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SCUOLA DI DOTTORATO DI INGEGNERIA CIVILE, AMBIENTALE ED ARCHITETTURA CORSO DI DOTTORATO DI RICERCA IN INGEGNERIA DEL TERRITORIO XXVII CICLO SETTORE SCIENTIFICO DISCIPLINARE DI AFFERENZA: ICAR/20 SMGI in tourism planning: the role of customers’ preferences in spatial decision support. Doctoral Candidate: Roberta Floris Doctoral Coordinator: Roberto Deidda Supervisors: Michele Campagna, Corrado Zoppi ESAME FINALE ANNO ACCADEMICO 2013 2014

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  • SCUOLADIDOTTORATODIINGEGNERIACIVILE,AMBIENTALEEDARCHITETTURA

    CORSODIDOTTORATODIRICERCAININGEGNERIADELTERRITORIOXXVIICICLO

    SETTORESCIENTIFICODISCIPLINAREDIAFFERENZA:ICAR/20

    SMGIintourismplanning:theroleofcustomerspreferencesinspatialdecisionsupport.

    DoctoralCandidate:RobertaFloris

    DoctoralCoordinator:RobertoDeidda

    Supervisors:MicheleCampagna,CorradoZoppi

    ESAMEFINALEANNOACCADEMICO20132014

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    Abstract

    The dissertation dealswith the role of socialmedia platform is playing as an information resource in

    tourismbothforcustomers(i.e.thetourists),whogathertrustworthyinformationsupportingthechoiceof

    destinations and services from peers, and for businesses, which can use the same information for

    improving theirmarketing strategies. Theuseof socialmediadata can alsooffernewopportunities for

    decisionsupport in tourism planning.With improved understanding of themotivations of tourists and

    tailoringtourismservicesupply,decisionmakingcanbefacilitatedbyemphasizingthestrengthsoftourist

    destinationsforpastandpotentialvisitors.

    However,thiskindofinformationabouttouristsperceptionsandopinionsisnotalwaysproperlyanalysed

    byplanners.Understandingtheusersatisfaction,whichdependsonfactorsrelatedtoboththelocationand

    theservicesthatthelocalindustryproposes,mayoffervaluableinformationintourismplanningatregional

    and local level. In the light of the above premises, the goal of this study is to propose an integrated

    approachtoinvestigatetherelationshipsbetweentouristssatisfaction,destinationresourcesandtourism

    industryforsupportingdesignanddecisionmakinginregionaltourismplanning.

    Themethodology implemented in the thesis includesdata collection fromBookingandTripAdvisor.com

    and their integration with authoritative territorial data. Spatial and statistical analysis techniques are

    appliedinordertoassesstouristsperceptionsonsuccessfactors,whichmaybeusedasplanningsupport

    tools. Four cases studydemonstrates the valueof socialmediarelateddata integratedby authoritative

    informationintourismplanning.

    Finally, the dissertation proposes a critical discussion on the effectiveness of using the implemented

    integratedapproach inordertoaddressotherplanning issues.Thediscussionunderlinesthepotentialof

    theproposedapproachinordertoaddressotherplanningquestionsaswell.

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    Tableofcontents

    Abstract.............................................................................................................................................................2

    CHAPTER1.........................................................................................................................................................6

    Introduction.......................................................................................................................................................6

    1.1 TourismplanningintheeraofDigitalInformation...........................................................................6

    1.2 TheroleoftouristSocialNetworksandthetourists/userperceptions............................................8

    1.3 Researchgaps....................................................................................................................................8

    1.4 Aimsandresearchquestions.............................................................................................................9

    1.5 Researchmethodology....................................................................................................................11

    1.6 Summaryofthedissertation...........................................................................................................12

    CHAPTER2.......................................................................................................................................................14

    Theissuesofsustainabletourism...................................................................................................................14

    2.1 Introduction.....................................................................................................................................14

    2.2 Theevolutionofthesustainabletourismdevelopmentconcept...................................................14

    2.2.1 Stakeholdersinvolvementintourismplanningprocesses......................................................17

    2.3 Impactsoftouristactivities.............................................................................................................17

    2.4 Discussion........................................................................................................................................20

    CHAPTER3.......................................................................................................................................................21

    Tourism,destinationandperception..............................................................................................................21

    3.1 Introduction.....................................................................................................................................21

    3.2 Currentdevelopmentsintourism...................................................................................................22

    3.2.1 Differenttourismmodelsinliterature....................................................................................23

    3.3 Destinationchoicesandtravelmotivation......................................................................................25

    3.4 Costumerspreferences...................................................................................................................26

    3.5 Tourismrevolution:theroleofInformationandcommunicationtechnologies............................27

    3.6 Discussion........................................................................................................................................30

    CHAPTER4.......................................................................................................................................................32

    TourismintheageofDigitalInformation.......................................................................................................32

    4.1 Introduction.....................................................................................................................................32

    4.2 ThesupportofDigitalInformationinplanning...............................................................................33

    4.2.1 SpatialDataInfrastructuresandAuthoritativeGeographicInformation................................34

    4.2.2 VolunteeredGeographicInformation.....................................................................................35

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    4.2.3 SocialMediarelatedGeographicInformation........................................................................37

    4.3 Currentdevelopmentsintourismsocialmedia..............................................................................38

    4.4 Discussion........................................................................................................................................40

    CHAPTER5.......................................................................................................................................................42

    TherulingframeworkandtheissueofsustainabletourisminSardinia.........................................................42

    5.1 Introduction.....................................................................................................................................42

    5.2 Planningforsustainability...............................................................................................................42

    5.3 TheissueofsustainabilityinSardinia:theregionalplanningframework.......................................44

    5.3.1 TheissueofcoastaltourisminSardinia..................................................................................45

    5.4 TheRegionalPlanofSustainableDevelopmentbasedonTourism................................................47

    5.5 SomecriticalaspectsoftheRPSDT.................................................................................................50

    5.6 Discussion........................................................................................................................................51

    CHAPTER6.......................................................................................................................................................53

    MultidimensionalanalysesoftourismSocialMediarelatedGeographicInformation...................................53

    6.1 Introduction.....................................................................................................................................53

    6.2 Datacollectionandgeocoding........................................................................................................54

    6.2 Spatialanalysesoftourismpreferences..........................................................................................56

    6.3 SMGIanalyticsofdestinations........................................................................................................57

    6.4 GeographicallyWeightedRegressionanalysis................................................................................59

    6.4.1 SpatialAutocorrelation............................................................................................................59

    6.5 Discussion........................................................................................................................................62

    CHAPTER7.......................................................................................................................................................64

    Thecasestudyandtheanalysisofresults......................................................................................................64

    7.1 Introduction.....................................................................................................................................64

    7.1.1 Thelogicalframework.............................................................................................................64

    7.2 Datacollectionandgeocoding........................................................................................................65

    7.1.1 SpatialdistributionofTourismLodgingService......................................................................66

    7.1.2 Spatialdistributionofusercomments....................................................................................68

    7.2 Spatialanalysesoftourismpreferences..........................................................................................70

    7.2.1 Clustersoftouristspreferences.............................................................................................70

    7.2.2 Preferencesbytouriststypology............................................................................................73

    7.2.3 TheGeographicallyweightedregressionattheregionallevel...............................................77

    7.3 SMGIanalyticsatthelocallevel......................................................................................................81

    7.3.1 Casestudy1:Alghero..............................................................................................................82

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    7.3.2 Casestudy2:Cagliari...............................................................................................................88

    7.3.3 Casestudy3:Arzachena..........................................................................................................94

    7.3.4 Casestudy4:Dorgali...............................................................................................................99

    7.4 Discussion......................................................................................................................................104

    CHAPTER8.....................................................................................................................................................106

    Conclusion.................................................................................................................................................106

    8.1 Summaryofthekeyconcepts.......................................................................................................106

    8.2 Mainfindings.................................................................................................................................108

    8.3 Concludingremarks.......................................................................................................................112

    References.....................................................................................................................................................114

    PlansandrelevantPrograms........................................................................................................................124

    Listofabbreviationandacronyms...............................................................................................................125

    ListofFigure,BoxesandTables...................................................................................................................127

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    CHAPTER1

    Introduction

    1.1 TourismplanningintheeraofDigitalInformation

    Tourism isoneof the largest industries in theworldand isbasedonmultifacetedactivities,whichmay

    generate both positive and negative impacts within the social, cultural and environmental domain.

    AccordingtoSmith(1991),asacomplexactivity,tourismcomprisesthetraveltoandaroundadestination,

    with the purpose of exploiting particular natural or nonnatural attractions, accommodation, and

    specialized and general services. These types of resources have been classified by Jafari (1982) into

    backgroundtourismelementsandfacilitiesservices.Forthisreason,tourismiscommonlyrecognisedboth

    asa spatial (Peroni,2007;Cooper,2008)and soilconsumption (Boccagna,2010)phenomenon.This fact

    becomesmoreevidentwhentouristactivitiesarenotadequatelydevelopedandplanned.

    Sustainable tourism meant in its broader definition as a set of principles, policy prescriptions, and

    managementmethods,whichleadtosustainabledevelopmentsuchthatadestinationareaenvironmental

    resourcebaseisprotectedforfuturegenerationtrade(WTO,2012)representsthekeyelementforthe

    deliveryofsustainabledevelopmentinthetourismsector(Hunter,1997)andisfundamentallylinkedtothe

    ideaof sustainabledevelopment (WCED,1987:43).Enhancing thisconcept,Theobald (2005)defined the

    sustainabletourismasthetourismswhichisdevelopedsothatthenature,scale,locationandmannerof

    development is appropriate and sustainableover time, andwhere the environments ability to support

    other activities and processes is not impaired, since tourism cannot be isolated from other resources

    activities. Sustainable tourismwas designed not to stop tourism activities but tomanage them in the

    interests of all three parties involved: the host communities, the tourists and the industry itself (Lane,

    2008).

