Generations

Generations

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8395-0.ch003

Abstract

Cultural tourism is greatly impacted by the technical and social changes stemming from the communication and information revolutions, especially the rapid deployment and improvements in mobile communication. The tourism experience is conceptually divided into three phases: pre-trip, trip, and post-trip. Tourists are not a homogeneous community, especially in terms of their adoption of and usage of technology. Tourists are disaggregated by generation: Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y, and Generation Z. Each of the three phases of the tourism experience is analyzed by generational tendencies. Each phase is disaggregated by key activities within the phase: pre-travel – inspiration, information gathering, booking, and other; travel – connectivity and other; and post-travel – sharing experiences, paying the bills, and other. The degree to which technology is employed and how the technology is employed is discussed in terms of each activity. Best practices by generation are put forth.
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Introduction: Generations

Cultural tourism and the technical revolution in communication, especially mobile communication, have numerous complex interactions. To better catalog and analyze these interactions we employ the schema displayed in Table 1. While the schema represents a simplification, we divide the tourism experience into three stages: pre-trip, trip, and post-trip. We view three principal actors or groups of actors: tourist, vendor, and community. Each is elaborated below.

Table 1.
Schema for analyzing technology and cultural tourism interactions
TouristVendorCommunity
Pre-travel
Travel
Post-travel

The tourism experience divides logically into pre-trip, trip, and post-trip activities. Pre-trip activities include seeking inspiration to travel, searching for potential destinations, researching potential destinations, identifying a destination or destinations to be visited, and making trip arrangements. The trip of course is the central reason for the entire effort. Some may argue the trip is a mechanism to arrive at a destination, and we will not argue with that. But for the sake of simplicity, we group the travel, destination(s), and destination experiences under the category trip. Finally, post-trip experiences are focused most on decompressing, posting information about experiences (usually photos), and for many of us, paying our credit card bills.

We see three key parties involved in tourism: tourists; vendors, those who provide the goods and services consumed by tourists; and communities, those collectives of individuals that bear the gains and costs associated with tourism. For the most part, the vendors are private sector actors, although communities, local tourism boards, and state and national governments also may provide services for fee. Finally, communities are the collectives of individuals who are impacted most directly by tourism.

Immediately impacted are those individuals within close proximity of the tourist activity, e.g., the destinations, sites, lodging, and other services. However, impacts may extend beyond the immediate area, such as a Civil War battlefield in proximity to a small city with a population of 5,000 persons. If that site generates employment in local food service, hospitality, and other sectors, those salaries and the local taxes are a gain to the community. However, increased traffic congestion, decreased access by local residents, and crime resulting from visitors would detract from the quality of life realized by local residents. Communities are most often recognized or organized by governmental units, e.g., towns, cities, districts, states, or similar equivalent units.

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