Business strategies and inter-firm cooperation in tourism : an investigation to identify degrees of industrial behaviour displayed by tourism-related firms within a tourist destination area

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NO FULL TEXT AVAILABLE. Access is restricted indefinitely. ----- This study analyses some specific attitudes and behaviours of tourism-related firms (i.e. firms that have tourists among their customers), and their relation to the tourism industry in their local region. The principal research objective is to investigate whether all tourism-related firms within a specific tourist destination region behave in a meaningfully industrialised manner to the level at which they could all be considered as members of the local inbound tourism industry. This study is also concerned with three specific research aims. Firstly, the study aims at identifying factors that influence the deployment of business strategies to target tourists as customers. Secondly, the study attempts to map tourism-related businesses into a matrix according to their levels of tourist trade focus and of cooperative interaction displayed. Lastly, the study investigates salient features, based on attitudes and perceptions of tourism- related firms, which can characterise each of the quadrants of the particular matrix. A theoretical framework for the study is built in Chapters 2 and 3, based on a literature review of relevant sources on industry behaviour in general and tourism industry behaviour in particular. The conventional approach to define an industry is presented and an alternative approach to it is discussed in the light of contemporary complex industries. The discussion is intended to serve as a background in which an interpretation of tourism industries can be contextualised. Conventional definitions and misconceptions carried out to date in relation to tourism industries are the foci of discussion. In Chapter 3, the focus shifts to an alternative theory of tourism industries (Leiper 2004; Stear 2004; Leiper, Stear, Hing & Firth 2003), which constitutes the bulk of the theoretical framework on which this study is based. The recognition that tourism is a partially industrialised phenomenon, and that not every firm that happens to serve tourists as customers is necessarily in the tourism business, are central ideas of the discussion. The discussion then concentrates on the Leiper et al (2003) matrix of partial industrialisation and its potential use. Finally, gaps in the literature are identified and the research question as well as the specific research aims which flow from it are outlined. Chapter 4 outlines the research method. The results of the quantitative survey, undertaken in Leura and Blackheath at the Blue Mountains region, of owners and managers of local tourism-related firms are presented in Chapter 5. This area was selected for the fieldwork due to its significance as a tourist destination region, and due to the possibility of covering the whole population of tourism-related firms in more than one of its tourism precincts. Key findings are discussed in Chapter 6, where some implications are also highlighted. In assessing whether all tourism-related firms at Leura and Blackheath are actually part of the local tourism industry, the findings indicate that only a small portion of them can, in fact, be considered as such. An investigation of possible factors that might influence the deployment of business strategies aiming at tourist markets shows that while the majority of firms had significant numbers of tourists among their customers, almost half of those firms were not actually targeting tourists. This indicates that the variable tourist numbers, alone, is not an influential factor for the deployment of business strategies to target tourists. Another key outcome of this investigation is that the proportion of a firm’s revenue derived from tourists’ expenditures does appear to have a significant relationship to the adoption of a business strategy to target tourists. Further statistical analysis yielded interesting findings for the refinement of the theoretical matrix used in this study. Finally, the contributions of this study are outlined in Chapter 7. The contributions relate mainly to the refinement of the theoretical framework used, especially for the matrix of partial industrialisation. This chapter also discusses some limitations of the study and some ideas considered worthwhile for further studies.
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