Small Business and Tourism Industry: The Case Study of United Arab Emirates

free essaySmall businesses development within an environment offer reliable and satisfying tourism experiences. The data set of the study comprised of a questionnaire, which was distributed to ten tourism small business in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The data was collected, coded and analyzed by use of evolutionary systems change theory and the grounded theory methods where the Tourism Small Business Marketability Model (TSMARK) arose. It models the marketability of TSBs, i.e. their ability to market their core products to potential customers (in this context, the tourists). TSMARK theorizes relations between TSB marketing components, corresponding customer experience components, and crucial proprietors’ attributes. The exemplar suggests that the marketing features of a TSB are Direct Transportation, Appraisal, Core Product, and Basic Price. The corresponding consumer experience elements are Direct Accessibility, Awareness, Core Experience, and Basic Cost. TSMARK recommends that TSB marketing features are influenced by six key proprietor attributes, namely Operational Knowledge, Participation, Industry Information, Years of Experience, Work Satisfaction, and Marketing Attitude. A TSB proprietor’s work satisfactions found to have a robust impact on output quality and individual service. As a result, this sequentially leads to customer fulfillment, recurrence visits, word of mouth, and satisfaction. A mixed method approach has been applied with both questionnaires and interviews used to collect data. Purposive sampling technique was used in the study. Data analysis was conducted using both thematic analysis and through the use of SPSS version 21. Tourist small business proprietors are suggested to start and run businesses they like and to offer exceptional personal services to clients. Additional recommendations are given to TSBs in UAE (particularly in Abu Dhabi) concerning pricing, opportunities, and direct transport. Finally, the UAE’s government is advised to ease regulations, upsurge support, and provide promotion platforms for the small businesses in tourism sector so as to positively impact on the industry.

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1.1 Overview

Businesses in the United Arab Emirates are a lucrative venture with a lot of financial incentives for entrepreneurs. With the booming oil economy, the world has shifted its focus on exploiting these opportunities. Small businesses have been at the forefront of the major investments in the gulf economy (Ahmad & Saber, 2015). Globalization has expedited tourism in the region with the development of a lavish and exotic luxury destination for the rich and middle-income individuals. Global franchises have identified a niche to enter the market and offer variety and meet demand. In addition, small businesses have searched for a place for themselves within the newly created market. The paper evaluates the significance of the small businesses to the UAE tourism industry, highlighting its potential impacts.

1.2 Background of the Problem

Small and medium enterprises are the major contributors of the thriving economy of the United Arab Emirates (Ahmad & Saber, 2015). By definition, they are perceived as engines of growing the economy and a major source of innovations, entrepreneurship and economic growth. Moreover, SME’s are associated with imparting diversity in the economy; hence, a central significance is accorded to this form of entrepreneurship. The ventures represent at least 95% of the business establishments within the region leading to the vibrant growth in addition to the exploits of the oil trade (Al-Ansaari, Bederr, & Chen, 2015). In addition, 40% of the economic growth is attributed to the effort of the SME’s (Al-Ansaari, Bederr, & Chen, 2015). The government has over the years focused deliberate approaches towards the enhancement of this economy.

Within the region, the operations of small businesses fall under trading, manufacturing and services. The ability of a venture to operate with a legal form in undertaking economic activities and with the required threshold of employee and turnover is what defines a SME. Predominantly, the Arab region is mainly Islamic and, therefore, governed by Sharia laws (Al-Ansaari, Bederr, & Chen, 2015). In fact, this influences the process of entrepreneurship and establishment of ventures by outside or non-Muslim business persons. SMEs in the United Arab Emirates can be evaluated grounded on the three criteria such as autonomous, partner and linked enterprises. In autonomous ventures, all members have a stake equal to or below 20% (Al-Ansaari, Bederr, & Chen, 2015). In partner enterprises, the equity is greater than 20% but less than or equal to 50%. For linked ventures, a member owns more than 50% of controlling stake in an enterprise (Al-Ansaari, Bederr, & Chen, 2015).

SME’s development can be attributed to the dynamic growth of the economy in the United Arab Emirates. In the case of Dubai, over a decade (2000-2012), the economy has substantially grown by a rate of 10% annually (Giampiccoli & Mtapuri, 2014). At the center of this form, economic growth is the diversification of the economy and the vibrant tourism market. Foreign trade has been a major impetus for this growth with the economy reaping the fruits of globalization (Giampiccoli & Mtapuri, 2014). The government made concerted efforts to transform the emirates into a premier world tourism destination. Moreover, this is in line with construction of world class infrastructure and modern luxurious cities. The service industry has been customized to meet the rising demand of high-end products for the growing middle-income and rich economy.

The small business has grown over the years to meet this demand and as a result develop a strong SME economy for the region. These developing and emerging ventures have also been enhanced by favorable government policies in establishing businesses. In the 2008-2009 economic recession, the SMEs were major drivers in the economic turnaround initiatives (Al-Ansaari, Bederr, & Chen, 2015). Tourism was hard hit by the slowdown, but the ventures sustained the market’s continuity at the period.

1.3 Small Businesses in Tourism

The tourism sector is a primary global employer and a driving force that unites persons from various parts of the world. Masses of holidaymakers crossing local and worldwide boarders each year create numerous exchanges and encounters. Tourism is a large and vibrant international industry among advanced technological developments which attracts a bazaar where the customers progressively acquire the benefits from business exchanges. With many destinations to decide on and a profusion of service choices to consider, the consumer power is growing. Moreover, the rivalry between service providers in and amongst destinations is increasing (Jones & Haven, 2005). Robust competition in a service sector offering mainly non-essential services necessitates the need for companies to apply sound and appropriate marketing strategies. These challenges are possibly more dominant in smaller businesses with scarce financial, human, and equipment resources (Jones & Haven). A main issue influencing the effectiveness of smaller firms in tourism industry is that the majority of marketing models are established with bigger businesses in mind. Thus, the employment of these replicas to small businesses is dubious and establishment of alternative models adjusted to their unique characteristic is recommended so as to positively impact on the tourism sector.

1.4 Statement of the Problem

Tourism is a crucial factor leading to the thriving economy of the United Arab Emirates (Ahmad & Saber, 2015). A viable link can be determined between the successful economy and the inception of foreign trade. In 2011, UAE registered an all-time high of AED 600 billion in the half year earnings from foreign trade (Giampiccoli & Mtapuri, 2014). SMEs are at the center of this lucrative trade, providing real estate solutions, products and services. Consequently, this enhances the rate of turnover for foreign entrepreneurs and clientele for the tourism market (Ahmad & Saber, 2015). The establishment of a definitive link between the developing small business ventures and the growth of UAE tourism industry remain imperative and are the focal point of this study.

1.5 Purpose, Objectives and Research Questions

1.5.1 Purpose of the Study

The aim of this research is to ascertain how small business can effectively impact on the tourism sector by marketing their products in a manner that fits their distinctive nature and commercial setting. In fact, this can be done through development of a small business in tourism marketing model that pinpoints core marketing components and factors influencing them. The model will enable tourism small businesses better understand marketing from their viewpoint and the main factors that influence their performance in marketing, thereby impacting on the industry.

1.5.2 Objectives of the Study

The objectives of this study are to identify the key factors affecting small businesses marketing in tourism sector, thereby affecting the industry, to determine interactions between these factors, and to devise a theoretical model of tourism small business marketing.

The principal goals of the study are:

To investigate the role of small business marketing in growth of tourism in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

To assess key small businesses components that impact on tourism in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

To examine the contribution of SMEs to tourism development in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

To determine the influence of foreign market investment on tourism in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

1.5.3 Research Questions

What is the role of small business marketing in growth of tourism in Abu Dhabi, UAE?

What are the key small businesses components that impact on tourism in Abu Dhabi?

What contribution SMEs make to tourism development in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates?

Does the foreign market investment have an impact on tourism in Abu Dhabi?

1.6 Research Hypothesis

In the evaluation of the tourism industry in the United Arab Emirates, key emphasis on its growth is placed on the small businesses. The SME’s development can be analyzed to establish a link between the new emerging market demand and supply. However, despite this discourse in the determination of the industry growth, the role of government cannot be overlooked. Facilitating development of high-end infrastructure at competitive prices has augmented foreign trade. According to the hypothesis of the study, there is no significant impact of small business on the UAE tourism industry. This stance will be the basis for the study and guide the collective fact finding process.

1.7 Scope

The center of this study is tourism small businesses and how they impact on the industry in Abu Dhabi, United Arabic Emirate (UAE). According to Jones and Haven (2005), in practice and in theory, small businesses are normally considered a subsection of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME’s). Various nations have different criteria for classifying businesses as small or medium. Researchers differ on what constitutes a small enterprise or a SME. Upon investigating a lot of these criteria and definitions and considering the current study’s goals, a tourism small business can be described as an independent profit-oriented enterprise that employs not more than twenty persons and runs in the tourism sector, i.e. chiefly serves holidaymakers (Jones & Haven, 2005). Since the tourism industry is multifaceted and includes numerous sub-sectors and several business types, it is impossible to attempt to consider all potential types of tourism small businesses in this study. Thus, the study focuses on tourism small business that primarily serves inbound and local tourists.

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Therefore, the study’s core subjects are tourism small businesses offering touring, desert camping, and diving services. The case of Abu Dhabi, UAE, is used as it is one of the regions identified as having the uppermost tourism growth rate globally. Accordingly, this drives small businesses to be innovative in their marketing strategies. A sole destination for the targeted sample is used as it neutralizes environmental influences since all sampled tourism small businesses are bound by the identical conditions.

1.8 Limitations

The anticipated scope and methodology of the study used generate some limitations. First, focusing on specific types of tourism small businesses (TSB’s) (diving centers, tour operators, and desert camps) could limit the appropriateness of the study’s outcomes to other types of tourism small business. The study reasoned here that the three selected types of tourism small business are more embedded in the assumed definition of a small business in tourism industry since they mainly center on serving inbound holidaymakers. However, employment of the subsequent theoretic model on enterprises that do not specifically fall under the assumed definition of a tourism small business could be limited.

