The Economic Geography of the Tourist Industry: A Supply-Side Analysis

The Economic Geography of the Tourist Industry: A Supply-Side Analysis

The Economic Geography of the Tourist Industry: A Supply-Side Analysis

The Economic Geography of the Tourist Industry: A Supply-Side Analysis

Synopsis

The Economic Geography of the Tourist Industry examines whether tourism can be defined as an industry. Bridging the gap between tourism research and economic geography, the authors bring together leading academics in geography, planning and tourism, to explain tourism's definitions. By analyzing tour operators, airlines and the hotel industry from a broad international perspective, this book explores issues such as business cycles, labor dynamics, entrepreneurship and the role of the state in tourism and concludes that the production of tourism-related services has characteristics commonly associated with "harder" production sectors, such manufacturing and producer services.

Excerpt

Twenty years ago, as a graduate student and aspiring economic geographer, I frequently lamented the dearth of quality analysis of tourism, an activity that had significant-and growing-impact on national and regional economies, landscapes, environments, and cultures. In discussions with geographer-colleagues, we speculated on the reasons. Perhaps it was because the service economy was still a relatively new concept, and economic geographers and other scholars were still oriented to primary industries and manufacturing, with only minor focus on retailing and other tertiary activity. Or maybe it was the paucity and reliability of statistical indicators, an obvious hindrance in the 1970s, when many geographers were seized by the 'quantitative revolution'. Some, myself included, reckoned that because tourism was a leisure activity, even fun, scholars regarded it as inherently illegitimate. What Puritanism!

In the intervening two decades, the tourism industry has boomed beyond the most optimistic projections of the 1960s and 1970s. For example, air transportation, a major component of long-distance tourism, has roughly doubled in twenty years, with substantial numbers of routes oriented solely or dominantly to leisure traffic (every Saturday last winter, American Airlines alone operated twelve Boeing 757s into Vail/Eagle, Colorado, delivering more than 2,000 skiers in a single day). In some resort and recreation destinations, double-digit annual growth has been the norm. Entire sections of US downtowns, shorn of their historic functions in the post-war era and abandoned in the 1960s and 1970s, have been recycled to serve the meeting and convention industry, as well as 'tourists' visiting from nearby suburbs. And the tourism industry world-wide has effectively become an enormous geography teacher, as millions of people learn-and often mislearn-about places and peoples through tour escorts at the front of a sightseeing bus, the plethora of guidebooks, and other instructors. In short, the impact of tourism on geography has become quite enormous.

Although a reasonable amount of quality scholarship on tourism has been produced in recent years, the volume of work has by no means kept pace with the growth of the industry. Simply put, there have not been and certainly are

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