Purpose: This paper aims to investigate the preparedness of regional destinations for new and developing markets (NDMs) focusing on service provision and cultural considerations. Design/methodology/approach: In-depth interviews using semi-structured questions and quantitative and qualitative analyses were undertaken with regional tourism-related stakeholders to investigate NDMs, levels of preparedness for these markets, perceptions on service quality and host and visitor culture. Findings: Regional tourism operators and organisations within the case study were not well prepared for NDMs such as China and India. There was a strong desire to present a local experience with services that reflect the Australian culture, rather than replicate the visitors’ culture. Levels of awareness for the services preferred by NDMs and the intention to cater specifically to these preferences was found to be inconsistent. Key challenges include market diversity, staff training, limited resources and inadequate infrastructure. Resource allocation to address these challenges may not be a high priority, impacting NDMs’ preparedness and regional tourism growth. Originality/value: Globally, tourism organisations are directing marketing efforts towards NDMs. However, ill-preparedness for these markets can lead to low levels of tourist satisfaction, reduced re-visitation and fewer positive word-of-mouth recommendations, all of which negatively impact tourism growth and development. Limited research has been undertaken in this area; thus, this study aids in identifying areas of focus for regional preparedness, service provision and resource allocation for existing markets and NDMs.
International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research / Vol. 10, No. 3, pp.283-295