Chapter 1: An Introduction to Tourism

Question 1: Why is it difficult to define tourism?

Answer Guide: Definitions are difficult because they need to encompass the many different types of tourists. For example, we can separate by domestic and international travel, reasons for travelling (e.g. business or leisure) and the length of time travelled (day trips or over-night). We also need to exclude those that travel but are not considered tourists (migrants, nomads, etc.) and those that use tourist facilities but are not tourists (e.g. academics visiting a historic attraction for research purposes).

Question 2: In this chapter, we note that tourism is influenced by characteristics such as intangibility, inseparability, heterogeneity and perishability. What are the implications of each of these characteristics for tourism managers?

Answer Guide: These characteristics mean that operations must be adapted accordingly:

Intangibility – this means that the product cannot be touched or tested before use. Consequently the way the product is marketed but be to give the buyer a good sense of what the product will be like. This might be through the use of videos that show the guest around or the use of famtrips for those selling holidays so they can better explain the experience to the tourist.

Inseparability – this means that the tourist and the service provider must come together for the service to take place. This interaction means that quality and consistency have to be ensured to maximise customer satisfaction. To achieve this extensive staff training may be required. It also needs to consider that multiple customers are using the product at the same time and can influence each other’s experience (i.e. a noisy group in a restaurant could affect the experience of a couple wanting to have a quiet meal together).

Heterogeneity – this means that the product is not always the same. For example, inclement weather, flight delays or the bad mood of service staff can make one person’s holiday experience very different from those travelling at a different time.

Perishability – this means that the product is time-limited. For example, once a plane departs, any seats on the flight that are not sold cannot be stored for sale at a later date. The same is true for a hotel bedroom. Tourism managers address this issue through yield management, pricing products to encourage early purchase as well as selling off remaining products last minute, if needed.

Question 3: How does the perception of available amenities and attractions influence a tourist’s choice of destination?

Answer Guide: Iconic attractions can be sufficient to attract visitors to select a particular destination. Other attractions may add to the appeal and encourage a longer stay. The availability of amenities (accommodation. restaurants, bars and shops, etc.) can make visits easier and more appealing, again extending the length of time a visitor stays at a destination.