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Pii: s0261-5177(99)00095-3

Tourism Management 21 (2000) 97}116 Marketing the competitive destination of the future Dr Dimitrios Buhalis* Department of Tourism, University of Westminster, 35 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5LS, UK Received 5 January 1999; accepted 21 July 1999 Destination marketing is increasingly becoming extremely competitive worldwide. This paper explains the destination concept and attempts to synthesise several models for strategic marketing and management of destinations. It provides an overview of severaltechniques widely used and illustrates examples from around the world. The paper also explains that marketing of destinations shouldbalance the strategic objectives of all stakeholders as well the sustainability of local resources. Destinations need to di!erentiate theirproducts and develop partnerships between the public and private sector locally in order to co-ordinate delivery. Taking advantage ofnew technologies and the Internet also enables destinations to enhance their competitiveness by increasing their visibility, reducingcosts and enhancing local co-operation. Destination marketing must lead to the optimisation of tourism impacts and the achievementof the strategic objectives for all stakeholders. ( 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
1. Introducing destinations and des tination marketing and implement their strategic plan and marketing pol-icies. The contribution of the paper is therefore in syn- Destination marketing facilitates the achievement of thesising well-developed techniques and to provide tourism policy, which should be co-ordinated with the a comprehensive framework for destination marketing regional development strategic plan. Marketing of desti- rather than to introduce original research outcomes.
nations should also guide the tourism impacts optimisa-tion and the maximisation of bene"ts for the region. Inorder to appreciate the complexity of destination market- 2. Destination as an amalgam of tourism services ing this paper explains the destination concept and attempts to synthesise several models for strategicmarketing and management of destinations.
Destinations are amalgams of tourism products, o!er- The analysis illustrates numerous frameworks for the ing an integrated experience to consumers. Traditionally, development of a destination marketing strategy and destinations are regarded as well-de"ned geographical a comprehensive marketing mix. The paper also illus- areas, such as a country, an island or a town (Hall, 2000; trates the relationship between marketing and planning Davidson & Maitland, 1997). However, it is increasingly of destinations and their con#icting and symbiotic rela- recognised that a destination can also a perceptual con- tionship. This paper is based on research and consul- cept, which can be interpreted subjectively by consumers, tancy on destination marketing around the world, where depending on their travel itinerary, cultural background, several frameworks have been tested and implemented. It purpose of visit, educational level and past experience.
discusses a wide spectrum of destination marketing tools For example, London can be a destination for a German and provides plentiful references for researchers who business traveller, whilst Europe may be the destination would like to study in-depth each technique. Although for a leisure Japanese tourist who packs six European the suggestions and conclusions presented here are inevi- countries in a two week tour. Some travellers will con- tably generalised, destination managers and marketers sider a cruise ship to be their destination, while others on can use the suggested methodology in order to develop the same cruise may perceive the ports visited during thetrip as their destination. Often destinations are arti"ciallydivided by geographical and political barriers, which fail to take into consideration consumer preferences or #44-207-911-5000: ext 3112; fax: #44-207-911-5171.
E-mail address: buhalid@wmin.ac.uk (D. Buhalis) tourism industry functions. An example of that is the 0261-5177/99/$ - see front matter ( 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
PII: S 0 2 6 1 - 5 1 7 7 ( 9 9 ) 0 0 0 9 5 - 3 D. Buhalis / Tourism Management 21 (2000) 97} 116 Alps shared by France, Austria, Switzerland, Italy by ment and marketing of destinations is often left to indus- often perceived and consumed as part of the same prod- try people and consultants and it is not frequently uct by skiers. For the purpose of this paper destinations discussed in the literature or in academic debates. The are considered to be a de"ned geographical region which competitive nature of destination marketing also pre- is understood by its visitors as a unique entity, with vents involved parties from publishing their strategies a political and legislative framework for tourism market- and marketing plans. In addition, there is an apparent ing and planning. This de"nition enables Destination di!erence between the marketing and planning tourism Management Organisations (DMOs) to be accountable for the planning and marketing of the region and to have Traditionally, marketing concentrates on increasing the power and resources to undertake action towards visitation and treats tourism like any other commodity.
achieving its strategic objectives.
This approach fails to recognise the unique needs and Destinations o!er an amalgam of tourism products limitations of each destination as well as their particular and services, which are consumed under the brand name geographical, environmental and socio-cultural charac- of the destination. Leiper (1995, p.87) explains that desti- teristics. In contrast, planning literature concentrates nations are places towards which people travel and more on the impacts of tourism and on limiting tourism where they choose to stay for a while in order to experi- development, often ignoring the market dynamics and ence certain features or characteristics-a perceived attrac- the requirements of entrepreneurs at the destination and tion of some sort. Cooper, Fletcher, Gilbert, Shepherd the place of origin (Ryan, 1991b; Burns, 1999). Ryan and Wanhill (1998) de"ne destinations as the focus of (1991b) explains that companies and governments have facilities and services designed to meet the needs of the applied only part of the marketing mix to tourism (i.e., tourists. Most destinations comprise a core of the follow- promotion), with little attention being paid to the other ing components, which can be characterised as the six As components of marketing. However, if tourism is to sur- framework as illustrated in Table 1. Therefore, a destina- vive by generating satisfaction among interacting tourists tion can be regarded as a combination (or even as and hosts, it must adopt societal marketing strategies.
a brand) of all products, services and ultimately experien- This involves carefully monitoring tourist satisfaction ces provided locally. It also enables us to assess the levels and using these as part of the criteria for success, impact of tourism regionally, as well as manage demand rather than increasing numbers of tourists; continually and supply in order to maximise bene"ts for all stake- monitoring host reactions to tourists, for host-tourist interaction is an important component of the tourist Although there is plenty of literature on destination experience; and being aware that infrastructure develop- ment of tourism resort areas has implications for the 1991,1994; Pearce, 1989; Gunn, 1994; Davidson & Mait- types of tourists that will be attracted (Ryan, 1991b).
land, 1997), there are few textbooks examining destina-tion marketing (Heath & Wall, 1992; Goodall &Ashworth, 1988) and even fewer illustrate destinations as 3. The strategic purpose of destinations and their an experience provider for tourists and locals (Ryan, management and marketing 1997,1991a). This is also re#ected in the academic litera-ture published in journals and other scienti"c publica- Destinations are some of the most di$cult entities to tions. The inadequacy of destination marketing literature manage and market, due to the complexity of the rela- probably illustrates the interest of researchers in the tionships of local stakeholders (Sautter & Leisen, 1999).
impacts of tourism on destinations. Hence, the manage- Managing and marketing destinations is also challengingbecause of the variety of stakeholders involved in thedevelopment and production of tourism products. The destination experience is essentially comprised of regions, Six As framework for the analysis of tourism destinations resources and amalgams of tourism facilities and services, Attractions (natural, man-made, arti which often do not belong to individuals. Instead they "cial, purpose built, heritage, represent a collection of both professional and personal Accessibility (entire transportation system comprising of routes, interests of all the people who live and work in the area.
terminals and vehicles) Managing often con#icting stakeholders' interests makes Amenities (accommodation and catering facilities, retailing, other controlling and marketing destinations as a whole ex- tourist services) Available packages (pre-arranged packages by intermediaries and tremely challenging. Hence, strategies and actions should take into account the wishes of all stakeholders, namely Activities (all activities available at the destination and what consumers indigenous people, businesses and investors, tourists, will do during their visit) tour operators and intermediaries, and interest groups.
