Handbooks of Research on Clusters series
Edited by Charlie Karlsson
Chapter 18: Tourism Clusters
Ewen J. Michael 1 Introduction Tourism research is a relatively new ﬁeld of academic endeavour, having established its identity only over the past three decades. Tourism is a vast and complex ﬁeld of social and economic activity that encompasses the issues relating to people’s travel and visiting from one place to another. Tourism research, then, is multidisciplinary by necessity, for it must deal with the production of its related services, the location of its places, the psychology and choices of its consumers, the marketing of its products, the management and administration of its businesses, the planning for its infrastructure, and for the policy implications that tourism creates for the communities and regions where it occurs. More important, perhaps, are the questions about its role in enhancing economic growth and opportunity in particular environments. One of the initial problems confronting the tourism researcher is that what constitutes tourism as a separable form of human behaviour has proved diﬃcult to deﬁne. In the social sciences, tourism concerns the activity of people when they travel – what they do and why – but in economics and the management sciences, analysis focuses on tourism as an industrial process. These disciplines normally assume a careful delineation of boundaries, to establish a degree of certainty about what distinguishes one industrial activity from another. Flow-on and spillover eﬀects are part of what they want to identify; but when an activity is labelled as tourism, there is often confusion and ambiguity. For example, part of a business...
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