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Typologies of Tourist Behaviour

In Part two we looked at how individual tourists make their purchasing decisions. It is now time to look at ways in which academics and marketers have sought to group tourists together on the basis of shared characteristics. This has resulted in typologies of tourists and methods of segmentation. Part 3 considers both of these. These typologies are important for a number of reasons.

They:

  • represent an attempt to increase our knowledge of consumer behaviour in tourism
  • can help marketers make important decisions on product development, pricing, promotional media and distribution channels
  • may form the basis of market segmentation techniques
  • might potentially, help to predict future trends in tourist behaviour. In the following chapter, we consider both the typologies academics have produced and the application of classic segmentation techniques to tourism.

Academic typologies

The most fundamental debate, perhaps, is that about whether people are tourists or travellers. Although the term ‘tourist’ dates back two centuries, it has only become a word in popular usage in recent decades. Sharpley suggested that the terms ‘tourist’ and ‘traveller’ were, until recently, used interchangeably to describe ‘a person who was touring’ (Sharpley, 1994). However, nowadays, the two words mean different things.

There is the idea that a tourist is someone who buys a package from a tour operator, while the traveller is the person who makes their own independent arrangements for their vacation. The idea has grown up that somehow the latter type of behaviour is

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