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INTRODUCTION TO SEASONALITY IN TOURSIM

1. Tourism is one of the biggest and fasted growing industries in the world, but it is characterised
by seasonality.
2. Tourism as an integral part of global business is highly dependent on seasonal changes in
climatic conditions, economic activities as well as human behaviour and the society in general.
3. Seasonality has become one of the most distinctive and determinative features of global
tourism industry.
4. The most significant aspect of seasonality is that it involves the concentration of tourist flows
in relatively short periods of the year.
5. Annual peaking of tourism activity during a few hectic weeks or months is likely to result in
inefficiency within the industry and is a great burden on the physical and social resources of the
destination area and therefore an important contributor to the carrying capacity problem.
6. The concept of seasonality may be perceived to be familiar to many, however, there is no
unique and precise definition of it.
7. Season is the most important period within the year, in which some certain things are
abundant.
8. It also refers to the existence of unevenness or fluctuation during the course of the year, which
occurs in relation to a specific season.
9. Biedermann (2008, 41) stated that seasonality is a prevalent characteristic in travel and
tourism marked by sharp variations in demand depending on the time of the year.
Then,
10. Wall and Mathieson (2006, 57) argued that most destination areas experience an annual
cycle of activity with a peak season and an off-season which are separated by two shoulder
seasons.
11. Butler (1994) explains seasonality as a temporal imbalance in the phenomenon of tourism,
which may be expressed in terms of dimensions of such elements as numbers of visitors,
expenditure of visitors, traffic on highways and other forms of transportation, employment, and
admissions to attractions.
12. Seasonality in tourism activity is not a particular characteristic of a single destination or
country, as it is experienced in almost all countries and destinations in the world.
13. Seasonality causes the fluctuation in tourists and visitor numbers to a destination.
14. Therefore, some destinations at certain times have more tourists and visitors than they are
able to accommodate, while at other times, there are too few tourists and visitors to the region.
15. Seasonality affects all aspects of supply-side behaviour, finance, labour and stakeholder
operations.
16. Seasonality was, is and, regarding the current situation, will be a temporal and spatial issue of
tourism.
17. This phenomenon is mostly recognized as a problem to be tackled.
18. The majority of the tourist operators dealing with the issue of seasonality identifies these
systematic demand fluctuations as a problem, which has to be overcome or, at least, modified
and reduced in effect.
19. A good understanding of seasonality in tourism is essential for the efficient operation of
tourism facilities and infrastructure.
20. The pattern usually remaining stable over many years, whereby reliable and predictable
recurrence of tourists has formed the economic base for the development of the tourist industry
and that tourism, therefore, is naturally seasonal.
21. This predictability of seasonality makes it possible for businesses, lenders and investors to
anticipate many of its impacts.
22. The phenomenon of seasonality in the case of Mediterranean tourism can be determined
conceptually as the time divergences that a tourist destination presents from the conventional
time limits of tourist period which begins in April and finishes in October, while the tourist
markets behaves uniformly.
Annual business operation regarding the seasonal pattern can be classified into annual intervals,
seasons.
Classification1:
One peak season
Two peak season
Non peak season
Classification2:
Off season (January, February, November and December)
Shoulder season (March, April, May, June, October)
Peak season (July, August, September)
Classification3:
Low season (January, February, November and December)
Mid-season (March, April, May, October)
High season (June, July, August, September)
FORMS OF SEASONALITY
1. Butler & Mao (1997) identify three basic seasonality patterns: single peak, two-peak
seasonality, and non-peak seasonality.
2. Single seasonality occurs when there is an extreme seasonality e.g. summer in some
Mediterranean destinations.
3. Two peak seasonality that occurs when there are two seasons.
4. Butler (2001:9) provides an example of the Caribbean as the region presents a peak of winter
demand from northern Caucasians and a summer peak in demand primarily from Caribbean
emigres living outside the region.
5. A non- peak seasonality is the one that occurs mostly in urban destinations where the urban
center has all year round use, but seasonal demand from different domestic and international
visitors (Page & Connell, 2006:49).
6. Candela & Figini (2012:221) add another seasonality pattern which they describe as a minor
peak that falls between the high season and low season and offers fares and rates between those
of the seasons, providing an example of Eastern break.
7. They also state that It is important to observe that different destinations and different types of
tourism are characterized by different seasonality: ski tourism is mainly mono-seasonal while
mountain tourism is certainly bi-seasonal; cultural tourism does not present patterns of
seasonality while wellness and spa tourism usually takes place during the middle seasons;
business tourism tends to be at its lowest during summer holidays and other festivals, providing
a cleaner image of seasonality patterns.

