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Tourism Distribution Channels in Peripheral Regions: The Case of Southland, New Zealand

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Abstract:

This study examines the structure and functioning of tourism distribution channels in Southland, a temperate, peripheral region of the South Island of New Zealand, with a high degree of independent travel based mainly on natural features. It takes a regional perspective, adopts a supply-side approach and is based largely on the collection and analysis of information from in-depth interviews. Consideration of the distribution strategies aimed at each of five major segments – tour groups, special interest visitors, semi-independent travellers, independent travellers and business travellers – provides a focal point for synthesizing the analysis and discussion of channel structures. Businesses serving the group, special interest and semi-independent segments make greater use of inbound operators, wholesalers and retail travel agents and have their products pre-purchased in the market, generally either as part of a group or personalized package. Businesses catering to independent travellers tend to rely on a mix of ‘en route' and ‘at destination' strategies, involving information dissemination and sales through other intermediaries, especially information centres and formal or informal networks of other providers. The channel mix is influenced by regional supply and demand characteristics as well as by the prominence of circuit tourism in New Zealand.

Keywords: Distribution channels; inbound operators; independent travellers; intermediaries; peripheral regions; tour packages

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14616680500164740

Affiliations: Victoria Management School, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

Publication date: August 1, 2005

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