Design and development of touristic products Main author: Gábor Michalkó Szilvia Boros, János Csapó, Éva Happ, Pál Horváth, Anikó Husz, Mónika Jónás-Beri, Katalin Lőrinc, Andrea Máté, Gábor Michalkó, Erzsébet Printz-Markó, Krisztina Priszinger, Tamara

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Figure 1. Relationship of a tourism product and the material conditions of tourism

[1] The old, and somewhat incorrectly still often used word in Hungarian language for tourism is ‘idegenforgalom’, a mirror translation of German ‘Fremdenverkehr’, ‘foreigners traffic’

For tourism product, literature on tourism marketing differentiates between a macro- and micro-level approach: at the micro-level the concrete services offered by a tourism enterprise can be seen as a tourism product (e.g. Hotel Gellért, a medicinal hotel offering complex services is a lead product of the hotel chain called Danubius), at the micro-level tourism product is actually a tourism destination itself and the thematic services offered to satisfy tourist needs (e.g. Hévíz as a bathing destination represents Hungarian health tourism). Starting from the latter interpretation, a tourism product is a potential set of services based on one attraction or several attractions, satisfying all needs of the guests. In other words, a tourism product is the framework of the activities that a tourist can pursue in a given destination, from which a competitive service can be created in the ideal case. A complex tourism product involves the total of attraction, accessibility, catering and hospitality; when making the tourism product an effort must be made for the optimal use of the opportunities of tourism. The marketing of the product is done by the service providers, but their activity is assisted a lot by the national, regional or local level tourism marketing organisations (tourism destination management – TDM), who can also make a significant contribution to the development of the product as well. During the creation of most tourism products we have to consider their local relevance, which is related to the spatial differentiation of the attraction(s) making the basis of the products.

3. Categorisation of tourism products

When categorising tourism products, we make an effort – in addition to taking the existing traditions and international environment into consideration – to make people autonomously link the name of the product to a well describable, meaningful tourism activity (conference tourism, shopping tourism, equestrian tourism), or to a geographically well definable space which determines the behaviour of the demand (rural tourism, urban tourism) or to a group- specific market segment (youth tourism, senior tourism). We definitely deny the still alive vague definitions like hobby tourism, as these create confusion just about the central element of the product, i.e. attraction. Accepting the raison d’etre of the tourism products existing on their own (cycling tourism) or collectively (active tourism) and the potential subjectivity in their categorisation, we draw attention to the fact that the concept of products must not be used as synonyms for the well-established types of tourism (leisure and MICE tourism) or the well-known forms of tourism (alternative and mass tourism). We also emphasise that the tourism products, even if they seem to be something very close to the packages compiled by travel businesses and offered in catalogues as beautiful as possible, must not be confused with the programme which is part of the product base; tourism product is at a much higher level of abstraction. In practice, a product offered by the given destination (e.g. equestrian tourism in the North Great Plain) appears as a well marketable product (field riding in the Hortobágy puszta).

3.1. Space-specific tourism products

A very important group of the tourism products, having a very good position on the international tourism market, are products made from the special characteristics of a space. In case of the so-called space-specific tourism products, the character of both the attraction and the infrastructure and suprastructure elements allowing the exploration and marketing of the attraction are closely linked to the space where the attraction originates from. The characteristic image of the spaces, they way the houses, streets and squares are constructed and located, the way they are filled with life as a result of the social division of labour and the abstract images that live in people’s mind concerning the given space and its historical past – these together make the attraction of tourism forms belonging to the category of space-specific tourism products, i.e. urban (city tourism) and rural (agro-, farm, village tourism). In addition, tourism products originating from the basically natural endowments of the surface, i.e. waterside and mountain tourism, also belong here. The former appears in connection with all kinds of waters, so it is possible to differentiate lake tourism, marine or coastal tourism and river tourism, while in the latter case (mountain tourism) the product is less differentiated. In our approach, ecotourism is also discussed among the space-specific tourism products, because the nature protection areas that ecotourism is focused on are space-oriented, beyond any doubt.

