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International Handbook on the Economics of Tourism

Edited by Larry Dwyer and Peter Forsyth

This highly accessible and comprehensive Handbook presents a cutting edge discussion of the state of tourism economics and its likely directions in future research. Leading researchers in the field explore a wide range of topics including: demand and forecasting, supply, transport, taxation and infrastructure, evaluation and application for policy-making. Each chapter includes a discussion of its relevance and importance to the tourism economics literature, an overview of its main contributions and themes, a critical evaluation of existing literature and an outline of issues for further conceptual and applied research.
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Chapter 18: Tourism Information Technology

Pauline J. Sheldon


Pauline J. Sheldon Importance of the issue Knowledge, information and information technology (IT) are important economic resources that must be added to the traditional economic resources of land, labor and capital. This is particularly true for the field of tourism due to its reliance on, and production of, information, and the intangible and perishable nature of the tourism product. Added to this is the fact that tourism is both a service industry and an experience industry, requiring unique applications of IT. Since many models of technological development are in manufacturing industries, tourism requires special consideration of its use of IT. Information and IT are needed to manage the experience and to process the information that contributes to the creation of quality tourism in both the private and public sectors. Information technology represents a strong force for change in tourism development as it creates new products, new communication networks, new business models, new industry structures and new types of firms. The entire travel distribution system is being transformed due to the electronic channels and consumer access to these on-line channels. Impacts are also prevalent in the area of human resources, the automation of jobs, and the production function of travel firms. Information is a critical resource for all travel firms and destinations in their search for improved competitiveness and maximum socio-economic benefit in the global marketplace. As information technology becomes more advanced, it is being infused with more intelligence and is used for strategic decision making and innovation. Expert systems,...

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