Based on the variations in the demand, seasonality is presented in three different patterns
identified as single peak, most of the summer destinations in Europe (e.i. Mediterranean
destinations); two-peak, often evident in mountain resorts, for example in the Alps, where there
are two seasons-summer and winter; and non-peak seasonality mostly happening in urban areas
(e.i. London, Paris) (Butler and Mao,1997). Despite the fact of knowing the patterns of
seasonality as well as the origins, the phenomenon is still seen as a complicated feature of
tourism (Butler,1994), as the factors influencing seasonality are highly interrelated in both origin
and destination regions(Butler and Mao,1997), which brings a number of issues for management
of businesses located in peripheral areas, such as resort hotels.
CAUSES OF SEASONALITY
1. The reason for Seasonality of tourism in any country, state or region can be divided into two
specific broad reasons.
2. The one is natural reason of tourism seasonality and other is institutional reason of seasonality.
3. Koenig and Bischoff (2005) has stated that the Natural and institutionalized factors are
generally recognized as the two major causes for tourism seasonality.

Natural Seasonality
1. Natural seasonality, as the name implies, relates to regular and recurring temporal variations in
natural phenomena, particularly those associated with climate and the seasons of the year
including:
air temperature,
water temperature,
sunlight,
snowfall,
rainfall,
extreme temperature,
daylight,
humidity,
wind and
Geographical location (costal, alpine, urban, peripherial regions).

2. Destinations with warm and cold climate are exposed to seasonal changes, due to different
activities offered for tourists depending on climate and season.
3. Problems caused by seasonality are therefore most difficult to overcome at high-latitude
destinations.
4. As the majority of outdoor tourism activities rely on natural climate-dependent attractions,
the extent of tourist activity in a natural area is dependent on weather and climate.
5. Destinations relying on predominantly outdoor facilities are thus most likely to experience a
pronounced influence of natural seasonality on their tourism businesses.
Examples are coastal resorts and countryside attractions, where the actual pattern of tourist
activities is strongly weather dependent.
6. Seasonal variations caused by these natural factors are predictable as they are relatively stable
in a particular destination, and recur with only small changes.
7. Although natural factors can make a destination unattractive to particular markets, they are not
the sole reason for variations in tourism demand.
8. Global warming and the trend towards warmer weather might cause a shift in the
attractiveness of tourist destinations around the globe.
Giles and Perry (1998) conclude that the unusually high summer temperatures in 1995 in the
UK were a major contributor to the high number of domestic tourists, which provided a boost to
British seaside resorts. They also point out that warmer temperatures in the UK will, in the long-
term, not only mean a more favourable climate for tourism in general, but also greater potentials
for an extension of the holiday season and for spontaneous out-of-season short breaks, which are
most affected by climate-related factors.
9. In terms of natural factors, temporary movement takes place because every country has
different climatic patterns (BarOn, 1973).
For example, some coastal resorts in Southern and Western Africa are popular with tourists
from the cold winter of Northern and Eastern Europe.
Institutional seasonality
1. Reflect social norms and practices of a society
2. School holidays and public holidays are also one of the major features influencing institutional
seasonality
3. Summer school holiday dominates holiday patterns and hence the tourist industry, in much of
the world.
4. As school students generally have long vacations in summer, a family with children is more
likely to take a major trip in this season than other seasons.
5. In some countries, public holidays and festivals can generate high volumes of tourism
demand.
6. It is understandable that Easter in Europe, Thanksgiving Day in America, the Golden week in
Japan, and the October national holiday in China generally make potential tourists interested in
tourism products or services in a given period.
7. A second significant factor in institutional seasonality are big religious events like pilgrimages
in Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.
For instance, due to the religious duty to visit Mecca, lots of Muslims go to Saudi Arabia at a
certain period designated by the Muslim calendar.
Jews also visit the Temple in Jerusalem three times a year for religious purposes.

