Table of Contents

Handbook of Service Business

Handbook of Service Business

Management, Marketing, Innovation and Internationalisation

Research Handbooks in Business and Management series

Edited by John R. Bryson and Peter W. Daniels

Service business accounts for more than 75 per cent of the wealth and employment created in most developed market economies. The management and economics of service business is based around selling expertise, knowledge and experiences. This Handbook contributes to on-going debates about the nature of service business and the characteristics of service-led economies by exploring disciplinary perspectives on services, services and core business processes and the management of service business. A series of case studies are also provided. The volume pushes back the frontiers of current critical thinking about the role of service business by bringing together eminent scholars from economics, management, sociology, public policy, planning and geography.

Chapter 20: Tourism services: a sustainable service business?

C. Michael Hall

Subjects: business and management, marketing, economics and finance, services, geography, economic geography, urban and regional studies, regional studies


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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