Ancillary services (services used by tourists such as banks, tele- Perhaps, the most di communications, post, newsagents, hospitals, etc.) problem is ensuring the rational use of zero-priced public goods, such as D. Buhalis / Tourism Management 21 (2000) 97} 116 landscapes, mountains, and the sea for the bene"t of all to satisfy the needs and wants of stakeholders. Four key stakeholders and at the same time preserving the re- generic strategic objectives should be addressed by sources for future generations. Con#icts can easily devel- DMOs, as illustrated in Table 2. Fig. 1 demonstrates the op, especially when some (perhaps greedy) stakeholders dynamic wheel of tourism stakeholders. The develop- exploit resources for short-term bene"ts. A compromise ment and implementation of strategic objectives at desti- encompassing all these interests is extremely di$cult if nations depends on relationships between stakeholders not impossible, but is the key to long-term success and thus the implementation of the key generic strategic (Buhalis, 1999a; Buhalis & Fletcher, 1995; Jamal & Getz, objectives illustrated in Table 2 will be determined by the 1996; Yuksel, Bramwell & Yuksel, 1999; Palmer & Bejou, dynamics of the actors on this wheel. Naturally, each stakeholder aims to maximise the bene"ts emerging for And yet tourists perceive the destination as a brand themselves. Inevitably, the interests of some stakeholders comprising of a collection of suppliers and services.
may be con#icting with others and thus some of the four Before visiting they develop an image about destinations key strategic objectives may be jeopardised. This is often as well as a set of expectations based on previous experi- a result of some stakeholder trying to enhance its bene"t ence, word of mouth, press reports, advertising, and com- at the expense of others. For example, a tour operator mon beliefs (Chon, 1991,1992; Baloglu & Brinberg, 1997).
may try to reduce the prices paid to local suppliers in During their holiday, they consumea destinations as order to increase its pro"t margin and remain competi- a comprehensive experience, without often realising that tive in the marketplace. It is imperative, therefore, for each element of the product are produced and managed DMOs to use legislative and management tools during by individual players. Most service providers are small planning and management of destinations in order to and medium-sized tourism enterprises which have a wide ensure that the bene"ts of tourism activity is shared fairly range of strengths and weaknesses whilst are also charac- between all stakeholders and that sustainable practices terised by their independent nature (Buhalis & Cooper, safeguard the regeneration of resources utilised for the 1998; Cooper & Buhalis, 1992). Tourists' overall experi- production of tourism (Buhalis, 1995; Buhalis & Fletcher, ence is composed of numerous small encounters with 1995; Sautter & Leisen, 1999). Failure to ensure and a variety of tourism principals, such as taxi drivers, hotel- maintain a balance e!ectively jeopardises relationships iers, waiters, as well as with elements of the local attrac- between stakeholders, and threatens the achievement of tions such as museums, theatres, beaches, theme parks, the strategic objectives and the long-term competitive- etc. Their overall impression develops their image of ness and prosperity of destinations.
a destination after their visitation. As a consequence Hence, tourism marketing should not only be regarded there is much overlapping between strategic marketing of as a tool for attracting more visitors to a region, as it has the destination as a whole and of each individual supplier been the case for most destinations. Instead, tourism at the region. Hence, the competitiveness of each player isoften interrelated and almost indistinguishable from oneanother.
As consumers increasingly value environmental re- sources they are prepared to pay for them premiumprices (Pigram, 1996; Archer, 1996; Thomas, 1992; Gar-rod & Willis, 1992; Laarman & Gregersen, 1996). Hence,local resources become a central asset for destinationsand tourism suppliers and their sustainability a corefunction of tourism marketing. Middleton and Hawkins(1998, p. 8) state that a marketing perspective is essen-tially an overall management orientation re#ecting cor-porate attitudes that, in the case of travel and tourism,must balance the interests of shareholders/owners withthe long-run environmental interests of a destination andat the same time meet the demands and expectations ofcustomersa.
DMOs tend to be part of the local, regional or national government and have political and legislative power aswell as the "nancial means to manage resources ra-tionally and to ensure that all stakeholders can bene"t inthe long term. Destination management and marketingshould act as tools and facilitators to achieve a complex Fig. 1. The dynamic wheel of tourism stakeholders. Source: Adapted range of strategic objectives, which will ultimately need from Buhalis and Fletcher (1995).
D. Buhalis / Tourism Management 21 (2000) 97} 116 markets they can attract. It can then develop a product Strategic management and marketing objectives for destinations portfolio, which will enable the optimisation of bene"tsand adapt their marketing mix to their target markets Enhance the long-term prosperity of local people (McKercher, 1995; Tribe, 1997). Consumer behaviour Delight visitors by maximising their satisfactionMaximise pro studies indicate that a wide range of criteria is used to "tability of local enterprises and maximise select tourism products. These criteria are altered accord- Optimise tourism impacts by ensuring a sustainable balance between ing to the purpose and features of the trip, elements of the economic bene"ts and socio-cultural and environmental costs external environment, the characteristics of the travellerand the particularities and attributes of destinations. Sev-eral analysts have examined tourism consumer behaviour marketing should operate as a mechanism to facilitate in detail (Gilbert, 1991,1993; Swarbrooke & Horner, 1999; regional development objectives and to rationalise the Goodall, 1988,1991; Kent, 1991; Mansfeld, 1995; Mayo provision of tourism in order to ensure that the strategic & Jarvis, 1981; Sirakya, McLellan & Uysal, 1996; objectives of destinations are achieved. Tourism market- Mazanec, 1989; Mazanec & Zins, 1994; Moutinho, 1987; ing should also ensure equitable returns-on-resources- Ryan, 1997; Woodside & Lysonski, 1989).
utilised for the production and delivery of tourism Classifying travel behaviour and segmentation be- products, as well as the regeneration of these resources. It comes increasingly more di$cult as modern travellers should also provide suitable gains to all stakeholders combine pleasure with business, in order to achieve time involved in the tourism system. Hence, marketing should and cost advantage. There are therefore endless vari- be used as a strategic mechanism in co-ordination with ations between the two principle classi"cations of travel planning and management rather than a sales tool.
activities, i.e. business and leisure trips. However, leisure Destinations may also involve de-marketing, i.e., the trips may include elements, characteristics and motiva- discouragement of certain market segments from visiting tions of business travel and vice versa. Incentive travel- the destination during certain periods, through a range of ling, extended conference stays and business meetings prohibitive measures or by charging premium prices.
during leisure travel makes the distinction between the Examples of these techniques include: two categories increasingly blurred. Nevertheless, thetwo principle categories are fairly identi"able and they f visitor management techniques in theme parks which are treated di!erently in this text for simplifying the divert people from congested attractions to less busy concepts and marketing responses.
ones by using a leading story/attraction; Business trips are fairly in#exible and it is often di$cult f towns like Cambridge, which aims to attract only for travellers to select their destinations. Business travel, visitors who stay overnight and to discourage excur- often referred to as meetings}incentives}conferences}ex- sionists who contribute little to the local economy by hibitions (MICE), is normally determined by business controlling their parking processes; opportunities and involvement of the traveller with or- f Mauritius which provides high-quality resort accom- ganisations at the destination. Perhaps, more #exibility modation and does not allow charter #ights, therefore can be exercised by travelers attending optional meet- promoting high expenditure tourism; or ings, which provide bene"ts but are not strictly essential f Venice, which deters more visitors by charging pre- to their business such as conferences, exhibitions, incen- mium prices for all services o!ered and recently in- tives, familiarisation trips, etc. (Davidson, 1994). Even itiated negative advertisement to reduce mass tourism.
though business tourism is much more restricted in termsof choice, destinations providing a high-degree of e$- In this way marketing is used as a mechanism to achieve ciency and safety, as well as elegance and leisure oppor- strategic objectives of destination regions and thus, should tunities tend to be preferred for conferences and incentive be guided by the policies for regional development.
travel. Business travel is seasonal, as people do not gener-ally travel less during the holiday seasons, i.e., summermonths and public holidays. Nevertheless, business 4. Main markets and destination choice tourism provide much higher revenue for enterprises asconsumers are willing to pay more for their in#exible Understanding destination types and characteristics is schedules and also destinations can increase their multi- of paramount importance for its marketing. Each desti- plier e!ects as some particular forms of business tourism nation can only match certain types of demand and use a much greater spectrum of local services than leisure hence tourism marketers need to appreciate travel mo- tourism. Convenient transportation connections with tivations in order to develop appropriate o!erings and major cities around the world, smooth arrangements brand destinations for the right target markets. In addi- at the destination and adequate provision of busi- tion, destinations should be aware not only of the needs ness related amenities are therefore very important.
and wants of the active demand but also of the potential Urban destinations in developed countries with strong D. Buhalis / Tourism Management 21 (2000) 97} 116 economic activity and vibrant markets tend to receive the muneration for them. This will also enable destinations majority of business tra$c, as a result of the business to manage their resources accordingly and attract the meetings taking place locally. The location of meeting right market segments in order to optimise their impacts.
partners, host organisations, as well as company policy Nevertheless, for both leisure and business markets, may determine the selection of destinations for business perhaps the most important criterion for selecting to visit travel. In addition, corporate rates, membership of or not to visit a destination is its image. Image is the set of loyalty clubs (i.e., frequent #yer or frequent guest) as well expectations and perceptions a prospective traveller has as the availability of service providers are some addi- of a destination. Past experience of the destination or the tional criteria used to identify suitable destinations and companies involved (i.e., airlines, hotels, tour operators); service providers for the MICE market (O'Brien, 1998; descriptions by friends and relatives; general information; BTA, 1999; Vlitos-Rowe, 1994).
