The speedy and significant growth of the Information Communications Technology (ICT) and vast development and use of internet plays a vital role in tourism and hospitality industry all over the world. The new technology has, in fact, already revolutionized the tourism and hospitality business processes internationally.
Tourism and hospitality industry has been considered as one of the fastest growing industries and most prominent and largest service industry as it caters to the different types of people all over the world. Tourism industry being associated and interconnected with various other industries like food industry, transport industry and etc. have a tremendous scope for the economical growth of any country. This industry is always considered as an information product.
According to the World Tourism Organization (WTO) statistics which has been published, the countries which do not have adequate ICT infrastructure and growth will not be able to compete with their counterparts who have a sound ICT infrastructure in the near future. As ICT has become a key element for this industry, it motivates the consumers to decide and purchase tourism products.
The ICT contributes an effective and substantial tool to the tourism and hospitality industry which encourages in strengthening the strategies and operations of the industry.
Before the ICT was incorporated in tourism and hospitality industry, there were various types of problems like lack of required information; availability of resources was very minimum, cost for each transaction was very high and many more.
The ICT which plays a significant role in the growth of modern tourism has created a new backdrop and scenario. Today’s smart and efficient customers get all the required information and details by using internet and on the basis of that they plan their whole trip and the itinerary. As information plays a dominant role in this industry, internet plays a very vital function by providing multimedia information to the potential tourists.
The prospective and aspiring travelers can not only have a complete view of their destination and hotels but they can also book the flight, accommodation and other transport medium and above all they make their full payment sitting at their own places.
The several other factors which ICT can take care of are teleconferencing, video brochures, computerized reservation system, electronic fund transfer and other things. Other than these factors customers can share and research ratings on hotel services, destinations, traditions and social conditions of their desired places by the help of social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and etc. Too much exposure of different tourism destinations have enabled the well informed travelers to communicate their wishes and requirements to the suppliers very efficiently.
As the hotel booking through the internet is very easy and convenient for the travelers, the reservation and portrayal of hotels not only has been upgraded and revamped but it has become more effective and efficient.
The introduction of the ICT has benefited the tour operators extensively. The advantages of the ICT have facilitated the tour operators for coordinating with their customers properly in a very efficient manner. As the ICT plays a key role for the tour operators, they can exchange their information on right time and also confirm that the customers’ requirements have been looked after properly by all the segments that are responsible for delivering the tourism products.
As India is a vastly populated country, the scope for the growth and the development of this industry by the help of the ICT is immense. But the tourism and the hospitality industry in India is in a budding stage which requires a special attention as this industry is the largest service industry in the country.
As the air fares are coming down, this industry has immense potential for growth as it will attract more domestic and international tourists. The ICT plays a very strategic role for the promotion and integration of Indian tourism. The growth of this industry can contribute very high revenue in the Indian economy for which the Government, entrepreneurs and all the people associated with this industry has a very major and important role to play.
But there are some challenges the ICT is facing vis-a-vis Indian tourism and hospitality industry:
- The employees are not trained properly.
- Several organizations are working with their old and traditional systems.
- The internet connectivity is not available over the country.
- Social media is not being used for the business development purpose.
- Most of the websites related to the Indian tourism and hospitality industry are not mobile ready.
Tourists from every corner of the world are coming to visit India as our country is looked upon as the largest hub of tourism. So it is very necessary that the ICT should be improved for the upliftment and growth of this industry.
As this service has become available on our fingertips, every organization and people associated with this industry will be benefited, whether it is consumer or supplier, major stakeholders of tourism industry or hotels, transporters or others. So a knowledge-based e–tourism system should be designed and developed to get the maximum possible revenue from this industry.