Management, Marketing, Innovation and Internationalisation
Research Handbooks in Business and Management series
Edited by John R. Bryson and Peter W. Daniels
Chapter 20: Tourism services: a sustainable service business?
Tourism is an extremely significant global economic activity. Although often perceived by the wider public as consisting of ‘holidaymaking’ and ‘leisure’, tourism is defined in terms of consumption with respect to the voluntary temporary mobility of individuals, while tourism production is configured around the firms and services that support such mobility. The tourist product, therefore, has a number of characteristics that often make comparisons with other industries difficult. For example, there is no standard industry classification for tourism. This means that assessments of its economic and employment impact have to be based on satellite accounting systems, on the amalgamation of data for related sectors for which information does exist (such as hotels, cafes and restaurants, and/or transportation and travel services) or on the results of tourism-specific surveys and other studies. Much of the latter, which is usually undertaken for government or tourism industry stakeholders for validating specific policies and development strategies, has tended to exaggerate the economic benefits of tourism (Hall, 2008a). Furthermore, the tourism product is multi-layered – that is, ranging from individual service encounters through to firm, trip and destination products – and while lay understandings of tourism products are often geared towards destinations, the agencies that market and ‘manage’ destination areas rarely actually own and control the product that they are promoting. There are therefore significant challenges for understanding tourism in a service context, especially when viewed through different disciplinary lenses.
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