    Inparticular, sustainable tourism should i)maintainessentialecologicalprocesses andhelp to conserve

    naturalheritageandbiodiversity,whichconstituteakeyelementintourismdevelopment,ii)preserveand

    respect the sociocultural authenticity of host communities, the architectural characteristics of their

    monuments and traditional housing, and their cultural heritage and traditional values (Lanzarote

    Conference, 2005) and iii) provide socioeconomic benefits (with longterm economic operations), to

    stakeholdersinvolved,andsocialservicestohostcommunities(UNWTO,2005).

    AccordingtoBriassoulisandStraaten(1992),usingprogrammaticapproachesandemphasisingasenseof

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    placeand identitycouldhelp todevelopmoreeffectiveplanning strategies for sustainabledevelopment

    basedon tourism, inorder to reach servicesqualitygoals,preserving thenatural resources, thecultural

    heritageandlifequalityofthehostcommunities.

    In the era of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) an unprecedentedwealth of digital

    geographicinformation,collectedintonewdigitalformats,ismadeavailabletoplannerstosupportdesign,

    spatialanalysisanddecisionmakingprocesses.This trendcould fosternotable innovations inurbanand

    regionalplanningmethodologies.

    First of all, the Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDIs) development in Europe, defined as interoperability

    infrastructures,enabledpublicaccessandreuseofAuthoritativeGeographicInformation(AGI),according

    totechnologyandpolicystandards. InmanyregionsacrossEurope,theregionalSDIsrepresenttechnical

    platformsforthedevelopmentofplanningprocessesatregionalandlocallevelsbymeansofsupplieddata

    andservices(CampagnaandCraglia,2012).Secondly,currentdevelopmentsinconnectivity,geobrowsers

    andmobiletechnologies,enabledbyWeb2.0,allowcitizenstoactasvolunteersensors(Goodchild,2007)

    inordertoproviderealtimeGeographicInformation(GI).Nowadays,thiswealthofdigitalinformation,or

    Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI), can be easily collected, analysed, understood and used to

    support informed decisionmaking. In several countries worldwide, the use of VGI is simplifying and

    fostering participatory processes, becoming the main source of information in planning emergency

    response,environmentalmonitoringandspatialplanning(PoserandDransch,2010),andinlocalplanning

    forcountriesaffectedby the lackof largescaleauthoritativedatasources.Theseopportunitiescanboth

    enablea transactiveapproach (Friedman,1973) inplanningpracticesand foster thedemocracyand the

    sustainabilityinmakingplansaturbanandregionallevels.

    Furthermore, widespread diffusion of social media is fostering the dissemination of georeferenced

    multimedia (SuiandGoodchild,2011),orSocialMedia relatedGeographic Information (SMGI),over the

    globalInternet.Userscaneasilyaccess informationandalsobetheproducersofpersonalgeoreferenced

    contents on locationbased social networks. These capabilities have surpassed past limitations in data

    communication, and are disclosing innovative opportunities for disseminating and gathering geographic

    information among worldwide users, fostering media convergence with GIS environment (Sui and

    Goodchild, ibidem).Thesocialmediacontentscanbeconsideredas innovativeBigDatasource(Caverlee,

    2010), and need new spatial analysis techniques inmanaging and exploiting their knowledge potential

    (MassaandCampagna,2014).

    TheintegrationofSMGIwithAGIcancreatenovelanalysisopportunitiesinspatialplanning,withregards

    notonlytomeasuresofgeographicfactsbutalsotouserperceptionsandopinionsonplaces,geographic

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    locationsortourismdestinations.

    1.2 TheroleoftouristSocialNetworksandthetourists/userperceptions

    In the last decade, the fast evolution of ICTs enabled users to ubiquitously access a broad range of

    informationservices.Thedegreeofinteractivity,establishedbytheWeb2.0paradigm,enhancedtherole

    of the Internet as information source,with a secondary role as opinion source (Grabner et al., 2012).

    TourismisoneofthesectorswherethewideexploitationofICTsleadstothedevelopmentofonlinetourist

    communities.Traveltopicsareamongthemostpopular inonlinesocialnetworks(BuhalisandO'Connor,

    2005;Baggioetal.,2008).

    Tourism online platforms development and the eTourism advent (Buhalis, 1999), on the one hand,

    representan importantmarketingchannelthroughwhichdestinationsandtourismenterprisescanreach

    andpersuadepotential tourists (Buhalis and Law,2008).They can also assist consumers inposting and

    sharing their travelrelatedcomments.Travellersopinionsandpersonalexperiencesbasedon their trips

    serve,inturn,asinformationtoothers.

    ThefutureofeTourismfocusesonconsumerneedstechnologiesthatwillenableorganizationstofocuson

    theirprofitabilitythroughapartnershipsnetwork.Consumersaremoresophisticatedandexperiencedand,

    therefore,more difficult to please (OConnor, 1999). The availability of powerful ICTs empowers both

    suppliersanddestinationstoenhancetheirefficiencyandreengineertheircommunicationstrategies.

    1.3 Researchgaps

    In Sardinia, the tourism sector isoneof themajordriving forcesof regionaleconomyandmostaffects

    coastalareas (CRENOS,2011),whichdue to their fragilityhavegenerallybeenconsideredasareas tobe

    plannedandmanagedinaspecialwayforthenumberofactivities,possiblelanduses(Hospers,2003).Asa

    result,variousinterests,suchasthoseofresidents,developers,environmentalistsandinvestors,maymeet

    in coastal areas and come into conflict (RAS, 2006).Becauseof this apparent conflictbetween tourism

    developmentincoastalareasandtheneedtosafeguardthem,theRegionalExecutiveCommitteedecided

    topreparetheRegionalLandscapePlan(RLP)togetherwiththeRegionalPlanforSustainableDevelopment

    basedonTourism (RPSDT).TheRPSDT tourismwasapproved inorder topreserve regional,culturaland

    natural landscape and promote sustainable development based on tourism. Nevertheless, very little

    researchregardingitexists.

    TheSardiniantourismsectorhasbeen identifiedbytheRPSDTasoneofthestrategicsectorscapableof

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    improving the regionalsocioeconomicconditions.However,notallof thepossible formsof tourismare

    desirableduetotheirirreversibleenvironmentalconsequences.

    The RPSDT focuses on the interrelationship between the economic benefits and the environmental

    impacts of tourism enterprise and, in so doing, recognises the lack of a global strategy of sustainable

    developmentbasedon tourism.However the geographic perspective isnotproperly considered by the

    plan:itdoesnotanalysethespatialdimensionofthetourismenterprise(Cooper,2008)anditsrelationship

    withtravelmotivations(Dellaertetal.,1998)andtouristsbehaviour(Buhalis,2000).

    Anothercriticalaspect isthatagoodplanningprocessneedstoengage localcommunitiesandrecipients

    directlyinitsimplementation(Zoppi,2012;Wates,2014).Thisway,itismuchmorelikelytobesuccessful

    indelivering localbenefitsand tobe sustainedover time (Leslieetal.,2007). In theRPSDT, the lackof

    involvementbystakeholdersisnotableasmuchasacarefulanalysisoftouristbehaviour.

    Understanding tourist behaviour and psychology may help in assessing some of the problems which

    plannersanddecisionmakersneedtosolveforthetourismplanningimplementation(Briassuolis,2002).In

    thisperspective,with improvedunderstandingofthetouristsmotivationsandtailoringtourismservices,

    decision making can be facilitated by emphasizing the strengths of tourist destinations for past and

    potential tourists. Several conceptual models found in the literature dealt with the role of tourist

    psychology,intermsofneeds,perceptions,andmotivation(BakerandCrompton,2000).Suchcomponents

    areconsideredimportantcontributorstoboththeunderstandingofanindividualstravelbehaviour(Dann,

    2010)andinsupportingthetourismplanningapproachesusedinthepresentday.

    IntheDigitalInformationage,touristpreferencesdata,availableonforumsandreviews,aregeneratedby

    users/customers and provide relevant knowledge for planning practices. This new trend could foster

    notable innovations in urban and regional planningmethodologies (Zin et al., 2013; Campagna, 2014).

    Moreover,theintegrationofthisinformationwithtraditionalauthoritativedatasourcesmayrepresentan

    opportunityof greatpotential toeventuallyenrich tourism strategieswith abroader,deeper andmore

    pluralistknowledgeoftheplacesordestinations.

    1.4 Aimsandresearchquestions

    This thesis focuses on tourism, analysing the relationships between demand, industry and location,

    identified as fundamental variables. The research aims to understand if the use of SMGI may offer

    knowledgebasesfordecisionmakingintourismplanning.Theinvestigationsarecarriedoutexploringthe

    potentialofpublicvolunteeredcomments,representedbytouristpreferencesondestinationandtourism

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    relatedservicestheyfind,forprovidingusefulknowledgeabouttheseinclinationsinspaceandtime.

    Forresearchpurposes,atraditionalmethodforcollectinginformationaboutsuchpreferences,performed

    via adhoc surveys, can be expensive and time consuming. For this reason an alternative approach is

    presented,bywhichtouristpreferencesarediscoveredbyprocessingandanalysingpubliclyavailablesocial

    mediadata.Inaddition,theinvestigationaimstodemonstratethepotentialofSMGIassupportfordesign,

    analysisanddecisionmaking in tourismplanning,and thebenefitsderived from informing regionaland

    localinitiatives.

    Theadoptedmethodologydealswithseveralquestionsrelatedtotouristpreferences:

    1. Whicharethemostpopulardestinations?

    2. Whydopeoplechoosethosedestinations?

    3. Whatattractstouristsattentionandwhatdotheyappreciateordisregard?

    5. Couldtherelationshipbetweenservicequalityandlocationbeexplainedbothatregionalandlocal

    level?

