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The role of geography in the success of the balearic tourism industry

Cirer-Costa, Joan Carles (2013): The role of geography in the success of the balearic tourism industry.

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Abstract

A really large tourist destination, such as the Balearic Islands cannot be defined as a single geographic space without regional differentiation; it spans several islands within each of which are a multiplicity of coastal areas with very varied geographical morphology and differing degrees of exploitation for tourism. We aim to conduct a statistical analysis of the standard features of such coastal areas to determine the geographic base common to the entire Balearic archipelago as a mass tourist destination. Our analysis is based on the different theoretical concepts of a destination as they appear in tourist literature: A geographically defined area, a group consumption brand name, a location defined by a concrete offer, and so on, and the industrial district concept as initially proposed by Marshall and later developed by authors, such as Krugman and Becattini. We set out to conduct a fundamentally quantitative analysis for which purpose we established a database containing 41 categories of geographical, commercial and business data for each of the 82 Balearic tourist areas. This information is integrated into a statistically homogenous set of values that enables the application of the Agglomerative Hierarchical Clustering (AHC) statistical method. The results obtained show that the islands of Menorca and Formentera constitute minor products in clear contrast with the major destinations of Mallorca and Ibiza. The latter two have developed a model composed of a pattern of large areas that are virtually indistinguishable from each other. Each zone can accommodate almost every kind of tourist wishing to visit the Balearic Islands, regardless of nationality, family status or economic level. A final result indicates that the large local hoteliers have developed a very special trading model: Targeting a specific niche of tourist demand while offering a wide geographical distribution of their establishments.

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