Another likely limitation is the small sample size of ten tourism small business owners used in the study. Generally, this kind of sample size is considered to be inadequate, particularly regarding generalization of results to a targeted population, and in researches using quantitative methods. This study used questionnaires, which were distributed to ten respondents, to collect data.

1.9 Significance and Justification of the Study

This research holds both theoretical and empirical significance. Hypothetically, it pursues to develop the first theoretical model of TSB marketing. Investigators identified research on tourism small business marketing in their broad analysis of research trends and encounters of small businesses in tourism sector in need of more theoretical expansion. Empirically, the subsequent TSB marketing model is beneficial for understanding the key factors influencing TSB marketing performance and, thus, their business success. Grounded on this consideration, practical recommendations are provided to TSBs on significant and pertinent ways to improve marketing, which would eventually contribute to the probabilities of success for TSBs and an enhanced overall tourist destination product. Since the study’s subjects are centered in UAE, particularly Abu Dhabi, the findings are useful to UAE as a destination and other Arabian Gulf nations sharing a parallel generic culture.

Tourism is a major contributor to the GDP of the United Arab Emirates region (Ahmad & Saber, 2015). Understanding the dynamics of the trade and how they impact on improving revenue remains a priority for most bureaucrats and technocrats. The study is crucial in improving one’s knowledge of the development of the tourism industry. Through evaluating the contribution of small businesses to the sector, appropriate policies can be formulated to enhance the trade. Further, more incentives will be developed to encourage the growth of the market and optimization of small business operations. In addition, the results of the study will provide literature that can be used as a basis for addressing the growing tourism market demands. As a result, this will lead to greater optimization of the local and foreign income from tourism in the United Arab Emirates.


According to the Business Monitor International (2015), Europe is a major dominant player in the world tourism market with over 50% stake and 474 million arrivals in the trade (Business Monitor International, 2015). Asia closely follows by second with a 227 million tourist arrivals. North America comes third, totaling 86 million visits and Latin America is represented by 56 million new arrivals (Business Monitor International, 2015). The African continent reaches a turnover of 43 million tourists while the Middle East has 31 million (this includes UAE as a major player). At the extreme end of the industry player is the Caribbean which has 21.5 million arrivals, the expansion of the UAE tourism industry is anticipated to continue owing to the good performance in 2015 of 7.6% per year growth (Business Monitor International, 2015).

In the report by the Business Monitor International, the region experiences 9.3% growth in the tourism revenue (Business Monitor International, 2015). The number of tourists expected in the region was 16.47 million in 2015, according to the report. The hotel industry which is a major benefactor from the trade was estimated to grow at 16.65% and gain revenue of up to $10.84 billion (Business Monitor International, 2015). These developments are in line with the regions vision 2020 for the tourism industry. UAE envisions receiving 20 million tourists and creating revenue of Dh 300 billion from the tourism industry. The government is providing the impetus for the actualization of the vision 2020 (Business Monitor International, 2015). Creating market networks to foster more trade remains a top priority for the government. Hosting of the Expo 2020 by Dubai will further make the region’s tourism market accessible. Moreover, huge investments made by the government on ultra-modern infrastructure promote addressing the demand for quality by holiday makers (Business Monitor International, 2015).

According to Business Monitor International (2015), tourism is credited for 9% of the world economic output which is equitable to the banking and the automobile sector (Business Monitor International, 2015). The tourism industry targets two types of travelers which include those seeking leisure and others for business. The products and services offered by the United Arab Emirates range from culture to sun and beach, nature, sports, MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions), themed, travel services and lodging and food (Ahmad & Saber,2015). Much of the development in the sector is credited to the enabling environment created within the region. According to El-Gohary (2012), tourism promotion and planning enhances strategy measures to provide sustainable growth of the industry. Further, marketing and research has been integrated to offer better services and objectively reach the market demand. Accessibility of capital from the government and financial institutions has been a major impetus for the development of businesses (El-Gohary, 2012).

2.1 Industry Overview

For many nations, the tourism and hospitality sector is a key resource that plays a crucial role in creating a huge sum of revenue (Hara, 2008). Nevertheless, the importance of this industry was only acknowledged in 1980 for the first time in the Manila Declaration of World Tourism, and it has continuously generated a large sum of revenue towards both domestic and international economy owing to the cash paid by holidaymakers for goods and services acquired (Hara, 2008). The tourism and hospitality sector is very huge as it contributes to over 30% of the total worldwide trade and services counting 6% of main exports of commodities and services (Hara, 2008).

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According to Schwaighofer (2013), the United Arab Emirates hospitality and tourism sector has rapidly grown with various nations within the region adding more efforts to transform into an appropriate destination for domestic and worldwide vacation as well as recreational and business holidaymakers. The cumulative rate of growth of the UAE’s tourist industry can be credited to the high acknowledgment that the region has received particularly for its exceptional entertainment, shopping precinct, restaurants and hotels among other tourist allures, and the high entry of tourists can lead to the rapid economic growth of UAE (Ahmad & Saber, 2015). In spite of the international tourism industry suffering a significant decay following the critical economic slump that occurred in 2008-2009, UAE has shown a substantial improvement and even stated a healthy progress towards the conclusion of the recession phase (Schwaighofer, 2013).

As stated by Hara (2008), the enormous adverse impact on the tourism and hospitality business across the globe was followed by the outbreak of H1N1 virus, which seriously affected the industry as it caused limitation of global holidaymakers who needed to reduce their expenditure level, while others would be controlled by the governments in their countries in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus. However, these issues did not affect UAE, and it was actually recounted to have considerably gained from the latter development as most travelers considered it to be a safe tourist destination with an attractive and favorable shopping center (Dutt & Ninov, 2016).

Major recovery in the international economy was followed by a huge improvement in the hospitality and tourism industry which precipitated international tourist arrivals to exceed any level of tourism that had earlier been recorded in the history (Ahmad & Saber, 2015). Consequently, this led to significant advancement in tourism and hospitality sector in UAE since it recorded the uppermost level of incomes in 2012 which were approximated to $102 billion (Schwaighofer, 2013).

2.2 Marketing Basics

One of the most vital and rudimentary marketing ideas is that of the marketing concept which states that a firm should start with the clients’ desires and requirements rather than with a product (Iacobucci, 2013). Companies need to have a deep understanding of the industry they operate in; otherwise they will fall into the marketing trap. For instance, railroad firms need to understand that they run in the transportation industry instead of the railroad sector. In the framework of this study, it is essential for tourism small businesses to understand that they are in the tourism industry rather than the diving, camping, or touring industries (Jones & Haven, 2005). TSBs ought to focus on pursuing and satisfying customer wants instead of providing a service and aggressively trading it. Grounded on the marketing concept and other vital marketing philosophies, marketing management can be defined as the art and science of selecting target markets and receiving, maintaining, and growing clients through generating, delivering and communicating higher customer value (Iacobucci, 2013). In the setting of the tourism sector, marketing is described as the art and science of discovering, retaining, and increasing profitable clients (Jones & Haven, 2005). To be most fruitful, marketing necessitates the determinations of everyone in a company and can be made more or less effective by the activities of complementary organizations.

Another important factor of marketing is the concept of marketing mix. According to Iacobucci (2013), the greatest popular marketing mix exemplar is the 4 Ps replica formed by McCarthy in the year 1960 (Iacobucci, 2013). In fact, it means Place, Product, Price, and Promotion. Despite the fact that more than 50 years has passed from the time 4 Ps model was established, it is still applied in tourism marketing primers and managerial marketing books (Iacobucci, 2013). However, some researchers argue that the 4 Ps are not exhaustive considering the modern marketing mix. They recommend a modern marketing management mix with the elements of People, Processes, Programs, and Performance (Iacobucci, 2013). These elements try to incorporate the classic 4 Ps while including a human resources element and stressing financial and non-financial results such as brand equity. Grounded on this review, it can be stated that the 4 Ps marketing mix model is still applicable, though it could be advantageous with regard to some modifications to better fit particular settings. Other researchers have come to similar conclusions that the 4 Ps model is still strong and time-tested, and that it is still relevant even when taking into account the modern marketing ideas such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Relationship Marketing (RM) (Iacobucci, 2013).

However, it is vital to ensure the correct application of the 4 Ps model. Thus, the application of the 4 Ps model as an outline is suitable for modeling tourism small businesses marketing(Iacobucci, 2013). The subsequent model, nevertheless, should be resolutely grounded on statistics and well fitted into the framework of TSB, which would necessitate adjustments to the depth of all the 4 P elements as well as linking them to pertinent and affecting concepts (Jones & Haven, 2005). The subsequent model must also consider the opinions of customers with respect to each of the marketing elements as the tourism sector is a persons’ industry. Another applicable model for a context is the 4 Cs model developed to assume a more consumer-focused perspective than the classic 4 Ps model. The 4 Cs model considers the original components such as Consumer desires and requires (Product), Convenience (Place), Cost (Price), and Communication (Promotion) (Iacobucci, 2013). Guided by the two replicas, this study seeks to hypothetically model TSB marketing.

2.3 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)

Naturally, small businesses in tourism industry are basically a subcategory of what is generally known as Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Besides the study of SMEs, study in the literature take into account other differences of organizations with regard to size, ownership, and setting. It is difficult to find adequate literature that exclusively focuses on the tourism small business subsections of SMEs (Jones & Haven, 2005). Thus, literature reviewing SMEs, along with other derivate and narrowly associated organizations, is applied in this analysis as they are normally pertinent to the study of tourism small businesses. An intrinsic assumption here is that the findings and deductions of these researches are closely related to small businesses in tourism sector. Small and medium enterprises play a crucial role in the frugality of any country. Averagely, they employ about 58% of the worldwide workforce (Jones & Haven, 2005). SMEs total at least 50% of the exports of industrialized countries and are considered vital to the growth of villages and small towns (Jones & Haven, 2005).