    6. Howcanthisknowledgebeusedinsupportingtourismplanningapproaches?

    Thiskindofstudyandthemethodologyadopted,whichcouplesSMGIandAGIfromopenSDI,mayprovide

    anovelkindofinformation,whichcouldbeintegratedwithtraditionalknowledgeandsuccessfullyusedin

    urbanandregionalplanningaswellas intourismplanning,for inbothcasestheycontributetotake into

    accountamultifacetedcustomerorientedviewonstrategicdevelopment issues. Inaddition,usingSMGI

    mayrevealopportunitiesforfurtheranalysisscenariosinurbanandregionalplanning,andmayofferuseful

    suggestionsfortourismplanningstrategies. Inan integratedplanningsupport framework,SMGIanalytics

    might help to understand tourists observations, preferences, interests, feelings, or needs, and possibly

    affectdecisionmakingdynamicsandplanningprocesseswithcustomerorientedstrategies.

    Themethodologicalapproach,adoptedinthisthesis,hasthefollowinggoals:

    1) evaluatingtheregionaltourismsupplydistributionandlocationofinterest;

    2) identifying tourists preferences spatial patterns, including clusters of positive and negative

    preferences;

    3) evaluatingpatternsandindividualspotsofinterest;

    4) findingaproperlycalibratedspatialmodel,whichintegratesSMGI/AGI,inordertocalculatespatial

    variationintherelationshipsamongpositivepreferences,i.e.thedependentvariable,andenvironmental,

    structuralandpositionalexplanatoryvariables.

    Thefindingscouldprovide important insights intotheSardiniantourism industry,whichcouldbeusedto

    develop innovativeplanningapproaches.Theycouldalsoofferabenchmarkforfuturecomparativetrend

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    analysisanddirectionsfortourismpolicydrafting.

    1.5 Researchmethodology

    Themethodologicalapproachbuildsonapreliminaryexploratoryanalysisof socialnetwork contentsof

    Sardinia,searchingforthemostpopulardestination,therelationshipsbetweenservicequalityandlocation

    andthespatialdistributionoftouristpreferencesatregionalandlocallevels.

    TheresearchhasbeencarriedoutonconsideringLeipersgeneralconceptualmodel(1990),reviewedby

    Cooper (2008), as a fundamental starting point. Leipers model can be summarized by the following

    equation:

    Appreciationandcriticisms=Location+servicequality.

    Inorder todetermineeach variableof thisequation, the researchusesgeographic informationdata, in

    particular both Authoritative Geographic Information (AGI) and Social Media related Geographic

    Information (SMGI). Combined AGI and SMGI data are used to express location. Service quality is

    investigated through SMGI support. Thus, a two dimensional analysis framework is implemented at

    regionalandlocallevels.

    Firstofall,analysesatregionalscaleare implementedtodescribespatialpatternsoftouristpreferences

    andtoidentifylocationsofinterest;thelattermayincludeclustersofpositiveornegativepreferences,or

    individualspotsofinterest.Then,atthelocallevel(i.e.withinthesingleclusterorspotofinterest)further

    analysesaredevelopedaimingatunderstandingthepossiblereasonsbehindthepatternsandsingularities.

    Theassumptionisthatfindingsmayhelpinexplainingsuccessorfailurefactorswithregardstodestination

    andservices.

    Bothatregionalandlocallevels,thestudyisbasedonfourmainsteps.Firstly,dataareextractedfromthe

    mostpopular tourism socialnetworksgeocodedand integrated inageodatabase foranalysis.Secondly,

    data are analysed for the entire region, at themunicipal unit of analysis,with spatial analysis, spatial

    statistics,andspatial textualtechniques, inorder todetectclustersofpositivetouristpreferences.Then,

    theanalysis shifts to the local scale;dataare integratedwithauthoritativedata fromofficialopendata

    sources, inordertofindexplanatoryhintsonthepreferencedynamicsandtogetdeeper insightsonthe

    relationshipsamongtouristpreferences,localterritorialfeaturesandqualityofindustryservicesinselected

    destinations.

    Finally, theneed to take into elements account that are strongly related to the good location,butnot

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    measurableevenwiththeuseofproxyvariables,necessarilyinvolvestheuseofspatialanalysistechniques

    that are able to process the location variable. GeographicWeighted Regression (GWR) quantifies the

    relationships among variables, which differ from one location to another. GWR is adopted for both

    modellingpreferencesphenomenonandtotestthereliabilityofthehypothesesdevelopedfromresultsof

    thequalitativeanalysis,inordertomakeappropriatedecisionsintermsofpolicy.

    1.6 Summaryofthedissertation

    Thethesisconsistsof8chapters.

    FollowingChapter1,whichsetsoutthecontext,introducesthegeneralaimoftheresearchandformulates

    the researchquestions,Chapter2contains thestateof theart.Thechapterdealswith the relationships

    betweentourismandenvironmentdescribingtheevolutionoftheconceptofsustainabledevelopmentand

    sustainabletourism.

    Chapter3providesanoverviewofcurrenttrendsintourism,inordertounderstandhowthedevelopment

    of ICTs is changing the travelworld and theway inwhichholidaydestinations are chosen. Secondly, a

    definition of the travel decisionmaking process is provided, starting from the concept of tourist

    preferenceswhichleadtodifferentdestinationchoices.Thechapterconcludesdescribingtheadventofe

    Tourism and current changes of knowledge sharing, which influence the tourism industrymodel and

    tourismplanningapproaches.

    Chapter 4 dealswith the opportunities of SMGI as valuable support for analysis, design and decision

    making in tourismplanningpracticesatboth regionaland local levels.Moreover, thechapterpresentsa

    shortoverviewof themostpopular touristsocialnetworks,oriented todatacreation,disseminationand

    collection, and describes new perspective and weakness that still limit the integration of SMGI into

    planningpractices.

    Chapter5providesanexplanationof the rulingplanning frameworkof theSardinian region, in termsof

    landscape safeguardingand sustainable tourismdevelopment. Inorder toevaluate theefficiencyof the

    RegionalPlanofSustainableDevelopmentbasedonTourism,bothasa landscapepreservationplanand

    regarding its contribution to sustainability, the chapter aims to pinpoint some key characteristics of

    sustainableplans,by lookingat the international literatureon the topic, identifyingunderlyingprinciples

    andrecommendations.

    Chapter6 focuseson theresearchmethodology indetail. Inorder tounderstand the touristpreferences

    dynamicsinSardinia,thechapterprovidesanovelandintegratedAGI/SMGIanalyticsmodelfortwoscales

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    (regional and local level) and two dimensions (service quality and location). This kind of approachmay

    providenewopportunities forplannersaswellasnew research challenges, touseAGIandSMGI fora

    pluralistandcustomerorientedpolicymakingprocessintourismplanning.

    Chapter 7 sets out the findings from the qualitative and quantitative research, carried out in order to

    identifyspatialpatternsoftouristpreferences, includingclustersofpositivepreferencesandobtainmore

    detailedinformationaboutsingularspotsofinterest.Thechapterisdividedintothreeparts.Thefirstpart

    presentsamixedmethodsapproach,inwhichquantitativeandqualitativeinformationgatheredfromtwo

    ofthemajortourismSocialnetworks iscollected inadatabaseforanalyses.Thequantitative information

    concerns the scores of tourist evaluation criteria, while the qualitative information includes textual

    descriptive customer reviews.The secondpartdiscusses resultsof theapplicationof spatialanalysesof

    touristpreferences,inordertoexplorespatialpatternsofpositivetouristjudgmentsattheregionallevel.

    Theapplicationof spatialanalytical techniquesallows for theexplorationof spatialpatternsof tourists

    perceptions and their relationships with different variables. After analysis of tourism dynamics at the

    regional level,themethodologyshiftstothe localscaleforfurtheranalyses,aimedatfindingexplanatory

    answers for the phenomena observed in single destinations. The last part quantitatively illustrates

    outcomesfromgeographicweightedregressions,usedtomodelspatialrelationshipandexplainthefactors

    behindobservedspatialpatternsbothatregionalandlocallevels.

    Finally,chapter8summarises themain findingsof the thesis,answers theresearchquestionsanddraws

    conclusionstoindicatepossiblefutureresearchdevelopments.

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    CHAPTER2

    Theissuesofsustainabletourism

    2.1 Introduction

    Tourism isoneof theworldsmost important industries andoneof themostdeveloped andmarketed

    economic sectors. Anderson (2008) defines tourism as amixed industry inwhich private firms, public

    agenciesandnonprofitassociations,allofwhich coexist inmost societies, competeand collaborate in

    creating the final product for tourists. According to Smith (1991) tourism is a complex activity which

    comprisesthe journeytoandaroundadestination,withthepurposeofconsumingparticularattractions

    (Inskeep,1991),accommodation,catering,entertainment,specializedandgeneralservices.

    Consideringthemagnitudeofthetouristsectoratgloballevel,thereisnodoubtthatitsimpactcomprises

    bothpositiveandnegativeeffectswithinthesocioculturalandenvironmentalspheres.Thisbecomesmore

    evidentwhentouristactivityisnotadequatelydevelopedandplanned(Briassoulis,2002).AccordingtoHall

    etal(2004)destinationsandtourismenterprisesaroundtheworldexperiencedameaningfulshiftinpolicy

    profile,suchasgovernmentandgovernanceatall levelsdealingwith travelandsecurity issuesandwith

    tourismrelatedeconomicandemploymentimpacts.

