Factors affecting tourism demand

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Definition of tourism demand

Tourism demand refers to the total number of people who travel or wish to travel, and use tourist facilities and services at places away from their places of work or residence (Cooper et al. 1993). For a better understanding of tourism demand, it is useful to differentiate between the demand for travel to a destination and the demand for particular tourism related products or services within the destination e.g. hotel rooms, restaurant meals, tours etc.

Factors affecting tourism demand

Tourists are of many different types. For instance, business tourist, education tourist, medical tourist, adventure tourist, religious tourist, leisure tourist, and sports tourist are to name but a few. Tourist destinations and attractions develop their tourism plans in line with the tourist motivational factors and demand. Many factors impact on tourist demand; however, this article addresses the primary factors affecting tourism demand.

Factors affecting tourism demand can be divided into two categories i.e. price factors and non-price factors. There are many factors which we need to consider under each category.

Price factors

How much is the transport cost for a tourist to go to a destination? Flight prices change often, and the price tourists pay depends on the day they fly, when they book, and the number of available seats in airlines. Flights prices also depend on tourist destinations. So, costs could be high or low.  For example, a tourist can travel from London to Paris with £20 or less. However, sometimes they need to pay more than £100. A flight from London to Dubai may cost £300 or more. Therefore, whether a tourist will travel to a destination or not may depend on transportation cost.  It is important to note that different airlines have different pricing policies.

Cost of accommodation, food, shopping, and entertainment also impact on tourism demand. For example, food is usually expensive in Switzerland while it is cheap in India. Exchange rates also impact on tourism demand. It is very evident from the recent developments in the UK. Inbound tourism is booming in the UK due to weak pound. In this regard, the readers will find the article What is the impact of a weaker Pound useful.

Non-price factors

There are a number of non-price factors that can affect tourism demand. For example, destination image is an important factor. UK is positioned as one of the best countries in the world with a great number of historically significant attractions and world heritage sites. This is perhaps enough for many tourists to visit the UK.

Immigration systems in a country may also impact on tourism demand. Flexible and accelerated visa processing systems often motivate tourists to travel abroad. It may work other way round as well. For instance, tourists from developing countries often find it difficult to travel to developed countries due to rigid immigration systems.

Weather conditions also play an important role in tourism demand. Tourists often go to destinations in search of sunshine. Likewise, winter is perhaps the only solution for many attractions promoting skiing. Heavy rains and floods usually impact on tourism demand in any destination.

We hope this article on factors affecting tourism demand has been useful. You may also like reading Impact of tourism and An introduction to the tourism industry in the UK. If you liked this article, please share it by clicking on the icons below.

The article publication date: 03 October 2017

Further reading/References

Kotler et al. (2009) Marketing Management, 1st European Edition, Prentice Hall

Lancaster, G and Reynolds, P. (2004) Marketing, 1st Edition, New York: Palgrave Macmillan

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Author: Jo David

Jo David has years of experience both in the UK and abroad. He writes regularly online on a variety of topics. He has a keen interest in business, hospitality and tourism management.