Tourism Management Essay Example

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This essay introduces the whole tourism system (WTS) and explains the meaning of the WTS theory. It analytically discusses one whole tourism system while critically highlighting certain factors about the system such as what make it attractive to tourists, the main visitors in the tourism market and how they affect the system, the economic impacts of tourism to the system and the role of the tourism sector to the selected whole tourism system. Tourism has been defined as the travelling and staying in places that are outside a person’s usual environment but for not more than one consecutive year for either leisure, business or other specials reasons. According to Leiper (2004, p. 44), tourism is simply “the theory and practice of being a tourist”. Tourism takes many forms but the most common and basic ones include inbound tourism, outbound tourism and domestic tourism. Tourism today is said to be very complex and demanding, owing to the high growth rate of the industry across many countries of the world. This growth includes the visiting of remote and other unusual places on this earth by tourists. Tourism has evolved from the traditional activities of travelling for simple sight-seeing or luxury. This complexity has caused the emergence of tourism systems that involve the arrangement of different aspects such as organizations, people and places in different capacities and roles so as to promote and manage tourism. This is one way to conceptualize tourism by using a system that can be used to make the complexities of tourism be understood.

The whole tourism system was developed by Neil Leiper as a model that would be used to provide useful concepts that can promote generic research in tourism (Leiper 2004). It was adapted in 1990, having been suggested in 1979. The whole tourism systems are the organizations, places and people that interact at different roles when tourism is happening. The whole tourism system models are used as frameworks or platforms for studying and researching matters related to tourism in a manner that is systematic and comprehensive. The whole tourism systems show the primary elements that are necessary for the existence of a particular tourism system. This system was purposely intended to identify the key elements that are necessary for tourism. These elements include only what is necessary or mandatory for tourism to occur. These may comprise of the person who is the tourist, the tourist generating place that this person departs from (TGR), the transit route that is travelled along (TR), the tourist destination place that is visited by this person (TDR) and the tourism industry that will provide certain services to the tourists. These elements interrelate in a process to form the whole tourism system. The whole tourist system provides a conceptual framework which may serve as a platform upon which future research can be based on. The whole tourism system provides useful information and a much better understanding about certain factors such as businesses, airlines, resorts and the people who work in these institutions.

This essay explores the whole tourist system in a tourist destination region (TDR) called Macao, a Chinese gaming city. Tourist Destination Regions are the places that are mostly visited by tourists. The visiting activities of these tourists take place at tourist destination regions. Tourist destination regions are the places that are chosen by travelers to stay for some time for leisure activities and experiences (Leiper 2004). These tourist destinations regions have been described as narrower geographic concepts that were derived from tourist destinations. The tourism destination region that is to be focused on is Macao, a gaming city in China.

There are various factors that make Macao attractive to visitors. In regard to the tourism motivation theory and destination attractiveness, one factor is the fact that Macao is the only place in China where legal gaming is permitted. In most countries and regions, gaming is illegal because it involves gambling for various reasons, usually leisure. Macao being the only place in the whole of China that permits legal gaming attracts many tourists who love gaming and gambling while having fun. With Macao gambling houses being introduced to a licensing system, tourism has been promoted since tourists who love such activities are attracted to visit places like Macao where gaming is legal. The gaming business in Macao therefore contributes greatly to its tourism development. Another factor that has attracted visitors to Macao is its small land mass. This makes all the casinos and gambling venues to be near other. Through this gaming, the economy of Macao has greatly improved. This includes 30% of the total population of Macao being employed in the sector and also 40% of the GDP of Macao coming from the sector. The fact that Macao is one of the world’s largest and most successful gaming destinations has ensured that the region earns a lot of revenue from the business. This has led to its quick and unique development in terms of infrastructure, education, general social subsidies, health services, culture and arts among others. These social factors have been greatly improved and maintained from the revenue collected from gaming. Macao as a region on its own has been able to develop at a very fast rate from the earnings it gets from gaming. The rate of development is also a factor that has attracted many tourists to the region. All these factors, coupled up with the fact that the gaming operations of Macao are now world class, many visitors have found the place attractive (Anny 2005).

There are several visitors markets within this tourist destination region of Macao. These include the hotel industry, food and beverage industry and the entertainment sector. These include entertainment joints, and other resorts that are used by tourists during their visits to Macao. These joints usually have a very good market from the large number of tourists that report to the area frequently. The gambling market is also one of the greatest visitors markets within the whole tourism systems of Macao. This has included the development of casinos and other gaming facilities. These casinos and other gaming facilities are even situated near residential areas to allow both foreign and local tourists the freedom and convenience of going to these places to do what they love. These markets become attractive and valuable to the visitors because they offer the services that tourists require. Hotels for example offer accommodation as well as food and beverages to a great extent. Most tourists need this accommodation since they are foreigners and do not have their own homes locally. They also need the food and beverages readily supplied to them since they are away from home and still require a constant supply of food to survive. They therefore provide a very good market to all these sectors. Visitation statics reveal that many sectors of the economy in Macao have registered high economic growth rates. A good example is the increased tourism spending in some pawn shops (Hall 2000).