    Beforeexplainingtherelationshipbetweentouristactivityandtheenvironment,thissectionexplains,with

    abriefpremise,theevolutionofthesustainabledevelopmentandthesustainabletourismconcepts.Then,

    it focuses on the positive and negative consequences produced by tourism on geographic locations,

    consideringboththeenvironmentalandsocioeconomicperspectives.

    2.2 Theevolutionofthesustainabletourismdevelopmentconcept

    Theparadigmofsustainabledevelopmentbasedontourismemerged inthe lasttwodecades.AsHunter

    (2002) argues, a growing proportion of tourism researches focused on the principles and practice of

    sustainabletourismdevelopment.Thetermsustainabletourismencompassesasetofprinciples,policy

    prescriptions, and management methods which fostered tourism development (Hunter, 1997). This

    paragraph reviews the development of the term, beginning with a discussion of themost accredited

    definitionsofsustainabletourism.

    The original definition of sustainable tourism is fundamentally linked to the idea of sustainable

    development,astheBrundtlandReport, issuedbytheWCED,explained in1987.InthisReport,published

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    asOurCommonFuture,sustainabledevelopmentisdefinedasthedevelopmentthatmeetstheneedsof

    the presentwithout compromising the ability of future generations tomeet their own needs (WCED,

    1987:43).

    Butler's(1993,p.29)definitionofsustainabletourismdevelopmentappearstocontributesubstantially in

    combining the conceptof sustainable tourismwith sustainabledevelopment. Inaddition,he stated that

    sustainabledevelopment,inthecontextoftourism,couldbetakenasthetourismwhichisdevelopedand

    maintained in an area (community, environment) in such amanner and at such a scale that it remains

    viableoveran indefiniteperiodanddoesnotdegradeoralter theenvironment (humanandphysical) in

    which it exists to such a degree that it prohibits the successful development andwellbeing of other

    activitiesandprocesses.Thatisnotthesameassustainabletourism,whichmaybethoughtofastourism,

    whichisinaformwhichcanmaintainitsviabilityinanareaforanindefiniteperiodoftime.

    InthisdefinitionButlerdistinguishedsustainabletourismdevelopmentfromsustainabletourism.Although

    thisdistinctionseemsnot tobewidely recognised, it is important.Sustainable tourismdevelopmenthas

    also been reviewed comprehensively by several other researchers such as Bramwell and Lane (2013)

    Murphy(1994)andHarrisandLeiper(1995).AccordingtoTosun(2001),sustainabledevelopmentbasedon

    tourism should contribute to satisfy the needs of those hitherto excluded in local tourist destinations.

    Furthermore, itshouldreduce inequalityandpoverty in localtouristdestinationsandaccelerateregional

    and localeconomicgrowth.Finally,sustainabledevelopmentbasedontourismshouldachievetheabove

    objectives or principles for an indefinite period of time, without compromising the ability of future

    generationstomeettheirownneed.

    However, tourismresearchersandpolicymakersarerelativelyslow inresponding to theseconceptsand

    haveremainedsomewhatdetachedfromthecontinuingdebateonthe interpretationand implicationsof

    sustainability(Butler,1999).

    Tourism has a long history. The real rise of this phenomenon as amajor pursuit and as an important

    industrystarted in thepostwarperiod.UNWorldTourismOrganization (UNWTO)statisticsareavailable

    fromtheyear1950,when25millioninternationaltravellerswererecorded.Thenthemeteoricriseofthe

    tourismindustrybegan,withanaverageannualgrowthof6.5%overtheperiod19502007(WTO,2006).

    In1992,at theEarthSummit inRiode Janeiro,sustainabledevelopmentbecameagoalagreeduponby

    severalcountries.Fourbasicprinciplesarecrucialtoachievingsustainability:

    1) theideaofholistic,crosssectorstrategicplanning;

    2) theimportanceofpreservingessentialecologicalprocesses;

    3) theneedtoprotectbothhumanheritageandbiodiversity;

    4) the requirement thatdevelopment shouldbe carriedout, so thatproductivitydoesnotdeplete

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    resources in the long term for future generations (Rio Declaration on Environment and Development,

    1992).

    The implementationoftheRioDeclarationprinciples isparticularlyrelevantregardingtheirambivalence,

    fortheycanhelptopreserveandimprovetheenvironmentbuttheycanalsogeneratechangesinnegative

    terms. After the Rio Declaration several international documents, such as the Charter for Sustainable

    Tourism,Lanzarote (WTO1995b),and theAgenda21 for theTravelandTourism Industry (WTO1995a),

    highlightedthe importanceofthoseprinciples,dealingwith theconceptualdefinitionoftourismandthe

    waystomakeitoperativeinplanningprocesses.

    Twentyyearsafter theEarthSummitand theRioDeclarationonEnvironmentandDevelopment, theUN

    ConferenceonSustainableDevelopment,knownasRio+20,tookplace in2012. Thisrepresentsthethird

    international conference on sustainable development, which aimed at mediating economic and

    environmentalgoalsoftheglobalcommunity.Keythemesatthehighlevelconferencewerejobs,energy,

    cities, food,water,oceansanddisasters (WTO,2012).Tourismwas included forthe firsttime in the UN

    Conference on Sustainable Development Report, because this phenomenon can make a significant

    contributiontothethreedimensionsofsustainabledevelopment,hascloselinkagestoothersectors,can

    createacceptablejobsandcangeneratetrade(WTO,2012).

    Theconceptofsustainabletourismhasbeeninterpretedinmanydifferentways.Butler(1999)statesthat

    oneof themajorproblemswith theconceptofsustainabledevelopmenthasbeen theway inwhich the

    singleword'sustainable'hasbeenappliedtoavarietyofactivities,basedontheassumptionthatitcarries

    theideologicalandphilosophicalimplicationsoftheconceptwithit.

    AccordingtoEber (1992),sustainabletourismcanbedefinedastourismplusassociated infrastructures,

    that,bothnowand inthefuture,operatewithinnaturalcapacitiesforthenaturalresourcesregeneration

    andtheirfutureproductivity.Alongthesamelines,Coccossis(1996)suggestedthattherearefourwaysof

    interpretingtourismwithinthecontextofsustainabledevelopment:

    anecologicalpointofview,emphasizingtheneedofecologicallysustainabletourism;

    alongtermviabilityoftourism,recognizingthecompetitivenessofdestinations;

    asectorialpointofview,suchastheeconomicsustainabilityofthetourismsector;

    a point of view accepting tourism as part of a strategy for achieving sustainable development,

    throughoutthephysicalandhumanenvironments.

    Themostrelevantproblemwiththeconceptofsustainabletourism isdealingwiththeword 'sustainable'

    (Butler,1993).Sustainabletourismwasdesignednottostoptourismactivitiesbuttomanagetheminthe

    interestsofallthreepartiesinvolved:thehostinhabitantsandcommunities,thetouristsandtheindustry

    itself(Lane,2008).

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    Inthelightoftheabovepremises,sustainabletourismshould:

    maintainessentialecologicalprocessesandhelppreservenaturalheritageandbiodiversity,which

    constituteakeyelementintourismdevelopment;

    preserve and respect the sociocultural authenticity of host communities, the architectural

    characteristics of theirmonuments and traditional housing, and their cultural heritage and traditional

    values;

    provide socioeconomic benefits,with longterm economic actions, to all stakeholders that are

    unevenly distributed, including stable employment, incomeearning opportunities and social services to

    hostcommunities,aswellascontributingtoalleviatepoverty(UNEPandUNWTO,2005).

    2.2.1 Stakeholdersinvolvementintourismplanningprocesses

    More recently theWTO pointed out that sustainable tourism is a condition of tourism based on the

    principlesof sustainabledevelopment, taking fullaccountof its currentand futureeconomic, socialand

    environmental impacts (UNEP/WTO, 2005:11 e 12) and addressing the needs of stakeholders (Hunter,

    2002).

    Sustainabletourismdevelopmentrequiresthe informedparticipationofallrelevantstakeholders,aswell

    as strong political instruments, to ensure wide participation and consensus building. Many different

    interests could benefit from sustainable tourism. Tourism businesses should be concerned about their

    corporate image, the relationship with their staff, and their impact on the global environment and

    immediate surroundings. Local communities are seeking increased prosperity without damaging their

    qualityof life.Tourists look forahighqualityexperience ina safeandattractiveenvironment; theyare

    becomingmoreawareoftheimpactoftheirtravelling(Crouchetal,2004).

    Governments should provide an environment that encourages the private sector, tourists and other

    stakeholderstorespondtosustainability issues.Thiscanbeachievedbyestablishingand implementinga

    setofpolicies inorder toachieve tourismdevelopmentandmanagement.Theprinciplesof sustainable

    development empathise local determination and implementation of policies and actions, within a

    supportivepolicyframeworkatnationalandregionallevels(Briassoulis,2002).

    2.3 Impactsoftouristactivities

    The relationship between tourism and the quality of environment is highly complex. Tourism industry

    growth directly affects the natural and nonnatural resources of a geographic location because of the

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    applied anthropic pressures. These involve many activities, such as the construction of general

    infrastructures(roads,airportsandmarinas),andtouristfacilities,suchasresorts,hotels,restaurantsand

    shops(Barberis,2008),whichcouldhaveadverseenvironmentaleffects(Smith,2001).

    Ontheonehand,negativeimpactoftourismdevelopmentcangraduallydestroyenvironmentalresources

    onwhich itdepends.Ontheotherhand,tourismactivitiesmayrepresentatoolto financeprotectionof

    natural areas and increase their economic importance, enhancing environmental protection and

    conservation (Buhalis,1999). Inorder toavoidadverseeffects, this impactneeds tobemonitoredona

    continuous basis and the benefits need to be maximised (Hall, 2008). This is necessary not only for

    protectingthewellbeingofthecommunity (Briassoulis,2002),butalsotoensurequalitytouristservices

    and longtermviabilityat individualdestinations (Smith,2001). Ifproperlyplanned, tourismmay lead to

    conservation, environmental protection, and could represent an economic development strategy (Ivars,

    2004).