3.2. Group-specific tourism products

In tourism theory approach those groups are in the focus of product development which represent a demand significant internationally and feature more or less the same needs. The members of the so-called macro-groups of society (in a sociological sense) can have access, due to their belonging to the group, to economic, social and symbolic goods which they would get with more difficulties on their own, or they would not be able to acquire. Tourism industry soon realised the arrangement of needs along certain group-forming characteristics, and reacted by creating its supply to satisfy these needs. Experts dealing with the development of tourism products approach some groups in a social approach, others on pure business grounds, but a mixed approach is not rare, either. Among the group-specific tourism products, a lead position is held by the sets of services meant to satisfy the youngest and the oldest generations of society, so both for juniors and seniors a reception capacity adapted to the demand specific of their generations is created. In their case, product development is considerably promoted by the state intention to provide allowances in their tourism activities to these groups that are in a disadvantaged situation coming from their age-specific features. This way both the youth and the senior citizens enjoy a state contribution to their travel costs. The group-specific characteristics of the tourism products can be seen in their constituent services (price, quality) and programmes. Especially the latter, i.e. the total of the supply elements built on attractions can be seen in the case of groups whose judgement by society is often burdened with challenges, so the satisfaction of the needs of nudist or gay people presupposes a group-specific approach in product development.

3.3. Activity-specific tourism products

Despite the fact that each tourism product bears in them the activity of their potential consumers manifested in mobility, night residence, eating, participation in programmes, spending etc., there are several products in the focus of which we find the characteristics of the tourist activity taking place during the use of the product. While in the case of space-specific and group-specific tourism products the relationship between motivation and tourist activity is more indirect, in the case of activity-oriented tourism products motivation has a much more definite role. In urban, village, eco-, waterside and mountain tourism, space is a kind of framework, an organising principle of the activities that tourists of the given location pursue; at group-specific products motivations coming from the age or sexual orientation of the participants are melted away during the activity in most of the cases. From the activity of a tourist participating in an urban sightseeing or another one spending vacation in a holiday complex reserved for gay persons it is not easy to conclude to the motivations behind the consumption of the given product. On the other hand, in the case of activity-specific products – like active tourism forms such as cycling tourism, equestrian tourism, water tourism or hunting tourism, and also shopping tourism, conference and health tourism – the relation between activity and motivation is more than evident.

4. Topical trends in product development

As a result of the changes taking place in the tourism market over the last decade – especially the saturation of travellers with traditional experiences, and technology development impacting the demand – potential travellers became so influenceable (as regards their access and their openness to new things) that new and creative products are relatively easily marketable to them, using an adequate marketing communication. As a result of the growing popularity of travel in leisure time, and of MICE tourism, a part of the society tries to avoid annually recurring experiences, they have no interest in seeing a few more castles, Greek theatres or galleries and they do not show much inclination for seaside resorts, either, so they can be susceptible to information on the internet, in newspapers, on the radio or on television on new tourism products. The tourism products promoted through the media are not always built, of course, on extremely novel ideas (touristic use of the arctic igloos inhabited by Eskimos), it is only the further development of existing products in many cases. A professionally developed product of cultural events placed in the focus of classic city sightseeings is the European Capital of Culture programme, which, since its start in 1985, has become a tourism products of the European Union regulated at the level of the Community.

The product can be interpreted at macro- and micro-level again, the former is the potential set of services, the latter being the tangible supply of a business. Among the macro-level products adventure tourism (due to its extremely rapid development), catastrophe tourism – inspired by the news strategy of the media –, and gay tourism already mentioned at the group-specific tourism products can be categorised as tourism products having gone through a development significant at international level. Among tourism products interpretable at micro-level, discount flights used in air transport or boutique hotels penetrating in the hotel industry should be highlighted, but the product level developments of the individual destinations should also be mentioned here (Oman, Muscat Seaside).

