What is Tourism Product? Definition, Types, Characteristics

  • Post last modified:3 October 2021
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What is Tourism Product?

Tourism Products are a combination of goods and services demanded by a tourist during travel to and stay at a destination. These include natural, cultural and manmade attractions and facilities such as hotels, transport and ancillary services.

In this process, tourists derive an experience which varies from individual to individual. From a broader perspective, the sum total of experiences derived by the tourists during the entire trip can be considered as the product.

Definition of Tourism Product

Burkat and Medlik say tourism products to an array of integrated products, which consist of objects and attractions, transportation, accommodation and entertainment, where each element of the tourism product is prepared by individual companies and are offered separately to consumers (tourist/tourist).

The tourism “product” is not the destination, but it is about the experiences of that place and what happens there. – Chris Ryan

Economist M. Sinclair and Mike Stabler define the tourism product as a “composite product involving transport, accommodation, catering, natural resources, entertainment and other facilities and services, such as shops and banks, travel agents and tour operators.”

According to Suswantoro (2007:75) on substantially the understanding of tourism products “is obtained and the overall service felt or enjoyed by tourists since he left his residence to the tourist destination of his choice and to return home where she originally departed”.

Types of Tourism Products

Following figure describes the classification of Tourism Product:

Natural Tourism Product

These are the products connected to the natural environment. Natural environment that constitutes natural resources which is related to area, climate and its settings, and the landscapes. These natural resources are the most important elements in a destination’s attraction. Such as countryside, climate, natural beauty, water, flora and fauna, wildlife, beaches, deserts, islands or any scenic attraction.

Some examples of natural tourism products in India are Marina beach- Chennai, Darjeeling hill station-West Bengal, Islands of Andaman & Nicobar- Andaman & Nicobar, Deserts of Thar-Rajasthan, etc

Man-Made Tourism Product

Something which is not natural, found in the destinations to attract the tourists. These are man-made creations. As per the tourism point of view they are made for pleasure, leisure or business.

Man-made tourism products are further divided into three subtypes:

  1. Cultural aspects include those man-made products which depict the culture of the people, civilization and are related to history. Such as
    1. Sites and areas of archaeological interest
    2. Historical buildings and monuments
    3. Places of historical significance l museums and art galleries
    4. Political and educational institutions
    5. Religious institutions

  2. Traditional aspects are related to traditions. Basically, it reflects the activities, beliefs and life of people of any particular region. Such as
    1. Fairs and festivals
    2. Arts and handicrafts
    3. Dance
    4. Music
    5. Folklore l native life and customs

  3. Entertaining aspects are those which provides some amusements, thrills or enjoyable feel to the tourists. These include:
    1. Amusement and recreation parks
    2. Sporting events
    3. Zoos and oceanariums
    4. Cinemas and theatres
    5. Night life l cuisines

Examples of Man-made tourism products are Ajanta and Ellora cave-Maharashtra (Cultural), Surajkund Craft Mela-Haryana (Traditional), Essel World-Mumbai, etc

Symbiotic Tourism Product

This type of tourism product do not fall in any particular category because they are a blend of nature and man but the core attraction is nature. These are the natural resource that has been converted into a tourism product by maintaining and managing them.

In other words man has taken initiative to preserve the natural aspects of earth and also managed in a way to provide best possible services to the tourists who come for the visit, for example, accommodation, parking facilities, etc. Some examples are National Park or Wildlife Sanctuaries, Flower Festival, Marine Park, Aero and Water Sports, Botanical Garden etc.

In India, there are many national parks like Ranthambhore-Rajasthan, where tigers and many animals are preserved and tourists are given facilities like a jungle safari.

Event Based Tourism

Product Here event is the main source of attraction. Tourist comes to observe and participate in the events. Events are temporary in nature and are often mounted in order to increase the number of tourists to a particular destination.

Some events are for a short time scale while other last for longer days. Sometimes events are mounted in those places where the tourist’s eye usually don’t reach such as unusual exhibitions.

