The role of marketing in strategic delivery
Table of Contents:
Strategic analysis of competitiveness of travel and tourism in Bangladesh
Shah Alam Kabir Pramanik and
Md. Rakibul Hafiz Khan Rakib
Even with distinctive tourist attractions like incredible scenic beauty, enthralling history, exciting cultural and archaeological heritages, the largest sandy sea beach, unique mangroves, wildlife, flora and fauna to provide better life and travel experiences to tourists (Majumder, 2015), Bangladesh could not create a distinctive image in the mind of tourists as a desired tourist destination until recently. While many countries have experienced a speedy growth in their inbound tourism (Dwyer and Forsyth, 1992), the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index of 2017 stated that international tourist arrivals in Bangladesh was only 125,000 and international tourism inbound receipts were US$148.4 million. Besides, Bangladesh has ranked 125th among 136 countries of the world and 5 th among the five countries of South Asian region (Crotti and Misrahi, 2017). In the last two decades the growth rate of tourist arrival was 5.8% and 3.9%, respectively (Khondker and Ahsan, 2015). Falling tourist arrival is an ominous sign for the industry. Now tourism policy makers and destination marketers spotlight on improving competitiveness (Sotiriadis and Varvaressos, 2015) by creating a statutory framework to protect resources, and to monitor, control and enhance quality and efficiency in the industry (Soteriades, 2012; Goeldner and Ritchie, 2011).
To analyse and enhance the competitiveness of travel and tourism, plentiful models and frameworks (Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index, Global Competitiveness Index, Porter’s Five Forces Model, Porter’s Diamond Model, DEA Travel Tourism Competitiveness Index etc.) have been undertaken (Martin et al., 2015; Dupeyras and MacCallum, 2013; Alonso, 2010; Crouch, 2010; Porter, 2008; Gooroochurn and Sugiyarto, 2005; Enright and Newton, 2004; Dwyer and Kim, 2003; Ritchie and Crouch, 2003). By taking two comprehensive models, namely the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index and Porter’s Five Forces Model, this chapter aims at analysing the competitiveness of the travel and tourism industry of Bangladesh. Since a clear and precise tourism policy can contribute in strengthening the competitive position of the Bangladesh economy by solving tourism development issues, conserving manmade and natural heritage and achieving sustainable development (Hassan and
88 Pramanik and Rakib
Kokkranikal, 2018; Edgell and Swanson, 2013) in the domestic as well as global tourism market, this work will help policy makers with information they need on improving competitiveness in tourism through formulating a better tourism policy.
Concept of competitiveness
When a firm has profitability over its rivals greater than the average profitability of all the firms in its industry then it is said that the firm has competitive advantage (Hill and Jones, 2013). To achieve competitive advantage in any industry, measuring the competitiveness of that industry acts as a strategic tool for future planning, management and development (Islam, 2014; Bhatia, 2006). Competitiveness is a relatively complex (Martin et al., 2015) and multidimensional (Spence and Hazard, 1988; Scott and Lodge, 1985) concept which encompasses all social, cultural and economic variables that affect a nation’s performance in international markets (Dwyer and Kim, 2003). Despite the definitions of competitiveness offered from different (a firm, an industry or a nation) points of view, the concept of competitiveness is basically centred on human development, growth and increased standard of living or quality of life (Cho, 1998; Newall, 1992).
Destination competitiveness is the ability of the destination to offer superior tourist experiences than the alternative destinations and create overall appeal so as to achieve competitive advantage. Goeldner and Ritchie (2011) defined destination competitiveness as the ability to compete efficiently and profitably in the tourism marketplace. Crouch and Ritchie (1999) defined competitiveness from a tourism perspective as a country’s ability to boost its national wealth through creating additional value by managing its assets and processes, aggressiveness, attractiveness and closeness and by combining these relationships into a social and economic model. The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report defines competitiveness as the set of factors, policies and institutions that determine a country’s level of productivity (Blanke and Chiesa, 2011). Dwyer et al. (2000) affirmed that tourism competitiveness includes price differentials attached with the movement in exchange rate, productivity levels of the different components of the tourism industry and other qualitative factors that affect the attractiveness of a destination.
Key indicators of defining competitiveness in tourism industry
There is no single or unique set of competitiveness indicators that apply to all destinations. Under the guidance of OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), Dupeyras and MacCallum (2013) explored some
Table 6.1 Key elements for defining the competitiveness in the tourism industry
Source: Key elements for defining the competitiveness in tourism industry for OECD countries adapted from Dupeyras and MacCallum, 2013
key elements for defining the competitiveness in tourism industry. Those are shown in Table 6.1. This study also identified core indicators for measuring tourism competitiveness, namely tourism performance and impacts, ability of a destination to deliver quality and competitive tourism services, attractiveness, policy responses and economic opportunities.
