Niche tourism refers to how a specific tourism product can be tailored to meet the needs of a particular audience/market segment. Locations with specific niche products are able to establish and position themselves, as niche tourism destinations. Niche tourism, through image creation, helps destinations to differentiate their tourism products and compete in an increasingly competitive and cluttered tourism environment. Academic literature has paid little attention to the role and positioning of niche tourism products. Through the use of the niche tourism life cycle it is clear that niche products will have different impacts, marketing challenges and contributions to destination development as they progress through it.
This critical appraisal presents an important reflection on my research in this area. The core of the critical appraisal is the eight published journal articles; two book chapters and three fully refereed conference papers upon which it is based but it also derives from the broader perspective of my research over the last ten years. The research context is set, with niche tourism products and destination development introduced, developed and seen in the perspective of the authors work in this field of tourism enquiry. The pragmatist research paradigm that has guided the publications is introduced and the adoption of mixed methods to produce results that are practical, relevant and progress both tourism business theory and practices, is discussed. The research methodologies and methods used are analysed against current developments in tourism research.
My contribution to academic knowledge and understanding within this area is summarised within the three key themes of niche tourism product development; niche tourist profiling and destination development through niche tourism. To illustrate this, my research has focused primarily on two significant niche tourism products: wine and festivals and events. The benefits of this work to the academic community are the presentation of insights into niche tourism consumers, and an understanding of the challenges destinations face along the niche tourism life cycle. Finally, the practical benefits of this work to industry include a greater understanding of niche tourist behaviour to better aid them in positioning and targeting their products. It concludes with an identification of the limitations of this body of work and proposes areas for future research.
Ali-Knight, J. The role of niche tourism products in destination development. (Thesis). Edinburgh Napier University. Retrieved from http://researchrepository.napier.ac.uk/id/eprint/5376