and marketing campaigns develop these expectations Leisure travellers, on the other hand, use a much more and perception which may be true or imaginary repres- complex set of criteria in selecting their destination. They entations. (Baloglu & Brinberg, 1997; Chon, 1991,1992; have a much higher price elasticity and therefore, price Chacko, 1997). Interestingly, the sustainability of local is a key element in the decision making process resources becomes one of the most important elements of (Gilbert, 1991,1993; Swarbrooke & Horner, 1999; Good- destination image, as a growing section of the market is all, 1988,1991; Mayo & Jarvis, 1981). In addition, leisure not prepared to tolerate over-developed tourism destina- travellers are often time sensitive as families with children tions and diverts to more environmentally advanced re- cannot travel during school time, creating the seasonality gions. The degree of consumer satisfaction will depend problem for the industry. However, di!erent market seg- on the assessment of the perceived overall experience of ments have dissimilar seasonality patterns. For example, the destination versus anticipated expectations and per- pensioners and elderly people tend to travel during the ceptions. Developing the right image for destinations will low season to bene"t from discounts, whilst Scandina- therefore determine their ability to satisfy visitors as it vian tourists tend to stay home during the summer will allow them to develop realistic and ful"l-able expec- months in order to enjoy the whether. School children tations (Morgan & Pritchard, 1998; Seaton, 1997; Pearce, and University students go on "eld research trips or excursions during the low season. Therefore, destinationshave to identify the seasonality patterns of their variousmarkets and attract compatible segments, which will 5. Types of destinations, target markets and marketing enable them to maximise their total yield (both average strategies required expenditure and occupancy levels) (O'Brien, 1996). It isalso important to understand other factors that in#uence Developing a destination typology is a di$cult task, as the decision of consumers to purchase. The social status di!erent visitors use destinations for di!erent purposes.
and peer groups of consumers often in#uence what is Nevertheless, most destinations can be classi"ed in sev- acceptable and desirable as a destination. Travel inter- eral categories which represent their principle attractive- mediaries also play a signi"cant role in determining the ness, as illustrated in Table 3. Understanding and destination decision of consumers by using a wide range appreciating the type of destination enables marketers of promotional techniques and often channelling travel- to develop a suitable destination marketing mixes and lers to destinations and principals who o!er higher re- deliver them to the appropriate target markets.
Table 3Types of destinations * main target markets and activities undertaken Type of Destination Authentic third World Exploring business opportunities}incentives D. Buhalis / Tourism Management 21 (2000) 97} 116 Urban destinations have been involved in tourism since ces. The globalisation experienced reduces distances and the early years of the civilisation. People used to travel to enables people to travel further a"eld. Examples include cities and towns to meet politicians and business associ- destinations such as Goa and Bali which take advantage ates. Sports organisations, such as the Olympic Games in of developments in transportation and attract travellers.
ancient Greece also generated tourism activity in main Examples of seaside destinations and resorts can be iden- cities. People also travelled to cities on pilgrimage for ti"ed globally (see for example Jenner & Smith, 1993; religious purposes, as this is where all major cathedrals, Gayle & Goodrich, 1993; Lockhart & Drakakis-Smith, mosques and temples were usually located. Urban desti- 1997; Morgan, 1995; Brigulio, Archer, Jafari & Wall, nations have also been attracting business travellers at- 1996; Briguglio, Butler, Harrison & Filho, 1996; Shaw & tending meetings, conferences and exhibitions. Most Williams, 1997; Conlin & Baum, 1995; Towner & Newton, urban destinations are well equipped with conference and exhibition halls and transportation and accommo- Alpine destinations attract leisure travellers for winter dation infrastructure to facilitate the organisation of lar- sports, such as skiing, as well as holidaymakers who ger events. Urban destinations also attract leisure appreciate natural attractions in all seasons. They also travellers, especially during periods of low business attract activity holidaymakers such as naturalists, moun- travelling activity, such as weekends and school holidays.
tain cyclists, walkers, etc. Although, the majority of al- Suppliers and facilities aim to reduce seasonality by de- pine sports are for recreational purposes a wide range of veloping the number of leisure visitors, despite the fact expeditions and challenges are organised for mountains that they can only charge a fraction of the price they such as the Everest or the Alps. Lakes may also o!er charge business travellers. On the other hand, leisure facilities for sea sports such as sur"ng and skiing. Al- travellers can take advantage of some of the unique though the majority of alpine resorts are in near proxim- facilities and services of urban destinations to enjoy ity to urban centres and thus can easily be accessed by short-breaks or extended weekends. London for example private car, several are still unexplored and o!er auth- provides a wide range of heritage attractions as well as entic experiences for travellers. Lakes and scenic land- entertainment opportunities such as theatre, concerts, scapes make alpine resorts increasingly more popular for bars, theme restaurants, discos, etc. Barcelona o!ers ex- conference and incentive tourists and thus a certain busi- cellent conference facilities, combined with a culturally ness travelling activity can be observed in the last few interesting and relaxed atmosphere. New York is highly years. The development of important business, political regarded for shopping, sight seeing and theatre going.
and economic meetings, such as the Davos Forum, at- Urban destinations also attract education and health tract a new market segment and expand the season for tourists, as they are generally equipped with good educa- winter resorts. As a result a wide range of marketing and tional establishments and hospitals. Increasingly, urban planning implications emerge to allow alpine areas to resorts take advantage of their industrial heritage and use bene"t from tourism and yet to ensure the sustainability obsolete industrial sites as educational experiences and of their resources (Johnston & Edwards, 1994; Weier- leisure facilities. The Docklands in Liverpool and coal mair, 1993; Khan, 1994).
mines in Skipton are good examples of these facilities Rural tourism is also developing rapidly. Farmers and (Berg, Borg & Meer, 1995; Law, 1996,1993; Page, 1994; rural populations take advantage of the desire of travel- Mazanec, 1997).
lers to go back to nature and experience some authentic Seaside destinations and resorts traditionally serve agricultural processes. Hence agricultural facilities are tourists on holidays. Travellers from Northern regions often transformed to leisure activities. Tourism is re- and climates tend to spend a proportion of their annual garded as a development tool for several regions where holiday in the South where they can enjoy sunshine as their agriculture declines steadily or where people would well as sea sports. Seaside resorts nearby the place of like to diversify their living and working patterns. Tour- residence were replaced by international destinations as ists can stay in rural areas and contribute to agricultural a result of the emergence of mass tourism since the 1970s.
activities taking place or assume a more passive role.
For example, in the U.K. traditional resorts such Black- There is an educational element to this activity parti- pool, Scarborough, Bournemouth and Brighton were cularly for children from urban centres who may have replaced by the Spanish Costas through the development never experienced agricultural life. Rural tourism can of package holidays. Typically, European leisure travel- also be themed according to the activities undertaken, lers will take their annual holiday at Mediterranean such as cooking or bee-keeping schools organised in seaside resorts, whilst Northern Americans visit South- rural regions. Examples of this form of tourism can be ern regions such as Florida, California and the Cari- identi"ed globally (Page & Getz, 1997; Sharpley bbean. As the product in traditional seaside resorts & Sharpley, 1997; Oppermann, 1996).
matures, new long haul and exotic destinations, often in Destinations in authentic (often Third World) countries less-developed countries attract sophisticated travellers are often o! the beaten track. Tourists enjoy authentic who are looking for authentic and o!-the-track experien- experiences in places which have experienced limited D. Buhalis / Tourism Management 21 (2000) 97} 116 tourism development. Emerging destinations in Asia, Table 4Contribution of marketing research to destination marketing South America and Africa attract a small number of adventurous tourists who are prepared to forego their Identi"cation of the main attributes anticipated by each market comfort in order to interact with local communities and unspoiled surroundings. Although these regions may de- Design and attributes required for tourism products and services velop at a later stage to mass tourism destinations, they Evaluation and development of destination imageSegmentation of market and development of corresponding need to be planned properly in order to sustain their resources. They often lack the required infrastructure Opening new markets and reducing dependency on existing ones to deliver tourism services (Silver, 1993; Hughes, 1995; Evaluation of the elasticity of demand for each market segment So"eld, 1991).
