Impact of the internet on tourism : e-tourism

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Nowadays, the Internet is a very important engine for Global Economy. In 2007 the number of Internet users attempted more than 1.250 billion (La Documentation Française 2007). And nowadays the Internet not only allowed to communicate, it also allowed to advertized a product, to market this product and ultimately to sell it/buy it. So the Internet become a new market and creates a newway to consume: the “Electronic commerce, commonly known as e-commerce consists of the buying and selling of products or services over electronic systems such as the Internet and other computer networks” (Webster’s online Dictionary 2010). Actually, 40% of web users are also online buyers and this market was estimated in 2001 at more than 1 trillion dollars (Z. Zhou 2004 p56). So the Internet isa big economic sector but it is also playing a big role on the development of other economic sectors in Global Economy. Another sector had strangely grown up in parallel of the Internet development and become one of the current main economic sectors in the world: the tourism. Indeed “Travel and tourism represent approximately 11% of the worldwide GDP (Werthner & Ricci 2004 p 102). The Worldtourism represented in 2009 880.5 million of arrivals and a recipe of $852.2 billion (Ministère de l’économie, des finances et de l’industrie 2010). So the tourism and hospitality market are very popular but their development is maybe not only due to the rising standard of living and to the increased leisure time. Indeed there is maybe an important link between these two sectors. We could analyzewhat is the impact of the e-commerce on the tourism sector?

As say Z. Zhou (2004 p3) “the hospitality and tourism industry has always been among the first to capitalize on new technology”. This is justified by the fact tourism market is a sector where the distribution of the information is the key element and the Internet is the best way to realize that. People want the maximum of information ontheir destination, their hostel, before to go on. The Internet offers a new way of communication which allows more focus on a target than TV, radio or newspaper, while remaining a mass media (Z. Zhou 2004 p7). This point shows that Internet not only creates the e-commerce, but also the e-marketing: marketing of products using electronic technology to determine the consumer market (allbusiness2010). In fact, “The internet has broken both time and geographical barrier” confesses Z. Zhou (2004 p6). Thus, information is always up to date and can be communicating very quickly to the customer who can consult it 24/7.
Even if Masoomeh (2006 p24) recalled that for booking holidays and travel information, traditional brochures are approximately use as much as the Internet in 2001. The Internetinformation flow is very important because it has been proved that approximately 60% of online travelers, to let know information for future travel planning, use the Internet (Z. Zhou 2004 p9). Thus, traditional travel agents represent only 6.9% of information sources for future travel planning. So the Internet permits to the tourism market to be more powerful in its communication, and above all,to be in touch directly with its customers. All companies, even if a small bed-and-breakfast in a small town, can be in touch with a potential customer at the other side of the world thanks to Internet and without any other intermediary. Zhou explains that the potential of all tourism suppliers are tenfold and new opportunities appeared (2004 p6). And this point is almost true for developing orunderdeveloped countries. For instance, “if designed and promoted properly the Internet can be an effective marketing tool for tourism SMEs in island countries of the South Pacific” conclude Mc Master et al (2005) because this way of communication is adapted to their budget.
But the Internet not only impacts the tourism market on its way to communicate and to market and go further again according...
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