Chapter 1: Introduction Outline This research focuses on three UK holiday companies Kuoni, Thomas Cook and STA Travel and their marketing strategies. This research is comprised of following chapters: Rationale This study highlights many issues related to marketing of tourism companies; more specifically it will be looking at the three companies mentioned above and will be giving a broad analysis to marketing strategy as a marketing tool. The purpose of this dissertation is to conduct a detailed analysis on three different UK holiday companies which are Kuoni, Thomas Cook and STA Travel, who target different segments of the market. I believe that this investigation will broaden my understanding of the tourism marketing as well as the techniques and strategies that they use as a key factor to their success. (Morgan, 2001)Overall I believe that it is an interesting area to study because I can use and demonstrate while conducting this investigation the skills and knowledge that I had obtained while studying my degree. In addition, I have chosen to carry out my dissertation on the following three companies, because I believe that they differ in their market segmentation, however they have a common goal and they are competitors. I would like to introduce the companies that I will be focusing on and provide some brief introduction for each of them. But first of all let us talk about the role of tour operators. (Wang, 2002) Tour operators today play a very important role in creating the images of destinations. In this global capacity, they can significantly influence international tourism flows towards a country hit by safety and security risks. Even decisions of individual tourists on where to spend a holiday very often depend on the attitude and practice of tour operators towards a particular destination. But people have their own choices and preferences. In this paper we are going to analyse Kuoni, Thomas Cook and STA Travel tourism and travelling services as this is one of the best tour operator agencies world wide and the first choice of tourists. (Buhalis, 2001) From 1950 to 1998 the number of international tourist arrivals in the world increased from 25 million to 635 million (WTO 1999b), with an average annual increase of 6.97%. Over the past 15 years, international tourism receipts have grown 1.5 times faster than world GDP, with no signs of slowing down. In 1998 international tourism accounted for an estimated 8% of the world’s total earnings and 37% of exports in the service sector (WTO 1999a). According to data from the International Monetary Fund, in 1998 international tourism receipts and passenger transport amounted to more than $504 billion, putting it ahead of all other categories of international trade (automotive products, chemicals, food, petroleum and other fuels, computer and office equipment, textiles and clothing, mining products, etc.). (Driver, 1999) This rapid development of international tourism can partly be explained by the xxpackage holidays promoted nationally and internationally. Indeed, tour operators represent one of the most powerful and most influential entities in the tourism industry.
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