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International Perspectives on Destination Management and Tourist Experiences

Insights from the International Competence Network of Tourism Research and Education (ICNT)


Edited By Michael Lück, Jarmo Ritalahti and Alexander Scherer

The International Competence Network of Tourism Research and Education (ICNT) covers various areas of research. ICNT’s fourth book offers insights of tourism experts with a wide range of interest and expertise on the way tourism is understood and worked in different countries around the world. The first part of this volume focuses on factors influencing the management of tourism destinations, including competition, controlling, and marketing. An in-depth view into tourist experiences is offered in the second part, with examples ranging from volcano tourism to national park and wildlife tourism, and gastronomic experiences.

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Destination Competitiveness as Performance – a Study of Åland’s Competitiveness in the Tourism Market since 1995


1.   Introduction

Competitiveness, although a controversial concept in social science (Clark, Feldman, & Gertler, 2000; Li, Song, Cao, & Wu, 2013), is still viable and broadly applied in a tourism context (e.g., Crouch & Ritchie, 1999; Dwyer, Forsyth, & Rao, 2000; Dwyer & Kim, 2003; Kim & Dwyer, 2003; Ritchie & Crouch, 2000, 2003). Tourism research focusing on the competitiveness of tourism destinations has mainly aimed at identifying the determinants influencing this competitiveness (see, e.g., Dwyer & Kim, 2003; Enright & Newton, 2004; Kim & Dwyer, 2003; Ritchie & Crouch, 2003). Knowledge of tourism destination competitiveness has therefore increased considerably in recent years; however, it has by and large been focused on managerial issues. Since competitiveness is not really an end in itself (Turok, 2004), it has been suggested that the concept should be viewed as an ongoing process comprising potential, management processes and performance (Buckley, Pass, & Prescott, 1988; O’Donnell, 1997). This view on competitiveness has been called the 3 Ps view.

Even though Gill (2004) argues that the competitiveness of a tourism destination has too often been interpreted only in terms of its performance in the tourism market, the competitive performance of a destination is an important element of the competitiveness concept. The aim of this paper is, therefore, to study competitiveness in terms of competitive performance in a peripheral destination, namely the Åland islands in Finland. So far, only a limited number of studies (e.g., Baum, 1996) have investigated Åland as...

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