Business Customs
1. Business customs Seasonality are fluctuations in tourism demand due to events like
Conventions and trade shows, government assemblies, political campaign tours, sports events.
2. Sporting seasonality is a new phenomenon in the late twentieth century.
3. All of the mega sports games (e.g. the Olympic Games, World Cup, and Commonwealth
Games) obviously contribute to generating tourism demand at the given periods.
In America, for instance, the Superbowl draws baseball fans from across the continent;

In Europe and South America, the (soccer) World Cup attracts thousands of supporters,

In Australia cricket, rugby league and Australian Rules football are enthusiastically supported.

Indian International Trade show is an annually organized mega trade show which has been one
of the cornerstones of Indian trading scene in the recent history. It has been known for its
massive scale and carnival like atmosphere which has attracted wide variety of buyers and
sellers from within the country and overseas.
Calendar Effects

1. Calendar effects have been identified as another important aspect (Frechtling, 2001).

2. Such effects may, for instance, be due to the variability of the number of days in a month
i.e. the fact that February usually has only 28 days and therefore is often the low month in
many tourism series or to the number of weekends in the month, quarter, season or year.

3. Leisure tourism is mostly concentrated on weekends, especially in the shoulder and off-peak
seasons.

4. As weekends are not distributed equally throughout the months or the years they can
influence tourism statistics.

5. Calendar effects would suggest that seasonality should be evaluated on the basis of weekly
rather than monthly data.

Supply side
1. On the supply side the main factors contributing to the peaking of seasonality are largely based
on the interpretation of demand signals.
2. Thus products and promotions concentrate upon attractions and activities which are available
in the high season.
3. There is also a tendency for national tourism organisations and local tourist boards to
concentrate on the peak season as they attempt to maximise both visitor numbers and revenue.
4. In addition to generating higher prices for tourism services the peak season is generally easier
and cheaper to promote.
5. Complementing, and at times reinforcing, growth in shoulder and off-season demand there has
been a considerable increase in the supply of products catering for, and marketing expenditure
devoted to, off-season tourists.
6. Out of season holidays have developed around clusters of different types of holiday products.
7. The main clusters are all-weather facilities, cultural and heritage-based products, sports
activities and other health-related tourism products, special interest activities and conference
facilities.
PUSH AND PULL FACTORS
1. Butler and Mao (1997) argue that tourism seasonality involves not only temporal variance,
but also a spatial component.

2. The authors point out that little research has been done into which is the more important, the
desire to travel at certain times of the year or the restrictions.
For instance, tourists have to be in holiday in the peak season due to the fixed school holidays
of their children.
3. Considering temporal and spatial component, causes of seasonality can be differentiated in
push and pull factors.

4. Push factors consist of natural (e.g., climate) and institutionalised motivations (e.g., public
holidays, social pressure) that influence the generating area on the demand side

5. Pull factors (climate, events, sporting season, etc.) represent the conditions that attract
tourists and they are referred to the receiving area (destinations).

6. The push and pull factors are dependent on one another and they interact.

7. Physical factors and climate in the receiving destination are the foundations for the true
tourism season and institutionalised causes such as events and activities influence the
number and the characteristics of tourists (Butler and Mao, 1997).

8. In order to find new strategies and policies to tackle tourism seasonality is important to
realise not only the features and causes of seasonality in destinations (supply side), but also
to analyse the factors of seasonality where this phenomenon is generated (demand side).
NEGATIVE IMPACTS OF SEASONALITY
1. Seasonality is usually highlighted as a negative phenomenon in tourism and is treated as a
weakness or a problem, not only in an economic sense, but also in a socio-cultural and ecological
sense as well.

2. The phenomenon may cause overuse as well as under-utilization of resources and facilities
and because of that, destinations are making every effort to reduce seasonality and avoid the
negative effects.
3. The potential problems of tourism caused by seasonality are refered to as seasonal loss.