    Local communities consider tourism industry exclusively in terms of economic impact jobs, and taxes.

    However,therangeofimpactisbroad,andofteninfluencesareasbeyondthosecommonlyassociatedwith

    tourism.As amatterof fact, researchershave identified several formsof tourism impactderiving from

    touristactivitydevelopmentat regionalor local context, (LaRocca,2008;Cicerchia,2009),andgrouped

    themintodifferentcategories.AccordingtoKreag(2001)thesecategoriesareseven:

    1) economic;

    2) environmental;

    3) socialandcultural;

    4) crowdingandcongestion;

    5) services;

    6) taxes;

    7) communityattitude.

    Fromtheeconomicpointofview,tourismcreatesjobs,boththroughdirectemploymentwithinthetourist

    industry and indirectly in sectors such as retail and transportation (Hassan 2000). Tourism could also

    provide opportunities for smallscale business enterprises, which is especially important in rural

    communities,andcouldgeneratesextrataxrevenues,suchasairportandhoteltaxes,whichcanbeused

    forschools,housingandhospitals.

    Despite these facts, successful tourism reliesonestablishingabasic infrastructure, suchas roads,visitor

    centresandhotels.Governmentsusuallycoverthecostsoftheseservices,whichhavetocomeoutoftax

    revenues. Jobs created by tourism are often seasonal and poorly paid, yet tourism can push up local

    propertypricesandthecostofgoodsandservices(Buhalis,1999).Thegeneratedrevenuedoesnotalways

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    benefitthelocalcommunity,assomeofitleaksouttohugeinternationalcompanies,suchashotelchains.

    Regarding social and cultural benefits, Crouch et al. (2004) state that infrastructure and new leisure

    amenitiesimprovement,whichresultfromtourism,alsobenefitthelocalcommunity.Tourismencourages

    thepreservationoftraditionalcustoms,handicraftsandfestivalsthatmightotherwisehavebeenallowed

    towane,and it creates civicpride.However, touristbehaviour coulddamage thequalityof lifeofhost

    communities,causingcrowdingandcongestion.Sometimes,interactionwithtouristscouldalsoleadtoloss

    oftraditionalculture.

    Fromanenvironmentalperspective,tourism,andparticularlyitsmostlysustainableform,ecotourism,may

    help implement conservation ofwildlife and natural resources, as these are not regarded as assets for

    tourism. Italsohelps togenerate funding forpreserving floraand fauna, throughentrancechargesand

    guidefees(Bayer,1990).Nevertheless,territorialabuse,intermsoftourismbusinessesandactivities,could

    representathreattoregionalnaturalandculturalresources,suchaswatersupply,beachesandheritage

    sites. It also generates air pollution through traffic emissions, soil contamination through waste and

    sewageproduction,andincreasednoisepollution(Kreag2001).

    Tourism often develops and concentrates around specific geographic locations, providing growth yet

    avoiding sprawl. Historic buildings and grounds, whichmight otherwise slowly deteriorate, have great

    appeal for tourismdevelopmentandcouldbe renovated frequently tosuit the industry (LaRocca,2008).

    Peoplecongregateintheselocationsandgeneratecongestionandcrowding,leadingtostress,annoyance

    andothernegativeattitudes.Insomecases,tourismconstructions,especiallyhotels,maybeinappropriate

    inscaleandstylewithrespecttootherstructuresandlandscape(BramwellandLane,2013).

    Leisureindustrycreatesopportunitiesfordevelopingnewamenitiesandrecreationfacilities,whichwould

    nototherwisebeavailableinacommunity.Touristsexpectationsleadtoservicesupgrade,bylocalshops,

    restaurants, and other commerce operators. Sometimes, traditional services may be forced out or

    relocated due to competitionwith tourist interests (Crouch et al., 2004). Supply shortagesmay occur,

    temporarilyor seasonally.Water, energy, fuel, andother shortagesmaybeexperiencedwith increased

    pressureon the infrastructures. Increased retailactivity from restaurantsand tourist shoppingwilladd

    stateandlocalsalestaxrevenue.

    Lodging tax revenue to thecity (or to thestate)should increase,since travellersaccount forvirtuallyall

    lodgingtaxreceipts.Increasedtaxburdenstoexpandinfrastructuresandpublicserviceswillbepassedon

    topropertyownersthroughincreasedpropertytaxes(Kreag,2001).

    Tourists interestandsatisfaction for theresourcesofferedby thehostcommunitiesaresourcesof local

    pride.According toSmith (1998), seeing tourists interestmakes local residentsmore consciousof local

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    naturalandnonnaturalresourcesthatareoftentakenforgranted.Astourismdevelops,localresidentswill

    appreciatecommunity facilitiesmore.However, tensionbetweenresidentsand touristscanoccur (Allen,

    1988). Incontextswhereculture ispartofthetouristattractions,overamplificationofculturaltraitsand

    creationofotherculturalcharacteristicstosatisfytouristpreferencesmaycreateapretentiousculture.In

    somecasesresidentsmayexperienceasenseofexclusionandalienationoverplanninganddevelopment

    concerns(Gurkan,1996).Theymayfeelalossofcontroloverthecommunity'sfutureasoutsiderstakeover

    establishments and new developments. The local community could feelmanipulated and exploited by

    outsiders,becauseoftheexclusivebenefitofthosedevelopersorbusinesspeople.Moreover,hotelsbuilt

    inmonolithiccubesorrestaurantswithstandardizedfranchisedesignsmightclashwithlocalstandardsand

    disrupttheaestheticappearanceofthecommunity,damagethepeculiarcharacterofthecommunity,and

    spreadsameness(Faulkner,1997,LaRocca2003).

    2.4 Discussion

    Tourismisoneoftheworldsmostimportantindustriesandoneofthefastestgrowingeconomicsectors.

    Asamixedandcomplexactivity(Smith,1990),tourismcomprisesthejourneytoandaroundadestination,

    withthepurposeofenjoyingparticularattractions,accommodation,cateringandgeneralservices.Onthe

    one hand, the tourist industry creates job opportunities and develops new amenities and recreation

    facilities, which would not otherwise be viable in a community. On the other hand, it could produce

    negativeeffectsontheenvironmental,economicandsocioculturalspheresofaspecificlocation.

    Thisbecomesmoreevidentwhentouristactivitiesarenotadequatelydevelopedandplanned.Destinations

    and tourismrelated businesses around the world experienced a meaningful shift in policy profile;

    governmentandgovernance,atall levels,dealingwith travelandsecurity issuesandwith theeconomic

    and employment impact of tourism (Bramwell and Lane, 2013). The negative impact of tourism

    developmentcangraduallycompromisetheenvironmentalresourcesonwhich itdepends.Nevertheless,

    tourismcouldenhanceenvironmentalprotectionandconservationstrategies.

    Inordertoavoidadverseconsequences,negativeimpactneedstobemonitoredonacontinuousbasis.If

    properlyplanned,tourismcanbecomeapositiveforceforconservationandenvironmentalprotection,as

    wellasforeconomicdevelopment.Thisisnotonlynecessaryforthepurposeofprotectingthewellbeing

    of thecommunity,butalso forensuring that thequalityand longtermviabilityof the touristproductat

    individualdestinationsisnotunderminedbyadversereactionsoftheresidentpopulation.

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    CHAPTER3

    Tourism,destinationandperception

    3.1 Introduction

    Thetopicsoftouristphenomenonanddestination imageshavebeen included inacademicresearchsince

    the end of the 1990s (Opperman, 1996; Etchner; 1997). The growing interest in destination

    competitivenesshasfocusedonthedefinitionanddescriptionofadestinationproduct,andhowthetourist

    perceivesthesecomponents.ThisChapterexploresthetourismphenomenonfromadualperspective.On

    theonehand, thissectiondiscovers thegeographicdimensionof tourismsupply;on theotherhand the

    knowledgeofconsumerpsychologyhasbeenrecognizedasthemost importantfactor indeterminingthe

    successofasingledestination.

    In addition, the rapid diffusion of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) currently

    converts tourism from a labourintensive industry to an informationintensiveone (Buhalis, 2003).As a

    result,theroleoftheICTsandtheWeb2.0intourismhasbeeninstrumentalinbothcommercialandnon

    commercial activities. In tourism, consumers use the Internet to obtain travel information, share their

    experiences,connectwithpeople fromvariousdestinationsorpurchase travelrelatedproducts (Buhalis,

    2003).

    Inthelightoftheabovepremises,thissectionfocusesonthreemaintopics:(1)thecurrentdevelopments

    in tourism planning and tourist destination, (2) the role and the support of customers preferences in

    planningprocessesand(3)areviewoftheevolutionoftheeTourismphenomenon.

    Thechapter isarticulatedasfollows:thefirstsectionprovidesadefinitionoftourism,which is important

    fora varietyof theoreticalandpractical reasons,explains several important tourism conceptualmodels

    founded in literature, in order to better understand current trends in tourism planning. The following

    section introduces thedefinitionof traveldecisionmakingprocess, starting from the conceptof tourist

    preferences,which fostereddifferentdestinationchoices.Then, theparagraph focuseson theeTourism

    developments and explains current changes in knowledge sharing, whichmay influence both tourism

    industrystructureandcurrenttourismplanningapproaches.

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    3.2 Currentdevelopmentsintourism

    Thetermstourismandtourists,usedtodescribethemovementofpeopleforleisure,weredefinedatthe

    beginningofthe19thcentury (Smith,1989).JafariandRitchie (1981) identifiedfivemaincomponentsof

    tourismresearch:economy,psychology,geography,sociologyandanthropology.AccordingtoSmith(1991)

    tourismisacomplexactivitywhichcomprisesthreemainfeatures(PageandConnell,2006):

    1. themovementofpeople;

    2. theeconomicsector;

    3. a broad system of interacting relationships of people, their needs [sic] to travel outside their

    communities,andservicesthatattempttorespondtotheseneedsbysupplyingproducts.

