Tourism sector is seen as one of the world’s biggest industries. International tourism had over 25 million of international arrivals in 1950’s and increased to 625 million in 1988. This has been possible by having access to mobility, more leisure time and the increase of income (Ingram, 2008). Tourism has gone from a privilege activity where few people had access to a mass tourism consumerism. This has enabled to create a lot of different services. Here is where niche tourism plays an important role, different niche markets are appearing every day in order to offer something specific, unique ( MacLeod, 2003). According to Bowie and Buttle (2009) companies concentrate their marketing on a specific market segment, called niche marketing strategy, The use of niche market is to cover the needs of customers in that specific market segment. However, it is important to highlight that “niche” does not mean small as it can generate a large amount of tourists.
Many countries in the world have introduced niche tourism products; in some cases it is still quite new. This is the case of the Caribbean where more than 20 niche tourism markets have been introduced little by little such as bird watching, charity tourism, culinary tourism, etc. (Acorn Consulting Partnership Ltd, 2008). Nowadays companies or business are aware that any type of new market, if well managed, can bring a lot of attention and be successful. Many facts affect niche tourism from economic aspects to technological, Political and social facts. The following part is going to discuss in more detail these different facts and how they are affecting niche tourism and tourism industry in general. Facts affecting niche tourism
The economic crisis has had a big impact on tourism industry by putting business models under pressure. According to Little (2009) the demand for travel has decreased being affected by consumer’s financial inability and job uncertainty. Moreover, people who want to travel book it in the last minute. Companies specialised in the last minute have become a, trend. Tour operators have suffered from the global economic crisis; however, Tour operators focused on niche markets have attracted different types of customers. Thus, those specific segments have performed better during the crisis. A good example can be seen in the cruise industry, where bookings increased over the last years (Little, 2009). How companies can face the crisis? Travellers are seeking for economic products but without giving up to quality aspects. Companies need to offer smart pricing approach and know what people are looking for. To create a niche tourism industry involves different aspects to be considered. In Spain the crisis is pushing the country to find different ways to attract new
investors and face the weak economic moment. Eurovegas is a new project that might become real in one of the two main cities in Spain; Madrid or Barcelona. It is a complex of hotels and casinos that could generate up to 200,000 jobs (Burridge, 2012). This could be a niche market for the country; however the investment comes with conditions such as immigration laws to be relaxed and having the resort as a low-tax haven. Until what extend niche tourism industry can be positive for a place or a region? In...