The use of research in the development of tourist facilities
The paper reviews the use of research in the development of site-based tourist facilities, covering a wide variety of private and public sector operations. It firstly examines the particular features of the markets in which such facilities operate, in comparison with consumer goods markets for which the great bulk of development research is carried out. This is followed by a discussion of the information needs for different categories of facility development, leading into a description of the main available research techniques which can be applied. It is argued that tourism facility research needs to borrow heavily from techniques used in industrial and retailing research, as well as some of those applicable to fast moving goods. Two case studies are given to illustrate the application of research techniques, in one case to a new accommodation concept, in the other to an existing visitor centre facility. The paper concludes that the contribution of research to tourist facility development is now well-established, despite the complex and uncertain markets. The problem of further improving the quality of this contribution is not primarily one of technique development, but rather of building enough experience to generate satisfactory models of the markets and how they operate, as has already been achieved for fast moving goods.
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