Information technology: shaping the past, present and future of tourism



Publication Details

Gretzel, U. & Fesenmaier, D. R. (2009). Information technology: shaping the past, present and future of tourism. In T. Jamal & M. Robinson (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Tourism Studies (pp. 558-580). Thousand Oaks: Sage.


Information technology has played a central role in the growth and development of the tourism industry. In the early years of mass global tourism (from the 1950s to the1970s), computer systems were used to support the internal functions of large operators in the transportation, hotel, and food service sectors. Also, central reservation systems (CRSs) and global distribution systems (GDSs)—Sabre, Amadeus, Galileo, and Worldspan—were developed first by airlines and then by hotel companies to enable travel agencies (and other similar businesses) to access schedule and pricing information and to request reservations for clients (Sheldon, 1997). These businesses became the primary users of travel information systems, thus providing important links between travelers and industry players (World Tourism Organization Business Council [WTOBC], 1999).

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