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According to Jones and Haven (2005), SME’s suffer a smaller amount of economic leakage and offer higher multiplier influence compared to bigger international organizations, thereby demonstrating the importance of development and enhancement of national economies. Compared to big companies, apart from size differences, SME’s exhibit some distinctive features. For instance, SME’s normally have dissimilar managerial arrangements free from the administration of larger enterprises, which allow them to provide healthier services to their clients (Jones & Haven, 2005).  However, SME’s lack the financial and human resources of larger enterprises. SMEs are more susceptible to competitive burden due to their meek managerial arrangement and lack of knowledge of pertinent environmental and law factors. Therefore, it could be argued that with the help of sufficient experience and awareness, SMEs can survive better in the long term, thereby positively impacting on the tourism industry, which in turn becomes a more positive economic driver (Jones & Haven, 2005).

One pertinent concept when examining SMEs is that of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship. A crucial question in this respect is whether persons who start their private businesses differ from others. Studies had been centering on perceiving the entrepreneur as a person and examining their main features (Jones & Haven, 2005). Some researchers regarded entrepreneurs as persons who desire high attainments and inimitable challenges, and who agree to take responsibility. However different academics opposed this view and took the position that the founder’s conduct, not their character, is what ought to be taken into account when examining entrepreneurship (Jones & Haven, 2005). This study assumes the position that entrepreneurship is a set of behaviors instead of a certain personality. Thus, for the purposes of the current research, entrepreneurship is a stage that ends when the formation of the novel business has ended and when no action of enhanced growth is taken. This study focuses on SMEs (and tourism small businesses (TSBs) in particular), irrespective of whether they are at the entrepreneurship stage.

2.4 SME Marketing Models

According to Iacobucci (2013), most common marketing primers are designed without small and medium businesses in mind; therefore, they normally fail to consider the distinctions in the nature of these businesses against larger ones. Such businesses are understated in textbook marketing concepts, particularly when considering their high contribution to employment rate in national frugalities (Ahmad, 2015). In spite of the lack of suitable marketing concepts and models in textbooks, researches of SME marketing are documented well in the writings. Generally, the SMEs are found to casually apply marketing planning (Iacobucci, 2013). This casual planning employ marketing results in SME’s strong sales positioning and volatile strategies. These ideas are seen more plain in SME marketing models established in the literature. Two replicas are applied in this review.

2.4.1 Role and Significance of Marketing

Mixed methodology was used to develop and verify the marketing model. The model examined SMEs’ interior marketing role and their tourism industry’s external marketing significance (Iacobucci, 2013). SME’s marketing strategies and its marketing orientation level is evaluated under the role aspect of the model. The significance and necessity for marketing in the particular industry in which the SME operates (in this context, tourism industry) is evaluated under the relevance dimension. The result for each SME is a bi-dimensional stand in the model on the word of its marketing role and significance. This point places the SME in one of four enterprise types, namely marketing dominated, marketing led, marketing weak, or marketing independent (Iacobucci, 2013).

An important issue argued is the misinterpretation of marketing as only involving advertising and selling, and the view that it is laborious and only pertinent to large organizations. It was established that numerous SMEs are reactive, lack robust strategic awareness and need technical skills in potential workers over management expertise competencies range of SME managers which are essential for successful SME marketing activities (Jones & Haven, 2005). These competencies are categorized into foundation level, transitional level, and operational level. Quality experience is deemed to be the most crucial competence. The marketing charisma of SMEs is primarily determined by robust sales alignment. The effectiveness of SME marketing is dependent on the SME proprietors’ competencies, thereby demonstrating a strong connection between a SME and its administrator, which is feasibly clearer in the situation of TSBs owing to their smaller size (Jones & Haven, 2005).

2.5 SME’s in Tourism

SMEs in tourism industry operate in an exclusive and challenging sector. The tourism industry is mainly regarded as a service industry, and four main characteristics of services include inseparability, intangibility, perishability, and variability (Taylor, Al Yousuf, Nassar, Saleh & Philip, 2015). Intangibility infers that services, as opposed to physical goods, cannot be physically touched or sensed by buyers. Inseparability requires the presence of both the customer and the service provider for the commodity to be offered, and also designates that consumers are part of the product. Variability makes it hard to homogenize product offerings, signifying that a business’s customers will have rather varied experiences at any particular time (Taylor, Al Yousuf, Nassar, Saleh & Philip, 2015). Perishability means that it is impossible to store services; thus, any idle spaces are always lost. Along with these four rudimentary service features, the tourism industry is delicate and faces competition worldwide. Moreover, tourism industry is susceptible to political and natural occurrences, making it volatile in the long term (Hara, 2008). Seasonality triggers problems in profitability, cash flow, and human resource aptitude. Additionally, the tourism industry requires that many enterprises in a destination contribute to total customer satisfaction. These concerns collectively imply that a SME in tourism industry is running in an erratic sector and cannot in full control the general experience of its clients (Taylor, Al Yousuf, Nassar, Saleh, & Philip, 2015).

In spite of these encounters, SMEs make robust contributions to tourism industry. They are perceived as the heart of the industry due to their diverse activities, specialized services, and incorporation in society. Also, SMEs are considered key job creators and contributors to the advancement of local communities (Hara, 2008). Therefore, destination nations should support SMEs in order to boost economic growth and community prosperity. SMEs in tourism experience a different and unique collection of management disputes. Contrary to large enterprises, SMEs are often established with the determination of satisfying personal objectives such as desire for extra income, offering jobs for relatives, or even enjoying a certain hobby (Camisón & Monfort-Mir, 2012). It is suggested that a communally driven way of life is more vital than commercial benefits for small businesses. Also, SMEs suffer from scarcer resources and weak management expertise. These managerial concerns could lead to the struggles experienced by various SMEs. Nevertheless, SMEs provide a richer tourism experience, legitimacy, and a more direct interaction with customers (Jones & Haven, 2005). The benefits that SMEs provide for a destination in terms of authenticity, service, and employability validate the research support and government backing required to overcome their managerial flaws.

2.6 Tourism Small Businesses (TSB’s)

It is important to provide a clear definition of what constitute a tourism small business for the purposes of this research. Since there is no agreement in the writings on how small enterprises in the industry must be defined, the umbrella term frequently applied in academic and business writings is small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which employ not more than a hundred staffs (Gundala & Khawaja, 2014). This study is focused on for-profit enterprises. Many nations, counting this study’s case of UAE, consider big business employing not more than twenty employees as small. Another matter for this research is that the target firm ought to be independently possessed and run and not part of a larger enterprise as small units of larger companies are essentially considered different as they are monetarily funded and are dependent in their resolutions. To sum up, tourism small businesses (TSBs) are regarded here to be a sectional group of small firms, mainly relating to small enterprises operating in the tourism sector. Businesses that best fit this study in the perspective of the case of the United Arab Emirates are ones that engage in diving, touring, and desert camping services. These kinds of businesses presumably mostly serve in-bound holidaymakers, contrary to other companies that serve a mixture of travelers and locals (Ahmad, 2015). Intrinsically, for the purposes of this research, a small TSB is described as an independent profit-oriented organization that hires not more than twenty people and operates in the tourism sector that mainly serves holidaymakers.

2.7 Case Study: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

2.7.1 Destination UAE

Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, is a well-organized and productive city with an attractive waterside site. First occupied by the itinerant BaniYas community in 1760, the place remained a minor fishing settlement until the discovery of oil (Schwaighofer, 2013). The incomes changed Abu Dhabi into the today’s contemporary city that is an active center of government and trade. There are numerous attraction sites found in Abu Dhabi. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is the key tourism attraction and people who visit it are amazed by it. Also, the city makes a good base for tours to the desert sceneries of the oasis city of Al Ain and the Liwa Oasis (Schwaighofer, 2013). Covered in Macedonian limestone, the attractive and absolutely huge Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is an innovative construction of Abu Dhabi (Schwaighofer, 2013). The mosque fuses Ottoman, Mameluke, and Fatamid design features to produce a harmonious and a more modern mosque that appreciates Islamic architecture. Artists used glass-work, mosaic roofing and complex statues to spectacularly impact on both the exterior and interior. The mosque was launched in 2007 after almost 20 years of building (Schwaighofer, 2013). It is the largest mosque in UAE and is able to hold 40,000 believers (Schwaighofer, 2013). Non-Muslims are permitted into all parts of the mosque, and guided tours are also available.

Another tourist attraction in Abu Dhabi is the Heritage Village, which is an authentic model of a classic Bedouin encampment that provides an idea of archetypal Emirati life prior to the oil boom (Schwaighofer, 2013). It is situated in an attractive beach zone of the city, which is a lovely place to walk after a holiday. There are exhibitions presenting traditional daily objects, along with presenting local farming and the pearl diving business that are the key economies in Abu Dhabi (Schwaighofer, 2013).

Also, Al-Hosn Palace, better known as the White Fortorthe Old Fort, is the oldest structure in Abu Dhabi that is one of the attraction sites for tourists. The palace was constructed in 1793 as the dwelling of the governing family and the base of government (Schwaighofer, 2013). The inside of the Al Hosn Palace has been refurbished and modernized and is currently utilized by the Cultural Foundation to accommodate the Center for Documentation and Research, which stores a collection of files on the legacy and history of UAE and the Gulf area. The patio and the superb tile art over the chief northern gate are remarkable features. Inside the palace, there is a museum of customary artifacts and ancient photos. Exhibitions include a natural history segment presenting animal life from the desert and an antique section with presentations of the Abu Dhabi’s history (Schwaighofer, 2013).

There is also observation deck in Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, which offers skyline sights from the Jumeirah at Etihad Towers Hotel, which is the tallest point in the city (Schwaighofer, 2013). Non-guests of the hotel pay an entry fee, but the voucher price can be exchanged for food and beverage from the restaurant’s observation deck. Emirates Park Zoo makes for a fun day out, and is located short distance from Abu Dhabi. Also, Yas Island is one of top luxury hotel destinations in Abu Dhabi, with stretches of sandy beach that are good for spending the day while sunbathing (Schwaighofer, 2013).