5. Tourism features of niche products

Experts engaged with marketing call those markets segments ‘niche’ in which a special product can be sold to a special group, without fierce competition (Ballai 2000). The task of niche marketing is to get the product developed for the selected target group to the most lucrative niche of the market. It takes extreme innovativeness to recognise a niche and cover the expenses emerging (Hjalager 2002), which can appear in the development of both tourism products and destinations. Either we look at the process of the building out of low-cost airlines (Dobruszkes 2006) or of the penetration of the electronic ticket booking system used in air transport (Shon–Chen–Chang 2003), the start of product development was the realisation of a niche (those costumers were perceived who were willing to abandon some services aboard, or for whom the collection of printed flight ticket personally was a problem). Similar processes took place during the development of certain tourism products (Michael 2002, Hughes–Macbeth 2005, Sterk et al 2006,) or some exotic destinations (Wade–Mwasaga–Eagles 2001, Díaz-Pérez–Bethencourt-Cejas–Álvarez-González 2005), and in the marketing of accommodations (Pryce 2002) and the relationship of tourism and retail trade (Asplet–Cooper 2000) the utilisation of the opportunities offered by niche marketing was also observable. A feature of the niche market is the short life cycle of the product, as the narrow demand segment may broaden after a while, as a result of which the niche – having lost its original function – can be solved in the market. As a result of the diversification of activities involving the consumption of tourism products, the start of the alternatives appearing besides mass tourism can be traced back to the first steps taken to recognise niches and satisfy demands. When e.g. out of the bus city sightseeings involving masses on people and taking place on fixed routes, programmes organised for tourists interested in the special values of the cities (city quarters featuring different architectural styles and tomes, city parts offering antiques) were separated, this represents a niche. In Robinson’s and Novelli’s view (2005), each tourism product or place satisfying the demand of a relatively narrow segment should be seen as niche tourism product. The authors use the concept of niche tourism as a synonym of alternative tourism. In order to avoid conceptual overlaps they introduce the specifications macro-and micro niche, the former being the alternative tourism products in the broader sense (like cultural or rural tourism), the latter meaning the narrower side-branches of these (e.g. religious or wine tourism). In the interpretation of the niche they make a difference among geographical, product- and consumer orientation. It means that tourism products are the periphery (Grumo–Ivona 2005), wildlife (Novelli–Humavindu 2005), or outer space (Duval 2005), the geographical space, gastronomy (Hall–Mitchell 2005), transport (Hall 2005) or cultural heritage (Wickens 2005), while youth (Richards–Wilson 2005) and volunteers (Callanan–Thomas 2005) have become niches in tourism theory literature, due to the characteristics of the tourists.

6. Life cycle of the tourism product

The theory of life cycle was taken over from biology to economics and became a concept frequently used in management science. The theory concentrates, in addition to the temporal aspects of the development of the products, on those stations that require different marketing strategies. The matching of life cycle theory to tourism has not been free from criticism, because tourism products are strongly linked to the destinations; accordingly the environmental, social and economic transitions have a basic impact of tourists’ activities, the constituents of the experience and the characteristics of the product consumed. Of course, parallel to this the market segments consuming the specific destination also change – especially as regards their age-specific indices –, so those involved in the development of the product must face several challenges (internal and external factors).

It means that the life cycle of the tourism product is closely related to the development of the destination, whose characteristics were already analysed by Walter Christaller, and which were taken over to the main stream of tourism science by the work of Richard Butler. The destination life cycle curve can be related in the first place to the space-specific tourism products, i.e. urban, village, waterside, mountain and ecotourism, but the correlations to other products can also be examined. According to the hypothesis of the theory, in the growth of the number of people interested in a given destination a decline is also coded, as the mass consumption of space erodes attractions and the infrastructure providing access to them. Accordingly, the life cycle of a destination goes through the following phases: exploration, integration, development, consolidation, stagnation, decline/revival. The model, however, has too many weaknesses to be suitable for giving a generally valid explanation for the transitions occurring in the tourism destinations.

