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Module 8: The Fundamentals of Tourism Promotion

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Challenges of Promoting Tourism

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Tourism - Marketing and Promotion
The Fundamentals of Tourism Promotion
Challenges of Promoting Tourism
Introduction
Marketing is the term used to describe the activities involved in promoting products. Essentially, it ensures that the public are aware that certain products are available. This course will explain how tourism businesses can effectively market their products to tourists.

In marketing, the term product is used to refer to anything that can be offered to the marketplace. The tourism product is a trip or vacation. Tourism presents a challenge to marketers as the tourist product is an amalgam of services. For example, a single vacation may include the following services: a plane journey, hotel accommodation, restaurant meals, sightseeing tours etc. The overall quality of the tourist product is dependent upon all of these services reaching a certain level of quality.

Challenges of Promoting Tourism
The quality of the tourism product can be guaranteed to a certain extent if tourists pre-book through a travel agent. Travel agents have the experience and skills to offer tourists the best vacation experience within their budget. However, tourists are using travel agents less and less due to the rise in online booking.

Online booking means that tourists book each tourism service themselves. However tourists may not choose the best service providers due to a lack of knowledge. They may also only choose the cheapest service providers. Despite tourists understanding that each service is provided by a different company, they still view a vacation as one product.

Challenges of Promoting Tourism
Because of this mind-set, tourism service providers must understand that they are dependent upon each other to maintain the quality of the tourism product. This is especially true given that destinations are often marketed collectively. Tourist boards will advertise the appeal of a country or region and are dependent upon service providers to fulfil the promises that their advertisements make.

Furthermore, when all service providers meet a certain standard, a destination will gain a reputation as a desirable resort. Such a reputation will guarantee that there will more than enough customers for every tourism business in a region.

Challenges of Promoting Tourism
There are number of challenges to marketing tourism. These challenges are as follows:

The Tourism Product Cannot be Easily Changed to Meet Changing Tastes: Products in other industries can be changed or re-designed to meet changing consumer demands. For example, car manufacturers replace their models every few years to keep pace with changing design tastes and advances in technology. However, the tourism product cannot receive such a huge overhaul. For example, a hotel is a long term investment and is expected to last for decades. While the interior of a hotel can be updated, the façade cannot be changed dramatically. Therefore, hotel developers must try to design their hotel in an architectural style that will age well. All tourism businesses must keep long-term benefit in mind.

Challenges of Promoting Tourism
Economic Factors: Tourism is an activity engaged in by people that have disposable income. Therefore the demand for tourism grows and declines in line with the global economic situation. For example, following the world economic crisis of 2008 the demand for tourism fell by 6%. Furthermore, tourists began taking more economic holidays.

Disasters: Natural and man-made disasters in an area will dissuade tourists from visiting there. For example, following the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan the number of foreign visitors to the country fell by 25%. These events and the subsequent triple melt-down of the nuclear reactors in Fukushima gave tourists the impression that Japan is a dangerous place to visit. Since then, Japan’s tourist board have faced a huge marketing challenge in trying to convince tourists that Japan is indeed a safe tourist destination.


Challenges of Promoting Tourism
Political Situations: Political unrest and the threat of war pose huge challenges for marketing teams. Once the region has stabilised tourists need to be convinced that it is safe to travel there again.

Egypt received 14 million foreign tourists in 2010. The following year, the Egyptian revolution caused this number to drop to 9.5 million. This drop hugely effected Egypt’s economy especially since the drop was mostly accounted for by wealthy American and European tourists.

Challenges of Promoting Tourism
Need to Maintain a High Capacity: All of the service providers in the tourism industry need to maintain a high capacity in order to meet overheads. The term capacity refers to the amount of people that can use a service at one time, For example, if a tour bus has 52 seats it has a capacity of 52. During times of low demand, a service provider should try to maintain as high a capacity as possible. Doing so ensures that businesses can pay overhead costs.

Maintaining a high capacity is especially important given that service providers are always limited in the number of products they can offer. For example, in the retail industry, products which are not sold one day can be sold the next day. A department store may sell 50 bottles of perfume one day and 300 the next. However, during peak demand, a hotel is still bound by capacity.

END OF UNIT:
Challenges of Promoting Tourism