2.7.2 Transportation

Driven mostly by increasing tourism and trade activity, UAE has taken great progress towards becoming a regional center for transport and for the international tourism industry. Currently, the country is building and expanding a number of port and airport amenities, along with roads and a countrywide rail network. The flight industry alone contributes approximately 15% to the UAE’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (and as much as 28% in Dubai) (Lee, Hampton & Jeyacheya, 2015). With Dubai International, the country boasts about the 10th busiest airport worldwide for international passenger traffic and the 6th busiest cargo airport (Schwaighofer, 2013). There are more than 20 ports in UAE (Schwaighofer, 2013).

2.7.3 Educational Boost

In its determinations to form a strong national labor force in tourism and as a part of the constant long-term progression of updating UAE’s education system, the administration has been working toward forming and sustaining strong, public and private, educational and vocational programs (Halkias, Pizzurno, De Massis, & Fragoudakis, 2014). It is claimed here that the cumulative emphasis on enlightening programs in tourism has facilitated development and expansion of the industry in UAE (Halkias et al., 2014). With more specialized UAE’s citizens working in the tourism sector, the scope and depth of services offered are on the increase (Schwaighofer, 2013).

2.7.4 Major Tourism Projects

In order to boost UAE’s tourism image and raise specialized accommodation volumes, the government has accomplished and is working on several mega projects, counting The Wave project, and grand hotel projects (Schwaighofer, 2013). The projects signify how keen the government is to improve tourism in UAE, along with growing private sector interest in entering the industry.

2.7.5 Impact of Globalization, Technology, and Economical Changes

Tourism includes leisure activities that take place after working time. Fundamentally, potential holidaymakers only spend a portion of their unrestricted income on travel and vacation activities. People may spend discretionary revenue on domestic debt reduction, investments, and home developments more than on vacation and travel (Bahaee & Saremi, 2014). Sharpley and Telfer (2014) claim that events such as epidemics, terrorism, and economic crisis could shift worldwide tourism expenses toward local options. Prosperity of destinations is dependent not only on manageable element, but also uncontrollable aspects such as natural disasters and political disorder. The tourism industry is delicate by nature as it is affected by political and economic world environments (Hara, 2008). UAE’s tourism industry is no exception relating to the impacts of these environmental factors. Globalization

As UAE develops its tourism sector toward the goals of economic modification and employment creation, it is vital to understand that technology and globalization variations are affecting economic development and require improved human capital growth (Pillmayer & Scherle, 2014). The globe has become a minor community with international markets, international competition, and worldwide cooperation opportunities. A business can sell goods and services to any person and face rivalry across the world. Globalization is imposing greater expectations on every service provider. If services offered in UAE are below par, individuals will take their cash to other destination options (Schwaighofer, 2013). Altogether, globalization enables the voice of UAE to reach potential tourists in all corners of the globe. For instance, divers from Russia have been coming to UAE to experience the islands. Tourists come from across the Arabian Gulf nations, Europe, and Asia to enjoy cultural and natural attractions in UAE (Pillmayer & Scherle, 2014). Persons can access information regarding UAE destination with comparative ease, and touring is affordable for a rising number of individuals (Schwaighofer, 2013).

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Also, globalization affects some aspects of tourism industry. Large and small enterprises alike are now capable of importing specialized equipment, designs, ideas, and skills from around the world. Therefore, it is expected that tourism enterprises utilize the modern physical tools and intangible notions. Another field particularly beneficial to smaller companies is joint marketing (Jones & Haven, 2005). Good promotion is progressively significant in a global tourist market. Joint marketing is beneficial to small businesses as well as potential worldwide visitors as it lessens complexities for both sets. The main incentives are cost savings and extensive reach. UAE ought to adopt globalization and offer expected levels of facility and resources while upholding authentic character and quality provision. Severe competition could be handled by careful and exceptional destination branding and satisfactory marketing determinations from participants (Pillmayer & Scherle, 2014). UAE might not have a sole great attraction such as the pyramids of Egypt, though as a package, it is distinctive and gracious. This image of trustworthy Arabian culture blended with an attractive and varied nature should be correctly portrayed to potential tourists. Moreover, UAE can be tied to adjacent destinations to create a complete package. The United Arab Emirates provides modern attractions that highlight entertainment, relaxation, and shopping (Schwaighofer, 2013). Technology

Generally, technology is a term that is connected with thoughts and tools created to make life simpler. Technology can save costs, fulfill desires and generate new ones, and open novel opportunities. In tourism sector, technology is far and wide as there are airplanes carrying holidaymakers across the globe, vacation ships offering leisure and entertainment, PDA devices used in museums, travelers’ checks and credit cards used to buy items, and several other developments (Alafi, 2014). Among the deepest technological advances in the last 20 years is the Internet, which has intensely changed tourism organizations. Essentially unlimited information connected, for example, with destination or service giver details is currently one click away from prospective tourists. The accessibility of a website in the masses has grown, provided that people can find it via search engines or online almanacs. With little effort and time, potential holidaymakers can find information regarding a destination in a way that was not conceivable in the past (Hara, 2008). Urbane tourists are now capable of accessing reliable facts and make reservations, which makes them more well-informed and requesting of exceptional money and time value.

Package tours are progressively losing market share to independently prearranged trips due to the self-planned tourism. This development has been rising so rapidly that travel agents are retreating, though they are not going to essentially disappear in the near future. Another Internet force influencing the sector is social media, which is mounting in significance and directly challenges old providers of travel data. Websites such as VirtualTourist, TripAdvisor, and IgoUGo enable clients to share their tourism experiences by posting and remarking on video clips, stories, and pictures (Hara, 2008). In fact, search engines have somewhat favored social media over authorized destination marketing businesses in travel information.

In UAE, information technology (IT) and the Internet are progressively being embraced (Schwaighofer, 2013). For instance, e-government is emerging as an imperative tool to provide governmental facilities. This signifies that the government is mindful of the significance of the Internet and is making some moves to manage new technological encounters. The key to prosperity in this competitive background is the determination and satisfaction of consumer wants. Moreover, this is closely related to developing the preferred image of UAE, the target market, and the physical features and requirements of the target market (Schwaighofer. 2013). Organizations need to be aware of possible search inquiries from potential holidaymakers, develop policies for search engine optimization and advertising, and adopt social media to warrant proper representation. UAE’s tourism small businesses (TSBs) ought to also take steps to embrace contemporary technologies. Although tourism agencies are facing challenges of customer self-planned trips, they need to value the Internet and pursue opportunities there to provide more services to clients (Jones & Haven, 2005). Other TSBs ought to focus on consumer technologies appropriate to their facilities to better serve progressively powerful, urbane, and experienced tourists.

2.6 Theoretical Framework

A number of theories have been postulated to evaluate the value of marketing and how that SMEs marketing can impact on tourism. In the market orientation school of thought by Kotler, he argues that in order to achieve organizational goals, it is essential to be more effective that the competitors in incorporating marketing initiatives to identify the needs with regard to the market of interest (Kotler 1999). Companies which better understand their customers and competition are in better position to provide effective services. Therefore, firms should deliberately engage in market research and development to improve quality. In addition, they should adopt strategic management and integrate a competitive analysis in the management of their company’s affairs.

The evolutionary systems change theory which underpins the central role of change in the success of a company is in line with market orientation theory. The theory states that the firm’s ability to cope with change is directly linked to its threshold to search for and react to the needs relating to the market gaps (Kotler, 1999). Accordingly, this implies that the firm’s ability to cope with change is a definitive aspect of its success or failure. In addition, the relationship marketing theory augments this fact by indicating that consumers are always demanding service delivery in form of good prices and a wide variety as well as with regard to relationship value. Thus, this is a key aspect in emphasizing the importance of relationships in business transaction among firms and clients (Almezaini, 2012).

The theories presented above provide an insight into the understanding of the relationship between tourism and small and medium enterprises. Small businesses are faced with a lot of challenges in coping with change which as a result lead to the development of businesses strategies. Enterprises invest in building better customer relations with their clientele (tourists) in order to enhance their businesses. Integration of technology to foster service delivery and coping with change remain a major priority. Therefore, a strategic approach in handling stakeholders is developed to mitigate risks and optimize revenues.


3.1 Data Collection and Participants

The main data set was gathered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, during the summer of 2012. The target participants were tourism small business owners in UAE running diving centers, tour operators, and desert camps. These three types of enterprises were chosen since they are consistent with the assumed definition of a TSB and mainly serve in-bound and domestic tourists. Small hotels were too targeted, but that could not materialize due to difficulty locating correct contact information. Along with the three target types of tourism companies, two tourism agencies were sampled for analytical reasons. As for the statistics collection procedure, a preliminary set of candidate TSBs and their contact facts was collected first. The first list of candidate companies included 52 businesses. Accordingly, these included ten tour operators, five marine tour operators, twenty-five travel agents and tourism companies, and twelve diving centers. A particular process was applied to select suitable TSBs for survey. The procedure was designed to make sure that businesses suit the definition of TSBs and had proprietors available for completing the questionnaire.

The candidate companies were initially contacted through phone calls. As is anticipated in such circumstances, some of the listed phone numbers were disengaged and several phone calls were not answered. When telephone calls were answered, a request was made to speak with the owner of the business. If the owner was not available, a message was left for him describing the survey objectives and contact statistics. In circumstances when businesses were found to belong to the research’s target population and when the owner was available to complete the questionnaire, an appointment was scheduled at the earliest possible time of day to ensure that the participants had a fresh and clear mind and to reduce distractions. The participants were given the possibility to complete the questionnaires in the free time and had to return them after two days.

3.2 Mixed Research Method and Sampling Technique

The study employed both the qualitative and quantitative methods to collect and analyze data. Questionnaires were used to obtain quantitative data, while in-depth interviews were employed to provide qualitative information (Bryman & Bell, 2011). The research used purposive sampling technique to identify the most suitable participants who would be able to provide the relevant data that was required to conduct the study (Walliman, 2011).