    Moreover, Smith (1991) states that tourists aremotivated to seekout individual recreation innew and

    different contexts inorder to alternateperiodsofwork and relaxation.As a leisure activity, the tourist

    systemutilizesalltypesofresourcesinhostareas.SuchresourceshavebeenclassifiedbyJafari(1982)into

    background tourist elements and facility services. Background tourist elements include natural, socio

    cultural,andarchitecturalattractions,while facilityservices representsall facilitiesserving touristneeds,

    suchasaccommodationandspecializedamenities,elementsofthenaturalenvironment,infrastructureand

    local facilities serving the localpopulation aswell as tourists (Jafari, ibidem). In this sense, tourism and

    related activities are combinedwith territorial factors giving rise to the service use process inwhich,

    essentially,thedeliveryandconsumptionoftourismareinvolvedsimultaneouslyinageographicalcontext

    chosenbytheconsumersanddefinedastouristdestination(Peroni,2007).

    Inthelightoftheabovepremises,severalconceptualmodels,foundintheliterature,dealtwiththeroleof

    the psychological characteristics of the individual in terms of needs, perceptions, andmotivation; such

    components are considered important contributors to the understanding of the individual's travel

    behaviour.

    Themost common concept toprovideadefinitionof tourism is its relationshipwith travelprovidedby

    BarkatandMedlik (1981).Tourismarisesfrompeoplesmovementandtheirstay invariousdestinations.

    There are two elements in all typesof tourism: the journey to thedestination and the stay,which

    include activities atdestinationsdifferent from thenormal residence andwork sites. Themovement to

    destinationsisofatemporary,shorttermnature,withtheintentionofreturningwithinafewdays,weeks

    ormonths. The temporaldimension represents a fundamental factor in touristphenomenondefinition,

    which represents aminimum stayofmore than24hoursor amaximumofone year away fromhome

    (WTO,1991).Alltourismincludessometravelbutnotalltravelistourism,whilethetemporaryandshort

    termnatureofmosttouristtripsdistinguishesitfrommigration(BarkatandMedlik,1981).

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    3.2.1 Differenttourismmodelsinliterature

    The tourist system is a frameworkwhich embodies the entire tourist experience of travelling. Several

    models,whichdefined this systems complexity are traceable in literature. Themost acceptedmodel is

    Leipers spatialmodel (1990). Leiper identifies a tourism spatialmodel as comprising the tourists, the

    traveller generating region, the tourist destination, the transit routes for tourists travelling between

    generating and destination areas, and the travel and tourism industry. In this spatialmodel, transport

    infrastructuresarethekeyelementsofthetouristsystem,connectingthetravellersregionoforiginand

    theirfinaldestination.Moreoverthemodelhighlightstheimportanceoftheseelements:

    thetourist;

    theintegralrelationshipsintheoveralltouristexperience;

    theeffectoftransportationproblemsontravellersperceptions;

    therequirementforprovisionofservices;

    thegeographicdestination.

    ConsideringLeiperspremise,Peroni(2007)definestourismasthemovementofconsumptioninspace,as

    the resultof tourist/consumerchoiceofspendingaportionof their income inaplacedifferent fromhis

    habitual abode. Therefore, tourism can be considered a spatial (Cooper, 2008) and space consuming

    (Boccagna,2010)phenomenon.Spaceconsumptionincludesnotonlytheuseofspecificfunctionssuchas

    accommodationandrestaurantservices,butalsoawiderangeofactivitieswhichaimtosatisfyconsumers

    physicalandpsychologicalneeds(Cooper,2008).Indeedthemovementoftravellersfromonegeographic

    location to anotherenclosespersonalneeds related tohealth,network and social relations system and

    occupationalconditions,whichdirectlyimpactthewholedestinationdimension(Franch,2010).

    Cooper (2008)describes tourismasamultidimensionalandmultifacetedactivity,which combinesmany

    aspectsof lifewithdifferenteconomicactivities toproduce the travelexperience.Moreover,he reviews

    threekeyaspectsofLeipersspatialmodel:

    1. thetourists;

    2. thegeographicfeatures;

    3. thetouristsector.

    Cooper defines tourists as the key actors of the tourism system, because the journey to and from a

    destination is, firstly, a human experience which will be remembered by many as one of the most

    importantmomentsoftheirlife,andthetravelmotivationisthefoundationunderpinningthisexperience.

    Dann (1977)addressesthequestionofWhydopeopletravel? Inansweringthisquestion,Dann (1981)

    identifiessevenelementswhichexplainthemainreasonsfortravelling:

    1. travelistheanswertowhatismissingandwanted;

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    2. destination attractiveness (pull) is a response to the desire level of the demand (push). Push

    motivationsaremorerelatedtointernaloremotionalaspects;pullmotivationsareconnectedtoexternal,

    situational,orcognitiveaspects(Crompton,1979;Dann,1981);

    3. travelmotivationistheresultofindividualimaginary;

    4. travelmotivation depends on the diversity of the demand side (visiting relatives and friends,

    studying,enjoyment,businessandsoon);

    5. travelmotivation depends on the desire to escape from a known to an unknown place (called

    wanderlustinGraystheory)andaplacewhichfortravellerscouldpresentspecificcomfortsandfacilities

    thatdonotexistintheirhabitualplaceofresidence(referredinGraystheoryassunlust)(Gray,1970);

    6. travelmotivationandtouristexperiencearestrictlylinkedtoeachother;

    7. travelmotivationisgeneralunderstandingandviewingcapability.

    The geographic features referred to tourist destination,which represents the territory affected by the

    impactoftourism (Leiper,1990).Franch (2002)definesaspullfactors(Crompton,1979;Dann,1981)the

    fourelementswhichproducedestinationattractiveness.Theyconsistof:

    1. naturalornonnaturalcomponentsthatleadtouriststoagivenplace;

    2. accessibility;aneasyway to reachadestinationwillbenefit the same through increased tourist

    inflow;

    3. informationpoints,reception,restaurants,andaccommodationsystem;

    4. destination image, which derives from positive travel experiences and generates tourist

    satisfaction(Urryetal,2007;GengQingChiandQu,2008).

    Finally,thetouristsectorisacomplexofbusinessesandorganizations,geographicallylocatedaccordingto

    their function,whichare involved in thecreationof thetourismproduct (Cooperetal2008).Typically

    whentouristsspendtheirholidaysinadestination,theydonotconsumetheproductofonlyonesupplier,

    butabundleofservicesasawhole(Kaspar,1991).Alotofdifferentservicesuppliersparticipateincreating

    thetourismexperience(Weiermair,2004).

    Intheliteraturewecanidentifymanyauthorswhohavebeenconcernedwiththedefinitionofthetourism

    model;even though fewhavebeenproposed.Thebig issue forplanners isboth choosing fundamental

    criteria for preserving natural and sociocultural capital at local and regional levels, achieving intra and

    intergenerational equity in the distribution of costs and benefits, and satisfying the needs of tourists

    (Briassoulis,2002).However,thiskindofinformationabouttouristphenomenonandtouristsperceptions

    andopinionsisnotalwaysproperlyanalysedbyplanners.

    Understandingthe touristphenomenonmayhelp inassessingsomeoftheproblemswhichplannersand

    decisionmakersneedtoaddressfortourismplanning implementation.Inthisperspective,with improved

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    understandingoftravelmotivationsandtailoringtouristservicesupply,decisionmakingcanbefacilitated

    by emphasizing the strengths of tourist destinations for past and potential tourists. Moreover,

    understanding the tourists satisfaction,whichdependson factors related toboth location and services

    thatthe local industryproposes,mayoffervaluable information intourismplanningatregionaland local

    levels.

    3.3 Destinationchoicesandtravelmotivation

    Moststudiesoftouristspreferencesaddresstouristsdestinationchoicesasthekeyelementinthetravel

    decisionmakingprocess.AccordingtoDellaertetal.(1998),thiselementiscombinedwithaccommodation

    oractivitychoices.Ontheonehand,theinvestigationofdecisionmakingprocesses,mostlyconceptual in

    nature,focusesonthetypesofdecisionrulesandthedecisionmakingstagesthatarelikelytobeadopted

    by tourists. On theotherhand, research in choice factorshasbeenprimarilyaddressedwithempirical

    examinations of critical attributes, used by tourists as criteria for determining their travel alternatives

    (Crompton,1979).Thissectionprovidesabriefexplanationoftouriststraveldestinationchoicesandtheir

    travel motivations. In addition a brief explanation of the main factors that influence costumers

    preferences,basedonliteraturereview,isprovided.

    Knowledge of the consumers psychology is extremely important in determining the success of a

    destination (RodriguezdelBosque and SanMartin,2008). In this sense, an explorationofpsychological

    conceptssuchasattitudes,decisionmakingprocesses,emotions,experienceandsatisfaction isnecessary

    for understanding costumer preferences regarding tourist destination choice. A tourist destination is

    perceived by tourists as a single entity, but in fact it comprises several stakeholder groups: tourists,

    business entities operating in the tourism sector, the public sector, the host population, and

    representativesofnongovernmentalorganizations(Buhalis,2000).

    Thedestination consistsofawelldefinedgeographicalarea, suchasa country,a regionora city (Hall,

    2000) thatcanbe referred toasaproductorabrand (YoonandUysal,2005).Manystudieson tourists

    travelchoicedistinguishamongvariousapproachestothedefinitionoftouristdestination.VanRaaij(1986)

    defined the traveldestination as aproduct,which ispartly given andpartlymanmade. The givenpart

    refers to the natural features of a destination, such as climate, landscapes, beaches, mountains and

    historicculture buildings. Themanmade part refers to physical features such as hotels,package tours,

    transportation facilities, sports and recreation facilities, which can be modified to satisfy customers

    preferencesandtheirbudget.

