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E-TOURISM INVESTMENT DECISION MAKING SUPPORT SYSTEM


Binaya Paudel and M.A. Hossain

School of Informatics, University of Bradford, Bradford BD7 1DP, UK b.paudel@brad.ac.uk, m.a.hossain1@brad.ac.uk


the e-tourist development activities and recommend investment decision to the policymakers or investors for implementation. The research is in initial stage. This paper mainly reviews literature in order to identify the possible influencing factors on e-tourism development. We also aim to use these factors with a decision making system for prioritizing available budget to maximize the return. The next section of this paper discusses e-tourism and investment on etourism. Section III will focus on the identification of influencing factors. Section IV will review decision making techniques, followed by conclusions and future research plan. II. E-TOURISM AND INVESTMENT E-tourism is the innovative concept of the tourism development. According to Buhalis e-tourism is a single bundle of three distinctive disciplines as shown in Figure 1 [4]. It comprises business, Information technology/system and tourism functions. The development of these three sectors is prerequisites for the e-tourism development. United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has initiated e-tourism development and mainly it is concentrating on development of e-tourism marketing.

Abstracttourism industry is world wide fragmented industry. The implication of ICT in a tourism sector is now very common for developed countries but developing countries are still struggling for e- tourism development because of investment problem. This paper tries to investigate e-tourism development problems in the context of developing countries by investigating the influencing factors. Index Terms E-tourism, Investment, Decision making.

I. INTRODUCTION Ifferent authors defined tourism in many different ways. A good definition which captures the essence of tourism has been quoted by Bardgett states Tourism comprises the activities of person traveling to and staying places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes [1]. Tourism is a service-oriented industry, which is offered by small and medium sized enterprises and directed, by tourist industry, with help from government and the international community [2]. Tourism is the one of the most important fragmented industry and the source of foreign earnings. The level of tourism development depends from country to country and region to region. This is influenced by many factors, such as natural or manmade scenes/facilities, economic/political/social situations, environmental aspect, market competitions etc. In recent years there have been many used of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in tourist industries. Some authors have given the term E-tourism for the use of ICT to tourist industries. This mainly includes the e-commerce applications for managing tourism business with the help of information systems [4]. As the tourism sector, the development of e-tourism varies from courtiers to countries and region to region. There are many factors that influence the e-tourism development. One of the main problems in etourism is availability of investment. E-tourism is in the most of the cases capital intensive. Therefore, prioritizing the investment in different sector is a challenging decision making problem face by national and local authorities. This research project will aim to develop a decision making tool to use by e-tourism investors. This tool aims to prioritise

B us ine s s Ma n a g e me n t Ma r k e tin g Fin a n c e Et ouris m

Touris m Tr a n s po r t

Tr a v e l H o s p ita lity L e is u r e H e r ita g e

IT/IS

In fo r ma tio n s y s te m IC Ts Te le c o mmu n ic a tio ns

Figure 1. Combination of e-tourism factors (taken from [4])

E-tourism development depends on the availability of the investment funding. Tourism authorities or tourist management sectors always face problems of allocating fund from the limited recourses to different aspect of e-tourism sectors. These sectors include development tourism e-

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commerce sites, technical human resources, ICT infrastructure, information management system etc, which require different level of investment. In the most of developing regions ICTs are used for providing tourist information rather than e-tourism development. Many developing countries mainly developed simple e- tourism websites offering information that could satisfy consumer expectation in travel planning but do not offer secure booking or payment facilities. It shows the investment in the technical know-how is necessary for e- tourism development [5]. Prioritizing the available fund for short and long-term planning for e-tourism development is very important in order to maximise the return on investment. This requires experts, like experience investment analyst or economist, to prioritise different development aspects and make investment decision. Many factors influences the decision making process for investment recommendations to tourism developers and policymakers, which are reviewed in the next section. III. LITERATURE REVIEW ON INFLUENCING FACTORS Many e-tourism development related literatures focus on economic, political, social and environmental aspects of the region to find the major influencing factors for e-tourism investments. The investors main priority is to identify the etourism sector(s) where the investment has a return, i.e. the efacilities, which helps to increase tourist flow. Chulwon [6] analyzed the factors impacting e-tourism from technology point of view. Limited knowledge of available technology, lack of awareness, cost of initial investment, lack of confidence in the benefit of e-commerce, cost of system maintenance, shortage of skilled human resources, resistance to adoption of e-commerce, insufficient e-commerce infrastructure and small e-commerce market size are the major barriers for e-commerce development [6]. According to Prideaux [3] the structural weaknesses in the national economy are not only the factor that affects the tourism flow, but also Gross domestic product (GDP), market competitiveness and population size of a region has a great impact. This consequently influences e-tourism development. Globalization, exchange rate fluctuations, changes in visa regulation, manmade and natural disasters are the factors that influence the tourism development [7]. UNCTAD has made supporting strategy for e- tourism development for selected countries to be benefited and also describes the supporting area for e- tourism development. As mentioned in the report product improvement, product promotion, human resource development, information technology development, study opportunity and funding opportunity are the sectors that UNCTAD has ready for supporting [2]. And UNCTAD has initiated to improve the market place in e-tourism by developing the information handling systems [8]. Policy implication, public private partnership and the creation of value are the key elements of e- tourism strategy. A positive impact of ICTs on the tourism industry in developing countries depends on the development of the ICT along with other various factors such as infrastructure