Some examples of event-based tourism product include Camel Polo at Jaisalmer- Rajasthan, Kite flying in Ahmedabad-Gujarat, where tourists also participate and observes. In Snake boat race-Kerela, one can enjoy witnessing it. Short time scale event includes Republic day parade-New Delhi and long days event include Khajuraho dance festival-Madhya Pradesh.

Site Based Tourism Product

It is a particular site or a place, permanent in nature which is the main source of attraction for the tourists. In India examples are like Taj Mahal, Beaches of Goa, Sunset at Kanyakumari, Temples of Khajuraho, etc.

Characteristics of Tourism Product

Following are the main characteristics of tourism products:


As discussed earlier in this chapter, tourism products are actually the services that are being sold to the tourists, and it’s not the goods. Services can’t be seen, smelled, felt or touched, it can only be experienced. What can be seen is their effect.

For example, a guide’s comments can be heard. A travel agents books a ticket from place A to B. The ticket is just a piece of paper, an entry pass for using the service. An airline provides the service of transportation, comfort and leisure. A thorough evaluation of the service before buying it is therefore impossible and leads customers to use other cues to help them assess the service like the interior of the restaurant, the appearance of the hotel entrance or the behaviour of the receptionist.


A service of a tourism product cannot be separated from the provider of the service. For most services, the producer and the seller are the same people. Services are manufactured and consumed at the same time. In the case of products, consumption takes place after production and often far away from the factory.

In the case of tourism products for example a guide has to be present to explain the attraction. A pilot has to be present to fly a plane. Both service providers and the service user have to be physically present for mutually satisfying the exchange of service. The visitor to a national park cannot experience counter service if the receptionist is not present, nor can the receptionist render the service is the visitor is absent.


The tourism product is highly perishable, which means it cannot be stored. For example, a hotel room or an aeroplane seat that is not sold on a particular day, is a lost sale. If the tourists don’t visit a particular place, the opportunity is lost. If the opportunity is lost, the moment is lost. This adversely affects the tourism business.

The demand has to be managed by the marketer in such a way as to ensure that as little capacity as possible is lost. The problem is unique for the tourism industry. Due to these reason sometimes heavy discount is offered by hotels or transport generating organization.


Services offered by most people are never the same. There is some degree of variability present in almost all types of services. This may be due to the extensive involvement of people in the production of service. This issue is not present when a machine dominates. Depending on the mood, behaviour, working style, efficiency and knowledge of the people variability exist.

For example, all air hostesses cannot provide the same quality service like the other. Yet again the same individual air hostess may not perform the same uniform service both in the morning as well as in the evening.

Even the tour package and the aircraft can’t be consistent of equal standards because an aircraft can de-shape the travelling pleasure into a nightmare and a holiday seaside is ruined by the prolonged rainy spell.

Another reason for variability of service is the involvement of customers in the process of product delivery and consumption system. For example, a musician performing at a program may not perform with uniformity. His performance will depend on the response and appreciation of the audience. Hence service varies from person to person, time to time and from situation to situation.

In travel and tourism businesses, service quality depends on uncontrollable factors and there is no sure way of knowing whether the service delivered matched what was planned or promoted, or what was expected by the customer.

Essentially of Users Presence

Presence of the user is necessary to avail the service. The customer or the guest has to be personally present on the spot. It can’t be brought to the user. As in the case of other tangible goods, the buyer can avail the service from anywhere or from his home. But in the case of tourism products, it is not at all possible. The tourist has to go to the tourist attraction to experience the tour.

However the marketers here need an in-depth study of users behaviour, tastes, preferences, likes and dislikes so that expectations and realities coincide and satisfaction is made possible.

Complexity in Marketing

Tourism product involves complexity in marketing. It requires a lot of effort to convince a buyer. As in the case of travel agents. In order to sell their tour package they need to convince the customer by introducing various facilities, discounts and services. Product demonstration is bit difficult in the case of tourism product.

Absence of Ownership

As in the case of tangible goods like television. As soon as we buy it, we become the owner of it. But this is not the case with tourism products. A tourism product when sold to the customer or tourist, he can only avail the service but can’t be its owner.

For example, while buying a hotel room, while buying a seat in an aircraft or a luxurious train, you can only take the facilities of the service for a certain time. You can’t be its owner for lifelong.

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