Pease, Wayne and Rowe, Michelle and Cooper, Malcolm (2005) The role of ICT in regional tourism providers. Asia Pacific Journal of Economics and Business, 9 (2). pp. 50-62. ISSN 1326-8481
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The tourism industry can be seen as one of the first business sectors where business functions have from the start been almost exclusively based on information and communications technologies (ICT). This has impacted on the way in which regional tourism destinations are promoted. The method of promoting regions via the development of regional tourist destination websites or portals using Internet technologies is increasingly being adopted both in Australia and around the world. This paper investigates whether this approach is the most effective to achieve increased awareness and subsequent visitation of a region. Are there other ways to achieve a similar outcome? One such alternative is via a bottom up approach achieved through co-opetition or collaboration established within a group of local tourism industry operators using ICT to facilitate the establishment of virtual business networks amongst tourism operators in a local community, cascading into an informal secondary tourism network within that region. In many Australian regional areas the tourism bureau has been the key node for local tourism, but this structure has been fraught with many problems. In addition, little is known about their effectiveness in delivering services to local small and medium tourism enterprises (SMTEs). The role of tourism bureaus in local tourism networks is changing and a study of this dynamic is provided here as an example of the interaction between top down and bottom up approaches. Published case studies of the use of ICT in regional tourism promotion from around the world are considered, demonstrating alternative approaches to the use of this medium to promote a region and communicate with potential visitors. Future empirical research is required to more fully understand the effectiveness of these different approaches.
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