3.3 Simulating Theoretical Sampling

Data coding and analysis for this survey followed classic grounded theory rules as with one modification applied due to the study’s limitations. This deviation from classic founded theory was in the presentation of the theoretical sampling norm. Theoretical sampling requires that the sample size must not be predetermined, that data collection, coding, and analysis ought to be done simultaneously, and that sampling must be guided by analysis of formerly collected figures (Walliman, 2011). It is recommended that selective sampling start complying with set norms followed by sampling grounded on theoretical requirements of the developing theory (Walliman, 2011). Therefore, this is to be performed up to the point when theoretic saturation is attained. In this research, a careful process was used to try to simulate the procedure of theoretical sampling. The sample size was not encoded for data gathering.

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3.3 Data Collection

A total of ten TSBs in the United Arab Emirates participated in the survey. Ten questionnaires containing several questions were used; the tourism small business owners took part in filling in the questionnaires. Selected managers of companies were chosen and interviewed to get more information.

3.4 Data Analysis

Content or thematic analysis was used to interpret qualitative data, while SPSS version 21 was used to analyze quantitative data collected.


4.1 Data Interpretation

Table 1

Gender of the Respondents

Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid male 7 70.0 70.0 70.0
female 3 30.0 30.0 100.0
Total 10 100.0 100.0

Out of the total respondents that were interviewed, 70% were males, while 30% were females.

Table 2

Age Category

Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid under 20 1 10.0 10.0 10.0
21-30 2 20.0 20.0 30.0
31-40 3 30.0 30.0 60.0
41-50 1 10.0 10.0 70.0
51-60 3 30.0 30.0 100.0
Total 10 100.0 100.0

The age of the respondents is imperative since in most cases it corresponds to the experience of an individual in a certain sector. In this case, the research was undertaken by individuals of various ages. Those who were under 20 years totaled 10%, and from 21-30 years totaled 20%. Those in the category of 31-40 years totaled 30%, 41-50 years totaled 10%, while those between 51-60 years totaled 30%. The majority of the respondents were middle-aged and old aged, which reflects exposure and experience in terms of information given by the 60% of the respondents.

Do you operate any small business within the United Arab Emirates?

Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid Yes 8 80.0 80.0 80.0
No 2 20.0 20.0 100.0
Total 10 100.0 100.0

Respondents were asked whether they operate any small business within the United Arab Emirates. From the responses got, 80% said that they operated businesses, while only 20% said that they did not operate any business.

What is the form of your business ownership?

Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid Sole Proprietorship 6 60.0 66.7 66.7
Partnership 3 30.0 33.3 100.0
Total 9 90.0 100.0
Missing 999.00 1 10.0
Total 10 100.0

The research endeavored to know the type of businesses that the respondents operated. From the results, it was ascertained that the majority, namely 66.7 % owned sole proprietorship type of a business, while 33.3% were in partnership businesses.

What is the nature of your business ownership?

Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid Foreign Ownership 3 30.0 30.0 30.0
Local Ownership 7 70.0 70.0 100.0
Total 10 100.0 100.0

When the respondents were asked about the nature of their businesses, 30% said that they operated foreign-based businesses, while 70% were local owners.

How many years has your business been in operation?

Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid Below 2 Years 1 10.0 10.0 10.0
2-5 Years 3 30.0 30.0 40.0
6-10 Years 4 40.0 40.0 80.0
More than 10 Years 2 20.0 20.0 100.0
Total 10 100.0 100.0

The research sought to know the length of operation of the businesses, which can also be used to assess the level of experience of the business owners. The majority of the business people, namely 40% had operated their business within a period of 6-10 years, which is sufficient time to be able to give reliable information needed for the study.

Which tourism products/services does your business offer?

Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid Desert Camping 1 10.0 11.1 11.1
Sites Touring 2 20.0 22.2 33.3
Diving Services 1 10.0 11.1 44.4
Hotelier and Hospitality services 5 50.0 55.6 100.0
Total 9 90.0 100.0
Missing 999.00 1 10.0
Total 10 100.0

There are varied business services and products that are offered by the business entities identified. Hotelier and hospitality services are provided by 50% of the respondents, while 50% is shared among desert camping, sites touring and diving services.

To what extent is your business dependent on tourism as source of revenue?

Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid Primary Source 8 80.0 80.0 80.0
Secondary source 1 10.0 10.0 90.0
Not Applicable 1 10.0 10.0 100.0
Total 10 100.0 100.0

The respondents were asked the extent to which they were dependent on tourism as their source of revenue. Accordingly, 80% of the respondents were dependent on tourism as their primary source of revenue, while twenty percent of the respondents took tourism as their secondary and tertiary sources of income.

Do you believe that the products and services offered by your business promote the influx of tourists into the region?

Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid Yes 7 70.0 70.0 70.0
No 3 30.0 30.0 100.0
Total 10 100.0 100.0

Out of the total number of respondents engaged in the research, 70% claimed that the products and services they offered increased the influx of tourists in the region, while only 30% refuted the idea. Thus, this shows that many businesses tend to attract tourists, thereby boosting tourism activities.

Are there tourism growth incentives offered by the business?  

Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid Yes 8 80.0 80.0 80.0
No 2 20.0 20.0 100.0
Total 10 100.0 100.0

Eighty percent of the participants stated that they engaged in tourism growth enticements so as to attract more clients, while only 20% said that they did not offer any incentives. Therefore, this proves that a section of the businesses must have favorable incentives so as to attract tourists to visit the region.

Does your business engage in tourism marketing?

Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid Yes 7 70.0 70.0 70.0
No 3 30.0 30.0 100.0
Total 10 100.0 100.0

Seventy percent of the people in the region usually used their businesses to market tourism. A small section totaling 30% said that they did not market tourism through their businesses.

Small business marketing is responsible for growth of the tourism market within the United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid Disagree 1 10.0 10.0 10.0
Agree 4 40.0 40.0 50.0
Strongly Agree 4 40.0 40.0 90.0
Not Sure 1 10.0 10.0 100.0
Total 10 100.0 100.0

A substantial number of the respondents, namely 80%  asserted that small business tourism marketing was responsible for the growth of tourism market and the industry in the United Arab Emirates. Moreover, 10% did not agree, while 10% were not sure.

What are the challenges faced by your business in marketing?

What are the challenges faced by your business in marketing?
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid Government Policy 2 20.0 20.0 20.0
Limited Capital 1 10.0 10.0 30.0
Cultural Conservation 5 50.0 50.0 80.0
Logistical Challenge

( Large geographical area)

1 10.0 10.0 90.0
Stiff Competition 1 10.0 10.0 100.0
Total 10 100.0 100.0

The greatest challenge faced by the business operators in marketing is cultural conservation. Fifty percent identified this aspect as the key barrier to marketing.

Do you believe that foreign market investment is a major contributor to the growth of the tourism industry in the United Arab Emirates? 

Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid Yes 4 40.0 40.0 40.0
No 6 60.0 60.0 100.0
Total 10 100.0 100.0

What are the roles played by foreign investors in the tourism market development?

Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid Financial Services(loans/micro-credits) 1 10.0 10.0 10.0
Introduction of new technology/products 4 40.0 40.0 50.0
Marketing and Global Networking 2 20.0 20.0 70.0
Quality Standardization 1 10.0 10.0 80.0
Facilitating Logistics


2 20.0 20.0 100.0
Total 10 100.0 100.0

From the above table and graph, the key role, according to the respondents, played by the foreign investors within the region is introduction of new technology and products. Forty percent of the respondents identified this as the key role. Other significances include financial services – 10%, marketing and global networking – 20%, quality standardization – 10%, and facilitation of logistics or better transportation techniques – 20%.


The TSBS owners described their background since it proves significant to the study. With regard to nationality, eight TSB owners were citizens of UAE, while two owners were non-citizens. The age of the owners was discovered to have minimal significance to the study. The owners had academic degrees and professional certificates, those in diving were certified, and academic qualifications differed among the ten owners. The respondents also stated that the questionnaire papers were easier to comprehend and complete. Three TSB owners had offices in an area not close to downtown, four owners had offices in an area close to downtown, and two worked from home.

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Generally, it was indicated that all except one TSB had a reasonable heavy workload. The majority of owners reported high involvement in daily activities. However, one TSB owner indicated that she was not as involved as she wished to be. Seven TSB owners demonstrated high knowledge regarding their TSB’s operations. Furthermore, most of the owners had specialized qualifications in the service the TSB offers.

With regard to calmness and confidence, two TSB owners were evidently excellent, and others were mostly good. Almost all TBS proprietors spoke more than one language and were friendly and hospitable. The majority of the TSBs owners clearly stated that they liked to be their own boss and perceived their TSBs to be positively different from opponents. Owners reported about social networking pages and websites, where at least seven of the ten businesses have some form of Internet presence. Accordingly, eight TSBs had websites, five had search engine rankings, six had website management, and nine TSB had Facebook pages that were used to communicate with customers and help spread the word about the company. It was noted that the majority of TSB owners used an old computer operating Windows XP, which was a bit slow, and used an Internet connection offered by a budget wireless phone company. Thus, this offers information regarding owners’ computer literacy and makes implications concerning the general success of the TSB. Also, most companies owned cars which had company’s logo.

Describing TSBs’ main attractions was vital as for small businesses in tourism, attractions are important assets since they attract and inspire tourists. Most respondents reported that they used World Class Attractions sites and utilized attractions near downtown. The ten investigated TSBs primarily provided desert camping, diving, and touring activities in a range of flavors and packages. With regard to diving, all the TSB provided both snorkeling and scuba diving, but for the dive trips, they mainly focused on tour operators. With regard to packages offered, most TSB offered numerous programs that were rather unique in some aspects, and some programs had different aspects such as a desert aspect, environmental aspect, cultural aspect, and historical aspect. Eight of the TSB had permanent camping centers, while three of the TSBs offered a simple lodging service as part of its extended product. Also, numerous TSBs offered a variety of tours satisfying the variable customer preference.

