In-destination tour products and the disrupted tourism industry: progress and prospects

Alex Yang chan Hsu, Brian Edward Melville King, Dan Wang, Dimitrios Buhalis

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Established inbound tour operators (ITOs) are being challenged by emerging competitors that have embraced technology-enabled innovations, including aspects that are associated with the collaborative or sharing economy. A variety of suppliers across the supply chain are now able to form a direct connection with customers through platform websites, thereby providing tech-savvy tourists with the capacity to create customized trips. Incumbent ITOs are now competing with emerging entrants that are responsive to customer needs because of their digital expertise. As the various provider categories have become less clear and as barriers to entry have fallen, tour service suppliers must consider the contemporary tourism “ecosystem” when formulating strategies. In the face of declining consumer demand for standardized tour products, there is an urgent need to consider changing tourist habits or tastes when introducing new in-destination options. In exploring the evolving features of the inbound tourism ecosystem, this paper draws upon the recent literature to focus on the distinguishing characteristics of innovative tour service and experiences. It identifies how tour suppliers respond to competitor actions, or embrace these features themselves. The authors adopt a multiple case study approach and assemble evidence from 17 examples of tourism start-ups in Taiwan. The paper concludes with implications for practitioners and suggestions for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-433
Number of pages21
JournalInformation Technology and Tourism
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016


  • Disrupted industry structure
  • In-destination tour products
  • Product innovation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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