INTERNATIONAL TOURISM AND HOTEL SYSTEMS Essay Example

INTERNATIONAL TOURISM AND HOTEL SYSTEMS

Abstract

Authorities in various fields have sought use theories to help in the understanding and explanation of various aspects of life. It is believed that there is no aspect of life, whether that of a human being or an organization that cannot be explained or understood on the basis of theories. One such theory that has been widely used is the systems theory. This theory holds the view that elements within a given environment exist in an interrelated and interdependent relationship with each other and with the environment. This relationship hold true when applied to tourism as an industry. Well (1989) says an industry is ‘number of firms that produce similar goods and services and therefore are in competition with one another.’ The tourism industry however consists of organizations which offer more complementary than competing services and products. Undertakings in airlines, restaurants, hotels, travel agencies and tourist attractions do not compete, but complement each other.

As a system, international tourism consists of a number of components which work an interdependent manner to create harmony. If any of these components is removed, the entire system malfunctions. This is made even more crucial because the tourism industry, unlike other industries, is a supplier of products and services tourists. This industry is like a spider’s web in which a touch on one component is felt throughout the entire system. This paper will endeavour to provide an analysis of the tourism industry as a system in the sense of the systems theory.

Table of Contents

Abstract ………………………………………………………………………………. 2

  1. Introduction ……………………………………………………………………3

  2. International Tourism as a System ……………………………………………4

    1. Departing Travellers ………………………………………………….6

    2. The Travellers’ Generating Regions …………………………………7

    3. The Transit Regions ……………………………………………….…8

    4. The Destination Regions ………………………………………….…9

    5. The Returning Travellers ……………………………………………10

    6. The Tourism Industry and the Systems Theory ……………………. 10

  3. Summary of Findings ……………………………………………………….11

  4. Conclusion ………………………………………………………………….11

  5. List of References …………………………………………………………..12

    1. A Basic Tourism System ……………………………………………….….5

    2. Tourism System with Multiple Transit and Destination Components ….…6

    3. Categories of Tourist ………………….……………………………………7

    4. Evolution of Trans-Pacific Travel System ….……………………………..9

    5. Community and Government Participation in Tourism Management ……10

1.0 Introduction

Over time, a number of theories have been developed to help with the understanding of several relationships within the environment. These relationships involve both human and inanimate entities. One of the theories that have been widely used, especially in organizations, is the systems theory. The focus of the systems theory is on components which participate in their interactions to form a whole. The whole on the other hand is viewed as a component of a system where it plays an important role to the functioning and completeness of that system. The component parts interacting in an independent way constitute a system. This theory lays emphasis on the interrelatedness as well as the mutual interdependence of the elements of the system. From this discourse, it transpires that a system is s cluster of interrelated and interdependent elements whose interaction within the environment constitutes a single functional structure.

A system works on the basis of input and feedback. The various components within the system have a lot of influence over each other. What appears as a complete entity is in fact just a component of a larger system. Any defect in that component affects the functioning of the entire system and by extension, the general environment and outcomes of certain actions, decisions and processes (Ludwig, 1976). By understanding one and all of the components within the system, the entire system is understood. This is because the system is the sum total of all the components. The systems theory is applicable in a number of situations, including the functioning of organizations and institutions. The international tourism and hotel systems are an apt example in the study of the growth and development of systems.

2.0 International Tourism as a System

As a system, tourism can be looked at as consisting of five key components. These are the departing travellers, the traveller generating regions, the transit route region, the tourist destination regions and the returning travellers (Leiper, 1995). Other sources include the travel and tourism industry as another component. These elements are so interrelated that any disruption in the functioning of one leads to the disruption of the entire system. The figure below summarises these elements.

Figure 2.1 A basic Tourism System

international tourism and hotel systems

The five elements are widely structured into the markets, destinations and the community. There is a very strong linkage between transportation and the community and markets and destinations. These elements interact within a complex set of external and internal environments. The external system comprises the social, political, economic and physical factors. In the external environment, the tourist makes up the primary flow of the system’s energy in terms of the government, the oil industry and agriculture, among others. External factors such as impermeable borders can be a major influence on the establishment of tourism as a system. Tourism itself, when looked at from the perspective of the destination’s economy, can have a major influence on the external environment.

The internal system also has its own variables. These include a multiplicity of destinations as well as the transit region together with extensive travels in the confines of those destination regions (Mibbleton, 2010). Tourism stakeholders within the system also constitute the internal environment, as does the hyper dynamic structure which forms the constant state of flux. These include transportation, accommodation and related factors. The figure below illustrates these environments.

international tourism and hotel systems 1

2.1 Departing Travellers

Departing travellers are often referred to as the tourists. The tourist often travels from his area of domicile or usual environment, and this constitutes the spatial component of tourism. Even though, tourism can be both domestic and international. A domestic tourist travels from his usual environment to the other within his usual country of residence. This kind of tourism also leads to the transfer of energy from one place to the other within the country. An international tourist on the other hand engages in a travel experience which leads him outside his usual country of residence. The territorial border is often used to separate the individual’s usual residential environment from the other space, irrespective of the distance travelled. A tourist can also be outbound or inbound (Page & Connel, 2006). An outbound tourist is that one leaving his usual country of residence while an inbound tourist is one arriving into a country that is not his usual residence. An international tourist is both outbound and inbound, on the basis of the perspective held by his country of origin or that of his destination. Cumulatively, inbound trips for any country are more than the outbound trips because any tourist leaving the country must come back.