Reduction of seasonality by matching market segments Finally, certain destinations are branded unique- Examination of reasons deterring people (suppressed demand) from visiting destinations exotic-exclusive as they are regarded to o!er a unique Assessment of compatibility with other target markets and precious experience. As a result, these destinations Examination of alternative distribution channels are promoted as one-in-a-life-timea experience and Assessment of tourism impacts to the destination and selecting the they are charged at premium prices. Examples include Bhutan, Mauritius, and Seychelles. In some destina- Evaluation of marketing e!ectiveness and selection of media for tions, there are several mechanisms controlling thenumber of visitors, often through managing their trans- !Source: Adapted from Baker et al. (1994); Ritchie (1996) and Calan- portation and accommodating capacity or immigration tone and Mazanec (1991).
procedures and visa allowances. These destinationsfocus on the non-charter and non-mass traveller reducingtheir visitation but maximising their income per visitor.
They often epitomise the dream of the average traveller Marketing research should not be limited to before and thus are packaged and priced as prestigious special visitation investigations. As tourism demand is extremely products, for instance for weddings, honeymoons, dynamic, marketing research needs to follow constant anniversaries or a special occasion trip, or for incentive developments to ensure that all elements of the destina- tion marketing mix evolve continuously. Surveys duringand after visitation enable destinations to identify weak-nesses and concentrate their corrective action. Data is 6. Marketing research: identifying market segments often collected by frontier controls, airports and trans- for destination products port authorities, national statistics o$ces, local councils,tax o$ces as well as principals such as hotels, travel Marketing research is used extensively by destination agencies, etc. The e!ectiveness of marketing research in marketers to identify the types of customers that can be destinations will depend on their ability to co-ordinate attracted (active demand), as well as the prospective the research activities undertaken by the entire range of visitors (suppressed demand) who do not visit for a var- local authorities and organisations. It is therefore very iety of reasons (Athiyaman, 1997). Approaching the right important to co-ordinate all these surveys and data in target market and providing the most appropriate com- order to produce meaningful inferences to inform and bination of local tourism products and services is the guide tourism policy and marketing strategies (March, secret for successful destinations. Product design and 1994; Hawes, Taylor & Hampe, 1991).
formulation should therefore be based on research(Baker, Hozier & Rogers, 1994; Ritchie, 1996; Calantone& Mazanec, 1991; Hu & Ritchie, 1993). As tourism 7. Marketing destinations: strategies and practices bundles are formulated ad-hoc to satisfy speci"c con-sumer requests, a dynamic marketing research process Developing a marketing strategy and mix for destina- will enable destinations to provide unique products by tions is a complex process, mainly because there are initiating local partnerships between all suppliers to ad- many independent stakeholders and principals involved.
dress the needs of demand. Destination image is also Destinations cannot be managed or marketed as enter- developed through marketing research, which guides prises, due to the dynamics of interests and bene"ts promotional activities towards branding and amending sought by stakeholders. In addition, most destinations the brand values of the region. The e!ectiveness of pro- are amalgams of independent SMTEs, which already motional campaigns can be assessed so that the most follow their own marketing strategies. Although DMOs cost-e!ective media is used to approach and persuade have traditionally taken marketing responsibility for the target markets to visit the destination (Woodside, 1990).
destination product, they fail to control marketing Table 4 illustrates the contribution of marketing research activities and mixes of individual players and hence can to destination marketing.
only co-ordinate and guide, rather than undertake D. Buhalis / Tourism Management 21 (2000) 97} 116 a comprehensive marketing strategy. Perhaps the most their life cycle and illustrates how that e!ects their important challenge for destination marketing therefore tourism impacts. This also illustrates that di!erent stages is to bring all individual partners together to cooperate of the life cycle require di!erent marketing strategies and rather than compete and to pool resources towards de- planning actions. This is largely due to the di!erences veloping an integrated marketing mix and delivery sys- between demand and supply experienced at di!erent tem (Buhalis & Cooper, 1998; Fayos-Sola, 1996).
levels. In the early stages demand exceeds supply whilst The international tourist industry is becoming an this relationship is reversed in the maturity and consolida- increasingly competitive marketplace where only the tion stages. As a result, marketing strategies should focus best-managed destinations are likely to prosper. Com- on building awareness and promoting the destination prehensive strategic business plans therefore need to ad- product on the early stages of the circle while they prob- dress all factors that have an impact on the product.
ably have to deal with image alteration and re-design and Tourism strategies should not only concentrate on visita- re-launch the product at the later stages. The entire mar- tion, but also include the entire range of impacts such as keting mix therefore will need to be di!erentiated to ac- overcrowding, environmental problems, visitor safety commodate the needs of destinations at each stage of their and security, seasonality problems, and sensitivity to life cycle. In addition, Fig. 2 highlights that destinations local culture (Evans, Fox & Johnson, 1995). This will experience di!erent environmental and socio-cultural im- enable destinations to develop comprehensive strategies pacts during their di!erent development stages. As a result to ful"l all strategic objectives illustrated in Table 2.
they need to use marketing to encourage sustainable prac-tices for both consumers and industry as well as to com- 7.1. The position of destinations and their marketing municate their environmental and socio-cultural policies.
It is evident, therefore, that di!erent destinations are Perhaps one additional complication to tourism mar- a!ected in a dissimilar pattern on each stage of their life keting is that in most cases destinations have already cycle and as a consequence they require speci"c market- a rich history, image and legacy development which need ing action. For example Northern European coastal re- to be taken into consideration when developing tourism sorts have experienced declining visitor numbers and marketing strategies. Not only consumers develop cer- decay which has resulted to alteration of main use of tain images and views about places, but also previous facilities as well as a concentration on few expanding development often provides several limits for marketing markets (e.g. senior citizens, conferences and language to address as well as stakeholders who need to be respect- schools). In contrast, the majority of coastal regions in ed and consulted. Understanding therefore the stage and Southern Europe face a decline of tourism bene"ts, roots of tourism development is critical for development rather than numbers of visitors as a result of their pro- a strategy. One of the most widely used tools for under- gression from one stage of the cycle to the next one.
taking this task is the destination life cycle (Butler, 1980).
Paradoxically, in most cases the number of visitors The main utility of the destination life cycle is to facilitate increase, mainly due to the price reductions used to the understanding the evolution of tourist products and stimulate demand. Established mass tourism destina- destinations and it to provide guidance for strategic deci- tions, such as Benidorm, use a high-volume low-pro"t sion taking. Cooper (1989,1992,1994) suggests that the margin strategy to ensure their pro"tability and they are life cycle concept illustrates that destinations experience successful in increasing their visitors. They also reinvest a birth to deatha cycle and that the life cycle model has on their facilities and introduce quality standards mecha- gained attention in tourism and hospitality as an ex- nisms. However unless carefully managed any increase of planatory tool. Although in tourism, life cycle analysis is visitors may deteriorate local resources further and push often seen as a useful conceptualisation tool for destina- destinations in greater decline, which can force to further tion area development, in hospitality management it is price reductions and further quality decrease. This is beginning to be used as a guide for strategic planning.
a vicious circle which eventually makes the purpose and However, the main problems relate to identifying turning bene"t of the entire tourism activity at the destination points, stages, length of stages and level of aggregation.
questionable. Clearly, therefore resorts will need to take Despite the many criticisms of the life cycle concept, it is into consideration the phase of development there are in quite critical for marketers to appreciate the stage of as well as the patterns of destination life cycle experi- development of resort areas (Haywood, 1986). A number enced in competing destinations and adopt their strategic of researchers have used the cycle as a framework for analysing changing destinations (Agarwal, 1997; Shaw& Williams, 1997; Formica & Uysal, 1996; Tooman, 7.2. Strategic marketing for destinations and 1997; Douglas, 1997; Choy, 1992; Getz, 1992; Ahmed strengthening their competitiveness & Krohn, 1990; Cooper & Jackson, 1989).
Based on the above literature, Fig. 2 synthesises the Competitive strategy is the search for a favourable di!erent stages destinations are going through during competitive position in an industrya. This is a function of D. Buhalis / Tourism Management 21 (2000) 97} 116 Fig. 2. Destination life cycle and tourism impacts.
D. Buhalis / Tourism Management 21 (2000) 97} 116 both the attractiveness of the industry and the relative Ultimately, the competitiveness of destinations depends competitive position within that particular industry, on their ability to maximise their performance for each as well as alternative activities that an organisation individual element assessed.
can undertake. Competitive strategy aims to establisha pro"table and sustainable position against the forces 7.3. Strategy formulation for destinations that determine industry competitiona (Porter, 1985).