    Ferreira(2011)claimsthattouristdestinationsshouldbeconceivedasbrandsandtheyshouldbemanaged

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    from a strategic point of view. For Buhalis (2000) destination is a defined geographical regionwith a

    politicalandlegislativeframeworkfortourismmarketingandplanning,anditisunderstoodbythetourists

    asauniqueentity.Destinationsthusofferapackageoftourismfacilitiesandservices,whichlikeanyother

    consumerproduct, iscomposedofanumberofmultidimensionalattributesmixoftourismproductsand

    services,whichareintegratedunderabrandnameHuandRitchie(1993).

    Determining the factors that influence tourists choice of a destination is essential in developing

    appropriate marketing strategies. Age, income, gender, personality, education, cost, distance and

    nationality are factors that affect destination choices (Van Raaij, 1986). According to Kuang Hsu et al.

    (2009) travelmotivation is adynamic concept that changes fromoneperson to another and fromone

    destination toanother.Cooper (2009)pointedout thatonepopularconceptualmodel forunderstanding

    travelmotivation is the push and pullmodel proposed by Crompton (1979). The pushmotivations are

    useful in order to explain the desire for travelwhile the pullmotivations explain the actual choice of

    destination. Moreover, the Crompton model identifies seven sociopsychological (push) motivations

    (escape,selfexploration,relaxation,prestige,regression,kinshipenhancement,andsocialinteraction)and

    two cultural (pull) motivations (novelty and education). Uysal and Jurowski (1994) further developed

    Cromptons model and summarizes internal (push) and external (pull) motivators to travel. Internal

    motivators includedesire forescape, rest, relaxation,prestige,healthand fitness,adventure,and social

    interaction.Externalmotivatorsarebasedonattractivenessofthedestination,includingtangibleresources

    (i.e.beaches,culturalattractionsandrecreationalactivities),andtravellersperceptionsandexpectations

    (novelty,benefitexpectations,andmarketingimage).Inmorerecentstudies,researchersaddedshopping

    asamotivationalfactorindestinationchoices(UysalandJurowski1994;Cooper,2008).

    3.4 Costumerspreferences

    AccordingtoCrouchetal.(2004),consumersjudgmentsbasicallydependonthestrengthoftheirbeliefsor

    expectations about the quality of various features or attributes associated with services. Personal

    preferences,likemotivations,maybebothintrinsic,reflectingindividuallikesanddislikes,andextrinsic,or

    sociallyconditioned.Theweightagivenattributecarries isusuallyrelatedtotherelative importancethat

    consumersconfertoeachattribute.Thismeansthateachopinionstrictlydependsonthetouristsdirect

    past experienceswith other services of analogous nature. Kuang Hsu et al. (2009) argue that tourists

    decisionsare complexandmultifaceted inwhich the choices fordifferentelementsare interconnected

    andevolveinadecisionprocessovertime.

    Most studies of tourists travel choices address tourist destination choice as the key element in travel

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    decisionmaking.Thisprocess is influencedbyanumberofpsychological(internal)andnonpsychological

    (external)variables,andconsistsofanumberofdifferentstagesthataremarkedbyspecificactions.

    In order tomeet the target of tourists expectations, hotels should provide an ample range of quality

    services, including reception,meals, roomservice, tenniscourts,nearbybeach location,swimmingpools

    andgardens,amongothers.Buthowcanwedefineservicequality?Servicequalitycanbeconsideredasa

    compositemeasureofvariousattributes.According toDubandRenaghan (1999) itconsistsnotonlyof

    tangibleattributesbutalsoof intangibleor subjectiveattributes, suchas safetyorquietness,whichare

    difficulttomeasureaccuratelyandwhichareusuallystudiedbylinguisticinformation(Benitezetal.,2007).

    Lewis and Booms (1983) define service quality as a measure of how well the service matches the

    customersexpectations.

    Benitezetal.(2007,afterBerry,1985)arguethequalityperceivedbyconsumersinaserviceisafunctionof

    themagnitude and direction of the gap between expected service and perceived service. Judgments

    expressedbynumbersareeasytointerpret,butlinguisticinformationismoredifficulttomeasurethrough

    amathematicalfunction.Linguistic informationcharacterizessubjectiveknowledgeand isusually ignored

    byanalystswhenformingmathematicalmodelsthatrepresentrealworldphenomena.However,attributes

    measuringservicequalityarecharacterizedbyuncertainty,subjectivity,imprecisionandambiguity(Benitez

    etal.,2007).Whenconsumersmakedecisions,theyusuallyemploythissubjectiveknowledgeandlinguistic

    information.

    Beside tourismmarketingandplanning, touristsarean important targetaudience forurbanplanning: in

    ordertotake intoaccounttouristspreferences,plannersmustdeeplystudythephenomenonoftourism

    and attempt to understand and internalize tourists needs and perceptions (Dickey, 2005).An accurate

    identificationofcustomersperceptionisthefirststepinmaintainingthestatusofacityasapopulartravel

    destination.

    3.5 Tourismrevolution:theroleofInformationandcommunicationtechnologies

    As part of the service sector, tourism has, not surprisingly, been associatedwith developments in new

    technologiesandupdatedbyorganizationalandstructuralinnovations(StamboulisandSkayannis,2003).In

    thecompetitive scenarioof the tourist sector,any locationorbusinessaiming todobetter thanothers,

    shouldbecomealearningindustry.Evenmore,emergingalternativetourismhastoengagetheelementof

    culture,whichisanincreasinglyimportantaspectwhichhastobeconstantlytransformed.

    TheInformationandCommunicationTechnologies(ICTs)haverevolutionisedthetravelindustryinthelast

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    decade.TheadventofeTourismreflectsthedigitalisationofallprocessesandvaluechainsinthetourist,

    travel,hospitalityandcatering industries.Itemergesasatermdescribingtheentirerangeofapplications

    oftheICTsontourismandtheimplicationsforthetourismvaluechain(BuhalisandDeimezi,2004).

    ThedynamicincreaseinICTusechangesthestructureofthetravelandtourismindustries.Thesechanges

    are particularly evident in the way that tourism organisations communicate with their individual and

    institutionalclientsandhowtheymanagetheirdistributionfunction(Buhalis,1998).Thesedevelopments

    presentamajoropportunityforinnovativetourismorganisationsanddestinationstoimprovetheirrelative

    position inthe internationalmarket(OConnor,1999).Byembracingnewand innovativebusinessmodels

    and electronic commerce (eCommerce) they can extend their distribution channel and rapidly expand

    theirvaluechain.

    Therefore eTourism is emerging as away forward formanydestinations andorganisations around the

    world. On the one hand, it includes eCommerce and ICTs formaximising the internal efficiency and

    effectivenessoftourismorganisations.Ontheotherhand,eTourismrevolutionisesallbusinessprocesses,

    the entire value chain as well as the strategic relationships of tourism organisations with all their

    stakeholders chain (Buhalis and Deimezi, 2004). Etourism determines the competitiveness of the

    organisationbytakingadvantageofintranetsforreorganisinginternalprocesses,extranetsfordeveloping

    transactionswithtrustedpartnersandtheInternetforinteractingwithallitsstakeholdersandcustomers.

    For Buhalis and Jun (2003) the etourism concept includes business functions, such as ecommerce, e

    marketing aswell as estrategy, eplanning and emanagement for all sectors of the tourism industry,

    including tourism, travel, transport, leisure, hospitality, intermediaries and public sector organisations.

    Hence, etourism bundles together three distinctive disciplines: business management, information

    systemsandmanagement,andtourism.

    Destinations and service providers are able to interactdirectlywith customers (UNWTO, 2001;Buhalis,

    2003).TheglobalInternetallowsconsumerstoidentify,customizeandpurchasetourismproducts(Buhalis

    andOConnor,2005).Notonlydo ICTsempowerconsumersto identify,customiseandpurchasetourism

    productsbuttheyalsosupporttheglobalisationoftheindustry,byprovidingeffectivetoolsforsuppliersto

    develop,manageanddistributetheirofferingsworldwide(Buhalis,1998).Asaresult,amajorresearchfield

    is emerging from this interface, as researchers increasingly seek to understand and communicate the

    significanceofthenewtechnologies(Buhalis,2008).

    Moreover, ICTs can assist the improvement of service quality and contribute to higher guest/traveller

    satisfaction.Everytravellerisdifferent,carryingadistinctivecombinationofmotivations,experiencesand

    desires(Crompton,1990).Touristsfromthemajorgeneratingcountrieshavebecomefrequenttravellers,

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    arelinguisticallyandtechnologicallyskilledandcanfunctioninmulticulturalanddemandingenvironments

    abroad.Theonlinespacefortourism isvastandcontains informationfromdifferentparties,fromhotels,

    airlinesanddestinationmarketingorganizations,toconsumersthemselves,suchascustomertocustomer

    exchanges,onlineforums,andblogs.Thequalityof information,authoritativenessandtrustworthinessof

    these sources may vary. Without a doubt, the internet has expanded and changed wordofmouth

    communication,sinceconsumerscanexchangeopinionsonlineandtheirpostshavethepotentialtoreach

    millionsofviewers(Macketal.,2008).

    Newsophisticatedanddemanding travellersrequire interactingwithsuppliers,soas tosatisfy theirown

    specificneeds(Buhalis,2008).Thereactiontoonlineinquiriescanthusinfluencecustomersatisfactionand

    booking behaviour. As a consequence, response behaviour becomes a crucial factor for the success of

    tourismenterprises(Pechlaneretal.,2002).Profilingincreasehasbeenproducedbybetterpersonalization

    andinteractionbetweenconsumersandtourismbusinesses(Buhalis,2008).

