A product is anything that can be offered to a market that might satisfy a want or need.A tourism product is the bundle of the physical and psychological satisfaction it provides to tourists during their travelling to the destination. The tourist product focuses on facilities and services designed to meet the needs and wants of the visitor. It is considered a composite product, as the total of a country’s tourist attractions, transport, and accommodation and of entertainment which results in customer satisfaction. Each of the components of a tourist product are provided by individual providers of services like hotel companies, airlines, travel agencies, etc. Some of the components are listed here.
We often, while purchasing a tourism product purchase an experience.
Of the three essential components of a tourist product, attractions are vital. Unless there is an attraction, pull, the tourist will not be motivated to go to a particular place. Attractions are defining element in a product determining the choice made by individual traveler to visit any particular destination than another. The attractions could be cultural, like sites and areas of archaeological interest, historical buildings and monuments, flora and fauna, beach resorts, mountains, national parks or events like fairs, exhibitions, arts and music festivals, games to name a few. Though often influenced by fashion the attractions of tourism are, to a very large extent, geographical in character. Location and accessibility are vitally important.
Physical space may be considered a component for tourists who seeks the Wilderness and Solitude. Scenery or landscape is a compound of landforms; water and the vegetation and has an aesthetic and recreative value. Climatic conditions, particularly the amount of the sunshine, temperature and precipitation (snow and rain), are of particular significance in a tourist product.
Animal life and biodiversity of a destination may be a major attraction like bird watching or sports such as fishing and hunting. A variety of cultural features as ways of life, folklore, artistic expressions, etc. provide valuable attractions to many.
Tourist attractions will be of little importance if their locations are inaccessible by the normal means of transport. To get to his destination, a tourist needs some mode of transportation. This mode may be a car, a coach, an aeroplane, a ship or a train which enables him to reach his destination. If tourist destinations are places where no transport can reach or where there are inadequate transport facilities, they are of little value. The destination, which is located near the tourist generating markets and is on a network of transport, receive the maximum number of tourists. The distance factor also plays a significant role in determining a visitor’s choice of a destination. Longer distances cost much more on travel as compared to short distances. An example can be of India. About two and a half million tourist a for a country of the size of India may look rather unimpressive. If we look at certain factors like the country’s distance from the wealthy tourist markets of the world namely United States, Europe, Canada, Japan and Australia, one may conclude that the long distance is one of the factors responsible for low arrivals. It costs a visitor from these countries, quite a substantial amount, to visit India for a holiday.Europe and North America are main generating and receiving areas for international tourism, accounting for as much as 70% and 20% respectively, of international tourist arrivals. Easy accessibility is an essential factor for the development of tourism growth.
The accommodation and other ancillary services necessarily complement the tourist attractions. Accommodation plays a central role and is very basic to tourist destinations. World Tourism Organization,in its definition of a tourist has stated that he must spend at least one night in the destination visited, to qualify as a tourist. This condition presupposes availability of some accommodation. The demand for accommodation away from one’s home is met by a variety of ways. The accommodation sector is quite varied and has undergone considerable change since the last half century. There has been a decline in the use of boarding houses and small private hotels. Large hotels are increasing their share of holiday trade, especially in big metropolitan areas and popular destinations. In Europ, big hotels are maintaining holiday resorts. In recent years, some changes have been reflected in the type of accommodation. There has been an increasing demand for more unconventional and informal types of accommodation. The latest trends in accommodation are holiday and heritage villages. In recent years there has been an increase in the pull of such accommodations. Second home ownership has also increased recently.Homestay are also fast becoming a popular form of hospitality and lodging whereby visitors stay in a house or apartment of a local of the city to which they are traveling.
Accommodation may sometimes in itself be a major tourist attraction. In fact, a large number of tourists visit a particular destination or town simply because there is an excellent luxury hotel or resort which provides excellent services and facilities. Some countries as Switzerland, Holland, France, Austria, and Belgium have earned a reputation for providing excellent accommodation with good cuisines. Many hotel establishments in various countries, especially the resort hotels, have earned a reputation for their excellent cuisine, services and facilities.
Amenities are a necessary aid to the tourist centre. For a sea-side resort, facilities like swimming, boating, yachting, surf-riding, and other services like dancing, recreation and other amusements are essential for every tourist centre. Amenities can be of two types; natural, like beaches, sea-bathing, possibilities of fishing, opportunities for climbing, trekking, viewing and human-made, various entertainment and facilities which cater to the particular needs of the tourists. Excellent sandy beaches, sheltered from the sunshine with palm and coconut trees and offering good bathing conditions make great tourist attractions. Other natural amenities such as waters for the purpose of sailing, or the opportunities for fishing and hunting are also vital.