Research into travel and tourism probably only accounts for 5% of the research industry's total turnover in spite of the fact that leisure is the world's largest industry (in many European countries tourism is the major revenue earner). This reflects both the highly fragmented nature of much of the industry and inward looking managerial attitudes. Two specific phenomena of the travel and tourism industry which directly restrict managers' scope for effective marketing action, inevitably limiting the relevance of market research's potential contribution, and which lead the industry to be highly sales as opposed to marketing-orientated are discussed in some detail in the paper: the influence of external political and financial happenings, and the official control of and interference with many sub-sectors of the industry. Research's contribution to successful travel and tourism marketing is currently concentrated on recording the past and measuring the present, rather than planning for the future; new product development, effective campaign assessment, in-depth understanding of complex consumer choice processes, user-friendly holiday brochure design and methodologically sound customer satifaction monitoring (as opposed to current widespread haphazard quality control exercises) are highlighted as five areas in which research should be making a greater contribution than it does at the present time. The paper concludes that research professionals need to get more closely involved in the travel and tourism industry if they are to be able to educate management about the necessity for market research as a vital and cost-effective input. In addition to this closer involvement, what is probably required in a cost-conscious, sales orientated and highly competitive industry forced to work with low profit margins, is hard evidence that research can indeed lead to more effective decision-making and thus higher sales and profits. The challenge which faces us is to demonstrate that research is better than intuition.