    Enablingconsumerstoimprovetheironlineprofileandincludepersonaldetails(suchasname,geographic

    location andprofessional information) that indicate theirpreference, can support tourismbusinesses in

    ordertoprovidebetterservices.Also,understandinghowdifferentmarketsegmentsappreciatedifferent

    tourismproductsandservicesincreasethepossibilitiestoputsuitableproductsforward.

    Finally,theInternetgivestravellersaccesstotransparentandeasytocompareinformationondestinations,

    holidaypackages,travel,lodgingandleisureservices,aswellasabouttheirrealtimepricesandavailability.

    Consumers increasingly utilise commercial and noncommercial Internet sites for planning, searching,

    booking, purchasing and amending their tourism products (Buhalis, 2003). They can also get travel

    documentsimmediately,enablingprospectivetravellerstobookatthelastminute.Experiencedtravellers

    areempoweredbyICTsanduseinformationandbookingsystemstoimprovetheirpersonalefficiencyand

    competencies. Inaddition,consumergeneratedcontent through reviewportalssuchasTripAdvisor.com,

    multimedia sharing suchasPanoramio.com,andblogs,alsocreateaccessiblecontent that increases the

    levelofinformationavailableonaglobalbasis(BuhalisandJun2003).

    This enhanced the role of the Internet as information source,with a secondary role as opinion source

    (Grabneretal.,2012).Combiningthecommercial,technical,socialandpsychologicalaspectsofgroupsof

    people, the interacting individuals behave as an online community. Wenger et al. (2002) defined a

    communityasagroupof individualswhowant to interact todevelopknowledge, shareexperienceand

    build up their own identity. The development of a common knowledge base is the driving force of a

    community.Social,economicandtechnologicalaspectsare incorporated intothecommunity.Inaddition,

    withthesocialmediadevelopment,everypieceof informationcanbecommentedorrated insomeway.

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    TouristsonlinecommunitiesdenotetheevergrowingtrendwithinthesocalledworldofTravel2.0world

    (Conrady,2007).Touristscanhaveubiquitousaccesstoabroadrangeoftouristservicesandalsobethe

    producersandbroadcastersof informationondestinationbasedsocialnetworks.Thesecapabilitieshave

    opened up innovative opportunities for tourists to become themselves users of travel social networks.

    Consumers are able to obtain valuable information from the online communities, andmarketers can

    address the needs of those communities by targeting themwith appropriatemessages. Hence, online

    communities will undoubtedly play a much more important role as a credible information source

    (ArmstrongandHagel,1997)insupportingtouristsatdifferentphasesoftravel(ChungandBuhalis,2008)

    anddecisionmakinginthefuture.

    3.6 Discussion

    This section provided an explanation of the tourism phenomena by considering both the geographic

    dimension and consumer psychology, which are recognized as being extremely important factors in

    determiningthesuccessofatouristdestination.

    As a leisure activity, tourism includes themovementofpeople fromonedestination to another, taking

    advantageofnaturalandnonnaturalresourcesandfacilitiesandservicesinhostareas.Moreover,tourism

    includes a broad system of interacting relationships of people, their needs to travel outside their

    communitiesand facilitiesandservices,suchaselementsof thenaturalenvironment, infrastructureand

    facilities serving the localpopulationandaswellas tourists, thatattempt to respond to theseneedsby

    supplying products. The combination of these elements influences tourist choices regarding destination

    andgeneratetravelalternatives. Inthealternativegeneratingprocessthepsychologicalcharacteristics in

    terms of needs, perceptions, andmotivation, play an important role: such components are considered

    importantcontributors inunderstanding travelbehaviour,which foster the implementationofmarketing

    strategiesanddecisionmakingprocessesintourismplanning.

    Many sages of the current literature related to tourism demonstrate that the technological revolution

    experiencedthroughthedevelopmentoftheInternethasdramaticallychangedthemarketconditionsfor

    the tourism industry.As ICTshave increasinglybeen influencingconsumerbehaviour in tourism (Buhalis,

    1998), the role of the online communities is becoming twofold. They are gradually becoming more

    influentialbothasa reliable informationsource for travellersandasanemergingmarketingchannel for

    marketers(Armstrong&Hagel,1996;Wengeretal.,2002).Theysupporttheinteractivitybetweentourism

    enterprisesandconsumersandasaresulttheyreengineertheentireprocessofdeveloping,managingand

    marketingtourismproductsanddestinations.Onthesupplyside,thewaytopromotetourismindustry,the

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    different destinations,or theholiday packageshavebeen totally transformed. Likewiseon thedemand

    side:travellersusethe Internettoobtaintourist information,tosharetheirexperiencesandtoestablish

    relationshipswithpeoplefromvariousdestinationsortopurchasetravelrelatedproducts.

    ThemostsignificantchangewiththeadventofeTourismistheproliferationoflowcostairlinecompanies,

    whichusetheInternetasthemaindistributionmechanismfortheirdirectpromotion. Inaddition,travel

    agenciesusetheInternetinordertoprovideintegratedtravelsolutionsandawholerangeofvalueadded

    services,suchasdestinationguides,weatherreportsand insurance.Byadoptingdynamicpackaging(i.e.,

    the ability to package customised trips based on bundling individual components at a discounted total

    price), theyeffectively threaten theroleof touroperatorsandotheraggregators.A thoroughanalysisof

    thevarioussectorsofthetourism industrydemonstratesthekeydevelopmentsandthe influenceof ICTs

    andthe Internetfortheir internalorganisation,theirrelationshipswithpartnersandthe interactionwith

    consumersandstakeholders(LaRocca,2014).

    ICTsprovide innovative strategic tools for tourismorganisations anddestinations to improveboth their

    operationsandpositioning.Hence,thevisibilityandcompetitivenessofprincipalsanddestinations inthe

    marketplace will increasingly be a function of the technologies and networks utilised to interactwith

    individualand institutionalcustomers. Inthiscontext,consumersareabletoobtainvaluable information

    fromtheonlinecommunityandmarketerscanaddresstheneedsofthosecommunitiesbytargetingthem

    withappropriatemessages.Hence,onlinecommunitieswillundoubtedlyplayamuchmoreimportantrole

    asacredibleinformationsourceforsupportingdecisionmakinginthefuture.

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    CHAPTER4

    TourismintheageofDigitalInformation

    4.1 Introduction

    Sincetheearly1960s,GISstartedtobe introduced intospatialgovernmentand intheplanningpractice,

    replacingmore traditional analogue data andmaps. Nowadays, in the era of ICTs, an unprecedented

    amountofdigitalgeographicinformationismadeavailabletoplannersinordertosupportspatialanalysis,

    design and decisionmaking processes. This new trend could foster notable innovations in urban and

    regionalplanningmethodologies.Newdevelopments inurban and regionalplanningpracticesmay also

    representanopportunityofgreatpotentialtoeventuallyenrichtourismstrategieswithabroader,deeper

    andmorepluralistknowledgeoftheplacesordestinations.

    OpportunitiesforinnovationanddevelopmentofplanningpracticesemergefromtheavalancheoftheBD

    (Miller,2010)enclosedwithingeographicinformation,whichWeb2.0andICTshavemadeavailabletothe

    broaderpublic.Firstofall,thedevelopmentofSDIenabledthepublictoaccessandreuseavailableAGI,

    according to technologyandpolicy standards.The implementationof theDirective2007/02/CE,namely

    INSPIRE,establishingasharedINfrastructureforSPatialInfoRmationinEurope,hasledtothedevelopment

    ofSDIinMemberStatesandregions.

    Secondly,developments inconnectivity,geobrowsersandmobile technologiesenabledby theWeb2.0,

    allowcitizensactingasvolunteersensors(Goodchild,2007)toprovideGIrealtimefromthegroundup.

    This informationenclosesbothexpertknowledge (fromprofessionals)andexperientialknowledge (from

    local communities), producing opportunities for enhancing the available knowledge base in urban and

    regional planning (Miller, 2010). The use of VGI is simplifying and fostering participatory processes,

    becomingamainsourceofinformationinplanningemergencyresponse,andinlocalplanningforcountries

    whereauthoritativelargescaledatasourcesareabsent(SanvigKnudsenandKahila,2012).

    Finally,widespreaddiffusionof socialmedia is fostering thediffusionofgeoreferencedmultimedia (Sui

    andGoodchild,2011),or SocialMedia relatedGeographic Information (SMGI),over the global Internet.

    Userscanhaveubiquitousaccesstoabroadrangeofinformationservices(Buhalis,1999)andalsobethe

    producersandbroadcastersofpersonalgeoreferencedcontentsonlocationbasedsocialnetworks.These

    capabilitieshaveovertakenpastlimitsindatacommunication,andaredisclosinginnovativeopportunities

    for disseminating and gathering geographic information amongmillions of users, promoting themedia

    convergencewithGIS(SuiandGoodchild,ibidem).

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    According to Toppeta (2010), SMGI should be considered fundamental in improving liveability and

    sustainability inurbansystems.At thesame time, ICTsshouldallow innovative formsofcommunication,

    governance andorganization for community involvement in evaluating and solving key urbanproblems

    (Batty et al., 2012). This type of information should be merged, integrated and used to coordinate

    traditionalinfrastructuresandservices,simplifyingthecomprehensionandanalysisofurbancomplexity.

    The integrationofSMGIwithAGIcandisclose innovativeanalysisopportunities inspatialplanning,with

    regards not only tomeasures of geographic facts but also to user perceptions and opinions on places,

    localitiesanddaily/routineevents(Campagnaetal.,2013).Theres