Contemporary tourism is currently one of the most important yet highly misunderstood phenomenon globally. It is something that is intended by many in the developed countries and is deemed to be instrumental for economic development for both emerging and developed economies. Tourism is one of the world’s largest industries. However, it is also an agent of cultural and change and a significant contributor to environmental change. Therefore, to better comprehend the complex and dynamic nature of contemporary tourism experience, many tourism researchers have leveraged on the concept of tourism system. The tourism system includes consumption and production and the experiences generated. This approach is usually described as a geographical system of tourism and consists of four fundamental factors:
- A generating or source region
- A transit route
- A destination region
- The environment – that surrounds the other three regions
The geographical tourism system model is advantageous for determining the flow of tourists from one location to another and the importance of connectivity between the generating region and the destination. However, since contemporary tourism experiences are concurrently produced between consumer and the producer, another interesting dimension of the geographical tourism system model is that at each stage of the system the consumer will experience varying factors of the tourism industry. Hence, this implies that the tourist experience will differ not only between regions but also within regions as diverse service encounters occur and changing environments, site and people are met. Particularly, each new experience of the tourist will be included to the previous sum of experiences, as such resulting to new sets of understandings and expectations.
The various stages of travel experience brought about challenges for studying the behaviour and motivations of tourism consumers. This is because a consumer at different stages of their trip will result in varying responses in relation to the nature and quality of tourism experience. It also sheds light on the precedence of comprehending the prior tourism experiences of a consumer when in search of an explanation or to forecast future preferences, decisions and activities. This is because our previous travel experiences when integrated with new information sources helps us to decide our next travel destination. In point of fact, in some cases such as working holidays, our travel and employment careers may even be closely intertwined, particularly as international experiences are increasingly valuable in a globalised economy and job market. Hence, when studying about tourism consumption within the tourism system, researchers will have to increase the scale of analysis in order to better comprehend the tourism trend.
Although it is crucial for determining tourism and tourists from a technical perspective, it is important to reexamine tourism as means of temporary mobility. The different modes of mobility beyond a more traditional divide between tourism and migration have only recently become pronounced yet they are becoming an integral part in the study of tourism, and also the objectives of destinations and firms through the push for tourism.
Old barriers between different forms of human mobility such as tourism and migration is no longer effective because of the enhancements in transport technology that has made travelling more accessible. In addition, for individuals in the developed countries, tourism is now an integral part of their lives. There is also an increasing number of destinations and organisations that are looking to attract those who are mobile and advance the various types of tourism commodity that they consume.
Participate in the upcoming QS Subject Focus Summit – “The Way Forward: Hospitality and Tourism Education Convergence with Industry 4.0” which will be held from 5-7 December 2018 in Kuching, Malaysia.