Vengesayi (2003) measured competitiveness and attractiveness from two perspectives, namely destination perspective and tourist perspective, by providing a holistic approach called the Tourist Destination Competitiveness and Attractiveness (TDCA) dynamics (Figure 6.1).
The study measured the competitiveness on the basis of some pillars like intrinsic destination resources and mix of activities, experience environment - physical and social - and supporting services. The study also showed communication and promotion as moderating factors that influence tourism competitiveness. Moreover, Dwyer and Kim (2003) showed several indicators and sub indicators of destination competitiveness as shown in Table 6.2.
Figure 6.1 Conceptual model of Tourist Destination Competitiveness and Attractiveness (TDCA) dynamics (Vengesayi, 2003)
Source: Dwyer and Kim, 2003, pp. 400^05
Measuring destination competitiveness
The authors use the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index and Porter’s Five Forces Model to measure and enhance the competitiveness of the travel and tourism industry of Bangladesh.
Measuring competitiveness of the tourism industry of Bangladesh through the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index
The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI) is a comprehensive and recognized model for analysing competitiveness in the tourism industry. The TTCI was developed by WTTC in 2005 to formalize a model that could be used to analyse the competitiveness in any destination worldwide as well as that could be a usefol tool in policy analysis (Martin et al., 2015; Bandura, 2008). The TTCI has been used extensively by different scholars (Sotiriadis and Varvaressos, 2015; Blanke et al., 2013) to measure the competitiveness and to formulate the policy for tourism development in different countries. The TTCI 2017 framework is shown in Figure 6.2.
The TTCI 2017 is composed of four broad categories of variables that facilitate or drive travel and tourism (T&T) competitiveness. The four broad categories are
i Enabling environment
ii T&T policy and enabling conditions
iv Natural and cultural resources
Figure 6.2 The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index 2017 framework
Source: Adapted from Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index, World Economic Forum (2017)
Among the four broad categories there are 14 pillars under which the tourism competitiveness is measured among 136 countries. Among the 136 countries Bangladesh ranked 125th position with average score 2.89 only. The detailed of competitiveness index among the South Asian countries are shown below.
In Table 6.3 we have found that among the five South Asian countries Bangladesh has achieved the lowest score, 2.89, and the 5th position. In the enabling environment category there are five pillars namely business environment, safety and security, health and hygiene, human resource and labour market and information and communication technology (ICT) readiness. In all these pillars except ICT readiness, Bangladesh is underperforming and the degree is severe for safety and security measures. This indicates that Bangladesh has to improve safety and security measures to enhance its competitiveness in the global market.
In the category ofT&T policy and enabling conditions there are four pillars: prioritization of T&T, international openness, price competitiveness and environmental sustainability. Bangladesh is currently in below par position in all these pillars. The Bangladesh government has to take some measures to attract both domestic and foreign tourists. Besides, the government and other private destination marketers should rationalize the price of our tourism products and services in order to sustain the industry in the long run. International openness strategies of Bangladesh like visa requirements and openness of bilateral air service agreements should be smooth to gain a competitive position in global market.
The infrastructure category consists of three pillars: air transport infrastructure, ground and port infrastructure and tourist service infrastructure. As air transport infrastructure and tourist services infrastructure in Bangladesh are very poor, more international and domestic flight, flexible flight schedules, hassle-free arrival and departure facilities and preventing tourists’ harassment in our airports should be ensured. Bangladesh is doing well in ground and port infrastructure.
In the natural and cultural resources index, the position of Bangladesh is quite dissatisfactory. Bangladesh government should emphasize the protection of its existing natural and cultural resources and heritages. Formalized attention should be given to the unexplored natural attractions. Every large corporate and international business meeting should be complimented with pleasure trips to our different attractive destinations.
Measuring competitiveness of the tourism industry of Bangladesh through Michael Porter’s Five Forces Model
To analyse the competitiveness of tourism industry many researchers have used Porter’s Five Forces Model (Dobrivojevic, 2013; Ali and Parvin, 2010). Porter (1980) outlined five forces which affect the competitiveness and industry profitability, namely threats of new entrants, bargaining power of buyers, bargaining power of suppliers, rivalry among the existing firms and impact of substitutes.
