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2010/1 Module Catalogue
Module Provider: School of Management Short Name: MA331
Level: M Module Co-ordinator: EICHHORN VM Miss (SoM)
Number of credits: 15 Number of ECTS credits: 7.5
Module Availability

Spring Semester

Assessment Pattern

Unit(s) of Assessment

Weighting Towards Module Mark (%)

Individual Assignment


Poster Presentation


Module Overview

A critical factor of competitiveness for tourism organisations and destinations is the effectiveness of the systems used to distribute the tourism product.  In this module the underlying principles and characteristics as well as dynamics of tourism distribution systems are examined. It outlines the historical development and transformations in the distribution of tourism products, examines key players/ stakeholders in the system and investigates how they interact with each other. Emphasis is placed on providing holistic insights from consumer/ demand and producer/ supply-side perspectives as well as examining the changing role of tourism intermediaries. 

The module further highlights the complexity involved in managing distribution channels, drawing particular attention to the network paradigm, which leads to an expansion in potential new distribution systems. Given the rapid pace of change in tourism distribution, key trends and future challenges are discussed and analysed. 

Module Aims

The module aims to offer students the opportunity to develop a critical appreciation of the nature, role and functions of contemporary distribution systems in tourism, drawing on a variety of perspectives. 

The examination and analysis of tourism distribution systems from different standpoints will shape students’ understanding of the factors crucial for the effective management of these systems. 

Students will be able to use the acquired knowledge to critically evaluate key trends and challenges and by presenting these in appropriate forums, they will enhance their presentation, communication and argumentation skills.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the modules, the students will be able to:

  • Discuss the underlying principles and particularities in the distribution of tourism products and services (K, C) 
  •  Demonstrate a critical understanding of the role of the different stakeholders involved in tourism distribution (C) 
  •  Critically evaluate new trends and future challenges for the distribution of tourism products and services (C) 
  •  Critically assess the dynamics of tourism distribution channels and examine strategies for effective management of tourism distribution and intermediaries (C, P, T) 
  • Develop practical skills in the critical analysis of secondary data and formally presenting findings (P, T)  

Learning outcomes should be categorised as:

  • Subject knowledge and understanding (K) 
  •  Cognitive Skills (C) 
  •  Practical/ Professional Skills (P) 
  •  Transferable Skills (T)  
Module Content
  • Development and transformation in the distribution of tourism
  • Demand-side perspectives: facilitation of search/ information search theory 
  • Supply-side perspectives: sector-specific analysis of key suppliers of the tourism product 
  • Intermediation, conflicts and collaboration 
  • The importance of networks for tourism distribution 
  • The influence of Information Communication Technologies on tourism distribution 
  • Emerging trends and future challenges in tourism distribution management
Methods of Teaching/Learning

The teaching and learning methods include theoretical lectures from a range of perspectives within tourism distribution to provide students with a holistic framework of knowledge. In-class exercises, practical examples and topical case studies offer students the opportunity to critically discuss and apply theoretical knowledge to the real world. 

This is further supported by visiting speakers. Including presentations by students assures that students are given the possibility to critically examine latest developments, display their thoughts and be able to discuss these in appropriate forums.

Selected Texts/Journals

Core Texts

Coughlan, A.T., Anderson, E., Stern, L.W. and El-Ansary, A.I. (2006) Marketing Channels, New Jersey : Pearson Education.

Recommended Texts

Buhalis, D., Laws E., 2001, Tourism Distribution Channels: Patterns, Practices and Challenges, London : Continuum.Holloway, J.C. (2004) Marketing for Tourism, 4th Edition, Harlow : Pearson Education.Holloway, 
JC (2002) The Business of Tourism (7th edition). Harlow : Pearson Education.
Ioannides, D and Debbage, KG (1998) The Economic Geography of the Tourist Industry: A Supply Side Analysis, London : Routledge.Middleton, V.T.C. (2001) Marketing in Travel and Tourism, 3rd Edition, Oxford : Butterworth-Heinemann. Middleton, VTC & Clarke, JR (2001) Marketing in Travel and Tourism (4th edition). Oxford : Butterworth-Heinemann
O’Connor, P. (1999) Electronic Information Distribution in Tourism and Hospitality. Wallingford : CABI International.
Scott, N., Baggio, R. and Cooper, C. (2008) Network Analysis and Tourism: From Theory to Practice, Clevedon: Channel View Publications.
Werthner, H. and Klein, S. (1999) Information Technology and Tourism – A Challenging Relationship, Springer: Wien. 
Yale, P (1995) The Business of Tour Operations. Harlow : Longman


