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The Rise of the ICT-Dependent Home-Based Travel Agents: Mass Tourism to Mass Travel Entrepreneurship

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Abstract:

This article gives an overview of home-based travel agencies/agents (HBTAs) in conjunction with the theory of home-based businesses and the disintermediation of the travel distribution channel. HBTAs originated in the US two decades ago and have since become the fastest growing segment of the travel distribution sector and one of its highest yielding distribution channels. The article uses a case study approach to illustrate two defining characteristics of the HBTA phenomenon: (1) the interplay of HBTAs with larger players (i.e., host agencies) in the marketplace and (2) the dependence of HBTAs upon information and communication technologies (ICTs). The recognition of the significance of the HBTA segment adds new perspectives to the debate on the disintermediation effect of ICTs on the travel distribution channel.

Keywords: DISINTERMEDIATION; HOME-BASED ENTREPRENEURSHIP; HOME-BASED TRAVEL AGENCIES/AGENTS (HBTAS); INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES (ICTS); REINTERMEDIATION

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3727/109830507781367375

Publication date: 2007-06-01

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  • Information Technology & Tourism is the first scientific journal dealing with the exciting relationship between information technology and tourism. Information and communication systems embedded in a global net have profound influence on the tourism and travel industry. Reservation systems, distributed multimedia systems, highly mobile working places, electronic markets, and the dominant position of tourism applications in the Internet are noticeable results of this development. And the tourism industry poses several challenges to the IT field and its methodologies.
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