From the temporal perspective, one can stay in a foreign destination for up to one year and still be considered an international tourist, and up to six months in a different region and still remains a domestic tourist. If a tourist, either domestic or international stays as a place for a minimum of one night, that becomes a stayover. If an overnight stay is not part of the travel, then it becomes an excursion, and the traveller becomes an excursionist, not a tourist. Tourists often travel for a number of reasons including leisure and recreation, visiting relatives and friends, business, sport, spiritual and health reasons and study. Tourist categories include international stayovers, international excursions, domestic stayovers and domestic excursions (Leiper, 1995). The following figure further explains these categories.

Figure 2.3

Categories of Tourists

international tourism and hotel systems 2

2.2 The Travellers Generating Region

This refers to the city, state or country from which a tourist originates. The origin community constitutes the residents of the region where the traveller comes from, while the origin government refers to the government where the traveller originates. The origin community can be influenced by tourism when most residents for example go to tour, leaving a semblance of a ghost town. The local business may also suffer as many people exit to spend their resources elsewhere (Page & Connel, 2006). Returning tourists could come back with new fashions, music and foodstuffs from foreign destinations, while others may come back with negative conditions such as AIDS. The origin government influences the amount of energy such as tourist flow released into the system. This could be done through prohibitions put in place to deter a particular type of tourists. Other governments offer various incentives to outbound residents travelling within the countries and so on.

2.3 Transit Region

The transit region refers to the places passed through by a tourist from his origin region to the destination region. The impact of the transit region on tourism is considered in terms of means of transportation and other transit situations. One could consider if the destination can be accessed via single or multiple routes, or whether one or more modes of transportation are available. It could also be worth considering if the transit is fixed like a highway or could be disrupted by situations such as flooding, bridge being swept away and so on. It is also possible that one or more of the transit points could end up being destinations in themselves. Technology has made it possible for transit regions to be linked such that one is able to access a number of them at ago. Similarly, travel has been made efficient because modern planes are able to fly without refuelling many times on the way. The figure below illustrates the development of transit regions over time.

international tourism and hotel systems 3

2.4 Destination Region

Destination region refers to the place where tourists travel. The destination community refers to the residents of the destination a tourist visits. Over time, destination communities have come to be identified as important stakeholders as far as the management of destinations is concerned. The destination government on the other hand is the government of the region that forms a tourist’s destination. Governments influence the amount of energy that a destination can absorb. Though some governments encourage the influx of tourist into their borders, others have put in place limiting measures. They also influence how tourist products within their borders are developed and managed through various agencies (Bowen and Clarke, 2009). The figure below illustrates the changing scenarios in the relation between communities, governments and tourism as an industry.

Figure 2.5

Community and Government Participation in Tourism Management

international tourism and hotel systems 4

2.5 The Returning Travellers

These are the tourists who had left the countries or regions of origin for purposes of visiting other regions. It was earlier on stated that a tourist is one who visits another country or region for a period and then come back to his own region (Mibbleton, 2010). Such a person comes back with new experiences, which may be either positive or negative.

The fact that this person comes back to his origin region completes the system. It can therefore be safely said that tourism is a system of several interrelated components which work together for the achievement of a common purpose. The components discussed above: departing travellers, the traveller generating regions, the transit route region, the tourist destination regions and the returning travellers, are part of a system. This system fits within the larger system of the tourism industry.

2.6 The Tourism Industry

The tourism industry could be looked at as the sum total of all commercial and industrial activities and processes which produce goods and services entirely for tourist consumption. These include transportation, accommodation, food and beverages, travel agencies, tour operators, commercial tourist attractions and merchandisers of artefacts and souvenirs as well as related tourist related goods (Moutinho, 2011). In the entire system, the tourist is considered to be the demand, while the travel industry is considered the supply. Tourist attractions are on the other hand the product. All these must work together because if one is missing, the link is broken and the system fails. The figure below gives a breakdown

3.0 Summary of Findings

This report establishes a number of issues about tourism as a system. In the first place, it has a number of components which must work together to keep the system going, in a cyclical manner. Tourist must for example originate from a region, transit to another region and finally transit back home. If they choose to stay there, then they are no longer treated as tourist, and the cycle or system would not make sense. Once any of the components is removed from the system, the whole chain collapses, as is characteristic of systems. It is therefore true that tourism is sub-system in the entire industry.

4.0 Conclusions

Arsing from the discourse above, it can be held that the systems theory is applicable to the tourism industry as it does to any other industry. Tourism has a number of components which work together to realise a complete entity. As a system, none of the components can work in isolation. Weakening one component weakens the entire system, while strengthening one component strengthens the entire system.

References

Bowen, D. and Clarke, J. (2009). Contemporary Tourist Behaviour: Yourself and Others as Tourists. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Leiper, N (1995) Tourism Management. Collingwood, Vic: TAFE Publications.

Ludwig, von Bertalanffy (1976). General System Theory: Foundations, Development, Applications. George Braziller.

Mibbleton, V. T. C. (2010). Marketing in Travel and Tourism. London: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Moutinho L. (2011). Strategic Management in Tourism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Page, S., & Connel, J. (2006). Tourism: a Modern Synthesis. New York: Cengage Learning EMEA.