With regard to business reliability, there was a sense that clients’ trust could be obtained by arranging business activity accreditation and employee training, particularly for diving. Despite the fact the discussion is on small enterprises, there always appeared to be proof needed for minimum reliability. For diving, qualification from worldwide diving associations was vital. All the four diving centers investigated in the study were accredited. Moreover, training was apparent in diving, but more notably in the desert camp and tour operators. There was no indication, however, of formal or semi-formal training in the two sampled micro-businesses (employing less than five). Most TSB owners demonstrated abundant knowledge of competition which included naming competitors, knowing attractions they used, and voicing their ideas on the level of competition. All TSB owners named specific competitors implying that they either learned about them via customers or business intellect techniques. In determining how to design their services, most TSBs stated that customer desires are more vital than opponents’ actions. Also, four TSB owners believed that several competitors had poor standards, and, thus, they started the business to close the gap by providing high quality services.

The TSB owners described incidents clearly displaying their marketing attitudes, including the critical success factors that they believed in and how they thought their services ought to be offered. Most of the owners believed in prioritizing customer service as opposed to other competitors, by offering the best time of enjoyment to them while maintaining safety standards; thus, the tourists received the service that they deserved in exchange for the sum of money they paid. All TSB owners, one way or another, expressed the importance of word of mouth while serving the customer. Also, several TSB owners emphasized the importance of quality tools and comfort to attain customer satisfaction.

The three travel agencies that participated in the survey emphasized that if one expect to serve the international market, they should form a base in the local market, should anything happen and the expats will leave, the travelers will stop streaming, but they will still have their local market. Also, TSB owners’ strategies were to focus on one source market and match the business’s main product to the market’s requirements. Several owners stated about the significance of attracting clienteles from big companies by being different. Seven TSB proprietors ensured that at all times, the business amenities and services are harmonious with the environs and local customs to showcase the virgin surroundings to travelers by totally prohibiting environmentally hazardous activities since the tourist desires quietness.

Several TSB proprietors highlighted the importance of dedicating time to the business by taking control of the business as one might be more knowledgeable about business, and, thus, they succeed. Besides specific functions of the TSB, some TSB owners demonstrated knowledge and skills in the sub-industry they operated in, along with the tourism industry in general. For instance, one TSB owner stated readiness with respect to diving, that is, one must not fly within at least 24 hours after diving. All the diving centers that took part in the survey were knowledgeable and accredited by worldwide diving organizations such as PADI and NAUI. TSB owners appeared to understand that the tourism sector is fragile and affected by political and natural occurrences; thus, they made a lot of preparations in advance.

As described by the sampled TSB proprietors, the tourist season in UAE is normally October through April, with lowered inbound tourism trade in the summer months. Most TSB owners trust that diving had good profits. Four TSB owners stated indirect gains to their business due to issues elsewhere in the globe. For instance, as a result of the problems that happened in Egypt, numerous tour operators readdressed their holidaymakers to go to UAE. Some TSB owners proved that they were aware that potential clienteles are at present more price sensitive owing to the economic situation; thus, the owners were price elastic. Also, all TSBs sampled indicated the influential position of larger enterprises.

In addition, TSB owners at the tour and desert camp businesses demonstrated knowledge regarding varieties of tourism such as nature tourism, adventure tourism, ecotourism, heritage and culture tourism, health tourism and conventions tourism. TSB owners regarded tourism as a leisure industry for tourists, along with an important economic factor for UAE. Most owners were aware of the neighboring destinations such as Oman and Dubai, but they emphasized that they were unique comparing to them. Most TSB owners greatly recognized the economic profits of tourism in UAE. Accordingly, one respondent stated that when TSBs bring a tourist to UAE, a taxi driver gains, and the VISA the tourist pays for the government is a gain, the hotel they eat and stay in benefits the country and the car they rent and the fuel they use are a benefit to the country.

When describing the way and the reason why the TSB owners started their businesses, there were indicators that owners liked at least one element regarding their businesses and had uncertain beginnings. Sampled owners indicated that they established their businesses modestly and at a minor scale. They expressed a feeling of love for UAE, even for the sampled foreign owners. Several TSB proprietors stated the opportunity arose, and they had to move to a site near to a better attraction. One TSB owner’s entry into business was grounded on an unforeseen opportunity.

4.2Appraisal and Awareness

While the Marketing area of the model focuses on TSB services and operations, the Customers area focuses on how customers see these TSB activities. The Customers area of the model tries to theoretically elucidate the customer tourism consumption practice from familiarity to the consumption and assessment of a TSB’s output. Reviewing the case of tourism in UAE and grounded on the results of this study, the most of TSB customers visit foreign countries to experience the destination or certain aspect of the destination instead of specifically buying a single TSB’s facility. Grounded on the gathered data, Promotion in its classic broad form is not established among TSBs. In its place, TSBs mostly employ modest determinations to increase Awareness of their facilities rather than aggressive convincing promotional methods. Thus, the TSB Marketing component of modest actions intended to raise awareness amongst customers is called Appraisal. It can involve activities such as using the Internet, participating in worldwide tourism expos, and communicating with family and friends.

4.3 Direct Transportation and Direct Accessibility

Concerning the Place element of the 4Ps, the tourism sector is not about sending output to customers. In its place, Place is first about transporting customers from their homes to the point where they meet the TSB. In fact, this is done through various ways such as air transport or coaches and diverse methods such as customized packages. Also, Place is about transporting customers from the meeting points to the attractions. Accordingly, this is the least transportation expected to be offered by the TSB, which commonly involves the use of a boat for diving hubs or a TSB-owned vehicle for diving camps and tour operators to transport customers. From consumers’ perspective, this signifies their Direct Accessibility to the attraction they desire to experience.

4.4 Core Product and Core Experience

With regard to Product element of the 4Ps, it is significant to distinguish what is generally considered vital to a TSB’s offering and what can be regarded as an additional value. In the tourism sector, and specifically in UAE, identical TSBs can provide different levels of facilities and packages. It is preferable to focus on the lowest common denominator between similar TSBs. A diving hub’s Core Product only involves an attraction facilitation offered in-house and no housing or food services. A tour operator is anticipated to provide a minimum package of subcontracted housing and food as well as direct customers through the attraction. A desert camp is anticipated to offer a minimum package of in-house attraction assistance, accommodations, and food.

Grounded on the statistics, Core Product includes personal service attraction, following business standards, tools, and core packaging where applicable. For a diving hub, Core Product includes personal contact and communication, diving standards, diving sites, and diving equipment. For a desert camp, Core Product is similar, although it is tailored to desert camping standards and equipment. For a tour operator, Core Product comprises these constituents plus core packaging anticipated from a tour operator, i.e. planning a package that comprises food and accommodation. In these three types of TSBs, everything beyond the Core Product is part of packaging or protracted packaging. From a client’s perspective, the rudimentary tourism experience they pursue to fulfill a personal desire is identified as Core Experience. In the context of this study, consumers are willing to provide monetary compensation to satisfy at least one need through touring, diving, and desert camping. Core Experience is what consumers compare to their anticipations to determine gratification. Customer Satisfaction is indicated by positive feedback and increasing demand.

4.5 Basic Price and Basic Cost

What most concerns tourism small businesses marketing is the price of the minimum predictable transportation and service. In fact, this is considered as Basic Price, which is seen as Basic Cost by the consumers. If customers see the Core Experience as worth the Basic Cost, they are content. Customer Satisfaction leads to recurrent business and optimistic word of mouth.

4.6 Proprietors’ Main Attributes

The last part of the model is owners’ important attributes, which are hypothesized to make the main elements affecting TSB marketing. These crucial characteristics are Operational Knowledge, Work Satisfaction, Marketing Philosophy, Years of Experience, Industry Knowledge, and Participation. These features were identified as crucial factors influencing TSB marketing and performance. The three most directly linked to the TSB’s Marketability are Operational Knowledge, Industry Knowledge, and Marketing Philosophy

4.7 Marketing Philosophy, Industry Knowledge, and Operational Knowledge

Marketing Philosophy signifies the proprietors’ beliefs and values concerning how a TSB ought to approach marketing and service provision. It comprises traits such as prioritizing consumer service, developing the product, obeying the strict standards, trusting in the relevance of the Internet, valuing word of mouth, emphasizing equipment comfort and quality, recognizing the significance of the domestic market, focusing on a single market, product or service differentiation, and operating harmoniously in the environment. Events suggesting Marketing Philosophy characteristics include paying attention to customers, exceeding anticipations, trusting all dive hubs should follow welfare standards, putting efforts to maintain better equipment ethics than competitors, and ensuring that services are harmonious with environment and customs. Operational Knowledge signifies the proprietor’s familiarity and acquaintance with the activities of their TSB. It is designated by events such as recognizing attraction sites on a map, knowing swimmers’ insights of the diving location, and providing mundane particulars of packages. Industry Knowledge signifies the proprietor’s knowledge regarding the sub-industry the tourism small business serves, besides the tourism industry in general.

4.8 Years of Experience, Work Enjoyment, and Participation

The other three crucial owners’ attributes are Participation, Years of Experience, and Work Enjoyment. It was stated earlier that these features are not as directly connected to the marketing components of a TSB as the former three characteristics. Nevertheless, these indirect characteristics play an important role in TSB marketing due to their influence on other characteristics. Years of Experience signifies the number of years the proprietor has been doing business in the tourism industry. The attribute of Participation signifies the proprietor’s involvement and commitment in day-to-day activities at their firm, for instance communicating with clients on Facebook and writing a code of values for staffs. The characteristics of Work Enjoyment are demonstrated by incidents such as recitation of business photographs with enthusiasm, listening keenly to customers, personally training personnel, enjoying travel, and desiring tourists to experience the virgin atmosphere of UAE.

