Publication Details

Burgess, L., Gibbons-Parrish, B. Kathlyn., Cooper, J. & Alcock, C. (2009). A longitudinal study of the use of the web by regional tourism organisations (RTOs) in Australia. 22nd Bled eConference (pp. 519-531). Bled, Slovenia: Bled eConference.


The information-intensive nature of the tourism and travel industry suggests an important role for Web technology in the promotion and marketing of tourist destinations. The rapid development of the Internet is also having profound impacts on the industry. In fact, travel and tourism has become the single largest category of products sold over the Internet (Tourism White Paper, 2007). With reports of travel purchases and reservations being one of the fastest growing segments of the Internet community it is no surprise that the number of tourism operators on the Web has increased considerably over the past few years. This paper presents the results of a study of the use of Web technologies by Regional Tourism Organisations (RTOs) in the Australian tourism industry over an eight year period from 2000 to 2008. The Extended Model of Internet Commerce Adoption (eMICA) (Burgess and Cooper, 2000) was used to assess the web sites of RTOs to determine the extent of adoption of web technologies for destination marketing. A significant finding of this study is the number of RTOs sites offering Stage 3 functionality (transaction processing). The results of the study add further support to the premise of the model, that is, in developing commercial websites, businesses in this industry sector typically start simply by establishing a presence on the Web and build on functionality over time, as their experience and expertise in the use of Internet technologies increases.