Table 6.3 The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index 2017: South Asian Region
Source: The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index 2017, adapted from World Economic Forum (2017)
Threats of new entrants
New entrants or potential competitors are those companies that are not currently operating their business in an industry but if they want, they have the capability to do so. Whether a new firm enter into an industry or not it depends on entry barriers. The tourism industry of Bangladesh is neither fully formalized nor strictly regulated by the government and tourism authority, so anyone can enter into this industry at any time. This industry is described by emergence of new entrepreneurs. In Bangladesh, tourists’ destinations like Cox’s Bazar, Saint Martin, Bandarban, Rangamati Hill Tracts and different natural and heritages sites enjoy strong brand loyalty. Hence, newcomers will have to face strong barriers to enter into the tourism industry of Bangladesh.
Bargaining power of buyers
Bargaining power of buyers is their ability to bargain down the prices that companies charge in the industry or to lift up costs of the companies by claiming better quality products and services (Hill and Jones, 2013). As there are many travel agents, tour operators and corporate travel consultants operating in Bangladesh, tourists’ bargaining power is high here. There are some travel and tour operators who have online facilities and websites where tourists can collect information and which enable the tourists to wrangle down the prices. Young tourists are technology-driven and very savvy (Hence, 2018) and can easily express their feelings and observations in different digital platforms, thus making themselves stronger in taking destination selection and visit decisions than ever before.
Bargaining power of suppliers
Bargaining power of suppliers is the ability of suppliers to increase the prices of the input they provide, or to lift up the costs of the industry by providing low-quality inputs or poor services. In the tourism industry suppliers include transportation, airlines, hotels, travel agents, tour operators, ancillary services providers and so on. In Bangladesh, a strong syndicate of transportation service providers sometimes raises the cost of tourism and destination marketers through charging unreasonable ticket prices. Suppliers also squeeze profits out of the tourism industry by increasing the cost of destination marketers as these suppliers have profound impact on both the backward and forward linkages of the destination marketers’ value chain.
Rivalry among existing firms
Rivalry among existing firms refers to the intensity of competition among the existing firms who are currently doing business within the industry. The intensity of competition among the existing firms depends on the industry’s competitive structure. The competitive structure of the tourism industry of Bangladesh is fragmented because there are many small destinations available all over the
Strategic analysis of travel and tourism 101 country that hold small shares. As the industry’s competitive structure is not consolidated, here competition is not fierce. The demand of tourism is increasing in Bangladesh; hence, the authors believe competition among the existing firms will be low because they will not engage in a cutthroat approach.
Impacts of substitutes
Substitute products refer to those products offered by different businesses or industries that have the ability to meet the same customer needs. In the tourism and hospitality industry people visit different destinations for refreshment, enjoyment, learning and so on. There are ample opportunities and probabilities to bring new tourist spots, destinations or products which will provide refreshment, enjoyment, learning and entertainment to tourists and visitors. Anyone can bring close substitutes with little variations in the levels of services and amenities. This industry has a constant challenge of substitute products.
The competitiveness of the tourism industry of Bangladesh through Porter’s five forces model is summarized in Figure 6.3.
Figure 6.3 Porter’s Five Forces Model applied to the tourism industry of Bangladesh
Source: Authors’ own construction with the help of Porter’s Model proposed in 1980
SWOT analysis of the tourism industry of Bangladesh
SWOT analysis is a strategic planning technique of overall evaluation of strength, weakness, opportunities and threats of a company (Kotler and Armstrong, 2012). Before determining the objectives and goals of a company, SWOT analysis is must. Strengths are capabilities, resources and other positive factors that are internal to the destination which may assist the destination serve its customers and attain its objectives. Weaknesses are limitations and negative factors that are internal to the destination which may hamper the destinations’ expected performance. Opportunities are positive external environmental factors or trends that the destination can be able to develop to its advantage. Threats are negative external factors or trends the destination faces which may present obstacles to performance. SWOT analysis of tourism industry of Bangladesh is expressed in Figure 6.4.
Figure 6.4 SWOT analysis of the tourism industry of Bangladesh
Source: Authors’ own constructions
Strategic situation analysis for the Bangladesh tourism industry
In strategic situation analysis, we will focus on parameters like growth of tourism industry, international tourist arrivals, international tourism receipts and contribution to GDP and employment.
Tourism is seen as a growing overall economic activity and an emerging industry in developed, developing and underdeveloped countries (Tasci and Knutson, 2004), and this increase in such activity is greatly desirable (Dwyer et al., 2004). But the performance of our country’s tourism industry is not satisfactory until now. Table 6.4 shows international tourist arrivals in our country was only 125,000, the lowest among neighbouring and competing countries. Simultaneously, a large number of tourists from Bangladesh are going to India, Nepal or Bhutan for enjoying their vacation during Eid, Puja or some special events (Hamid, 2019). Although the average receipts per arrival of tourists is acceptable, due to low tourist arrival, total international tourism inbound receipts are not satisfactory. Moreover, the T&T industry contribution to country’s GDP and employment are also poor in comparison to the other neighbouring countries.
