The economic development of the Mediterranean region is strongly dependent on the inflow of tourist. In various countries such as Italy, Egypt, Spain, Turkey, or Greece, many people are employed in organizations that are directly or indirectly dependent on the flow on the degree to which a certain destination is attractive to travelers.
We will write a custom Proposal on Tourist Destinations in the Mediterranean Region specifically for you
301 certified writers online
At present, governmental organizations and private companies attempt to find ways of attracting people from foreign countries. In turn, this study will be aimed at examining the way in which tourist destinations in the Mediterranean region can be economically affected by the power of travel agencies.
This question has practical applications. In particular, by understanding the role of travel agencies, the managers of other hospitality institutions can better attract clients.
There are several rationales for conducting this study. First of all, the power of travel agencies has not been fully examined. For example, researchers focus on the ways in which the popularity of a certain tourist destination can be increased. Numerous studies have been aimed at examining the factors that affect the development of tourist industry (Izquierdo-Yusta & Martınez-Ruiz, 2011, p. 77).
Much attention is usually paid to infrastructure, the presence of natural or cultural websites, the development of tourist industry and other factors. However, the role of travel agencies has not been fully examined. For instance, there are studies which show why a certain place can attract the attention of travel agencies.
Nevertheless, there are no data which can show how these organizations can shape the development of a tourist destination. Therefore, there is some knowledge that should be bridged. Additionally, this issue has significant practical implications. At present, many policy-makers and managers of hospitality institutions attempt to increase international awareness about different tourist site.
Definition and terms
First of all, one should provide the definition of a travel agency because in this way, one can gain a better understanding of the functions that such an organization performs.
Overall, travel agency can be described as a service company that act as an intermediary between tourists and other hospitality institutions such as hotels, airlines, restaurants, or cruise liners. Additionally, these organizations provide information to clients about a particular tourist detonation.
It is also important to mention such a term of destination branding. This notion can be understood as the development and communication of the value that a certain tourist destination can bring to a client.
Additionally, this process involves the positioning of a certain country, region or resort in the tourist market (Del Chiappa & Bregoli, 2012, p. 52). For instance, some tourist sites are oriented toward middle-income people while others are more suitable for prosperous clients. In turn, travel agencies also take part in the process of destination branding.
The main goal of this literature review is to examine academic sources which throw light on the functioning of travel agencies. It is vital to focus on the studies which can demonstrate that these organizations can influence the economic performance of tourist destinations. Apart from that, this literature review should demonstrate the importance of these service companies for the Mediterranean region.
Finally, much attention should be paid to the methodology that can be used for the future study. Therefore, it is critical to examine the research articles that can show how dependent and independent variables can be examined and measured. To a great extent, the research will be based on the notion of destination branding (Jalilvand, Esfahani & Samiei, 2010, p. 235-236).
As it has been said in the previous section, this notion can be described as the communication of value that a tourist site can bring to customers (Gil-Saura, Molina & Berenguer-Contri, 2012, p. 315). To some degree, travel agencies take part in the formation of clients’ perceptions and attitudes toward a certain tourist site. In many cases, buyers pay attention to the reputation of a travel agency (Ferencová, 2012, p. 309).
Therefore, they can significantly increase the popularity of a destination. In turn, it is possible to say that their involvement can affect economic performance of various countries. In particular, one can speak about such indicators as book reservations in hotels, employment, investment, the profitability of airlines, and other economic indicators. These are the main issues that should be examined more closely.
Get your first paper with 15% OFF
On the whole, travel agencies pay attention to various characteristics while selecting which tourist destination should be promoted. In particular, they focus on the presence of natural or cultural sites, climate, service industry in a particular region, infrastructure, and security (Prebežac & Mikulić, 2008, p. 170; Blázquez, Molina, & Esteban, 2012, p. 167).
In other words, they are particular interested in those locations that can offer various opportunities to clients. This is one of the main issues that can be identified. Apart from that, the governments of developing countries are extremely concerned about the attitudes of travel agencies since they can influence the decisions of customers (Mariutti, de Moura Engracia Giraldi & Crescitelli, 2013, p. 17).
In this way, they attempt to boost the economic development of various regions. One should take into consideration that travel agencies help clients learn more about various characteristics of a tourist destination. This is one of the main points that can be made.
