• Short Summary

    The summer of 1974 will live in the memories of package tour operators and hotel owners throughout the world as the year when the great tourist boom went bust.

  • Description

    The summer of 1974 will live in the memories of package tour operators and hotel owners throughout the world as the year when the great tourist boom went bust.

    From the holiday resorts of Europe, in particular, have coke fewer picture postcards -- and more cries of anguish, as the expected seasonal rush of tourist trade failed to materialise.

    Everywhere, the story is the same. Big hotels with empty beds, small cafes with empty tables and an unusual hush offer the cash registers of the tourist shops. They all reflect the somber fact that, with the world in a state of inflation and recession, fewer people have the money for the luxury of a foreign holiday.

    London, normally seething with tourists at this time of year, is comparatively quiet. The Americans who used to lay siege to Buckingham Palace and fire off salvoes of camera shutters at such events as the changing of the guard, have elected like many other people, to take their holidays at home. With transatlantic air fares rocketing up to off set cost of fuel, few can blame them.

    Greece can always rely on a steady stream of visitors who come to marvel at the Acropolis. Millions more got there to soak up the sun at advantageous rates of currency exchange, but even here inflation has bitten into the earnings of an industry which contributes a large part of the national income.

    perhaps the worst-hit nation of all is Spain. In the past twenty years the southern coast of Spain has given sun tans, cheap wine and a two-week package trip to exotic places for millions of Britons. What were once fishing beaches sprouted luxury hotels, night clubs, pubs and souvenir shops catering mainly for the British.

    Today, some of those hotels are only 35 per cent full and the whole coastal strip which once range with the accents of London and Manchester, now have the air of unusual emptiness. The British, too, are staying at home in droves.

    Paris, another Mecca for Americans, still attracts millions of tourists from throughout Europe and is even beginning to earn a sizeable income from further away: for example, Japanese package tourists. But France as a whole is suffering a tourist drop, due to the massively-increased price of petrol, since most of the visitors to French holiday centres normally go by car.

    European countries in general had expected that the reluctance to travel shown by their American customers would be offset in a dramatic rise in package tours from Japan. But it seems that the majority of Japanese, this year, are intent on seeing Asia first. Such centres as Hong Kong and Bangkok are filled with Japanese visitors who, having heard of Europe's chronic economic troubles, are steering clear.

    Italy has relied on the other army of tourists which still march purposefully to the sunshine of the Mediterranean and Adriatic -- the Germans, still rich and still travelling
    But Italy's collapsing economy, inflation running at 20 per cent and mounting international debts scarcely make an appealing backdrop for the promotion of the country's tourist industry. Last year, Italy earned around 1.8 billion dollars from tourism -- its biggest single source of foreign revenue -- but this year, to compound all its other troubles, it faces a drop in that income.

    Overall, the decline in tourism is more serous than the problems of hotel keepers. Tourism represents a major part of many nation's foreign earning s. Tourism is the world's largest industry, earning more than 20 billion dollars a year for those countries who promote it.

    When the tourists stay at home, not only cafe proprietors, but governments, have to do some very unpleasant book-keeping.

    SYNOPSIS: London Airport ... summer, 1974. Here as at airports throughout the world, 'planes are landing half full. High fuel costs and even higher fares have helped make this year the year when the tourists stayed at home. London is normally seething with tourists -- mainly Americans -- laying siege to Buckingham Palace and other tourist centes. But this year, they aren't making the trip.

    The Acropolis, remnant of another age which still entrances the modern jet traveller. These who come to stare at the stone still come ... but those who came to Greece for sunshine and a good rate of currency exchange, are staying away this year. For the fact is that, world-wide, fewer people have the money to spend on a holiday overseas.

    Inflation and recession, enemies of tourism, have hit hard.

    In Spain, they have stopped building new hotels. The one already in business are often only 35 per cent full. Here, what were until twenty years ago just fishing beaches, have been built into enormous playgrounds catering mainly for the British holdaymaker. But, however compelling the attractions of Spain, the British simply do not have the money ... or, if they do, they are spending it at home.

    The picture postcard view .. and the reality. Everywhere, the story is the same -- empty hotel beds, deserted cafe tables sparsely populated beaches... and slow business.

    Paris, the almost traditional Mecca for the travelling American, shares with other European cities a severs drop in visitors. Even the Japanese, who had begun to fill the gap, have not arrived this year.

    Inflation, the rocketing cost of living in France and soaring petrol price have all hit hard.

    For the Japanese tourist, the slogan for this year is -- see Asia first. Instead of Europe, It's Hong Kong which is skimming the cream of the booming Japanese yen to travel ... and the willingness to spend.

    They used to say all roads led to Rome, but for millions of tourists this year, it's an uninviting route. Italy's collapsing economy, inflation running at 20 per cent and mounting international debts scarcely make an appealing backdrop to the country's tourist effort. In Italy, as elsewhere, the tourists are staying away.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    Media URN:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Issue Date:
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Time in/Out:

Comments (0)

We always welcome comments and more information about our films.
All posts are reactively checked. Libellous and abusive comments are forbidden.

Add your comment