4.9 Three Proprietor’s Key Attributes’ Effects on Tourism Small Business’s Marketing

It is vital to discuss the relations between owners’ important characteristics and TSB marketing. Upon close examination of the categories, category characteristic, and occurrences, it was found that the aspects of Marketing Philosophy, Industry Knowledge, and Operational Knowledge have direct impacts on TSB marketing factors. Marketing Philosophy is projected to have an association with the marketing factor of Appraisal. Apparently, this is denoted by the effect of the aspect of stressing Internet relevance on the possibility of a TSB to have and sustain an online presence and the effect of the characteristic of prioritizing consumer service on an proprietor’s direct communication with individuals regarding their business. Also, Marketing Philosophy influences the TSB’s Direct Transport, as signified by the effects of prioritizing consumer service and upholding strict standards. Additionally, Marketing Philosophy influences a TSB’s Basic Price, as shown by the effect of prioritizing consumer service and word of mouth. Finally, Marketing Philosophy influences the TSB’s Core Product, as signified by the effect of prioritizing consumer service on personal facility and other Core Product components, embracing strict values on TSB output, valuing word of mouth on Core Product components, and focusing on quality TSB tools. Hypothetically, the characteristics of Operational Knowledge affect a TSB’s Core Product due to its effect on different element of the Core Product. The element of Industry Knowledge impacts on a TSB’s Basic Price, as shown by the effects of the proprietor’s knowledge of key attractions and competition. Proprietors’ Industry Knowledge also influences a TSB’s Core Product, as shown by the effects of the proprietor’s knowledge of global associations, physical requirements of a TSB’s output standards, and awareness of key attractions on the TSB’s preference of attractions to serve.

4.10 The Other Three Proprietors’ Key Characteristics: the Root of Effective Tourism Small Business Marketing

The sections above described the theoretical relations between three proprietors’ key characteristics and the marketing factors of TSBs. The three owners’ important attributes, namely Years of Experience, Participation, and Work Enjoyment, are determined to be at the foundation of effective marketing for tourism small businesses. The element of Involvement influences Operational Knowledge and Marketing Philosophy. Proprietors’ Participation occurrences such as tending to activities at all conceivable times and interacting with clients contribute to the proprietor’s principles and values regarding how the TSB need to market and provide services. Owners’ Participation events such as personally providing services to clients and teaching staff contribute to proprietor’s comprehensive knowledge of operations of the business. Years of Experience impacts on the elements of Industry Knowledge and Operational Knowledge. It was noted that experienced TSBs proprietors surveyed recalled rich information regarding how their TSBs functioned and the tourism industry at large.

The most crucial owners’ main aspect is Work Enjoyment, as it first, influences Marketing Philosophy, as denoted by happenings such as paying attention to customers and liking the core operation of the TSB. Also, it affects the aspects of Involvement, as signified by incidents such as enthusiastically unfolding businesses activities. Last of all, Work Enjoyment improves a TSB proprietor’s experience, knowledge, and development with each year of work. Talking about Work Satisfaction, it plays a regulating role strengthening the association between Industry Knowledge, Years of Experience and the aspects of Operational Knowledge.

The study findings above presented the tourism small business marketing elements, how they are hypothetically perceived by the consumers, and how they are hypothetically affected by Proprietors’ Important Attributes. The subsequent theoretical replica, therefore, models the aptitude of TSBs to sell their products to potential customers. This subsequent model, shown in Figure 4.1, is, therefore, termed as the Tourism Small Business Marketability Model (TSMARK).

4.11 Summary Answers to Research Questions

The preceding sections of Chapter 4 described the detailed findings of the research consistent with the pursued study objectives and study questions. Given below are the study questions and corresponding study findings. Research question 1: What are the basic marketing components for a tourism small business that affect industry? The primary marketing elements for a TSB are Direct Transport, Appraisal, Core Product, and Basic Price, presented in the TSMARK exemplar under Marketing. Research question 2: How do tourism small business marketing components affect customer experience? The relations between TSB marketing components and consumer experience are shown by the arrows in the TSMARK exemplar connecting each TSB marketing component to the corresponding consumer experience aspect. Precisely, Appraisal relates to Awareness, Core Product to Core Experience, Direct Transport to Direct Accessibility, and Basic Price to Basic Cost. Research question 3: What are the key factors that affect small business marketing and thus influencing the tourism industry? The key factors influencing TSB marketing and thus the industry are demonstrated in the TSMARK replica under Proprietors’ Key Characteristics. As discussed earlier, three key characteristics were found to have a direct impact on a TSB’s marketing and thus the industry: Marketing Philosophy, Operational Knowledge, and Industry Knowledge. Three other elements were found to indirectly impact on TSB marketing: Work Enjoyment, Years of Experience, and Involvement. Research question 4: What are the interactions between these key factors? The interactions between the key factors influencing TSB marketing are demonstrated in the TSMARK exemplar with arrows hypothetically connecting the six identified proprietors’ attributes and are discussed in detail in Chapter 4. Marketing Philosophy impacts on all four TSB marketing components: Operational Knowledge influences Core Product; Industry Knowledge influences Core Product and Basic Price; Participation influences Operational Knowledge and Marketing Philosophy; Years of Experience influences Industry Knowledge and Operational Knowledge; and Work Enjoyment influences Involvement and has a moderating impact on Years of Experience. Research question 5: What is the basis of effective tourism small business marketing? The basis of fruitful TSB marketing is the hypothetically identified association between one proprietor characteristic, one marketing factor, and one consumer experience element, as discussed in detail in Chapter 5.


5.1 Summary and General Observations

5.1.1 Purpose, Methodology, and General Findings

The aim of this study is to enable tourism small businesses successfully sell their goods and services in a way that fits their unique feature and business setting. The study precisely aims to establish a theoretical exemplar of TSB marketing, ascertain major factors influencing TSB marketing, and ascertain connections between these elements. Since the objective is theoretical development, grounded theory was determined to be the most appropriate method. Data gathered for the study included a questionnaire with six questions distributed to ten TSB owners in UAE. The findings of this study are presented in a general form instead of individual bases so as to uncover all potential relevant aspects as well as further safeguard the identity of the TSB owners who participated in the survey.

5.1.2 The Marketability of TSBs

While forming a theoretical archetype of TSB marketing, the concept of marketability arose. The research questions incorporated identifying components of TSB marketing and the parallel customer experience. Additionally, research questions included the identification of elements affecting TSB marketing and relations between these factors. Incidentally, the subsequent theoretical model includes the aspect of marketing and also the dimensions of client experience and the factors influencing TSB marketing. Such exemplar would not suitably be termed a marketing model, but instead, a marketability model because it models, in addition to TSB marketing, main factors influencing TSB marketing, along with how TSB marketing determinations support customer experience. The subsequent theoretical model forms the aptitude of a TSB to sell its services to prospective clienteles.

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The term ‘marketability’ is a derivative of the term ‘marketable,’ which implies “in demand” or “able or fit to be marketed or sold”. Due to the fact that by definition, a TSB is small, it can be regarded marketable if its service offering is marketable to a particular market. For TSB’s product to be marketable it requires to be much in demand by potential customers, and the TSB requires undertaking necessary marketing actions to sell its products to potential clients at a profit. The first of the two norms is for the TSB’s services to be adequately demanded. In order to achieve this, the TSB’s services needs to be seen by clienteles as valuable. The small TSBs’ sizes and the many options available to potential customers make most consumers uninterested in purchasing certain TSB’s offering, but rather in satisfying a desire by experiencing a particular tourism attraction. If, for instance, a tourism attraction becomes inaccessible due to political disorder or natural calamity, then a potential customer would shift to another attraction in a different destination to satisfy the need. In fact, for a TSB’s offering to be wanted, a potential customer has be having a need that can be satisfied by experiencing an attraction reachable through the TSB and to see the TSB’s key product as worthy of the demanding price.

For the second criteria of marketability, a TSB’s aptitude to market its products is complicated. As hypothesized grounded on the results of this study, it is a TSB’s aptitude to capture the attention of potential customers, to provide a suitable main product, to grant accessibility to the pursued attraction and offer standards, tools, minimum packaging and individual service at the anticipated level, and to fulfill their core requirements at a profit. Due to TSBs’ small sizes, the results of this study hypothesize that their capability to market their products is directly correlated with six main owner features. These characteristics are ascertained as the most significant factors influencing TSB marketing rudiments. TSB marketing is mostly affected by the vital owner qualities of work satisfaction, participation, years of practice, marketing philosophy, operational familiarity, and industry awareness. Additionally, the marketability of a TSB requires that its key product offers a major experience in demand by an important market.

5.1.3 TSMARK Model

The TSMARK exemplar is grounded on the gathered data. In addition to consulting two broad marketing mix replicas, the structure, constructs, and interactions in the TSMARK model are entirely grounded on the collected statistics that correspond to the classical grounded theory rules. TSMARK shows the marketability of tourism small businesses by listing TSB marketing components, how they interact with customer experience, and in what way they are affected by six main owner features. The model’s main areas include Customers, Marketing, and Owners’ Key Attributes. Marketing part identifies the TSB marketing rudiments of Appraisal, Direct Transportation, Basic Price, and main Product. Appraisal hypothesizes that TSBs undertake modest promotional determinations with the objective of apprising the target audience of their activities. TSMARK claims that TSBs’ promotional determinations are aimed at increasing awareness rather than consciously and aggressively persuading the target audience to purchase their products. For the other three TSB marketing components, the model takes into account the fact that in the tourism sector, TSBs engage in varied levels of packaging. For the sake of lucidity, TSMARK merely discusses the minimally anticipated product and distribution components. Thus, Direct Transportation is considered as the in-house minimum transportation needed for a TSB to transport customers from meeting point to the attraction site; Core Product is considered as the main offering of minimal facilities, standards, equipment, and packaging projected from a particular TSB; and Basic Price is described as the price a TSB costs for these minimally anticipated distribution and product elements.

