3 Important Elements of Tourism

The model comprises of three basic elements are as follows:

(1) Tourists:

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The tourist is the key player in this system. Tourism, in fact, is a human experience, enjoyed, anticipated and recalled by a lot as a historic and/or life time aspect. Therefore, defining the tourist and its classification turns out to be equally relevant.

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(2) Geographical Elements:

Leiper describes three main geographical elements in his system’s model. These are:


(i) Traveller-generating region

(ii) Tourist destination region

(iii) Transit route region


The traveller-generating region (TGR) exemplifies the area breeding markets for tourism, and practically acts as the ‘push’ force to motivate and stimulate i.e., set off and encourage travel.

It is this region where the tourist tries to seek information, goes for reservations and makes the departure. This region is basically related to the demand aspect of travel and tourism.

Further, the tourist destination region (TDR) symbolizes the ‘sharp end of tourism’ and is, indeed, the raison d’ etre for tourism. The pull force of the destinations activates the whole tourism system besides begetting demand for travel in the traveller generating region.

According to Leiper, it is at the destination where the most noticeable and dramatic consequences of the system occur. Since, it is the destination where the utmost impact of tourism is felt, therefore, the planning and management strategies are implemented in this region.


Furthermore, the transit route region (TR) typifies not only the in-between places which may be visited en route, but also the short period of travel to get to the destination.

Leiper highlights that ‘there is always an interval in a trip when the traveller feels they have left their home region but have not yet arrived. Where they chose to visit’.

(3) Tourism Industry:

The third element of the model is the tourism industry comprising the variety of businesses and organizations responsible for supplying the tourism product. The model provides for the location of the different industrial sectors to be identified.

For instance, the tour operators and the travel agents are primarily set up in the traveller- generating region, attractions and the hospitality business are located in the tourist destination region and the transport industry is largely situated in the transit route region.

The operation of the Leiper’s tourism system is such that there is not only an interaction between each element of the system but with other sectors as well so as to deliver the tourism product, to assess the occurrences and impacts of tourism, and the varied backgrounds influencing the occurrence of the tourism activity as represented.

An analysis of two major elements of Leiper’s model well illustrates the fact that tourism industry is an industry of noticeably different qualities. Whilst on the one hand, the demand for tourism in the traveller generating region is essentially erratic, inconsistent, seasonal and illogical, the supply is fragmented, unadaptable and rigid in the destination region, on the other.

Interestingly, supply is able to match the demand, a sure recourse for the financial fluidity and unpredictability in tourism. Again, the characteristic features of the Leiper’s model can be found in its generalization and lack of sophistication, and these are instrumental in facilitating a practical and effective viewpoint respecting tourism. However, there are other features as well.

i. Leiper’s model is not based or focus on any particular discipline rather makes available a generalized framework capable of incorporating interdisciplinary approaches to tourism.

ii. The model is not a specific one but has a vast scope i.e., tailored to being put to use to any degree or level of generalization, from a local resort to the international industry.

iii. The system’s model also substantiates the basic principle of tourism that there is an interrelationship and interaction amongst the different elements of tourism. Even though, the different elements need to be analyzed individually but these are the interrelationships that provide a perfect comprehension of tourism.

It is, by and large, an agreed proposition that tourism comprises of four primary elements – travel demand, tourism intermediaries/agents, destination influences, and the resulting range of impacts. All these elements can be mutually joined in the form of a layout as illustrated.

Again, Smith (1981) while describing tourism as a social practice comes up with a thought-provoking but different point of view. According to him, “the phenomenon of tourism occurs only when three elements – temporary leisure + disposable income + travel ethic – occur simultaneously.

It is the sanctioning of travel within a culture that converts the use of time and resources into spatial or geographical social mobility. If travel is not deemed culturally appropriate, then time and resources may be channelled elsewhere.”

That is, on the one hand, tourism is an accepted industry at the global level, it is also a complex set of social phenomena, on the other. Apart from this viewpoint, falling back on Buck’s hypothesis (1978), tourism can be perceived by means of conflicting and diverse viewpoints: tourism as business vis-a-vis tourism as a set of phenomena.

While this highlights the complex and inconsistent approaches adopted by different people, neither approach turns out worthwhile when considered in isolation. Under these conditions, one particularly effective approach can be by way of viewing tourism as a system or set of sub-systems. A gamut of tourism systems with different perspectives but effective in at least some way is produced.

The systems approach makes one believe tourism as being related to society and cultural evolution and not simply as an economic activity. A systems approach holds an edge over other approaches in the sense that owing to the nature of systems model being practiced, it is not possible to make out tourism in isolation by chance from its economic, societal, political or natural environments.

And here crops up the significance of inter-connectedness between different elements of a system. Given the intricacies and complexities of tourism, the proposition further leads to multi-disciplinary reasoning which becomes all the more crucial to have a thorough understanding of the tourism system.

An acquisition of a perception of the tourism system at a particular destination facilitates an extremely fitting understanding of the tourism processes.

Thus, getting under way with the framework of integration, including relationships between the tourist receiving region, the destination and the number of tourist generating regions i.e., the system to the operation of the system, the process.

Holidaying or leisure tourism is, indeed, extremely involved and complex than just being fun even through it can be contemplated as a system in respect of managing enjoyment and recreation.

Tourism has a long-drown-out record of submission and extraction, favoured destinations giving in or submitting to regional high-societies and multi-nationals, so the controversy as regards tourism and its management must be characterized by issues that include tourism impacts on heritage and the way the account of a specific place is described; the prevailing and promising impacts of augmented tourism in congested, populous, multi- communal urban areas/regions where difficulties, strains and stresses may by then exist; the ways and means to isolate tourism from sweeping pulls and leverage, and socio-economic technological phenomena etc.

These issues, however, cannot be worked out by means of technological resolutions and advances. Again, management resolves hardly consider the human factor as they, by and large, has a tendency to weigh problems in isolation.

Yet again, by and large, have a tendency to weigh problems in isolation. Yet again, it is the people that generate tourism and the ensuing complications, but people cannot be fixed.

Thus, tourism being, on the one hand, an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary field of enquiry, tourism system involves different segments i.e., organizations, businesses and functions, on the other.

Although some of these do not fall directly under tourism sector but have a critical and crucial influence in the overall success of this smokeless fast developing industry. As a result, to have a discerning perception of tourism, it can efficaciously be characterized with the help of a system approach comprising four key elements – market, travel, destination and marketing. The make-up of these four constituents and the type of inter-relationship prevailing between them can be described.

Obviously, the resolve to travel and become a tourist can be made out by means of studying the market segment of the tourism system. Once the decision in respect of travel is taken, it leads one to go for another related decision i.e., where, when and how to go.

These choices are described and analysed by the second segment of the system i.e., travel. In fact, the choices are influenced by several internal and external pulls such as mode of travels, trends in travel flows, the existing and expected tourism trends. And it brings home the import of the third segment – destination, a blend of tourist attractions, services and facilities/ amenities.

The pull of a destination is subject to various market and en route factors with a view to attract, serve and satisfy the tourists. Finally, it is the fourth segment of the system – Marketing that takes the destination area to the market and helps in motivating people to travel.

Tourism marketing, in itself, is a combined, coordinated feat of several types of organizations having direct or indirect linkage to the tourism industry viz., travel trade services, hoteliers, transporters, and other destination based as well as market based public and private sector tourism and non-tourism establishments playing their role. This, in nutshell, is the operation of the tourism system.


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