post by : Moser Luca
Xu, J. B. (2010). Perceptions of tourism products. Tourism Management, 31(5), 607-610.
Since the development of the tourism industry, many people had tried to identify the tourism products and their elements but not many research had been done on it. Smith (1994) was one of the first to split up the tourism product into five basic elements: physical plant, service, hospitality, freedom of choice and involvement. We have to imagine this elements inside two concentric circles with the physical plant placed at the core and the other elements in a series of encapsulating shells. The elements are ranked from the core to the shells, according to their importance. In (Sharma, 2007), Bill Hardman Sr. noted that a “tourism product is whatever is put into the promotion. … It could be a whole community or an individual facility, such as a park (a site) or a hotel (a property)”. For smith, both marketing and supply-side missed the essence of the tourism product and failed to generate a generic tourism product model. He propose his framework to “acknowledge the role of human experience in the tourism product, [as well as] identify which elements can be empirically measured for an estimate of the economic magnitude of the industry”. In order to understand the tourism perceptions of tourism products with the help of Smith’s framework, a study had been done with 79 students, from the school of hotel and tourism management at a Hong Kong university, which had a professional knowledge of tourism management. A list of 15 tourism products, mainly related to Hong Kong and Macao such as: Theme parks, resorts, airlines, festivals, etc.; were given to the students and after their consummation, they participated at a survey rating the importance of five elements of these tourism products. The results showed that they perceived the physical plant to be the core of tourism products, paralleling Smith’s notion. The other four elements were seen as having roughly equal levels of importance in contributing to tourism products and not only competing but complementary. To summarize, it helped to understand that a tourism product comes into existence when the five elements are correctly and successfully integrated to catch the attention of tourists and further satisfy their multiple needs. Furthermore, attention needs to be paid to the nature of particular products and the fact that the requirements of groups of customers vary.