Competitiveness is, therefore, de"ned here as the e!ort This paper reviews three strategy models, namely Por- and achievement of long term pro"tability, above the ter's generic strategies, Gilbert's proposition for di!er- average of the particular industry within which they entiation of the destinationa and Poon's analysis for operate as well as above alternative investment oppor- #exible specialisationa. The paper then synthesises their tunities in other industries. This de"nition includes the propositions in order to propose a generic strategy and concept of opportunity cost and illustrates that successful illustrate how destinations should develop their o!erings.
organisations should not only compete within theirparticular industry but also against other investment 7.3.1. Porter's generic strategies opportunities. When referring to tourism destinations Porter (1980) proposed three main strategies (see the competitiveness should also include the sustainability of Generic Strategies Graph in Porter, 1980), aimed to out- local resources for ensuring the maintenance of long- perform other "rms in an industrya, i.e.: term success as well as the achievement of equitable f overall cost leadership, where organisations are returns-on-resources utilised to satisfy all stakeholders.
required to minimise their costs, based on mass pro- There is little written about the competitiveness of duction and strict cost control of the main business tourism destinations. Bordas (1994a,b) has developed several frameworks which determine destination com- petitiveness. They are based on demand and supply as werentiation of products or services o!ered by cre- ating something that is perceived industry-wide as well as a wide range of factors in#uenced by the external environment of the destination. Ritchie and Crouch f focus on a particular buyer group, segment of the (1993) have developed a comprehensive model for product line or geographical marketa and achieve tourism organisations (see "gure in Goeldner, Ritchie either cost leadership or product di & MacIntosh, 2000, p. 26), which can be analysed further to include the entire range of factors a!ecting the com- This is well-developed generic model, which is widely petitiveness of destinations.
used to all industries. It provides clear guidance for The framework explains that the prosperity of destina- decision makers to position their products in order to tion depends on the competitiveness of all economic maximise pro"tability and improve their competitive- sectors as well as the competitiveness of tourism. A fur- ness. However, this model fails to address the speci"c ther analysis illustrates the competitiveness of tourism is needs of tourism and in particular the scarcity of re- a function of several factors related to destination admin- sources at the destination level. Therefore, similarly with istration. A wide range of elements are included in the commodities this model suggests unlimited resources are model illustrating that tourism is a!ected by an endless available to reproduce endless number of products. This number of factors in its internal and external environ- is particularly the case for the cost leadership strategy ment. Although the model fails to rate the importance of where organisations are urged to increase their volume each of the elements examined, it is suggested that a dis- and to reduce their pro"t margin. Unfortunately, envir- similar rating should be adopted by di!erent destinations onmental resources, both natural (e.g. coral reefs or depending on the types of markets they attract, their life mountain landscapes) and man-made (e.g. archaeological cycle stage and speci"c characteristics. Nevertheless, the sites or architectural structures) have a limited capacity contribution of the Ritchie and Crouch lies on the com- which they can accommodate. Resources in tourism are prehensiveness and wideness of the elements taken into irreplaceable once destroyed and therefore a strategy consideration. The model highlights that it is the combi- should ensure that their use is limited to the degree that nation of all factors comprising the competitiveness of does not threat their sustainability in the long term. Once destinations as well as synergies between these elements this is understood and appreciated, Porter's model en- that determine the attractiveness of a region. Perhaps ables tourism marketers to focus on di!erentiation strat- future research will attach ratings to each factor for egies and to develop their mix accordingly. However, speci"c types of destination and also illustrate potential several destinations, which are on the consolidation tradeo!s that consumers may consider. Consumers may phase of their life cycle, have exceeded the maximum be willing to compromise some elements for some others, capacity which would have enabled them to sustain their for example overcrowdness for cheaper price in some resources. Their ability to promote di!erentiated tourism Spanish Costas. Understanding the values and prime products has also been jeopardised, as over-development aims would be critical for developing the module further.
has exploited and damaged their resources. This is


D. Buhalis / Tourism Management 21 (2000) 97} 116 experienced in some mass tourism destinations, such as tourists, who appreciate the uniqueness of their resources Benidorm and Costa Brava in Spain, or Faliraki and and o!erings. Although the model clearly di!erentiates Malia in Greece. Once destinations have reached that destinations to distinctive categories it fails to recognise stage there is limited choice. The majority try to attract that the majority of destinations lay between the two more mass tourism so they can increase their pro"tability ends of the continuum. It also fails to relate to the through volume. Increasingly, however, some regions di!erent stages of the life cycle and to the inevitability aim to renovate their properties and facilities and re- experienced in several regions where destinations are launch their o!erings. The Calvia example in Mallorca, launched as status areas and gradually slip to commodity which decided to demolish three hotels in order to im- status (Buhalis, 1999a). Nevertheless, the model clearly prove public areas and to enhance the quality of its contributes to tourism marketing by correlating product products set new best practices which may be followed by attributes with willingness to pay and also by illustrating other regions.
clearly that destinations should decide on what directionthey should plan and manage their resources and facilities.
7.3.2. Gilbert's strategic framework Based on the above rational the second strategic 7.3.3. Poon's yexible specialisation framework introduced by Gilbert (1984,1990) argues that A third strategic approach for tourism is proposed by destinations can be classi"ed on a continuum between Poon (1989,1993), based on the concept of #exible a statusa and a commoditya area, as illustrated in specialisationa of the tourism business. Poon examines Fig. 3. Status areasa achieve intentional demand as the tourism industry processes and proposes a strategy to a result of the unique product attributes perceived by the enable tourism organisations to improve their com- tourism market. These unique attributes may be genuine petitiveness. Poon argues that #exible specialisationa is or imaginative and thus, a destination is regarded as a strategy of permanent innovationa and ceaseless irreplaceable, which increases consumers' loyalty and changea which provides for new tourisma. New tourism willingness to pay. In the commodity statusa case, desti- is #exible, segmented, customised to the tourist's needs nations are substitutable, very sensitive to price and and diagonally integrated. In contrast, old tourism can economic changes, while consumers have a low aware- be characterised as mass, standardised and rigidly ness of any unique bene"ts or attributes. Thus, travellers packageda. The main sources of #exibility for service base their decision to visit the area merely on price, while in the organisation, management, marketing, the demand for the destination is incidental and destina- distribution and other forms of interaction and interre- tions are unable to attract high spenders. Despite the fact lationships among guests, hotels, suppliers, distributors.
that the sustainability of resources is not discussed ex- What is important however is not each of these stand- plicitly by the model, it is quite evident that status alone aspects but how they are coupled to create com- areasa manage their resources as product attributes and petitive advantages and hence, capabilities to move with therefore are appreciated by consumers who are willing the marketa (Poon, 1993). This is a timely model, which to pay more.
predicted the impact of information technology on the Gilbert (1990) asserts that destinations should attempt both decision making and consumer behaviour. Industry to become status areasa, rather than a commodity innovation is critical in this strategy and the utilisation of areaa one, in order to improve their image, loyalty and new technology provides the opportunity to customise economic bene"ts. It is suggested that destinations products according to customers' speci"c requirements.
should di!erentiate their tourism products in order to Hence destinations can organise their assets and achieve a unique tourist product bene"ta. This will attributes in such a way which will enable them to enable them to establish their position in the interna- specialise their tourism product according to particular tional market, and attract both high spenders and loyal demand needs.
Fig. 3. Gilbert's di!erentiation strategy. Source: Adapted from Gilbert (1990, p. 25).