Tourism as a result of gaming in regard to Macao has had great impact on the economy. These economic impacts can be discussed with reference to three elements of whole tourism systems, namely tourist destination region, transit routes and tourist generating regions. Some of the economic impacts that tourism has on Macao as a tourist destination region include earning Macao revenue amounting to US $ 2.76 billion in 2002 alone for example. Gaming alone accounts for more than 50% of the total revenue earned by the government in Macao. This has been able to change the face of Macao as a region because this revenue has been used to develop other physical and social facilities. As a tourist generating region, Macao has been able to benefit economically in the sense that most of its rich people can afford to tour other places of the world from the money that they get from gaming. This also means that Macao has been able to benefit other tourist destination regions of the world by having people from Macao visit other tourist destinations. As a transit route, Macao has had its infrastructure improved and well maintained. The transport networks for example roads and the air transport system are state of the art because they are frequently used by large numbers of tourists. These transport systems are easily being maintained by the revenue that is earned from tourists who come to enjoy gaming (Jafari 2000).

Various sectors of the economy in Macao have been impacted economically by tourism. Gaming has promoted tourism in Macao for quite some time. Tourism has been able to improve the state of the health sector for example by bringing in a lot of revenue that is used to manage and improve the health facilities within the region. The revenue earned from tourism has been able to benefit the people of Macao in other economic sectors such as the education sector. The revenue earned through tourism has been used to promote education and fund various useful educational projects in the region. This has seen the drastic improvement of the education sector. Another area that Macao has been impacted economically by tourism is in the improvement of social amenities. The region boasts of adequate and proper social facilities that are readily available. Tourism in Macao has also been able to impact the economy positively by providing employment opportunities to more than 6% of the population who work in the gaming industry alone. Over 30% of the working population in Macao works in the tourism industry alone. This moves to show that tourism contributes majorly to the economy of the area. In regard to the theories about economic impacts of tourism, the economy of Macao has been maintained by gaming which is promoted by tourism. Tourism has been able to earn the region a lot of revenue which has been used to develop the region and improve various sectors of the economy. This therefore means that tourism in Macao has both direct and indirect impacts on the economy of the region (Neuman 2006). The legalization of gaming so as to promote tourism within the region has also attracted foreign international players into the Macao gaming market. These include Wynn and Venetian resorts which comprise of both local and Las Vegas partnership. Foreign investors bring in foreign exchange to the region thus promoting its economy (Anny 2005).

One important tourism sector that has been identified in Macao is accommodation, mostly through the hotel industry. Accommodation plays a major role in this whole tourism system. Accommodation in this case refers to the temporary place of residence or the dwelling place that is provided to the tourists who visit the area. It may include the dwelling places or temporary living quarters accorded to tourists or travelers and it may be provided in lodgings, hotels, apartments, camps, suites or cruise ships among others (Leiper 2004). The place of accommodation mainly depends on the availability of these facilities, the financial capacity of the visitor and the choice or preference of the visitor. In Macao, accommodation is one crucial sector of tourism. From the visitation statistics of Macao, it is quite evident that the region has a high influx of foreign tourist throughout the year. This means that the role of accommodation in this WTS cannot be overlooked. It plays a major role when hosting tourist because they can get a place to wine, dine and sleep. The hotel industry has been largely responsible for proving accommodation to the tourists who visit the area. Without accommodation, tourists would have nowhere to sleep when they visit the place. This would even discourage them from visiting Macao since accommodation is very crucial to any tourist. The role of accommodation in this WTS can therefore not be ignored (Creswell 2003).

In conclusion, whole tourism systems were created to explain the concepts of tourism. In the essay, the components of WTS have been discussed and the role of Macao as a tourist destination region has been analyzed. A TDR plays an important role in the WTS and it is a major component.


Anny, VCK & Mccartney, G 2005, ‘Mapping Resident Perceptions of Gaming Impact Mapping Resident Perceptions of Gaming Impact, Journal of Travel Research, vol. 44, no. 2, pp. 177-187.

Creswell, J 2003, Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods Approaches, 2nd edn, Thousand Oaks, CA, Sage.

Hall, CM 2000, Tourism planning, policies, processes and relationships, Essex, Pearson Hall.

Jafari, J 2000, The Encyclopedia of Tourism, London, Routledge.

Leiper, N 2000, ‘Are destinations ‘the heart of tourism’? The advantages of an alternative description’, Current Issues in Tourism, vol. 3, no. 4, pp. 364-368.

Leiper, N 2004, Tourism Management, 3rd edn, Sydney, Pearson Australia.

Neuman, WL 2006, Social research methods: Qualitative and quantitative approaches, 6th edn, Boston, Pearson.

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