2. fejezet - Katalin Lőrinc - Gábor Michalkó: Urban tourism

1. From the Coliseum to the London Eye: historical preliminaries of urban tourism

1.1. The beginnings

As ancient civilisations were crystallised in settlements of urban character, most travels took place into or across the cities, so urban tourism can actually be called the archetype of tourism. Similarly to the cities of later times, ancient settlements too created recreational establishments for the entertainment of the local population, to allow them to pass their time – and these facilities were popular with the visitors as well. In Athens or Rome we can still see buildings that were constructed to amuse the inhabitants. Stadiums, Greek theatres and Roman amphitheatres were suitable to seat thousands of people, and those coming from a distance were accommodated and catered by the institution of mutual friendship or the boarding houses already operating at that time.

1.2. The dawn of the Medieval Times and the New Era

Medieval cities became the destinations of travellers mainly bacause of their trading functions, clerical life and the closely related educational functions. The medieval cities offered complex security, similarly to that of today’s plazas, to the tired travellers entering the former city gates, while they also tried to satisfy the leisure time demands of the local inhabitants. Cities protected people from the harassment of robbers, city inns and pubs, and the city marketplaces offered the thrill of social life to the travellers. Citites that held fairs of European recognition (e.g. Champagne) were often visited by merchants from faraway places, and the same was typical of port cities (e.g. Hamburg, Genova), whose traffic required the development of catering and accommodations. Pilgrimages oriented at or moving through cities due to the spreading Christianity also generated significant turnover for the cities involved (e.g. Jerusalem, Rome, Santiago de Compostela). Church did not only contribute to the maintenance of the holy places but also the organisation of education, so student mobility to the first European university cities (e.g. Bologna, Paris, Oxford) also had a religious touch. The movement starting in the early 17th century and fading away in the middle of the 19th century, the Grand Tour that mostly concerned the children of the British aristocracy, also touched a number of European cities. The “Great Journey” lasting for three years on the average, with educational and cultural motivation in the first place, started from and returned to London, it touched Paris, and, depending on the route, Marseilles or Turin, Florence, Rome, Naples and Venice, and the return route was across the Alps and along the Rhine River. Special care was taken that Easter or Christmas should find the visitors in Rome, where, around the Piazza di Spagna, a whole tourism industry was built to satisfy the demand of those participating in the grand tours.

1.3. The time of the industrial revolutions

The birth of modern urban tourism – in the present sense of the word – only became possible with the coming of the age of the industrial revolutions. A parallel process to industrial revolution was urbanisation. A growing share of the rapidly increasing population became urban citizens, and in the late 19th century there were at least 16 cities in Europe with population in excess of one million. The characteristics of modern manufacturing industry and of urbanisation, especially the monotony of work and the crowdedness of the big cities were off-putting for the inhabitants who longed for spending their holidays far from the cities, preferably in nature. Productivity led to the increase of wages, and the savings of the people allowed them to leave the city, even though for only a short time in the beginning. All this was allowed by the penetration of the railway transport; regular railway lines were in operation between Liverpool and Manchester from 1830 on. Parallel to the centrifugal force making urban dwellers leave the city there was another force, one attracting people to the developing and modernising big cities; people visiting the cities became co-consumers of the urban leisure and cultural facilities that were meanwhile established. The financers of the city hotels in good transportation locations, often next to the railway stations were just the railway companies in the beginning, as they were interested in the increase of the usage of the railway lines by the provision of accommodation[1]. The recreational sector made for the servicing of the ever growing population of the cities and the extremely rapid industrialisation were further factors promoting leisure and business travels, so most cities were not only the source but also the destination of those seeking recreation and business opportunities. World expos organised regularly after 1851 and the millions of visitors who came to see them were the proofs of the attraction of big cities









































Table 1. Locations of the world expos organised between 1981 and 1900 in Europe. Source:

[1] The process is similar to that of the construction of the first American amusement parks, which were built by the companies operating city tram lines in the vicinity of the destinations of the lines (courtesy of Rátz, Tamara).

