The Effects of the use of ICT by Tourism Enterprises
Nowadays tourism economy is driven by information technology (IT) and telecommunications. All tourism oriented companies, such as tour operators, travel agencies, rental agencies, cruisers and hotels experience the growing impact of what is commonly known as information and communication technology (ICT). Tourism sector represents the information-intensive industry characterized by a significantly long value chain influenced, to a great extent, by information. Its creation, collection, storage, retrieval and transfer remain within the core activities of all tourism enterprises. Every single innovation in IT sector can potentially change the strategy followed by tourism companies in running a business. Such transformations are also imposed by tourists' behaviors which keep altering under the influence of information technology. The process of tourist services purchase is based on information collected through many different channels, e.g. travel agencies, brochures, the word-of-mouth, or web sides offered by tourist service suppliers, which are currently gaining much importance. Consumer decision making process in tourism sector is transformed into an online one, since direct service booking has become possible. Proper understanding of behaviors presented by those searching for travel information online, as well as using innovative information and communication technologies by tourists, remain essential for designing an effective ICT-based business model. Currently it seems to be the crucial challenge for the entire tourism sector. ICT is focused on designing the new scientific paradigm (by innovation, co-opetition, collaboration with customers) of tourism development based on modern e-technologies. The paper discusses the level of information and communication technologies application in the tourism sector. The study covers small and medium-size hotels (SMEs) and travel agencies which dominate the tourism industry worldwide. The article draws experience from the tourism industry in one of the most popular tourist destinations in Poland - Lower Silesia.(author's abstract)
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