Strategic situation analysis of our tourism industry based on the data provided by BPC and WEE is quite difficult, as these data differ significantly and arc very often found incomplete. For example, tourist arrivals in 2013 as per BPC for the first six months is 278,780 whereas the total tourist arrivals in 2013 as per WEF (2015) is 148,000! Thus, making a conclusion based on this type of data on same indicator from different sources is tough. The number of tourist arrivals in our country is decreasing as reflected by the reduced growth rate (-3.59%) in 2016 compared to 2015. Besides, earnings from tourism is also showing negative growth rate (-28.98%) in 2016 as compared to 2015. All these discussions demand a prioritized comprehensive national tourism policy for our country.
Structural problems and issues of the tourism industry of Bangladesh
The tourism industry of Bangladesh has faced challenges for decades. There is a lack of appropriate and updated tourism policy which makes our tourism industry underperforming. Non-existence of formal authoritative rules, regulations and associations is the major problem of the industry. The industry is supplier driven rather than market driven (Ishtiaque, 2012). The suppliers squeeze out the industry profits. Besides, the competitive market structure of this industry itself creates problem as the market structure is fragmented. Further, to attract tourists from home and abroad integrated marketing communication programmes are absent which leads to poor growth of the tourism industry.
Table 6.4 Key performance of the tourism industry of Bangladesh in 2017 in comparison with neighbouring countries
Source: Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index 2017, adapted from World Economic Forum (2017)
Table 6.5 Year-wise total tourist arrivals and foreign earnings in Bangladesh
Source: Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation (BPC), n d.
Lessons from other countries
India’s incredible journey - Bangladesh can follow
India is an ideal example of affluent natural attractions, rich history and cultural heritage which has been successfully preserving, developing and marketing its different tourism products and services to the world. India has undertaken its tourism branding strategy under the slogan “Incredible India” in order to develop and promote its tourist attractions to the tourists of western countries and became successful in drawing their attention. In addition to natural, heritage, cultural and archaeological tourism, the government is also trying to develop rural tourism, golf tourism, polo tourism, cruise tourism and medical tourism under the “Incredible India” campaign through a very strategic approach. Bangladesh, having many natural, geographical, cultural and historical attractions like India, can follow India’s strategy and develop alternative tourism products such as rural tourism, religious tourism, eco-tourism, tribal tourism and so on.
Malaysian tourism - a case for Bangladesh to imitate
Malaysia entered into the tourism arena in the early 1990s and adopted their first National Tourism Policy in 1992. They also set up a separate tourism ministry in 2004. Throughout this time, they have tried several branding strategies from “Beautiful Malaysia” to “Only Malaysia” followed by “Fascinating Malaysia” and lastly settled on the current campaign of “Malaysia, Truly Asia”. Now they are hoping to grow their tourism industry three times by 2020. Bangladesh can also imitate this success sequence of Malaysia. It has tried only one branding campaign namely “Beautiful Bangladesh (School of Life)”. But, to be competitive in the global tourism market, additional campaigns should be launched by adopting a structured national tourism policy.
Conclusion and recommendations
Tourism is increasingly considered as a promising business sector in Bangladesh not only for its capability to earn foreign exchange but also for its ability to act as a medium for representing our country’s rich natural, cultural and age-old unique heritages to the world. Government first should formulate a specific tourism development policy on a priority basis and make short-term and long-term master plans for developing the country’s tourism industry. Moreover, standard transportation, accommodation, eating and shopping facilities and ancillary services need to be developed in the tourist spots. Digital marketing and online technology such as websites, social media, community blogs and so on should be developed by the destination marketers so that prospective tourists can easily get necessary information about destination and assistance like booking a ticket and hotel reservation online. Besides, the formalities for foreigners from abroad to come to Bangladesh for pleasure trip should be made easy. More police stations and boxes need to set up close to the tourist spots and the coverage of tourist police should also be spread in order to ensure sufficient safety and security’ to the tourists and visitors. Special attention should be given to preserve rivers, sea beaches, water resources, forests and wildlife resources and related flora and fauna in order to uphold ecological balance besides maintenance of historical and heritage sites. Repetitive promotional activities should also be taken to continuously' and persuasively’ inform domestic as well as foreign tourists to make Bangladesh competitive and an attractive tourist destination.
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