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Travel agencies in Alicante, Spain: a productivity analysis

Alberto Álvarez‐Suárez (Technical Unit for Quality Assessment, University of Oviedo, Oviedo, Spain)
Ramón Fuentes (Department of Applied Economic Research, Faculty of Economics,University of Alicante, Alicante, Spain)

The TQM Journal

ISSN: 1754-2731

Article publication date: 23 August 2011




The purpose of this paper is to provide lines of action based on the results aimed at improving the future levels of productivity of the travel agencies in Alicante.


Estimates of output‐oriented Malmquist Productivity Indices and the values of their components will be calculated. Furthermore, in order to avoid problems that may arise from these results (which are based on finite samples that are sensitive to sampling variations) bootstrapping techniques (smoothed bootstrap) are used. Lastly, the Mann‐Whitney‐U test is used in order to accept or reject the influence that different factors have on productivity levels.


This study is a continuation of previous studies analysing the variation productivity of 22 travel agencies located in Alicante (Spain) over the period 2008‐2010. The results obtained from applying the afore‐mentioned methods do not provide substantially different conclusions to those obtained in previous studies. The authors can observe that the technological component (T) is the main factor, which these companies use to sustain their productivity levels and, thanks to this, the negative effects of a poor application of economies of scale are neutralised. In light of this, and for the whole of the period 2008‐2010, the inappropriate management of resources and the inability to obtain higher output levels played an insignificant role. Perhaps, a higher amount of information online about both economics and efficiency could be a good strategy to help these agencies to improve their results.

Research limitations/implications

The impossibility of increasing the amount of data for carrying out the study, given the scarcity of statistical sources available and the reticence of the travel agencies to provide us with more information.


Although other studies have been previously carried out using Malmquist indices and bootstrapping techniques to analyse the productivity of travel agencies in other countries or cities, this is the first to be undertaken in Spain using the smoothed bootstrap method based on output‐oriented models, so as to examine this field of study from a new perspective.



Álvarez‐Suárez, A. and Fuentes, R. (2011), "Travel agencies in Alicante, Spain: a productivity analysis", The TQM Journal, Vol. 23 No. 5, pp. 560-577.



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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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