YANKS TO DROP TOP TOURIST POSITION
Ever since American troops started going overseas in 1941,
American citizens have been the worlds biggest travellers. Now that
is about to change. Not only in numbers, but also in the amount of
time and money they spend abroad.
Such change has been evident to many in the hospitality industry
for the past few years but only recently have statistics began to
back up subjective impressions.
A long-term report on tourism produced by The Economist
Intelligence Unit in London says "Americans will cease to be the
world's leading tourist by the turn of the century."
Statistics measure mainly the number of tourists that travel
outside their country and the total number of nights spent in a
foreign land -- and how much they spend while there. For years it
was no contest. The Americans won hands down in all aspects.
The EIU reports the Japanese will soon lead in numbers and foreign
exchange spent. Only the French get into the scorebooks by spending
more nights outside their country than residents of other countries.
Remember that the French don't have that far to travel to reach an
assortment of foreign lands and their population of 55 million
provides a solid base for the high number of travellers.
An important point in the EIU report on "Trends to the End of the
Century" : Americans are not travelling less, it's just that other
nations now have the money and are travelling more. It all bodes well
for the tourist industry worldwide.
With air travel costs dropping now and continuing in the foreseeable future due to larger and more efficient aircraft, the industry
has no where to go but up.
Such new attractions at leisure resorts as undersea buses that can
roam the seabed, hot air balloons and dirgibles that convey you
quietly across veldt and mountain valleys, will all encourage more
and more people to take unusual holidays. Even larger cruise ships
now being built will be able to offer lower prices for the same
luxury. The old two-week vacation at the beach or cottage for sun,
sand and sea just isn't enough anymore. Why that's available at your
local (if you live in Edmonton, Alberta) shopping centre.
The only cloud on the horizon for the travel industry is the
forthcoming field of "artificial reality" which will provide a travel
experience without leaving your home town. You will be hearing more
about that in a few years.
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