The study carried out by Iris Mihajlović (2012, p. 153) suggests that travel agencies can profoundly affect the choices of consumers by highlighting the advantages of going to a particular country, region, or resort. Secondly, they can provide an evaluation of the service industry in a certain destination as well as its most popular attractions.
In other words, these organizations can be viewed as the major intermediaries between a customer and service providers. Furthermore, customers are more likely to put trust in the recommendations or assessments offered by travel agencies. This is why the role of these companies should not be overlooked. This issue is particular important for entrepreneurs and policy-makers.
Moreover, one can look at the research conducted by Dimitrios Buhalist (2000). This scholar shows that the performance of many hospitality organizations is affected by the distribution channels, especially travel agencies (Buhalist, 2000, p. 114). This study suggests that the hospitality organizations, which are based on the Mediterranean region, have to accept the power of travel agencies.
It should be kept in mind that they can reduce the perceived risk that can be experienced by clients (Buhalist, 2000, p. 115). Moreover, they can facilitate the communication between customers and eventual suppliers of service (Buhalist, 2000, p. 115). Provided that this link is absent, a client is not likely to go to a tourist destination.
Apart from that, travel agencies offer many supplementary services related to insurance or obtaining visas. This assistance is of critical importance to many people. Overall, findings of researchers indicate that the competitive position of a hotel depends on its cooperation with tour operators (Buhalist, 2000, p. 136).
The role of travel agencies becomes more important at the time when information technology becomes more and more developed. In particular, many consumers rely on Internet when they search for information about various resorts, tourist sites, or airlines (Mihajlović, 2012, pp. 153-156). Very often, they use the website of travel agencies. This example indicates that travel agencies are critical for attracting clients.
Overall, there are other studies that are aimed at determining the choices of customers who want to travel to the Mediterranean resorts. For instance, Izquierdo-Yusta and Martınez-Ruiz (2011, p. 78) note that travel agencies facilitate customers’ search for information. They help customers and suppliers to establish mutual trust (Izquierdo-Yusta & Martınez-Ruiz, 2011, p. 80).
In turn, tourist destinations are not likely to enjoy popularity among people provided that travel agents do not pay attention to them. Furthermore, these organizations can demonstrate that a certain resort is suitable for various types of clients who can differ in terms of income level, marital status, interest, values, and so forth. This is one of the main issues that should be singled out.
Therefore, it is possible to say that travel agencies can significantly increase the profitability of airlines or hotels that can be based in a particular tourist destination. As it has been noted before, these organizations interact with various types of companies that are located in a particular tourist destination. These organizations can bring several economic benefits to a particular region or country.
First of all, they can increase international awareness about a certain tourist destination. In turn, it will lead to the greater inflow of travelers, growing number of room reservation, increasing investment into infrastructure, and creation of jobs. Furthermore, the increasing inflow of tourists can stimulate the demand for food, beverages, and many other products that travelers can purchase.
Thus, these organizations can strengthen various industries. In contrast, the absence of their participation can eventually result in the downturn of economic activities in this particular destination. There are several negative challenges that can be compared. First of all, one should speak about decreasing awareness about a certain country place or region.
Moreover, one can speak about the declining passenger turnover in a country and diminishing demand for various products and services. This argument is particularly relevant to different companies like airlines, restaurants, supermarkets and many others.
Thus, this process can affect businesses that represent different industries. Therefore, a country in which tourism plays an important part can be adversely influenced by travel agencies. This is the main argument that can be put forward.
There are various studies which highlight the importance of travel agencies. For example, the study carried out by Martina Ferencová (2012) indicate that in various European countries, at least 20 percent of the population rely on travel agencies while selecting a place for holidays (Ferencová, 2012, p. 311). This situation can be observed in other European countries. This is why the role of travel agencies should not be overlooked.
Additionally, there are several examples suggesting that the development of tourism in a country is directly dependent on the degree to which tour operators are aware about a tourist destination. For instance, there are many natural and cultural sites in the Balkans; however, these sites do not attract a great number of tourist foreign tour operators and travel agents are not familiar about them (Mulec & Wise, 2012, pp. 182-183).