D. Buhalis / Tourism Management 21 (2000) 97} 116 Although Poon's model revolutionised tourism think- ness to pay, and are against demand trends. In addition, ing it is still di$cult to implement at the destination level.
the high-volume-low-pro"t marginsa strategy has cata- The majority of infrastructure and superstructure is strophic social and environmental impacts on destina- based on "xed assets, which cannot be altered easily and tions. As a result, not only their sustainability may be therefore they have a limited degree of #exibility. This is jeopardised but also the competitiveness of the region as more evident at destinations at the consolidation stages, a whole. E!ectively, these strategies push destinations which are unable to reinvent themselves and approach through their life cycle stages and force them to reach new markets. Nevertheless, the model clearly contributes their consolidation stage. Destinations therefore should to the "eld by encouraging tourism organisations and de"ne and not exceed their carrying capacities in order to destinations to challenge existing strategies and practices sustain their resources and at the same avoid jeopardis- and to forcing them to approach new tourism with new ing consumers satisfaction.
tools introduced by technology. Concentrating on core This is re#ected on both Gilbert and Poon's strategies functions and outsourcing all peripheral activities to net- which agree that destinations should aim to achieve works of virtual co-operations should enable destina- a status areaa or nichea orientation through di!erenti- tions and enterprises to innovate and to adapt to the ation, in order to increase consumer satisfaction as well needs of consumers constantly.
as to maximise the bene"ts for tourism regions. Thisstrategy is already adopted in several resort areas, such as 7.3.4. Synthesis of strategic frameworks and lessons Valencia in Spain, where it is recognised that the need for for strategic destination marketing diversi"cation and di!erentiation has now become es- The discussion of the three models provides several sential owing to the level of competitiveness that has interesting lessons. A close examination of strategies re- been attained (and can be foreseen) in the world tourist veals that they share a similar base. Porter's di!erenti- marketa (Fayos-Sola, 1992). It is also particularly useful ationa, Gilbert's status areaa and Poon's #exible for insular, peripheral and remote destinations, where specialisationa describe how "rms and destinations can a limited number of economic and "nancial resources are achieve value-competitive advantages. Consumers ap- available. However, this strategy should not serve as an preciate special attributes and values and as a result they excuse for principals at destinations for not improving are inclined to visit areas more regularly, to increase their their e$ciency and minimising their production costs.
loyalty and to pay higher prices. In contrast, cost leader- Although providing unique service to satisfy tourist shipa, commodity areaa and standardisationa or the needs should be their priority, o!ering perceived value Fordism production modela describe the e!orts of "rms for money would determine their competitiveness in the or destinations to achieve cost competitive advantagea marketplace (Murphy & Pritchard, 1997). As most desti- by o!ering their products for less than their competitors.
nations consist of networks of tourism suppliers and This is achieved through economies of scale, standardisa- principals, there is much overlapping between the stra- tion and mass production. Destinations and tourism tegic orientation followed at the macro and micro level.
products are treated as commodities and decisions are Hence a close collaboration between the private and merely based on price. Hence the underlying concept of public sector is required. Destinations and enterprises the two alternative strategies is the relationship between following a status areaa strategy would probably en- volume and price. The "rst set of strategies supports hance tourists' satisfaction, as well as their competitive- a low-volume-high-pro"t margina approach, where ness. The formulation of unique and customised products each consumer is paying premium prices for unique by using #exibility and co-operation will also increase products, whilst the second set of strategies follows tourists' willingness to pay and their loyalty, while a high-volume-low-pro"t margina approach.
responding to new tourism demand trends.
Tourism destinations should avoid the cost advantage Unfortunately, some destinations can no longer be strategies as they are based on mass production and positioned as irreplaceable unique products, due to consumption and assume unlimited production capacity over-development and degradation of their resources.
and resources. The inseparability of the tourism product Tourism supply has exceeded their carrying capacity and determines that consumers should be present at the time they have reached the saturation or decline phases of of product delivery. Therefore, the interaction of con- their life cycle. For example several Mediterranean cos- sumers with socio-cultural and environmental scarce re- tasa have been overdeveloped to such an extent that only sources can decay the very reasons, which attract people a high-volume, low-pro"t margin orientation is feasible.
to places. Seasonality also generates demand peaks and When resorts reach their saturation level only a cost in#ates the problem during certain periods every year.
leadershipa or mass productiona strategy can be em- Although economic bene"ts can also be achieved by ployed, as they are unable to provide any speci"c tourist using the commodity areaa or the standard product product bene"ta. The attraction of the lower end of the modela, it is argued that on the long term these ap- market is inevitable and as a consequence, there are no proaches reduce tourist satisfaction, consumer willing- alternative strategies. In this case, the minimisation of D. Buhalis / Tourism Management 21 (2000) 97} 116 further social and environmental damages as well as goods. Understanding the core product as well as the attempts to improve the surrounding environment facilitating, supportive and augmented products for each should also be the primary objective.
target market is of paramount importance for destination In addition, a re-positioning of the product can also be marketing. The augmented environment will include attempted although it is quite di$cult to alter the image intangible elements such as interaction and customer of destinations. For example the Calvia Municipality in participation as well as accessibility and physical envi- Mallorca has implemented a dynamic plan for enhancing ronment (Kotler, Bowen & Makens, 1996, p. 276).
the quality of the tourism o!ering through the enhance- DMOs have an overall responsibility for the entire ment of the landscape and the regeneration of environ- destination product and through incentives and policies mental resources. As a result, intentional demand has facilitate the development of products, which is desirable increased and a higher willingness to pay is experienced, from the demand side, and at the same time does not enhancing the pro"tability of the private sector and jeopardise local resources. DMOs should therefore be boosting the economic impacts of tourism. Another suc- the guardians of the image and resources of destinations.
cessful example of destination management and market- However, throughout the world tourism services are of- ing is also Las Vegas. Although it is not yet on the fered by small and medium tourism enterprises (SMTEs) maturity level, the local industry constantly undertakes which tend to be family managed. The challenge for initiatives to reinvent and reposition itself. They diversi"- destination management organisations is therefore to ed their target markets by developing theme parks within provide leadership in the development of innovative major hotels in order to attract families and young chil- products and create local partnerships for the delivery of dren. Several new hotels open every year while older seamless experiences. These partnerships should bring properties are being renovated, often by demolishing and together both private and public sector and should en- rebuilding them. The old stripa was also relaunched to sure that the long-term competitiveness of the tourism attract visitors from the new hotels and casinos by cover- product prevails all decision making processes (Buhalis ing the street and projecting a lazer show.
& Cooper, 1998).
DMOs also need to enhance and diwerentiate their products by emphasising their uniqueness. Destination 8. Destination marketing mix marketers often adopt a mass tourism orientation, be-cause they falsely believe that tourism products can grow Once a tourism management and marketing strategy inde"nitely. Hence, generic characteristics of destinations has been decided destinations will have to develop their are frequently emphasised in all marketing campaigns as marketing mix. This will enable them to approach each they attempt to attract too many target markets. Sun and target market with a comprehensive range of o!erings sea dominate the promotion of Mediterranean destina- and to propose an integrated solution to consumer needs tions; exotic surroundings are emphasised for long haul and wants. Developing a marketing mix for destinations destinations and skiing is o!ered by Alpine resorts. How- will depend on each destination, the types of target mar- ever, it is increasingly evident that new-sophisticated kets and a whole range of issues on the external environ- consumers seek authentic and unique experiences. They ment. Nevertheless, some principles need to be addressed are also willing to pay a premium, but only if the product and the following text illustrates examples and frame- is signi"cantly better than that of competitors. Hence, works which can assist destination marketers to decide destinations will need to re-assess the entire range of their on the most appropriate marketing mixes.
resources and identify suitable tourism products for eachparticular target market segment.
8.1. Formulating the destination product Themed or alternative tourism enables destinations to provide unique experiences and achieve their status area.
Destinations are amalgams of individually produced For example, Greece could concentrate on its heritage tourism amenities and services (accommodation, trans- and history and o!er ancient/mythology experiences; portation, catering, entertainment, etc.) and a wide range of public goods (such as landscape, scenery, sea, lakes, themes; Romania should explore the Dracula myth; and socio-cultural surroundings, atmosphere, etc.). All these Bali should concentrate on the unique religious rituals elements are branded together under the name of the and cultural traditions. Natural, agricultural, cultural, destination. The ubiquity of the destination concept ef- artistic, heritage, resources of destinations can be used fectively means that the tourism product for each pro- accordingly. Tourism should also contribute to the pres- spective traveller is very subjective and depends heavily ervation of these resources by increasing the awareness of on his/her image and expectations of the place. Neverthe- both locals and visitors and by providing funds for the less, the tourism product for a region consists of the conservation and regeneration of resources. Attracting entire range of facilities and services o!ered locally, plus appropriate target market segments should also assist all socio-cultural, environmental resources and public the reduction of seasonality, as special theme o!erings, as D. Buhalis / Tourism Management 21 (2000) 97} 116 well as festivals and events should enable destinations In several leisure destinations tour operators also play to increase their demand during the low season. For a critical role in determining the price consumers pay for example, the renovation of physical features and natural products locally. This has signi"cant implications for resources on Mallorca, or the development of innovative regions which depend on intermediaries (tour operators) new products such as Festivals and themed experiences for their clientele, and in particular for destinations which (e.g. Edinburgh New Year's Eve and summer festivals) have an oversupply of facilities. Tour operators in also enable destinations to manage their product life Europe and especially the larger/mass/integrated oper- cycle e!ectively. The aim is to maintain the destination ators, such as Airtours, Thomson, TUI, and Neckerman, to the maturity/consolidation stages and to avoid the exercise bargaining and coercive power because of the stagnation, saturation and decline stages in their life large volume of tourists they represent and reduce the prices of principals at destinations. This enables them too!er competitively priced products at their marketplace.
