1960s gill-nets were introduced, allowing people to fish more successfully. This changed the fishing from a subsistence level to a monopoly, which was not sustainable. Long nets were found in the water, some more than one kilometre in length. This had to be stopped; as soon as one part of the lower food chain starts to disappear the rest will follow and this would be a serious problem for the tourist board. So something had to be done.

On the beach the indigenous people now have their own section with a special mussel picking surveillance team to tell them where they are allowed to pick mussel and where they cannot go and pick mussels. However this causes tension, as there may not be many mussels in the area they have been issued. Another problem is young people giving orders to older people is against traditional South African culture and so this causes more tension. Especially as, if a famine starts to occur then who will take the mussels, the tourists or the true inhabitants?

Although now in Duku Duku, the ‘Gateway Project’ has been assembled, which has let the local people build a small housing area for tourists to stay in, within the village. The tourists see dances, African cooking and wildlife. Although this may take away the meaning of the tribal dances. African clothing is made as well to sell to the visitors. Zulu beadwork is bold and beautiful. Not only is it an adornment and decoration, but also a means of communication and identification. Traditional beadwork has always played an important part in courtship and marriage. Furthermore, specific colour combinations are characteristic of particular areas, thereby denoting the wearer’s place of origin

African beads to design garments and jewellery.

Colours are sometimes used to convey specific messages, for instance, black stands for misfortune and grief, green denotes sickness and pining, white means love and purity, blue means happiness, yellow symbolises wealth. However, combinations of colours might take on a whole complex meaning, thereby creating ‘love-letters’ that the women will make and give to their men. This is very intriguing and a good souvenir for the tourists, who will, in turn, bring foreign income into the tribe. Although this may not be the right thing for the tribe as tourism is deeply rooted in a history of colonization and unequal relations between people and regions.

A map of Bali showing its national parks, mountain peaks and coral reefs.

Pictures from another major tourist attraction: Scuba Diving. Scuba Diving attracts people from all over the world as it a ‘ natural resource of outstanding beauty.

Colourful and tranquil scenery in Bali.

Another example of outsiders affecting a countries tourism levels is the explosion in Bali, Paradise lost. Globalisation comes in all different forms and effects in many different ways. The Al Qaeda bomb attack in a Bali nightclub was on the main thoroughfare and so it hit many holidaymakers, including Australians looking for a good time. Hundreds of Westerners are trying to flee the paradise island. Up and down the main street, surfboards are stacked up in hotel lobbies as holidaymakers try frantically to secure a flight home. The air of panic in the oppressive tropical heat is obvious. With fears of more attacks, travellers have been advised to stay in their hotels. As one planeload of tourists arrive, another load are desperately trying to leave.

The Bali bombings are causing aftershocks throughout the struggling travel industry, leading travellers and tour operators to temporarily cancel trips there and forcing travel agents to find suitable alternatives in a pinch. Even big multinational companies who usually bring so many tourists can’t do much e.g. ‘Club Med’ suspended travel to its Bali “village” for a week. The Coral Gables, based company is offering to send customers to a different resort through Oct. 20, or will allow them to rebook their trip for sometime in the future.

On Sunday night it was a ghost town, the bars and karaoke venues for once empty, the garish lights dimmed. The only sound was the mechanical equipment sifting through the rubble. “Most Australians are trying to get out as soon as possible, through fear of there being another bomb, as well as trying to be reunited with their families. They were kids for god sake. The Balinese always smile, tonight they are no longer smiling” said Jason Gale, a salesman from Perth. That peaceful image has certainly been tarnished, although travel agents are hoping it won’t ruin the island’s all-important tourism industry. “It could be a couple of years before the island recovers”, said Magnus Ranstorp, a terrorism expert at St. Andrews University’s Centre for Terrorism and Political Violence. This puts Bali’s national parks e.g. Bali Barat, and coral reefs e.g. Badung strait reef, all out in the cold, even though they are natural and have nothing to do with the bombing.

Tourism is a major industry but as well as affecting many different things, it can also be affected by many different aspects. Multinational companies, globalisation and airlines are all global companies but as the world modernises and adapts to its surroundings and the people that live in it, everything can change, for better or for worse.

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The role of multinational companies (tnc), airline companies and globalisation on the tourism industry, globally. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from

The role of multinational companies (tnc), airline companies and globalisation on the tourism industry, globally

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