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Topic 2 Shift in tourist demand and behaviour

1.The modern tourist

The rise of CC has reshaped the behaviours of tourists. Understanding what consumers want needs to be at the core of the strategies of tourism players. The success of CC in the tourism industry is not only about travellers settling for a less luxurious option to experience holidays at lower costs. In fact, it is growing in popularity for consumers with higher budgets too. Giachino explains that while the traditional tourist remains a spectator of the travel, the modern tourist is in search of deeper and more emotional experiences through personalised packages, acting thereby not anymore as tourists but as travellers.

CC companies have well identified how tourism is changing. Travelers, especially millennials, look more and more for alternatives to traditional travel agencies and hotels. They are more interested in living memorable experiences “off the beaten path”, in getting out of the “tourist ghetto”. This new mindset is then characterized by new demands and desires such as: authenticity, flexibility, making connections, discovery of and connection with local people and culture, and acting as a responsible traveller by minimizing the environmental impact.

Source: Massimo Adami – Unsplash.

2.Consumer empowerment and reliance on community

In addition, the influence of ICT is not limited to a facilitated service reservation or payment process.

By improving the distribution of information, the development of ICT and social medias largely contribute to the empowerment of consumers who, at the same time, are getting more and more open to self-guided holidays. Tourists have more choice than ever in the past, and they are way more informed of their options. Up to recent years, they used to rely mainly on friends’ recommendations for their holiday choices, i.e. choosing the destination, the accommodation, the restaurants, the activities, etc. However, nowadays, there is a heavy influence of the internet on these choices. Using the digital technology and social media, modern tourists rely a lot on information from other tourists and bloggers who share personal travel experience through rating, reviews and recommendations posted on the internet. This strong influence of user-generated content on tourists’ holiday choices illustrates how trust (with both consumers and providers being rated) and sense of community are societal factors rising with CC practices, especially in the tourism industry.