8.2. Pricing the destination However, as local suppliers may not be able to gainenough pro"t from the basic product (i.e., accommoda- A wide range of pricing techniques are applicable to tion and transfers) they may need to overprice other tourism destinations (Meidan, 1995; Kotler et al., 1996).
element of the product (i.e., catering, entertainment, local However, pricing is a di$cult process for destinations as excursions) in order to boost their pro"tability (Buhalis, it is often determined by the pricing and marketing pol- icies of individual enterprises both at the destination and The higher the expenditure of tourists locally, the bet- distributors at the place of origin. Local suppliers can ter it is for destinations, as it increases the pro"tability of have their own policy and thus co-ordinating and estab- local enterprises and enhances the economic bene"ts.
lishing a destination wide pricing strategy is almost Consumers take into consideration the total cost of unachievable. Furthermore, national economic policies a trip, i.e., before, during and after their visit. In most and economic conditions in the international market- cases they have not visited the destination before they place also in#uence pricing. Therefore, both macro- purchase their travel product. Hence, pricing plays an and microeconomics determine the pricing function of important role in determining the image of destinations.
tourism organisations locally and destinations. The cost Perhaps the biggest travel expenditure is transport to of living and employment, as well as in#ation, exchange and from the destination, especially for long haul trips, rates and local e$ciency and competition all contribute and thus can determine the willingness and ability of to the pricing equation. Tourism in Japan is inevitably travellers to visit destinations.
much more expensive than tourism in Indonesia due to Destinations can only charge premium prices if they the di!erences between the two economies. Macroeco- o!er a unique experience. Venice for example pro"ts nomic changes have great in#uence on the pricing of from its unique product attributes and charges substan- destination and the attraction of consumers. For in- tially higher prices than other Italian destinations. How- stance, the depreciation of the Spanish Peseta and the ever, increasingly consumers are unimpressed by tourism Greek Drachma as well as the high in#ation rate of the facilities and products, as they have travelled extensively Turkish Lira have all determined the pricing of their and have acquired a wealth of experiences. Global com- destinations and have in#uenced their competitiveness petition and oversupply, as well as the emergence of new (Edwards, 1993).
destinations in third world countries with lower labour Pricing the destination and all the individual elements costs, generate frequent price wars especially for con- of the local tourism product is a very complex process.
strained capacity at the last minute. As a result, con- Principals tend to have their own pricing mix and pol- sumers are increasingly prepared to pay less for getting icies. DMOs can control elements of pricing through more. Nevertheless, it is important for consumers to regulation, advice and through partnerships with the perceive prices as fair and good value for money, because private sector. However, DMOs often provide guidelines dissatisfaction damages the competitiveness of the desti- by suggesting minimum prices to protect small suppliers from "erce competition and maximum prices to protectconsumers from overcharging. For example, in several 8.3. Distributing tourism destinations destinations the public sector determines the lowest priceper category for accommodation, advises on the retail Distribution or marketing channels are de"ned as sets price of consumer goods and foods, set the maximum of interdependent organisations involved in the process prices for transportation or taxi services. Although en- of making a product or service available for use or forcing pricing policies is extremely di$cult, destination consumption. The ultimate objective of distribution managers should formulate partnerships with principals channel can be summarised as: delivering the right qual- and train them on the importance of maintaining a fairly ity and quantity of a product, in the right place, at the standardised pricing structure and policy.
right time, at the right cost, to the right customer. Several D. Buhalis / Tourism Management 21 (2000) 97} 116 important distribution and marketing functions per- destinations need to provide travel agencies with in- formed by channel members, such as: carrying of inven- formation and promotional material, as well as to or- tory; demand generation through promotion; market ganise educational trips and provide incentives for their information collection and analysis; negotiation between sta! in order to promote the destination to consumers.
channel members and consumers; physical possession Workshops and road shows may also increase awareness and distribution; risk taking; payment and "nancial and provide positive impressions. Travel trade manuals arrangements; and after-sale service. Distribution is serve as reference books for intermediaries o!ering com- emerging as a critical element of strategic management prehensive information about destination regions. Devel- and as one of the few remaining sources of real competi- oping long-term partnerships with tour operators and tive advantage. Apart from in#uencing costs, increasingly leisure travel agencies is therefore extremely signi"cant distribution channels also support and enable product for the success of leisure destinations.
di!erentiation by adding value on the product and by The concentration of the European tourism industry contributing to the total brand experience and projecting increases the power of certain integrated travel organisa- powerful images.
tions. As a result, they increasingly control more than 70 The entire range of players that bring together tourism per cent of the market and can use a wide range of demand and supply for a region formulate its distribu- marketing techniques to determine consumer choice.
tion channel. Distribution of destinations becomes in- Table 5 illustrates the penetration of the largest tour creasingly more important, not only because it is operating groups in the European market and clearly estimate to cost 20}30 per cent of the product price but demonstrates that leisure movement in Europe is di- also because it determines whether and under what con- rected to a large extent by a small number of integrated ditions suppliers can meet their target markets. This is tour operators (O'Brien, 1996; Bywater, 1992,1997). Since the case especially in the European leisure market con- then more concentration is experienced daily as oper- text as concentration has led four major companies to ators merge to develop their volume and take advantage dominate the market. Business travellers have strict from economies of scale and negotiation power. In addi- schedules and use intermediaries to organise their itiner- tion, a wide range of smaller specialised tour operators aries. In contrast, leisure travellers tend to have much exists in each market promoting specialised products.
greater #exibility and price elasticity. As a consequence, Although, there is a concentration on leisure distribu- intermediaries can in#uence their decision and choice of tion channels, consumers become more independent and sophisticated and use the entire range of tools to arrange Business travellers can be in#uenced indirectly by their travel. The availability of information on the Inter- people who are responsible for arranging business meet- net and the emergence of electronic intermediaries revol- ings and conferences. These include corporate travel o$- utionise distribution. Destinations that appreciate the cers and administrative sta! in organisations who choose new developments and build comprehensive tools for the location of meetings, as well as services suppliers. For their local suppliers increasingly improve their ability to destinations to attract business travellers they need to reach their strategic objectives. IT enables consumers to develop strong links with the local business and aca- seek for information as well as construct and purchase demic communities as well as with various types of asso- individual itineraries on-line, and thus it revolutionised ciations. This will enable DMOs to appreciate the needsof business travellers and to provide convenient andadequate products. Often local associations, chambers, businesses or academics need to be closely involved in Penetration of the largest tour operator groups in the European leisuremarket in 1994/5 order to attract and arrange meetings, incentives, con- ferences, and exhibitions (MICE) at the destination. Con- sequently, relationships with business travel agencies as well as conference and exhibition organisers are impor-tant to attract and satisfy the MICE markets.
United Kingdom Thomson/Airtours/ Leisure travellers have a much wider choice and #exib- ility and therefore a di!erent distribution strategy and mix are required. Domestic tourists usually make direct arrangements and often use their own transport, whereas Airtours (Spies, Tjaereborg) international leisure travellers tend to be more in#uenced Budget/JWT (First Choice) by intermediaries. Representation of destinations in tour operators' brochures determines their ability to attract the appropriate volume and quality of consumers.
Nouvelles Frontie res/Club Med 25 Leisure travellers often require travel agencies advice onselecting appropriate destinations and products. Hence, !Source: Adapted from O'Brien (1996) and Bywater (1997,1992).
D. Buhalis / Tourism Management 21 (2000) 97} 116 destination marketing. Not only do they provide oppor- ness (Woodside, 1990; Faulkner, 1997; McWilliams & tunities for reducing dependency on traditional inter- Crompton, 1997; Schoenbachler, Benedetto, Gordon mediaries for remote, peripheral and insular destinations & Kaminski, 1995). Advertisements use slogans, which but they also provide a mechanism to develop and pro- change frequently in order to follow tourism demand mote specialised products for mini market segments trends and to update the image of destinations (Morgan (Buhalis, 1998).