This is one of the main problems that policy-makers in this country attempt to overcome. Thus, one can say that some policy-makers and researchers accept the idea that travel agencies can shape the economic performance of a tourist destination.
It should be taken into account that various Mediterranean countries compete with one another in effort to increase their market share (Patsouratis, Frangouli & Anastasopoulos, 2005, p. 1865). One should not suppose that the performance of tourist destination is affected only by travel agencies. Researchers argue the exchange rate can be a powerful factor that shapes the purchasing decisions of clients (Patsouratis et al. 2005, p. 1865).
Furthermore, the competiveness of the tourist industry depends on its ability of various companies to make use of information technology (Burgess et al., 2011, p. 221). Additionally, one should not forget about the environmental policies of the government (Selwyn, 2008, p. 93). These factors also play an important role. These are the main limitations that can be identified.
They indicate that the development of tourist industry can be viewed as a combination of various external and internal factors that are related to political system, economic stability, or cultural heritage. Therefore, it is not reasonable to disregard opposing views according to which travel agencies play only the role of facilitators. This is one of the main limitations that should be considered.
Overall, this problem can be examined in both qualitative and quantitative way. First of all, it is critical to study the way in which travel agencies can present information about various tourist sites in the Mediterranean region. Overall, one should concentrate on the efforts of these organizations to promote a particular city, country or region as place that can attract travelers.
This will be the independent variable of research. In turn, there are specific characteristics which can be used to evaluate the competitiveness of a particular destination. It is necessary to focus on tourism participation index, the number of tourists, the financial performance of airlines, or hotels (Navickas & Malakauskait ,2009, p. 41).
In turn, the practices of travel agencies and other companies can be examined with the help of qualitative research methods, such as a semi-structured interview (Milman, 2001, p. 66). This strategy can help a researcher examine the opinions of respondents and understand various nuances of their practices. These are the main dependent variables that should be examined.
To a great extent, this literature review suggests that travel agencies have the capacity to influence tourist destinations. Nevertheless, it is critical to focus on the particular region and the role that travel agencies play in it. Furthermore, it is gather valid empirical evidence that can substantiate the hypothesis postulated in this study. These are the main tasks that should be addressed.
This study will be based on the model of value chain which is widely used in different economic and marketing studies. According to this concept, different agents work on the development of products and services, and in this way, they increase the perceived value of goods for clients.
Similar principles can be applied to tourist destinations. As it has been shown in the literature review, travel agencies can increase or diminish the perceived value of a tourist site for clients. Provided that they do not act as a part of value chain, the attractiveness of a country, region, or city can decline.
This study will include a combination of quantitative and qualitative research methods. First of all, in the course of this project, I will interview a wide range of professionals who are related to the tourist industry.
This step is necessary to analyze the activities of travel agencies and their interactions with other businesses. Furthermore, the research will involve the examination of statistical information that can throw light on the economic performance of different tourist destinations.
The qualitative information will be collected with the help of semi-structured interviews. This technique will be used to derive the responses of various professionals related to tourism industry. This method is beneficial because it enables a researcher to elicit clear and detailed answers.
These answers are crucial for understanding the strategies of travel agencies and their interactions with other companies. Additionally, it is critical to analyze statistical data related to the economic performance of tourist destination in the Mediterranean region.
Population and Sampling
In the course of this study, I will interview hotel managers, educators, and experts who can explain the functioning of travel agencies. The sample of this study will be from 50 to 100 respondents. The size of this sample is sufficient enough for understanding the trends in the tourism industry.
I will rely on non-random sampling, and this approach implies that the participants should be selected according to certain criteria. In this case, the main criterion will be the expertise of respondent and his/her work experience. This approach is suitable when it is necessary to understand the trends emerging in a certain industry (Black, 2009, p. 222).
Data Collection Instruments
In this study, I will develop a questionnaire that will be used during the interviews. It will contain open-ended questions that will prompt the participants to discuss the practices of travel agencies and their impact on tourist destinations in the Mediterranean region.
Role of the Researcher
I will attempt to act as a facilitator who will try to clarify the responses of the participants. It is necessary to make sure that the interviewees can calmly elaborate their views on the economic power of travel agencies.
