Costa, J., Salazar, A., Montenegro, M. and Gomes, J. (2010), "How can tourist destinations become more competitive – what key tools can be used to achieve this aim?", Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes, Vol. 2 No. 4. https://doi.org/10.1108/whatt.2010.40802daa.001Download as .RIS
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How can tourist destinations become more competitive – what key tools can be used to achieve this aim?
Article Type: Editorial From: Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes, Volume 2, Issue 4
Welcome to Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes (WHATT), Vol. 2 No. 4. Our aim is to make a practical and theoretical contribution to the sustainable development of the worldwide hospitality and tourism industry. Each theme issue addresses a significant industry challenge – starting from a strategic question and leading to outcomes that are practical and implementable. To accomplish this task, theme editors assemble a team of academics who collaborate with industry practitioners in the analysis and development of possible solutions. I should like to thank Jorge Costa, Ana Salazar, Monica Montenegro and João Gomes and their team of contributors for their thorough review of the challenges facing tourism destinations for identifying the tools and frameworks that can be deployed to facilitate on-going development.
If you have an idea for a theme issue that will yield new insights on a key issue for the industry, do please contact me.
Richard TeareManaging Editor, WHATT
The topic of competitiveness has been deeply researched within organizations and more recently as it applies to tourism destinations. In fact, as competition within the tourism industry takes place more on a city, region or even country level, it makes sense to understand how this phenomenon develops and how destinations can be prepared to play according to the “new rules of engagement”. In fact, more and more we witness the emergence of “new” tourism destinations. Places like Croatia, Montenegro, Morocco and New Zealand, only a few years ago were not trendy destinations or even no international destinations at all. Recently, the picture is totally different and these as well as other present popular destinations are fiercely competing for international as well as domestic tourists. How they have managed to achieve this status is not the result of a single decision by local trade, or even by the government authorities of these countries. A combination of factors is normally the basis of this success: a strong promotional strategy, a good network of transport connections, high standards of accommodation and service, an adequate planning strategy and sustainable measures towards tourism development, to name but a few. With these questions in mind, and aware that Portugal and other southern European countries like Spain, have been witnessing a decrease in tourist arrivals, not just as a result of the international financial crisis, but also due to the attractiveness of other destinations as those already referred, we decided to organize this theme issue around eight contributions that could explore and illustrate strategies and methodologies that may be used to help tourism organizations and destinations become more competitive.
To set the scene for analysing how tourist destinations can become more competitive and the tools that can be used to achieve this aim, we start by analysing the strategic planning tools as they are applied to tourism destinations. In the first paper, Ana Ladeiras, António Mota and Jorge Costa identify the key issues needing attention when planning a strategy for destinations, and present a project developed by the Institute for Tourism Planning and Develoment and the National Association of Tourism Regions in Portugal, named Open Academy of Tourism, whose objective was to provide guidance and information to support destinations managers’ decision-making process. These authors also propose a series of recommendations to support the process of strategic tourism planning as a tool for destinations’ competitiveness.
The next paper analyses the competitiveness of the European Union Member States of Southern Europe (France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain), as tourist destinations for European Union Member States of Central and Northern Europe (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, The Netherlands, Ireland, Sweden and the UK). In this paper, Paulo Águas, Célia Veiga and Helena Reis, look at competitiveness as a widespread concern in contemporary society and identify issues such as the increasing globalization and the shift from commodity-based economies towards economies driven by knowledge, innovation and commercialization, as strong determinants for the rise of competition. In applying the concept to the tourism industry, they recognise that competition here is increasingly intense and that prosperity depends intimately upon tourism destination competitiveness. They also argue that the degree to which a country can benefit from its tourism sector depends largely on this sector’s competitive position in the international tourism market. From here, they move on to analyse the degree of competitiveness of France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain and derive recommendations on how they may increase their market share.
The following paper, by Sandra Carvão, highlights the importance of incorporating user generated content (UGC) in the e-marketing strategies and activities of destination management organizations and debates the possibilities that UGC offer in terms of market research and improved consumer profile and segmentation, as a tool to increase destinations’ competitive advantages. Sandra Carvão concludes by supporting that UGC can provide very valuable market intelligence for the overall marketing process including product development, pricing or communication, and that such market intelligence is even more critical in times of crisis when “regular” market research cannot be used.
In the fourth paper, Ana Salazar, Jorge Costa and Paulo Rita, present and discuss a scale developed for evaluating service quality in the hospitality sector. The scale was used to assess the dimensions and attributes consumers use when evaluating the quality of the service provided by hotels and to determine what influence service quality perceptions have on consumer behaviour, namely on customer intentions to return and to recommend the hotel. As argued by the authors, the use of a tool for understanding tourists’ behaviour towards the quality of the accommodation offer, is central in establishing and improving the competitiveness of the destination. This is even more pertinent as service quality is considered a basic component of the tourist product.
Manuela Sarmento presents us with an analysis on how e-learning may be used as a tool to improve quality and productivity in hotels. By consolidating and transforming knowledge into higher quality standards and better productivity levels, hotels may become more competitive and, as such, contribute to the overall competitiveness of the destination. In fact, as she argues, collaborators with better and updated information and training, are crucial for organizations’ sustainable development and success.
The Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) has generated a considerable number of changes in procedures and processes across European Community member states. Some of these changes affected tourism and, more specifically, the hotel business environment. To understand the impacts of EMU in hotels, Carla Pinto Cardoso, Roger Vaughan and Jonathan Edwards, used Michael Porter’s models (Diamond, Five Forces and Value Chain), to undertake a study with hotels in northern Portugal and concluded that EMU not only changed the hotel business environment at a national level, but also, changed the competitive and operational environments.
The competitiveness of a destination can be greatly improved through a well defined and implemented tourism plan. This is clearly illustrated by Nuno Fazenda, Fernando Nunes da Silva and Carlos Costa, using the case of the Douro Valley Tourism Plan. The authors demonstrate how a tourism destination plan may contribute to promote coherency, integration, efficacy and efficiency in the development of sustainable tourism measures and projects in a tourism area. They also identify some of the potential benefits for policy and practice that may arise from a careful analysis of alternative planning approaches that take into account the practical inputs of a wide community of stakeholders.
Finally, Doris van de Meene Ruschmann and Luciana Carla Sagi, present and discuss the results of a collaborative project between an academic institution and a tourism organization, aimed at managing the tourism development model of a fragile area: the Island of Porto Belo, in Santa Catarina, south Brazil. The project was launched in 1996 and concluded in 2009. This 14 year project, coordinated by one of the authors (Doris van de Meene Ruschmann), has helped the island preserving its environment and improve its structure equipments and services so as to make them suitable to the market needs. In the process, the destination adopted a sustainable approach model, based on indicators and qualitative criteria which greatly improved the destinations’ competitiveness.
As is clear from the summary of inputs from the contributing authors, competitiveness can be seen and understood from various and different angles. A company or a destination, can achieve and improve its competitiveness, through new promotional strategies using alternative channels of communication, better understanding its business environment, by gaining new knowledge on its customers’ behaviors and intentions, by using e-learning tools to improve quality, or by carefully planning the destination, integrating inputs from a variety of stakeholders. In any case, if managers make good use of the tools and strategies presented and discussed in this issue, it is very likely that their organizations or destinations will become highly competitive.
About the Theme Editors
Jorge CostaFounding President of the Institute for Tourism Planning and Development (IPDT), an UNWTO Affiliate Member. He is also a Professor and Director of the Doctoral Program in Management Sciences at Fernando Pessoa University, where he held the position of Pro-Vice Chancellor from 1997 to 2004. He is a member of the Sectorial Tourism Council (Ministry of Economics) and of the Strategic Council of the Portuguese Hotel Association. His consultancy clients include: Allied Distillers, BAA plc, Forte plc, Cockburn’s, Accor Portugal, Sheraton Portugal, TAP Air Portugal, the Tourism Observatory of Azores and the Ministry of Tourism of Cape Verde. A Regional Editor of the International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, he graduated in Management and Public Administration (Technical University of Lisbon) and received a PhD in Strategic Management from the University of Surrey, UK.
Ana Salazar Assistant Professor and MBA Program Coordinator at Fernando Pessoa University, Porto. She holds a Mechanical Engineering Degree and a MBA from The University of Porto Business School and a PhD in Management from ISCTE Business School, Lisbon. She is the Program Coordinator for the MBA in Tourism and Hospitality Management of the IPDT, and the coordinator of the “Marketing Strategy for Porto and North Portugal Tourism Region (2008/2017)”. A member of the Quality Assurance Committee at Fernando Pessoa University, she has been conducting research and supervising extensively both at Master and PhD levels (2003-2009). She has authored several publications in conferences and academic journals and has undertaken consultancy projects in the areas of tourism planning, strategic and marketing management.
Mónica Montenegro Founding Member and Executive Director at the IPDT, and Founding Partner of Future Trends, a research and organizational development organization. She holds a degree in Marketing Management from Fernando Pessoa University, Portugal, and a Master in Business Administration from the University of Bournemouth, UK. Her international experience in applied research and consultancy in the areas of strategic marketing, tourism planning and organizational development include clients such as Petrofina, Boheringer Ingelheim, Regional Government of Madeira, Regional Government of Azores and Government of Cape Verde. She also held research and teaching appointments at Bournemouth University, University of Surrey (UK), and Fernando Pessoa University.
João GomesFounder, Executive Director and Program Director for the Master in Business Administration in Tourism and Hospitality at the IPDT. He is also an Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Doctoral Program in Management Sciences at Fernando Pessoa University. An expert in statistics and quantitative methods, he has coordinated a large variety of studies on the profile of visitors to the port wine caves, tourists visiting Porto and the north of Portugal, profile of travellers at Porto Airport, tourist spending in the autonomous Region of Madeira, holiday intentions of Portuguese residents amongst others. He has authored several publications in the areas of research methods, market research and tourism management. He has also undertaken consultancy projects in the areas of tourism planning, strategic and marketing management.
Jorge Costa, Ana Salazar, Mónica Montenegro, João GomesTheme Editors