1.4. 20th century

Urban tourism starting to unfurl in the 19th century reached maturity in the 20th century. The explosive development of travel devices culminates in the cities, railway and coach stations, highways and later motorway junctions; airports mediate masses of interested tourists who are served by the more and more international hotel and catering industry. Casino cities appear (e.g. Monte Carlo), as do holiday resorts (e.g. Nice), bathing resorts (e.g. Karlovy Vary). The cultural development of the cities, theatres, cinemas, exhibition halls, venues suitable for the organisation of conferences, the appreciated supply of baths would all focus attention to the cities that in the second half of the century were engaged in a sharp competition to win the favour of the domestic, the European and the overseas tourists. By the 20th century big cities became capable of fully satisfying tourists’ needs, the gradually declining manufacturing activity of the cities are replaced by leisure services, factories and manufacturing facilities are replaced by parks and shopping centres.

2. Supply of urban tourism

2.1. Attracted by the cities

To be able to answer why tourists are so keen on visiting cities, we have to understand the reasons behind. Tourism is a deconcentration phenomenon, people involved in it run away from the crowdedness of urban life, as urban existence in itself spurs the desire for dispersion. Nevertheless some authors see the significance of big city areas in the fact that in such zones entertainment facilities and sight of interest, satisfying the needs of both tourists and local inhabitants, are geographically concentrated. Tourists are attracted to the cities by those special functions and services which are offered for high quality leisure time entertainment. In our opinion, the diversity and versatility of urban zones is a motivation of travel in itself. Cities are of different nature, they are diverse and versatile as regards their size, image, geographical endowments, roles, or cultural heritage.In summary, cities are:

•      places of high population density, with a high probability that visiting friends and relatives will motivate travel and generate consumption,

•      junctions and destinations of tourists flows, with a gateway function to arriving and leaving travellers, so the number of guests arriving at the cities can stabilise at a high level out of tourism season as well,

•      industrial, commercial and financial concentrations and also the scenes of quality services, so many visits are related to work in the city (business trips, conferences, exhibitions etc.),

•      settlements with a broad cultural offer for guests, accordingly they attract tourists interested in culture.

Experts agree that cities are visited by tourists primarily for the diverse supply of leisure time products and services, compared to the supply of other settlements or regions, by which the most varied market demands can be satisfied. Cities thus are areas where tourists, despite the fact that they have arrived with one single purpose, will carry out unplanned activities as a consequence of the large-scale concentration of leisure time services.

2.2. Tourism infrastructure

Infrastructure utilised in urban tourism is closely intertwined with the leisure facilities of the local inhabitants and is geographically integrated into the regions with residential function. In urban tourism dynamic and static infrastructure are equally important. The former category consist of facilities architecturally fixed to a location – regarding their function they are mostly buildings –, while the latter means special transport tools that allow the access to the attraction and to get to know the city as a whole.

Among the static elements of urban infrastructure a special emphasis should be placed on the tourism facilities connected to culture in the broad sense, to health, sports, and business and academic life. As cities are the number one destinations of cultural tourism, the different facilities in their territory – exhibition places (museums, exhibition halls), performance and event venues (theatres, concert halls of popular and classical music), holy places (cathedrals, synagogues) – will allow a very broad circle of tourists to consume the attractions (e.g. British Museum, Pompidou Centre, Milano Scala, Palace of Arts in Budapest). Medicinal and thermal spas are pilgrimage places of medical tourism in Europe, medical waters in the cities concerned become utilisable by the bathing facilities (e.g. Vichy, Baden, Spa, Budapest, Karlovy Vary). Several cities boast of excellent sports facilities that allow(ed) the organisation of prestigious international events including world championships or even Olympic games (e.g. London, Paris, Athens, Stockholm, Berlin, Munich, Antwerp, Amsterdam, Helsinki, Rome, Moscow, Barcelona). Cities are venues of business and scientific events, in their congress centres meetings on the most varied topics are held.

