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International City Tourism: Analysis and Strategy.

by Klaus Grabler, Gunther Maier, Josef A. Mazanec, and Karl Woeber

edited by Josef A. Mazanec

(Pinter, Wellington House, 125 Strand, London WC2R 0BB, England, 1997, 260 pages)

Researchers, marketers, and managers in charge of promoting inbound tourism to an urban area will greatly appreciate what International City Tourism: Analysis and Strategy can do for them. With its focus on "the analytical preparation for strategic decision making" (p. xvi) in urban tourism management, it presents a wealth of information and data on how major European cities have positioned themselves in the competition for tourists. This book is about "marketing an urban destination to tourism-generating countries. It rests on the premise that, in terms of strategic reasoning, this effort is not fundamentally different from marketing a branded product to consumer target groups" (p. xv). It looks at positioning and segmentation issues as strategic decisions "that precede action planning for individual marketing" (p. xv).

The book is divided into six parts and includes an appendix. The chapter in Part 1 looks at the responsibilities of local tourism organizations in European cities. In many cases, urban tourism planning in Europe is not controlled by one entity but rather a combination of individuals and municipal and private enterprises. A great many variations exist in the organizational structures and services offered by these city tourist offices.

Part 2 highlights the volume and directions of the tourism flows into some of Europe's major cities. The first chapter emphasizes the importance of monitoring arrivals and expenditures and data collection as the bases of evaluation and forecasting arrivals, and illustrates some of "the measurement problems associated with tourism statistics" (p. 26). Because tourism is presently measured in a wide variety of ways, the next chapter in this section proposes a harmonization procedure for European city tourism statistics. This procedure deals with the two main problems statisticians face when comparing international city tourism: data availability and comparability of data. Additional chapters in this section present the most recent data on international tourist flows to major European cities and discuss the life-cycle concept as it relates to cities.

The emphasis in Part 3 is on micro models of tourist behavior. The section includes a discussion about tracking the satisfaction of city tourists, a look at the positioning of tourist cities (with positioning defined as "the visualization of consumers' perceptions" [p. 101]), and a chapter on segmenting city tourists using vacation styles. All of these chapters are excellent how-to guides for researchers and practitioners alike.

Part 4 examines the competition that exists between major city tourism destinations in Europe. It contains a discussion on how guest mix affects competition among cities, a section that focuses "on understanding the competitive situation in European city tourism as seen by managers working in this field" (p. 147), and "a look at the competitive situation in the urban tourism market from a demand side view" (p. 167). This section recognizes "tourist cities as competitors in a fragmented market where it is imperative to know who the 'real' rivals are" (p. xvi).

The fifth section looks at strategic market evaluation and discusses the advantages and disadvantages of the growth-share matrix approach. In marketing circles, this model "enables diversified companies to maximize the performance of their product portfolio by comparing the performance of their own products with the market share and growth rate prospects of their dominating competitor" (p. 187). In addition, the section includes a chapter on multifactor portfolio models.

The final section presents an interesting look at the role of the Internet in distributing information about an urban destination. "Because of the large number of actors, a global market with many potential customers, the need for fast response and a complex product, the [city] tourism sector is very sensitive to new developments in information technology" (p. 211). The appendix at the end of the book looks at some of the more advanced statistical tools that may be applied in tourism data processing and analysis.

International City Tourism is not a book for the statistically challenged and assumes that the reader has some prior knowledge and/or experience in destination marketing. It provides an impressive amount of very recent data on European city tourism and discusses the many ways in which to use and analyze those data. As the introduction states, "strategic marketing cannot function without a major investment into market research and data analysis" (p. xvi). Purchasing and using this publication is an investment that is bound to pay off.

Hubert B. Van Hoof

Northern Arizona University
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Title Annotation:Review
Author:Van Hoof, Hubert B.
Publication:Journal of Travel Research
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Aug 1, 1999
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