Economics Problems
1. Some of the major economic problems are due to the over-capacity, the non-utilization of
infrastructure, a reduction in the work force and the non-attraction of investments during this
time frame.
2. Short-term employment rather than sustainable long-term jobs creating high levels of either
off-season unemployment or temporary outward migration
3. As there is not as much job demand in an off-peak season, the employment rate leading to
seasonal unemployment.
4. From the perspective of cost and benefit, tourism-related facilities also could be negatively
affected. If employees are recruited on a seasonal basis, companies repeatedly spend fixed costs
for training the workers every peak season
5. Due to the instability of revenues year-around, tourism resources always have high risk of
under-utilization.
6. Accommodations and food service stores are most substantially affected by a temporal
decrease of demand as these facilities spend fixed costs even during an off-peak season.
For instance, if tangible products are not sold in one month, they could be kept in a storage
room for the next month, whereas, if hotel rooms, flight tickets, or festival tickets are not sold at
a designated day, their economics value would be exactly zero.
7. Increased prices during peak season (placing pressure on goods and transport in the area and
increasing supply costs for the enterprise)
Socio-Cultural Problems
1. Socio-cultural problems include congestion, overcrowding, significant increases in the cost of
community services, noise, increased crime due to a higher number of people, the need for extra
police, sanitary and medical personnel, increased risk of accidents, the possibility of negative
influences on the traditional way of life.
2. Many tourist destinations experience an increase in their visitor rates during high season
months, leading to the over use of infrastructure and heavy demand on services.
3. Thus, when more employees are needed, they often lack sufficient skills, experience or
qualifications. This can result is a reduction in the quality of service and attention to detail.
4. This decline in standards is not just impacting the tourist, but also for the resident, who is
called upon to pay this social cost of the peaking problem.
5. Consequently some destinations experience resentment and antipathy toward tourists and their
activities.
6. There is some evidence to suggest that natural or cultural heritage places may be negatively
impacted and are later substituted by man-made attractions.
7. Hence, a strong anti-tourism feeling has been developed in many local communities, making
more latent the distinction between tourists and residents
8. Overcrowding or overuse during peak seasons may cause environmental problems (e.g. air
pollution, sewage disposal problem, noises, and/or crime).
9. It is also understandable that imbalanced tourism demand may have a negative impact on
residents' traditional or cultural social activities.
10. Jafari (1974) argued that seasonal patterns in tourism demand could result in hostility of local
people toward tourism with reference to the environmental issues.
11. Residents tend to attribute these problems to excessive tourism.
12. In addition, some researchers have studied the relationship between tourism and crime, yet, it
is still not clear whether peak season is necessarily associated with higher crime rates, or if it is
just coincidence in the sense that the greater the population, the higher the crime rates.
Environmental Problems
1. The environmental effects of seasonality, focusing on the intense pressure on often fragile
environments because of crowding and overuse during the busy seasons.
Alpine areas are now regarded as threatened wilderness, with skiing and other snow-based
recreational pursuits central to this crisis.
2. In fact, a major deterrent to the future development of the ski market is because of the growing
environmental concerns about traffic congestion and damage to the mountainous areas through
the intense use of the natural resources by skiers and snow boarders over extended periods of
time.
3. Ecological problems contain pollution problems and an exhaustion of the natural resources
POSITIVE IMPACTS OF SEASONALITY
1. Butler (1994) and Murphy (1985) also argued that seasonality does not always have negative
effects, and conversely, some benefits could be gained.
2. It might in fact be highly beneficial for some stakeholders.
3. The positive effects of seasonality have been emphasized from the viewpoints of sociology
and ecology.
For example, after heavy use of tourism resources during a peak season, a long rest period may
be better than a continuous use without time to refresh (Butler, 1994).
4. Off-peak season provides an opportunity for a social and ecological recovery.
5. Off-season is often vital for renovations, and the need of permanent residents to recover from
feelings of being overwhelmed by the large volume of visitors at peak times.
6. As a result, the end of the season provides a definite light at the end of the tunnel for
individuals and communities alike, and facilitates some measure of rejuvenation before the
commencement of the next season.
7. Off-season was the only time when residents could return to their normal existence, to engage
in social and cultural activities, and to use local facilities and amenities without any major
inconveniences.
8. Continuous use of natural resources without stopping could be harmful.
For instance, while hiking is appropriate in a dry season, it could erode a road more severely in
a wet season.
9. Seasonality shows stable and well established fluctuations rather than irregularities.
10. Accordingly, due to the nature of predictability, destinations are able to utilize seasonality.
11. During an off-peak season, local people are able to get their normal life styles back.
12. Furthermore, some individuals can enjoy travel in the off-peak season by avoiding the
overcrowding in the peak-season.
13. Some seasonal workers consider their lack of employment during low season as beneficial.
14. These employees prefer to be employed only during the high tourist season because it
provides them with a better level of compensation than other jobs which are available at the same
time.
15. Maintenance work on building and attractions are made possible, off-peaks seasons support
construction jobs.
16.