Data analysis technique
While analyzing the qualitative data, I will have to identify the main themes that are of great concern to scholars. The first step is to codify the data and single out the main topics examined during the interviews. Furthermore, it will be critical to identify the main arguments of these professionals.
Reliability and Validity
This study will have a limited external validity because it can be applicable mostly to the tourist destination located in the Mediterranean region.
However, its internal validity will be strong because it will be based on the evidence provided by professionals who are directly familiar with the functioning of travel agencies in this region.
In turn, the reliability of this research can be increased by asking various follow-up questions that can increase the clarity of respondents’ answers. Moreover, it is necessary to use a tape-recorder to make sure that the words of interviewees are not misinterpreted.
Black, K. (2009). Business Statistics: Contemporary Decision Making. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.
Blázquez, J., Molina, A., & Esteban, Á. (2012). Key quality attributes according to the tourist product. European Journal Of Tourism Research, 5(2), 166-170.
Buhalist, D. (2000). Relationships in the Distribution Channel of Tourism: Conflicts Between Hoteliers and Tour Operators in the Mediterranean Region. Global Alliances In Tourism & Hospitality Management, 1(1), 113-139.
Burgess, S., Sellitto, C., Cox, C., & Buultjens, J. (2011). Trust perceptions of online
travel information by different content creators: Some social and legal implications. Information Systems Frontiers, 13(2), 221-235.
Del Chiappa, G. & Bregoli, I. (2012). Destination Branding Development: Linking Supply-Side and Demand-Side Perspectives. In R. Tsiotsou & R. Goldsmith (Eds.), Strategic Marketing in Tourism Services (pp. 51-63). New York, NY: Emerald Group Publishing.
Ferencová, M. (2012). Travel Agency and its Image — Factor Influencing the Attitude
of Tourism Client towards the Choice of a Holiday Package. International Journal Of Business & Social Science, 3(19), 309-316.
Gil-Saura, I., Molina, M.E. & Berenguer-Contri, G. (2012). Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism: A Comparison for Travel Agents. In R. Tsiotsou & R. Goldsmith (Eds.), Strategic Marketing in Tourism Services (pp. 299-321). New York, NY: Emerald Group Publishing.
Izquierdo-Yusta, A., & Martınez-Ruiz, M. (2011). Assessing the consumer’s choice of purchase channel in the tourism sector: Evidence from Spain. EuroMed Journal of Business, 6 (1), 77-99.
Jalilvand, M., Esfahani, S., & Samiei, N. (2010). Destination Branding and Tourists’ Attitudes (The Case of Isfahan as a Tourism Destination in Iran). International Journal Of Marketing Studies, 2(2), 235-244.
Mariutti, F., de Moura Engracia Giraldi, J., & Crescitelli, E. (2013). The Image of Brazil as a Tourism Destination: An Exploratory Study of the American Market. International Journal Of Business Administration, 4(1), 13-22.
Mihajlović, I. (2012). The Impact of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as a Key Factor of Tourism Development on the Role of Croatian Travel Agencies. International Journal Of Business & Social Science, 3(24), 151-159.
Milman, A. (2001). Hospitality and Tourism Curriculum Development: A Qualitative Case-Study Approach. Journal Of Teaching In Travel & Tourism, 1(4), 65-76.
Mulec, I., & Wise, N. (2012). Foreign Tour Operators and Travel Agents Knowledge of a Potential Tourism Destination: The Vojvodina Region of Serbia. Managing Global Transitions: International Research Journal, 10(2), 171-187.
Navickas, V., & Malakauskaite, A. (2009). The Possibilities for the Identification and Evaluation of Tourism Sector Competitiveness Factors. Engineering Economics, 61(1), 37-44.
Patsouratis, V., Frangouli, Z., & Anastasopoulos, G. (2005). Competition in Tourism among the Mediterranean Countries. Applied Economics, 37(16), 1865-1870.
Prebežac, D., & Mikulić, J. (2008). Destination image and key drivers of perceived destination attractiveness. Market, 20(2), 163-178.
Selwyn, T. (2008). Tourism and the Environment in the Mediterranean. Suomen Antropologi: Journal Of The Finnish Anthropological Society, 33(4), 91-95.