Chapter 3: The Demand for Tourism

Question 1: How can an understanding of the Tourism Area Life Cycle aid long-term decision-making by the manager of a large tourist hotel?

Answer Guide: At its heart the TALC is about identifying past (and possibly forecasting future) changes in demand over time. The different stages also suggest that these changes to the involvement of government and other intermediaries which, for the hotel manager, may help to identify both allies who can help in the marketing of the destination (and hotel) as well as the likelihood of new competitors.

In the latter stages, the TALC may help to justify the need for additional investment, including the need for improvements to the destination (or hotel) to maintain demand. TALC may also help to acknowledge the changing markets (from the allocentrics to the psychocentrics, particularly the repeat visitors that tend to appear later in the cycle).

Question 2: Explain the difference between allocentric and psychocentric tourists, as defined by Stanley Plog.

Answer Guide: Allocentrics are those seeking variety that are self-confident, outgoing and experimental. They would be disposed to seek new experiences, in more exotic destinations, travelling independently.

Psychocentrics (those who tend to be risk averse), are thus more inclined to seek security and familiarity. They tend to use a package holiday for their travel arrangements.

These are polarized examples and, in practice, most holidaymakers are likely to fall somewhere between the extremes – thus mid-centrics makes up the largest sector of the market.

Question 3: Using examples to support your answer, explain the difference between push and pull factors influencing tourism demand.

Answer Guide: In looking at push factors, the work of Ryan (1991) is helpful here:

  • the motivation to escape from perceived mundane environments
  • relaxation and recuperation
  • the opportunity to play, providing adults with an opportunity to regress into the carefree state of childhood
  • strengthening of family bonds and the opportunity to spend time with other family members
  • gaining status and prestige among one’s peers (both at home and while on holiday)
  • social integration with hosts and other guests
  • romance and sexual opportunity
  • the opportunity for educational development and broadening of the mind
  • self-fulfilment and self-discovery which may potentially be life-changing
  • wish fulfilment and the achievement of long-desired goals
  • shopping

In terms of Pull factors, Richardson and Fluker (2004: 67) suggest that these ‘pull consumers towards a particular destination’ and include:

  • the range of attractions, including the natural environment, cultural resources and a welcoming host population
  • availability and quality of amenities
  • special events
  • infrastructure and accessibility
  • suitable weather conditions

positive image as a safe, entertaining, interesting place to visit.