Special means of transport categorised as dynamic infrastructure secure access to the hardly accessible part of the cities, and also allow visitors to see the whole city as a single attraction. In the case of riverside or coastal cities such tools are cruise and excursion ships that take tourists to farther points, to an island, or maybe give them a wonderful view over the respective city. Beauties of the landscape are shown by the chairlifts, funiculars, lifts that offer a view over the city from a higher elevation. Also, such elements are special buses that allow seeing the whole of the city within a relatively short time (hop on – hop off).

2.3. Tourism suprastucture

Tourism suprastucture safeguarding the accommodation and catering of guests and the satisfaction of their miscellaneous needs shows a very much heterogeneous picture, albeit showing some regularities as well. The urban characteristics of hotel and catering industry making the primary suprastructure can be seen in luxury and in the satisfaction of more short-term demands. As regards retail trade seen as secondary suprastructure, it is elegance and complexity that should be highlighted.

Some of the international hotel chains definitely seek busy big cities for the operation of their units, among which there are many hotels in the luxury category. Such a hotel chain in e.g. Ritz(Carlton), with units in only a few of the European capital cities: Berlin, Moscow, London and Madrid, but the chain called Four Seasons is also positioned in this category, with five-star hotels in Budapest, Prague, London, Paris, Dublin and Lisbon. When talking about the primary suprastucture of city tourism, we must mention airport hotels located within the administrative boundaries but far from the centres of the cities. Typical big city units of catering industry are fast food chains (McDonald’s, Burger King etc.), whose operational feature is that they require relatively large markets for an economical business.

A typical leisure activity of guests arriving at big cities is shopping, which typically used to take place in scenic shopping streets or in luxury department stores (like Lafayette, Harrods, KaDeWe), but in modern times plazas, shopping centres offering all services in one single spot, have entered the market and now serve tourists with souvenirs. We must not forget the marketplaces of the big cities, either, it is especially second hand markets that are popular with tourists.

3. Demand of city tourism

3.1. From cities to cities

The urbanisation processes starting parallel to industrial revolution are still going on, as indicated by the continuous growth in the number of settlements that are towns and cities in legal sense and in the proportion of people living in them. Seventy per cent of the European population lives in towns and cities. As a consequence of this, the majority of potential travellers who are the demand are urban citizens themselves, so they have daily routine in how to use urban community spaces, how to consume the city. The impact of urbanisation on tourism can also be seen in the (qualitative) urbanisation of settlements, i.e. in settlements trying to be like cities as much as possible in their image, functions and services, as a result of which the urban dwellers find themselves surrounded by a more and more urbanised supply of services in the settlements. The space where urban travellers do not come across towns or cities is shrinking. Parallel to this, urbanisation is impacted by globalisation, visible not in the morphology of the settlements in the first place, rather in the functions and the supply of services. As consumption habits are becoming uniform, travellers come across representatives of international brands not only in the so-called global cities, the economic, financial and innovation centres of the world, but also in any simple big city. Roads running from the airports to the city centres are the best evidence that cities cannot avoid globalisation; we see also abroad giant signs advertising the same products, we can see the same hypermarkets, the logistic centres of the same brands, the same hotel chains etc. In fact, globalisation has reached by now the city centres (McDonaldisation), and even the cultural and historical attractions (Disneyfication). In maintaining the demand, a dominant role is played by the demonstration of the local values and interests that manage to overcome the fight between the global and the local.

