A study dubbed Package Holiday reveals that tourists prefer all-inclusive holidays contrary to the World Bank’s report which provided that only a meager 22.8% of tourist expenditure reached the local community; considering that 87% of all tourists prefer package and all inclusive tourism as opposed to travelling independently (FIT).
Despite the growing concern by activist bodies as to the well being of local communities and independent individuals trading in the tourism business, the sector seems to be growing with the Survey conducted by Statistica.com, a leading digital market analytics and research firm predicting an annual growth rate of 9.6%, resulting in a market volume of US$ 78,898M by the year 2020.
All inclusive holidays have come under recent scrutiny, with allegations of excluding local communities in the daily running of the destinations, limiting interaction, participation and exchange of information as well as limiting connections as tourists have to stay in a ‘safe’ net, while only following their neatly laid out itinerary. Cyrus Onyiego, country manager for Jumia Travel – an online hotel booking platform cites that, while players must stay alert and on top of changing trends in the supply and demand cycle, it is imperative that the livelihood of communities living in the said destinations is not put under threat. Ultimately, he explains, “you cannot expect distressed locals to play great hosts to tourists while they harbour animosity and feel left out”
Animosity between communities and property developers is rife in destinations where locals feel like they are slowly losing rights over their local heritage; thereby interfering with the ideals of tourism as a booster of local talent, social and economic welfare. Third party providers such as taxi drivers, artisans, local tour guides, restaurants, and entertainers are left to their own means as the tourists must abide by the ‘full board rule’
Another troubling factor of the all inclusive system is the fact that, more often than not, international arrivals will book into chain resorts that coincidentally have their foundation and headquarters back in the country of their origin; therefore, most of the revenue generated in this properties ends up leaving the economy; thus, minimizing its impact on both the country and the community. Stiff competition for this emerging and rising trend is also affecting hotel pricing as properties scale down to fit the best offer within the most affordable price so as to attract visitors, consequently resulting to less revenue.
That notwithstanding, market numbers largely point to an upward trajectory; user penetration is forecast to rise from the current 0.9% to 1.2% in 2020 – accounting for 46.9m of complete holiday bookings.
Onyiego agrees on the findings on the Package Holiday report in that the rising obsession with well laid out, less of hassle, and clear to the last point kind of holiday could be a pointer to the need for convenience and control by the Millennial, “ more than ever, technology has taken over the tourism industry, our hotels now have automated check in, robotic room service, and payment systems all at a single click, it makes perfect sense for any tourist attracted to such no fuss-no muss set up to go for a pre-set, pre-paid and highly organized itinerary” As much as it leaves less room for adventure and experiment, an all inclusive package eradicates guess work, and with it the chances of unpleasant surprises. Moreover, in a world where traveler’s safety is top priority, these kind of preparedness seems to drive the illusion of security.