“Don’t give up and always keep on believing in your product. Because if you don’t, how can you make others believe in it?”
− Niels Van Deuren, Founder, housinganywhere.com.
The tourism industry as a whole survives because of various tourism products and services. Tourism industry is flexible. The products of tourism cannot be easily standardized as they are created for the customers of varied interests and demands. As the tourism products are mainly the tourists’ experience, they can be stored only in the tourists’ memories.
Let us understand more about tourism products and services −
Types of Tourism Products
The tourism products are grouped into the following types −
Tourism Oriented Products (TOP)
These are the products and services created primarily for the tourists and also for the locals. These products need a great share of investments in private sector. A few of them are −
● Accommodations; For example, Taj, ITC Hotels.
● Transportation; For example, Owning taxis, luxury buses, and boats.
● Retail Travel Agents
● Tour Operators
● Shopping Centers such as malls
● Cinema Theatres such as PVR
● Restaurants for Food and Beverages
● Tourism Information Centers
● Souvenirs Outlets
● Museums, Temples, Gardens, and Theme parks
Residents Oriented Products (ROP)
Here, the products and services are created mainly for the local residents staying at a particular tourist destination. This category requires investment in public sectors more. Some of them are −
● Public Parks
● Banks and ATMs
● Petrol Pumps
● Postal Service
Intangible Products of Tourism
They include −
● Bookings of accommodations, theatres, and at various sites.
● Tourists’ experience by visiting a destination, eating at a restaurant, or performing an activity.
● Tourists’ memory which is created by storing the details of events and experience on the tour. The high degree of satisfaction or dissatisfaction is often stored as a long term memory.
● Transportation of tourists and their luggage from one place to another.
Tour Operator’s Products and Services
To realize the facilities and experience a tourism product offers, service is required by skilled and qualified staff. The tour operator provides the following typical products and services −
The tourist destinations are equipped with different types of accommodations. They cater for tourists’ stay at the destination.
● Serviced − This type of accommodation is supported by skilled staff such as housekeepers, drivers, guides, and cooks.
● Self-catering − This accommodation offers staying facilities but dining is required to be self-catered. It is equipped with cooking, fuel and facility, some basic supplies such as tea/coffee/sugar sachets, and a drinking water source.
● Hotels − Budget rooms to 7* hotels with classy amenities. The hotels contribute a major share of imparting the experience to the tourists by providing best services and amenities.
● Guest Houses − Owned by business or government organizations, which can be used by its staff and staff relatives.
● Camping Sites − They are open sites often located in areas of lush greenery. They are equipped with clean place to pitch the personal tent, a water supply, and electric supply. Camp sites have common rest rooms.
The tour operator is responsible for making reservations for special events or activities the tourists are interested in. At some places, the reservations are required to be done well in advance to avoid last minute hassles. The events or activities such as a music concert or a theatre show, visiting a theme park or a zoo, require people to secure seats or avail entry with prior reservations.
The tour operators can arrange guided tours. Some qualified staff who can get access to the place, explain the importance of the place, support, and guide the participants through the entire visit. The guide is arranged to accompany the tour participants as a part of tour.
These facilities are for travelling from one place to another.
Surface Transport − It includes support of transport by road or water.
Air Transport − This is the support of transport by air, generally given for long distance travel. Many times the tours include a halt of a couple of hours at transit destinations. Today the airports are built and maintained as engaging tourist terminals by providing amenities such as spas, lounges, food joints, bars, and book shops, retail shops for selling authentic local food, clothes, and souvenirs.
Today the Airlines are no more backstage when it comes to caring for their customers. They offer loyalty programs to their customers under Frequent Flyer Program to encourage the customers to travel more and accumulate points and redeem them against travel or rewards.
The tour operators can book accommodation that provides dining facilities or it can tie up with the local restaurants which are ready to entertain groups. If the tour package is all inclusive, the tour operator pays for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If not, the tourists need to pay from their own pocket.