3.2. A potpourri of motivations

A special feature of the demand of city tourism is that it is difficult to define those groups and their characteristics that would allow the exploration of the motivation of people with a definite intention to travel to the city. A closely related issue is the attractivity of the cities, i.e. the traits of city tourists and the character of the attractions of the cities have similar roots. As the intention to travel is rapidly growing, and the cities securing the receptive capacity of tourism are developing, it is obvious that most tourists are channelled into the cities. This is a fact even though we can see a parallel phenomenon: today’s travellers are keen on having extra-urban experiences – nevertheless every now and then they still have to touch the urbanised environment that they want to avoid.

While it is relatively easy to explore the motivations behind medical tourism, shopping tourism or conference tourism, it is hardly possible to outline the motivations of city tourism, just because of the diversity of cities, their complex supply, cultural variety, the generation, ethnic and social differences of the urban inhabitants, the diversity of urban architecture etc. A fact further complicating the situation is that cities are concentrations of economic and political power, the centres of science, so in addition to the motivations of leisure travels we also have to take the demand of MICE tourists into consideration. MICE tourists, using the leisure opportunities offered by the cities, may arrive, besides their original motivation, with a second or third motivation, which makes the theoretical clarification of motivations of travellers visiting cities problematic. The diverse motivational backgrounds of the city tourists are further enhanced by passers-by who, using the transport connections (possibilities to change), temporarily consume the city, but this temporariness is enough to see the major attractions and use some of the catering facilities (it is especially airport transfers and delays that allow passers by to have up to 6-8 hours for sightseeing).

Regarding that monofunctional cities in the touristic sense of the word are less and less frequent, it is very difficult to filter out those arriving with an individual motivation. Exceptions are cities with a single medical tourism attraction (Spa), or utilising some unique cultural asset (Salzburg), organising international sport events (Innsbruck) or annually recurring festivals (Bayreuth), having educational institution of international recognition (Oxford), accommodating manufacturing facility of some unique product (Meissen) or functioning as a holy city (Fatima). The majority of tourists visiting these cities travel to the destination for the tangible supply or to experience the associations related to the city, and they less typically have second or third motivations. Expert also point out, however, that these cities have less visitors that regional centres or other commercial centres, industrial and port cities that may lack such characteristic attractions.

3.3. Touristic behaviour of city tourists

The touristic behaviour of the city tourists, i.e. their activity in the destination visited has several special characteristics. City tourists consume a space that is the most intensively used living space of the local inhabitants and the commuters from the agglomeration (the countryside); these are spaces where hundreds of thousands or even millions of people work or pass their time daily. Consequently city tourists do not move in an isolated space, their activity is difficult to separate from the everyday lives of the locals. Another very important element of the behaviour of city tourists is related to time, which partly comes from seasonality and partly the duration of stay. Seasonality is hardly palpable in urban tourism, as the majority of cities can be taken as products consumable at any time of the year. If seasonality appears in cities, this does not necessarily come from weather or the connection of some services to a particular season, it is much more due to holidaymaking habits. As regards the duration of the use of urban spaces, we can say that city tourism is one of the tourism products generating the shortest length of stay. As opposed to holiday tourism often reaching 6 to 7 nights, in cities guests rarely spend more than 2 or 3 nights, but stays of less than one day are also typical. Tourists involved in the latter category are often called hyper-tourists by some experts, as they practically rush across the cities of their choice (which of course is also generated by the very high price level typical in the respective city, in Venice e.g. both catering and hotel facilities are rather expensive). To sum it up, four characteristic features of the touristic use of the city must be highlighted, namely

·      selectivity;

·      fastness;