development, education and capacity building and the adequate legal framework for e- tourism development at national, regional and local level [5]. The relatively high cost of the infrastructure development, lack of awareness, lack of technical knowledge, lack of appropriate training, lack of standards for data presentation and the e- tourism concept beyond the development program are the factors that appear as a hurdle and weakness for etourism development in the contest of middle east countries. [9]. It shows the factors that appear, as obstacles need to be developed for e- tourism development. From the above literature we can easily analyse the influencing factors (see fifth section for convenience) for etourism development. And in the most of the cases the influencing factors are similar for tourism and e- tourism development. IV. DECISION MAKING TECHNIQUES Decision making is not a easy task but important in each and every sectors. Decision making system is one of the important decision tool for decision making. It can be used for different types of decision, for example weather to invest. In this context investment decision is the main concern in e-tourism but even if it can be used for decision making in many sectors [10] such as accounting, auditing, finance, information system marketing, production and operation management, strategic management, education government, hospital and health care, military urban and community planning. Development in decision support system used in a variety of models and included optimisation and simulation and statistical packages also can be used as a tool in building the systems. V. CONCLUSIONS AND FUTURE PLAN Tourism and E-tourism development have been discussed from investment prospect. Different types of internal and external factors that influences in the e- tourism investment are reviewed which are worthwhile to point out in this paper and this research project. These factors are Structural weaknesses in the national economy, population size, national GDP levels, manmade and natural disaster, limited knowledge of available technology, lack of awareness, lack of confidence in the benefit of e-commerce, cost of system maintenance, shortage of skilled human resources, resistance to adoption of e-commerce, insufficient e-commerce infrastructure and small e-commerce market size. The identified factors are just from preliminary research in the area. These factors will be utilised within a decision making tool to make recommendations by prioritising the e-tourism investments as Bakera, T and Plobnig, M has done the work in the tourism recommender system using artificial intelligence for providing guidance on design choices to the project team and recommendation to the users [10]. The influencing factors will be combined as possible as to make limited factors to use as a input parameters for fuzzy decision making support system for e- tourism investment decision.

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VI. REFERENCES
[1] Bardgett L., The tourism industry, research paper 00/66, pp 7, 23 June 2000, House of Commons library. [2] UNCTAD, (2004), UNCTADs E tourism initiative, eleventh session Sao Paulo,13-18 June 2004. TD(xi)/BP/6 [3] Bruce Prideaux,(2005), Factors affecting bilateral tourism flows. Annals of tourism research, vol 32 no.3.pp.780-802 [4] Buhalis. D. (2003) e-tourism, information technology for strategic tourism management, Prentice Hall, Harlow. [5] UNCTAD, (2005), ICT and tourism for development UNCTAD, trade and development board, expert meeting on ICT and tourism for development Geneva, 30 nov-2 Dec 2005, TD/B/COM.3/EM.25/2 [ 6] Chulwon K ,(2004), e-tourism: an innovative approach for the small and medium sized tourism enterprises in Korea, OCED, 2004 [7] UNCTAD. (1998), International trade in tourism related services: issues and options for developing countries. Expert meeting Geneva,810 June 1998., TD/B/Com.1/EM.6/2 [8] UNCTAD, (2004), ), UNCTADs e-tourism initiative, UN Conference on Trade and Development, Eleventh session,13-18,June 2004 [9] e-tor report, (2004), E-tourism- the root of compititive success, Damascus, Syria, Apr 27-28,2004. Pp[10] Almejalli.K, Traffic decision making support system using fuzzy logic, masters thesis, department of computing, University of Bradford, 2005 [11] Bakera , T and Plobnig, M (), Designing recommender system for tourism Salzburg research Jakob-Haringer ,Str.5/III 5021 Salzburg, Austria.