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Tourism Theory: Concepts, Models and Systems

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Theories within tourism can be difficult, even confusing areas to understand. Developed from the successful Portuguese textbookÊTeoria do Turismo, Tourism TheoryÊprovides clear and thorough coverage of all aspects of tourism theory for students and researchers of tourism. Consisting of five sections and over fifty entries, this book covers nine of the most important models in tourism study. The first three sections examine general concepts in tourism; disciplines and topics; and the tourist, which includes areas such as demand, gaze, psychology and typologies. A fourth section covers intermediation, distribution and travel, reviewing aspects such as travel agencies, tourist flows and multi-destination travel patterns. The final section encapsulates the tourism destination itself, covering organizations, the destination image, supply, seasonality and more. Encyclopedic cross-referencing between entries makes navigation easy, while in-depth analysis, exercises and further reading suggestions for each of the selected areas provide the context and detail needed for understanding. Entries can be used individually as a reference, or as part of the whole for a complete introduction to tourism theory.

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Section 1: Fundamental Concepts

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Section 1: Fundamental Concepts

1.1

General Systems Theory and

Tourism

It would be impossible to identify a single author as the creator of general systems theory, but there is consensus in academic circles that one of the leaders in this theoretical field was the biologist Ludwig von Bertalanffy (1901–1972). The authors who developed and spread general systems theory, each in their own specific area, include the following: Norbert

Wiener, Gregory Bateson, Heinz von Foerster,

Niklas Luhmann, Humberto Maturana, Francisco

Varela, Talcott Parsons, Béla H. Bánáthy, Howard

T. Odum, Eugene Odum, Edgar Morin and Fritjof

Capra.

For Bertalanffy (1967, p. 69), ‘a “system” can be defined as a complex of elements standing in interaction. There are general principles holding for systems, irrespective of the nature of the component elements and of the relations or forces between them’. Beni (2001, p. 23) defined a system ‘as a collection of parts that interact to achieve a given end, according to a plan or principle or a set of procedures, doctrines, ideas or principles, logically ordered and sufficiently coherent to describe, explain or direct the functioning of a whole’.

 

Section 2: Disciplines and Areas of Study

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Section 2: Disciplines and Areas of Study

2.1

Jafari’s Interdisciplinary Model

Jafar Jafari1 is the founder of the scientific journal

Annals of Tourism Research, which has been published in English since 1973 and in Spanish since

1999. He also edited two editions of the

Encyclopaedia of Tourism (published by Routledge in 2000 and Springer in 2016) and is a co-founder of the International Academy for the Study of

Tourism (http://www.tourismscholars.org) and the

Tourism Research Information Network (TRINET, founded in 1988), an international online list for discussing tourism. He is probably one of the bestknown tourism scholars in the world.

Jafari’s article ‘Toward a framework for tourism education – problems and prospects’, published with Brent Ritchie in 1981, contains a chart that attempts to explain how tourism knowledge is produced at the university through interdisciplinarity.

Although the article was written by both authors, the model was conceived by Jafari in 1981.

 

Section 3: The Tourist

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Section 3: The Tourist

3.1

Tourism Demand

In tourism, the concept of demand involves individuals whose needs include the ‘consumption’ and experience of places. Tourists purchase souvenirs and clothing and use services, such as accommodation and amusement parks. However, their primary motivations are generally related to the actual tourism destination; a tourist visiting Paris or Rome may wish to experience the ‘atmosphere’ and become part of the local community.

Therefore, tourism demand is the total number of people participating in tourism activities, quantified as the number of tourist arrivals and departures, the amount of money spent or other statistical data.

The factors that influence tourism demand include tourists’ economic power, vacation availability and personal desires, among other motivational factors.

Changes in the place of origin, such as economic or political crises, may also affect the likelihood of tourist travel. On the supply side, variations in price compared with similar destinations and services, a lack of transport options, a diversity of tourism products, and the destination’s image (Stepchenkova and Eales, 2011) and safety and climate (Goh,

 

Section 4: Intermediation, Distribution and Travel

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Section 4: Intermediation, Distribution and Travel

4.1

Tourism Distribution Channels with

Cristina Bittar rodrigues

According to Cunha (2001, p. 290), a distribution channel ‘is an operating structure, a system of relationships or different combinations of organizations, through which a producer of tourism goods and services sells or confirms the purchaser’s travel’.

The connections between the producer (supply) and the purchaser (demand) can be direct (e.g. call centre and company website) or indirect, and may occur through one or more intermediaries (e.g. travel agencies, tour operators, local and regional organizations). Choosing a direct or indirect sale and selecting the appropriate distribution channels essentially involve choosing between market coverage and associated costs. Establishing an effective distribution system is therefore critical for the development and tourism marketing of any successful tourism destination (Knowles and Grabowski, 1999).

 

Section 5: The Tourism Destination

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Section 5: The Tourism Destination

(with participation from Cristina Bittar Rodrigues)

5.1

Tourism Destinations with

Cristina Bittar Rodrigues

The tourism destination, as opposed to the origin

(see ‘Nodal functions’), refers to the place where tourists intend to spend their time when they are far from home. The geographical unit visited by tourists can vary in scale (a town or village, a city, a region or an island, or even an entire country) and in morphology (coastal, mountainous, island, urban or rural destinations) (Lohmann and Duval,

2014). A destination can also be a single location, a set of multiple destinations that form a tour or even a mobile destination, as in the case of ocean cruises. Tourism destinations have received increasing attention from governments and scholars. In the first case, there are a growing number of agencies promoting and coordinating tourism destinations, sizeable budgets to finance the promotion and development of tourism destinations, and a complex and divergent form of engaging with touristic activity, depending on whether these agencies have a public- or private-sector focus (Valente et al.,

 

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