& Pritchard, 1998). For example, Spain recently changed Electronic distribution also o!ers opportunities for its slogan from everything under the suna to passion closer interaction and co-operation at the local level. In for lifea. This change re#ected the refocus of its product several places where IT has been used extensively, such as away from the traditional sun and seaa product to Tyrol, Ireland and Singapore, an integration of local a much more sophisticated o!ering based on socio- resources and organisations enables suppliers at the des- cultural diversity and the life-style of local people tination level to develop and deliver seamless tourism (Fayos-Sola, 1996).
products to consumers. Destination Management Sys- In addition, DMOs often use below the line promo- tems will need to be developed in order to enable the tional techniques. They participate in major annual networking of all local tourism providers as well as tourism and travel fairs in Berlin, London, Milan, Mad- a comprehensive and innovative interface between the rid, Paris and elsewhere. There they have the opportunity destinations and their prospective and current clients to meet intermediaries and members of the public to promote their o!erings. They produce brochures, whichthey distribute to all their partners in the industry and to 8.4. Promoting the destination prospective consumers who require information on thedestination. Brochures normally show local attractions Promoting destinations essentially implies the devel- and activities, whilst they also feature a number of local opment of communicating channels with clientele and suppliers such as hotels, entertainment and catering es- other stakeholders to increase awareness and persuade to tablishments (Wicks & Schuett, 1991,1993). In addition, purchase products. Destination promotion requires travel trade manuals o!er information about the destina- a co-ordinated campaign and message for all local princi- tion to the travel trade and provide a reference guide.
pals and suppliers. Designing a cost-e!ective promo- Although DMOs often operate information o$ces tional mix is di$cult because of the diversity of tourism where they provide information about local suppliers suppliers at destinations and the spread of consumers they tend to refrain from selling direct, as they regard throughout the world. Achieving a consensus on the themselves as facilitators rather than intermediaries and marketing campaign as well as raising adequate funds to also avoid to be seen as promoters of individual products develop and implement it is one of the most challenging and services against other local suppliers. Instead, when tasks for destination marketing. Traditionally, DMOs asked by prospective customers they provide contact lead promotional campaigns, whilst suppliers participate details of local suppliers and advise consumers on the and contribute. A wide range of techniques are used, both ones that are likely to satisfy their demand. However, above and below the line (Kotler et al., 1996; Horner increasingly DMOs are forced to play a more active & Swarbrooke, 1996; Millington & Cleverdon, 1999).
selling role as consumers appreciate an one-stop-service.
Above the line promotional activity includes advert- In many destinations they are also required to justify ising on television, radio, and press as well as using poster their income or to contribute towards their expenses and campaigns. Targeting the right market with the right hence they charge commissions for local bookings and message at the right time is always di$cult, especially for sell maps, local guidebooks and souvenirs to generate destinations, which attract consumers from several geo- income. Direct marketing is also used as destinations can graphical regions as well as cultural and linguistic back- identify prospective customers and promote elements of grounds. Although very expensive, above the line the local o!erings that satisfy the speci"c demand. Devel- advertisement can assist the development of the destina- oping relationship marketing and loyalty clubs enables tion brand as well as in#uence a large number to visitors repeat visitors to be recognised and appreciated. Dis- to travel to the destination or to extend their visit (Bon- count schemes and other add-ones are currently develop- ham & Mak, 1996). Crouch (1994) has illustrated that ing for several destinations to reward and maintain their although many countries have substantially increased loyal clientele.
their spending on tourism promotions there is little evid- Finally, public relations are extensively used for most ence of their e!ectiveness as studies which have attem- tourism destinations. Destination representatives at na- pted to evaluate the promotional impact empirically tional level establish tourism o$ces in their major mar- have generally produced inconclusive and varied results.
kets to distribute promotional material and information Nevertheless, DMOs are increasingly being held ac- as well as through their embassies. In addition, public countable for generating adequate results through relations are used to generate news stories, articles and advertising and for measuring advertising e!ective- publicity in order to develop the awareness of consumers D. Buhalis / Tourism Management 21 (2000) 97} 116 and persuade them to purchase the products. Often host- and public sectors can improve the tourism product by ing a journalist or a celebrity in the destination can investment in resources, as well as the implementation of generate more interest than any other forms of promo- a comprehensive marketing strategy and mix which sup- tion because consumers are more passive receivers than ports the competitiveness of the destination. This is parti- with advertising. Public relations are also critical for the cularly important for small and medium-sized tourism development and updating of the right image (Morgan enterprises, which traditionally dominate local supply & Pritchard, 1998; Kotler et al., 1996; Middleton, 1992).
but lack management and marketing expertise to operatetheir business professionally and "nancial resources toapproach their target markets.
9. Marketing competitive destinations for the future Taking advantage of new technologies and the Internet can also enable destinations to enhance their com- Destination marketing is increasingly becoming ex- petitiveness. Technology can improve the e$ciency of all tremely competitive worldwide. Providing innovative local suppliers and also provide tools for the develop- and well co-ordinated tourism products is therefore ex- ment and delivery of di!erentiated tourism products.
ceedingly important for tourism regions. Consumers as- Provision of information on local facilities and attrac- sess their travel experience as a whole and they associate tions and the ability to reserve the whole range of destinations with the entire range of local producers and tourism products determines the ability to attract the suppliers. Producing innovative and specialised tourism new and sophisticated types of tourism demand. The products will enable destinations to attract intentional recent evolution of destination management systems demand and to di!erentiate their products. Flexible (DMSs) enables destinations to co-ordinate the entire specialisation will also support local suppliers and the range of products and services o!ered locally and to region as a whole to evolve with consumer trends and promote them globally. The provision of di!erentiated support the requirements of the emerging sophisticated and tailor-made products becomes much easier as con- clientele as well as compete globally. Destinations, which sumers can assemble specialised products and construct appreciate these principles, can develop and maintain their own itinerary. The availability of information on competitive advantage and as a result achieve their stra- local resources and services reduces the cost of individual tegic objectives.
travel and enables destinations to o!er mass-customised Partnerships between the public and private sector and close co-operation between all local suppliers is key to More importantly the new IT tools enable even small- the ability of destinations to o!er quality products. Ex- er and peripheral players to compete on equal footage ceeding consumers' expectations is instrumental for the with larger and more central ones and therefore provide ability of both suppliers and destinations to attract visi- an unprecedented opportunity to enhance their com- tors in the long term. Hence the competitiveness of each petitiveness. One of the major bene"ts is the reduction of supplier locally as well as their distributors determines dependency on intermediaries for the distribution of the competitiveness of destinations. Local suppliers tourism products. As a consequence, tourism suppliers should co-operate rather than compete. Buhalis and are able to improve their negotiation power with power- Cooper (1998) argue that tourism suppliers at destina- ful tour operators and can develop a healthier distribu- tions need to mature and understand that they should tion mix. This is particularly signi"cant for remote, not compete with each other at the destination level.
peripheral and insular destinations where local principals Instead they should join forces and pool resources to and authorities have a great dependency on tourism for develop and implement comprehensive marketing strat- their lifehood but lack expertise and resources to under- egies which enable them to compete with other destina- take comprehensive marketing campaigns. Partnerships tions. The rapid development of new destinations, marketing through loyalty/fun clubs enabling destina- especially in third-world countries generates an unprece- tions to develop long-term relationships with consumers dented level of competition. They can o!er unspoiled bene"t both destinations and suppliers. DMSs should natural landscapes and authentic socio-cultural re- also be utilised to optimise tourism impacts by providing sources inexpensively. In contrast, most traditional desti- an e!ective mechanism to bridge the expectations of both nations su!er from their own success and the lack of consumers and local residents with their experiences a strict rational planning and management system. Hav- from tourism (Buhalis, 1993,1994,1997,1998).
ing gone through most of the stages of their life cycle they Finally, tourism destinations should learn from past have reached maturity or saturation and this has forced mistakes and appreciate that their strategic management them to rely mass tourism for their operations. Often and marketing must lead to the optimisation of tourism facilities require urgent renovation, but lack of "nancial impacts and the achievement of their strategic objectives for resources and the unwillingness of consumers to pay all stakeholders. Hitherto, destinations have su!ered jeopardise the competitiveness of destinations further.
because they wrongly assumed that the higher the vol- Initiatives at the local level facilitated by both private ume of tourists, the more bene"ts they can achieve.
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