·      repetition; and


4. The market of city tourism

4.1. Trends impacting urban tourism

The success or the failure of urban tourism is significantly influenced by the factors that have impact on the development and modernisation of the cities, the development of supply, on the one hand, and the ones that affect motivations, income positions, leisure time of visitors, i.e. the appearance of the demand, on the other hand. Urbanisation that has been mentioned several times in this study is definitely to be mentioned among the trends supporting the development of urban tourism, not because of the increase in the number of settlements that are towns and cities administratively, in the first place, but due to the improvement of the already existing basic and touristic infrastructure of the cities. The modernisation of railway stations and airports, the building out of state-of-the-art, telecommunication supported car parking system, the construction of motorway junctions, the enlargement of the areas involved in community transport and the ICT developments are all investments promoting the access of the big cities and encouraging consumption. We must not forget, either, that the new investments of service and leisure time industry and the quaternary sector (research and development) also have an inclination to settle in big city locations, where the economies of scale and the supply of labour force are secured. These facilities are of course utilised not only by the local inhabitants but also by those visiting the city, so the modernisation of the cities is a factor promoting tourism as well.

Among the trends impacting the demand of city tourisms, demography, health consciousness and the role of leisure time should be selectively discussed, together with the increased demand for culture and security. It is especially the European travel trends that suggest a growing market share of the elder generations who demand comfortable and enjoyable tours, so instead of longer and tiresome journeys they will seek shorter, more comfortable and more varied programmes, and in this segment cities have a competitive edge. A consequence of health consciousness is that travellers think twice before they expose themselves to harmful sunshine, which might decrease the interest in holidaymaking; some of the tourists will seek protection offered by buildings and parks in the cities. The decrease in the number of population will bring about the preference of more frequent but shorter holidays, which will strengthen the positions of cities offering such experiences and cheaply accessible by low-cost airlines. The increasing schooling of the population and the spread of the principle of lifelong learning will be coupled with the desire to have cultural experiences, so cities as the headquarters of culture will become even more popular as a result of this trend. The highly regulated character of the city life, the keeping of the conventions safeguarding the coexistence of masses of people will guarantee in itself safety in the cities.

4.2. An international outlook

The successful operation of urban tourism is indicated by the existence of the touristic suprastructure, primarily the quantitative and qualitative indices of commercial accommodations on the one hand, and their utilisation, i.e. the number of guest nights, on the other hand. Of course tourists arriving at cities can spend the nights at other accommodations, and in many cases they spend less than one day in the destination, which makes exact the assessment of the turnover difficult. Because the market for urban tourism is based on the use of commercial accommodations in the first place, especially hotels, this is the index that we take into consideration.

Figure 1. Number of guest nights in the capital cities of Europe, 2008

In a European dimension London is the most visited tourist city, followed by Paris and Rome. On the basis of the number of guest nights registered at the commercial accommodations of the European capital cities three sharply different settlement groups can be distinguished: settlements with tens of million, with millions and with hundreds of thousands of guest nights. In 2008 there were only 7 capital cities with at least ten million guest nights (in addition to the already mentioned capital cities of Great Britain, France and Italy, these cities were Berlin, Madrid, Prague and Vienna), most capital cities fall into the category of millions of guest nights, while only some of them have a few hundreds of thousands of guest nights (Bern, Luxembourg and Ljubljana). In most cases the capital city is also the city with the largest number of guest nights in the respective country, but it happens sometimes that the administrative centre is not the most visited touristic destination (like in Spain or Switzerland). In the majority of the capital cities of Europe it is international tourism that prevails, while in countries with traditionally strong internal demand the administrative centre is also visited by domestic tourists in the largest numbers. Accordingly, in Berlin, Oslo and Stockholm it is domestic, in Brussels, Ljubljana and Luxembourg foreign tourists who are dominant (international demand is over 90% in the latter capital cities).

4.3. An outlook in Hungary

Cities, especially the capital city have outstanding positions in the tourism of Hungary. Budapest has been the most visited Hungarian tourism destination for decades, but the bulk of the guest nights registered are generated by international demand.




Budapest (870/5569)

Budapest (894//5266)

Budapest (737/4665)

Hévíz (284/629)

Hévíz (354/582)

Hévíz (315/589)

Hajdúszoboszló (395/278)

Hajdúszoboszló (539/310)

Hajdúszoboszló (466/264)

Siófok (303/368)

Siófok (371/302)

Siófok (367/222)


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