"Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going."
- Paul Theroux


Views and Interviews

February 2022

In conversation with Dr. Dileep M. R.
Travel Academician, Author and Columnist, Thiruvananthapuram

Dileep M.R. is a noted tourism academic, author and columnist. He has been a senior professional in travel and tourism for over two decades. Dileep is currently Vice-Principal at Pazhassiraja College (University of Calicut, Kerala, India), and has worked with the Ministry of Higher Education (CAS Salalah), Sultanate of Oman. He has also been Head of Tourism at Kerala Institute of Tourism and Travel Studies (KITTS). He has written a number of research publications, conference presentations, and authored six industry-related books. His qualifications profile includes an MTA, MPhil, PhD, and IATA Diplomas in Air Transport and Cargo.

Our interview with Dileep is related to his recently published book - Air Transport and Tourism: Interrelationship, Operations and Strategies. A comprehensive textbook covering all major aspects of air transport from operational and managerial perspectives. The book explores the intricate touch points that exist between air transport and tourism industries.

Dileep's co-author on this book is Ajesh Kurien, who is an Airport Operations Trainer and Airport Ground Operations Specialist based in Kuwait. He is also an Author and E-Learning Content Developer.

Over to Dileep now, to hear his story on the book.

What is the basic premise of the book? What does it centre around?

Our new book introduces and provides industry-based perspectives of the complexities of the airline & tourism industries - and the ways in which they are connected. It covers, for example, the destination-airport-airline interplay, and the contributions made by air transport and the airline industry to the tourism sector.

Published in September 2021 by Routledge of London

The book centres around both dependencies and outcomes of a truly a symbiotic relationship between air transport and tourism - adding newer dimensions to the realm of their coexistence. It’s a relationship that has been evolving since the end of the Second World War and is anticipated to reach higher interface levels in the decades to come.

We also place an emphasis on current and future trends, and bookmark key current issues such as sustainability and environmental challenges. Individual chapters cover airline-tourism relationships, destination-airport dependence, airline operations, strategic management & planning, airport operations, and air transport IT platforms - providing a practical viewpoint on these key aspects.

How does your book enlarge upon this relationship between Air Transport and Tourism?

Tourism and air transport do have a symbiotic relationship – because tourism too contributes in the evolution of air transport. In a way they feed on each other.

Since the early years, around the 20th century, aviation has recorded growth that has taken it to new heights. And its evolution as the predominant mode of transport by the last quarter of the same era resulted in establishing its social and economic significance.

Here’s what we cover in the eighteen detailed chapters of the book:

* Air Transport and Tourism - An Introduction * Trends in Air Transport and the Influence on Tourism * Air Transport Regulations and Tourism * Airlines: A Key Service Provider in Tourism * Destination, Airport and Airline interplay * Aircraft, Spacecraft and Tourism * Role of Tourism in Air Transport * Airlines – the Planning Process * Airlines - Operations & Management * Traveller Oriented Strategies and Practices of Airlines * Airports – Operations & Resource Management * Evolving IT platforms in the Aircraft and Airline Industry. * Air Transport & Tourism - Impacts, Challenges and the Future.

What audiences were you looking at in the planning stages of the book?

Our book has been written as a comprehensive text book covering wide-ranging aspects associated with working relationships between air transport and tourism. To enlarge that frame of reference, we have attempted to describe the operational and managerial aspects of air transportation from a tourism perspective.

Dileep's book was released by Chief Minister of Kerala, Sri. Pinarayi Vijayan on December 07, 2021

The contents, information and data-references included in this book would certainly be useful to professionals in tourism, air transportation and hospitality sectors. From an academic viewpoint we also see it as an invaluable resource for students of aviation, travel, tourism, hospitality and transport management courses.

How do you see this playing out in the years to come?

Along with the growth of air transport, particularly after deregulation in the 1970s, tourism too has recorded remarkable growth and is currently among the largest economic sectors in the world.

Currently, more than half of all international tourists depend on air transport for their travel to destinations. That’s how the airline industry becomes one of the primary drivers behind boosting tourism demand worldwide - their presence is inevitable in the context of some regions and destinations that are otherwise difficult to access.

Airports are also becoming a huge support and transit base in the sphere of tourism and they are integral in the destination mix. While new business models in the airline sector rewrite the role of air transport, “flying” is still a key highlight in the overall tourist experience. Against this backdrop, an attempt is made to understand and decode the strong ties and relationships between tourism and the air transport industry.

Does the book take into account recent developments concerning climate change and Covid-19?

The book ends with a chapter on the current challenges faced by both air transport and tourism industries. It also provides a ringside view on aspects such as climate change, ripple effects of Covid-19 and visible indicators of hope and revival for both airline and tourism sectors.

The chapter on Covid-19 addresses the vulnerability of air transport and tourism sectors during these difficult times, narrowing the possibility of mobility, access and reach. We end on a positive note drawing attention to the light at the end of the tunnel - with emerging trends around the ‘new normal’ seen in these sectors.

All images used are courtesy of Dr. Dileep M. R.

Dr. Dileep M. R

Content Disclaimer: The views expressed in our interviews and stories do not necessarily reflect the official policies, practices and guidelines of the All India Resort Development Association, or its members. These views are based on personal experiences, private opinion, or open source information. (Images used here are either "paid-for" stock photos, images shared by the people we interview, or images under one of the open source licenses such as Creative Commons and others.)

Here’s a link to some recent interviews done by us on the AIRDA website

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