Contextualizing the past, conceptualizing the future

Tourism distribution and the impact of ICTs

Authored by: Andrew J. Spencer , Dimitrios Buhalis

The Routledge Handbook of Tourism Marketing

Print publication date:  December  2013
Online publication date:  January  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415597036
eBook ISBN: 9781315858265
Adobe ISBN: 9781317936206


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This chapter gives an overview of the use of information and communication technologies and their impact on the present and future of tourism distribution. Undoubtedly, ICTs have and are continuing to change the way that most industries operate and function and have evolved from being imaginary futuristic tools to being necessary to competitiveness and efficiency in the marketing of products and daily operation of lucrative businesses. This is no different for the global tourism industry which is now more than ever, dependent on ICTs to provide an ever evolving technologically savvy market with the goods, services and products which it demands. A background to the concept of ICTs in the travel industry is given, with specific focus on the Internet. It will also examine the literature related to distribution strategies while giving practical examples of the way the travel supply chain has evolved over time. Technology Diffusion and Adoption will also be discussed with focus on the Technology Acceptance Model of Davis (1989) which has advanced ideas related to adoption drivers with specific emphasis on individual and personal adoption. The concepts of diffusion and adoption will be taken as two semantically different but relevant concepts in this discussion of tourism distribution. Adoption here refers to making use of an innovation within operational practices and processes while diffusion addresses how information about the innovation is transmitted in a group (Rogers 1994). We contend that these two concepts are very interrelated and symbiotic as knowledge transmission may affect the decision to use (adoption) and inversely adoption will necessitate diffusion. Finally, the work will highlight the critical and often overlooked determinant of the adoption and acceptance of ICTs in tourism distribution; that of the leadership of firms and close with a discussion of the trends, future prospects and challenges that may greet this dynamic industry in the areas of distribution and marketing.

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