Edited by Larry Dwyer and Peter Forsyth
Chapter 18: Tourism Information Technology
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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