Bastakis, C., Buhalis, D. and Butler, R. (2004) The perception of small and medium sized tourism accommodation providers on the impacts of the tour operators’ power in Eastern Mediterranean, Tourism Management, Vol.
25 (2):151-170. 
Bottomley Renshaw, M. (1994) Consequences of Integration in UK Tour Operating, Tourism Management, Vol.15 (4) pp.243-245. 
Buhalis, D. (1996) Enhancing the Competitiveness of Small and Medium sized Tourism Enterprises, Electronic Markets, Vol.6 (1):1-6.
Buhalis, D. (1999) Tourism on the Greek Islands : Issues of peripherality, competitiveness and development, International Journal of Tourism Research, Vol.1 (5):341-358. 
Buhalis, D. and Licata, M.C. (2002) The Future of eTourism Intermediaries, Tourism Management, Vol.23 (3):207-220. 
Carey, S., Gountas, Y. and Gilbert, D.
(1997) Tour Operators and Destination Sustainability, Tourism Management, Vol.18 (7):425-431. 
Gauf, D. and Hughes, H.
(1998) Diversification and German Tour Operators:  The Case of TUI and Coach Tourism, Tourism Economics, Vol.4 (4):325-337. 
Karamustafa, K.
(2000) Marketing-Channel Relationships: ’s Resort Purveyors’ Interactions with International Tour Operators, Cornell Hotel And Restaurant Administration Quarterly, August: 21-31. 
Klemm, M. and Parkinson, L.
(2001) Tour Operator Strategies: Causes and Consequences, International Journal of Tourism Research, No.3:367-375. 
Lumsdon, L.M. and Swift, J.S.
(1999) The Role of the Tour Operator in South America:  , , and , International Journal of Tourism Research, Vol.1:429-439. 
Medina-Munoz, D. and García-Falcón, J.M.
(2000) Successful Relationships Between Hotels and Agencies, Annals of Tourism Research, Vol.27 (3):737-762. 
Medina-Munoz, D., Medina-Munoz, D.R. and García-Falcón, J.M. (2003) Understanding European Tour Operators’ Control on Accommodation Companies: An Empirical Evidence, Tourism Management, Vol.24 (2): 135-147.
Pearce, D., Tan, R. and Schott, C. (2004) Tourism distribution channels in Wellington, New Zealand, International Journal of Tourism Research, Vol.6 (6):397-410. 
Pearce, D.G. and Schott, C. (2005) Tourism Distribution Channels: The Visitors’ Perspective, Journal of Travel Research, Vol. 44 (1):50-63. 
Pearce, D.G. and Tan, R. (2004) Distribution channels for heritage and cultural tourism in , Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research, Vol.9 (3):225-237. 
Pearce, D.G. (2005) Distribution channels for cultural tourism in Catalonia, , Current Issues in Tourism, Vol.8 (5):424-445. 
Pearce, D.G., Tan, R. and Schott, C. (2007) Distribution channels in international markets: a comparative analysis of the distribution of New Zealand tourism in Australia, Great Britain and the USA, Current Issues in Tourism, Vol.10 (1):33-60. 
Pettenati, M.C., Bussotti, P., Parlanti, D. And Giuli, D. (2008) Trust-enabling decision support system for e-tourism intermediation, International Journal of Networking and Virtual Organisations, Vol.5 (3/4):275-299
Phillip, S., Pearce, D. and Weaver, A. (2005) Tourism Distribution Channels in Peripheral Regions: The Case of Southland, , Tourism Geographies, Vol.7 (3):235-256. 
Sharda, S. and Pearce, D.G.  (2006) Tourism distribution in emerging markets: the case of Indian travel to , Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research, Vol.11 (4):339-353. 
Werthner, H. and Klein, S. (1999) ICT and the Changing Landscape of Global Tourism Distribution, Electronic Markets, Vol.9 (4):256-262. 
Williams, A.P. and Palmer, A.J. (1999) Tourism destination brands and electronic commerce: Towards synergy?, Journal of Vacation Marketing, Vol.5 (3):263-275. 
Wynne, C., Berthon, P., Pitt, L., Ewing , E. And Napoli , J. (2001) The Impact on the Internet on the Distribution Value Chain: The Case of the South African Tourism Industry, International Marketing Review, Vol.18 (4):420-431. 

Other Indicative Reading

Academic Journals

  • Annals of Tourism Research 
  • International Journal of Tourism Research 
  • Tourism Management 
  • Tourism and Hospitality Research
  • Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly  

Reports and Statistics

World Tourism Organization; Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development; 
Eurostat; New Media Review - European Travel Commission 
The students are also expected to visit a number of selected web sites.
Topic-specific reading lists are provided after each lecture.

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