The four marketing components compose the marketing undertakings of TSBs. In comparison, the Consumers area of TSMARK signifies the equivalents of all of these elements from the consumer’s perspective. In fact, this is vital because, as the statistics theoretically suggests and as was discussed in the description of TSB marketability, consumers’ perceptions of TSB marketing undertakings are the main determinants of their contentment. Therefore, customers’ opinions of TSB marketing actions are key factors of the possibility of recurrence visits and positive word of mouth. With respect to the TSB marketing components, the constructs of Basic Cost, Awareness, Direct Accessibility, and Core Experience are hypothesized to constitute the elements of consumer experience. These hypothetically denote the clients’ knowledge of the TSB’s product, basic cost paid, direct access to the required attraction, and the main experience pursued from the TSB respectively.

Basically, it is theorized that the extent to which the customers observe their fundamental experience with respect to expected worth and experience determines the customer’s level of satisfaction. TSMARK proposes that the more content customers are, the more possibly they are to become recurrent clienteles and spread optimistic word of mouth regarding the TSB. Accordingly, this progressively leads to an increasing demand and gradually expanding client base. In attainment of the study’s goals, TSMARK also hypothesizes the most essential factors influencing TSB marketing. For companies as small as TSBs, TSMARK proposes that selling performance is reliant on the owners’ crucial attributes of Operational Knowledge, Marketing Philosophy, and Industry Knowledge. Owners’ Marketing Philosophy signifies owners’ ideas and principles concerning how the TSB ought to better approach product offering and marketing. Operational Knowledge signifies the owner’s familiarity and association with the actions of their TSB. Industry Knowledge signifies the owner’s awareness of the sub-industry their TSB operate in, along with the tourism business as a whole.

These characteristics are theorized to play an important role in the marketing of TSBs, as demonstrated in TSMARK. The three elements are also theorized to be intensely affected by owner qualities of Work Enjoyment, Years of Experience, and Participation. Years of Experience signifies the number of years the proprietor has been in industry. Involvement signifies the owner’s participation and engagement in everyday activities of their business. Work Enjoyment signifies the extent of enjoyment and gratification the proprietor experiences when taking part in their work at the TSB. Work Enjoyment is hypothesized to be the most vital element among these features due to its influence on Marketing Philosophy and Participation, and its controlling role in the strength of the influence of Years of Experience on Industry Knowledge and Operational Knowledge.

5.2 Theoretical Contributions

5.2.1 First TSB Marketing Model

By constructing the TSMARK model, this research contributes to the writings with the first TSB marketing exemplar. Even though much study has been done on the physiognomies of small companies and small enterprise owners, no marketability exemplar of TSBs connecting marketing elements, owner attributes, and consumer perceptions is found in the writings. Academics in the area of small business management have raised the concern that theoretical contribution is required to clarify on what is still unidentified about these enterprises. By applying the grounded theory approach, this study established a substantive theoretical exemplar of TSB marketability. This applicable theory is a commencing step toward a more generalized prescribed TSB marketing theory.

5.2.2 Relationship between Work Enjoyment, Personal Service, and Core Experience

Small enterprises, with their scarce resources, cannot contest with large companies with regard to aggressive pricing, mass promotion, and well-structured and packaged products. Nevertheless, the findings of this research suggest that offering exceptional personal service is the basis of successful marketing performance for TSBs. When TSBs focus on offering high levels of personal facility, they upsurge their chances of satisfied and recurrence customers on top of positive word of mouth. This perception is supported in the writings in that service quality was discovered to be crucial as a competitive advantage for small companies in tourism. TSMARK proposes that the sole most significant TSB owner feature leading to a strong Core Product and personal service is Work Enjoyment. Hypothetically, TSB proprietors who enjoy their job are expected to provide better personal service to clients and struggle to constantly improve their overall offering (or Core Product) as they obtain more experience and learn more from client feedback.

5.2.3 Work Enjoyment and Motivation Theories

Self-determination theory seeks to understand human motivation grounded on the internal requirements of Autonomy, Competence, and Relatedness necessities for human beings; their satisfaction is theoretically related to effective functioning. Inherent motivation is connected with “active engagement” in doings that people find “interesting.” These “participation” and “commitment” in “motivating” activities require the nourishment of need satisfaction. The level of need fulfillment that people experience while contributing in certain activities determines how interested they become in these undertakings. TSMARK supports the link between interesting activities and involvement. In the perspective of TSBs, work enjoyment is hypothesized to have a positive influence on the level of proprietor involvement in TSB activities. Self-determination theory, sequentially, provides important understandings of what inherent motivations produce work enjoyment. In Positive Affect theory, happiness is theorized to cause successful results, and happy persons are expected to show higher performance and productivity. The theorists note, nevertheless, that this is more determined by comfort than job satisfaction. TSMARK supports that contentment expressed as work enjoyment is important to a TSB’s marketing success and, eventually, to business success. TSMARK varies from Positive Affect concept in that it stresses the significance of job satisfaction to performance and efficiency.

5.3 Methodology Contribution

In classic grounded theory approach, theoretical sampling is recommended as part of the theory development process. It is connected with the steady sampling process consistent with the state of theory formation evolvement. For this study, this part of the process could not be exactingly followed due to data collection limitations. In order to gain some of the advantages of the theoretical sampling method, a simulating process was used. Data gathering, though undertaken before coding and analyzing, was designed to offer the best possible statistics set by use of questionnaires distributed to ten TSBs owners. Data coding and analysis simulated theoretic sampling by following a specific order of questionnaire handling according to their perceived quality. This simulation process produced the same results as those generated by following a usual theoretical sampling process. This study has indicated that in cases when firm theoretical sampling is unachievable, a well-planned sample and cautious choice of the order of gathered data for coding and analyzing assists to use some of the proposed theoretical standards.

Policy Implications

5.4 Practical Contributions to the Industry and United Arab Emirates

5.4.1 Practical Contributions to the Global Tourism Industry

Along with the above-mentioned methodology and theoretical contributions, the findings of this research offer important contributions to the tourism sector. Precisely, TSMARK could facilitate TSBs improvement of their marketing efficiency and, thus, profit the industry. Despite the fact that TSBs lack the planning aptitudes and capitals of larger companies, this study recommends that TSBs have a possible competitive advantage if they focus their efforts on activities they naturally do best. TSMARK provides useful recommendations concerning starting and sustaining a business, operational participation, and definite TSB marketing actions.

From the beginning, potential proprietors of new TSBs are recommended to start businesses in regions they enjoy. They ought to ask questions such as whether they previously participated in and enjoyed the core activity they are planning to offer (such as touring, diving, or camping) and whether they enjoy working and interrelating with people. Prevailing TSB proprietors are advised to constantly monitor enjoyment and satisfaction levels of their work. In circumstances when they do not enjoy their work anymore, they should ask themselves whether this is due to external factors such as government and competition or affected by the services they offer. However, in all cases, TSB owners ought to be careful not to fall into the trap of obstinately maintaining a business with an output with inadequate demand. As understood in the assumed definition of TSB marketability, the core product provided to customers need to be satisfactorily demanded by a substantial market.

Another key factor in the marketability of TSBs is proprietors’ involvement in daily activities. Owners are recommended to participate in their TSBs’ operations and interact with clients as much as possible. They must take their clienteles on tours, lead camping trips, or monitor diving groups. They ought to communicate with clienteles and listen attentively to feedback and proposals. With TSBs’ scarce resources, owners’ participation in the business and contact with customers provides priceless understanding of their businesses and consumers’ needs. As TSMARK proposes, this commitment can help supplement owners’ learning experiences each year.

Along with participation, TSB owners are recommended to learn as much as they can regarding their industry and environment. Beneficial tasks in this respect include attending tourism exhibitions, monitoring local and worldwide TSBs, and following news in regard to relevant political and environmental matters. TSB proprietors are advised to progressively take their time growing and improving their businesses. Faults and services that are below par are anticipated at the beginning as proprietors learn. However, continuous participation in activities proprietors enjoys enables TSBs continue their journeys. Concerning specific marketing activities, owners are primarily advised to make every effort to provide exceptional personal service.

Owners ought to consider that their clienteles are probably seeking the contentment of entertainment, relaxation, and educational desires. Owners must remember that consumers are perhaps exploiting leisure time and spending discretionary income. Thus, customers need and appreciate pleasing communication and careful consideration to their desires. TSB owners must make efforts to be cheery and compassionate when handling customers and be skillful and observant when offering services.

Also, TSB owners are recommended to pay considerable attention to other constituents of their main product. They must aim to search and use attractions that are most expected to catch the attention and demand of prospective customers. These prospective customers are, in any case, pursuing attractions that they anticipate to satisfy their needs instead of specifically searching for the services of certain businesses. Additionally, TSB owners ought to make sure they observe the industry standards concerning procedures, equipment, and package components. Also, TSB owners need to carefully take into consideration the three other TSB marketing components, namely fair basic pricing, direct transport to the attraction and beneficial promotion methods. Clienteles expect TSBs to offer passable and comfortable transport from an anticipated meeting point to the attraction they pursue. The used mode of transport (coaches, cars, or boats) ought to be clean and well preserved. Moreover, routes taken must be well calculated and safety standards need to be closely monitored. TSB proprietors are recommended to charge reasonable prices that are worthy of facilities given and are expected to produce customer satisfaction and fair revenues. Finally, TSB proprietors are recommended to make their businesses noticeable to prospective customers. Two means to do this are distributing flyers at restaurants and airports and creating a well-linked website.

All above recommendations are beneficial to improve a tourism small business’ marketing effectiveness. However, it is vital to emphasize the most important recommendations, as demonstrated by the study’s main theoretical finding. Despite the fact that specific marketing performance is proposed, TSB owners ought to be careful not to overemploy these tactics at the cost of providing exceptional personal service. The study’s main theoretical finding highlights that personal service is the most vital factor leading to a positive customer central experience, and thus, customer satisfaction. This, sequentially, can lead to repeat customers and helpful word of mouth.

5.4.2 Practical Contributions to Destination Abu Dhabi in UAE

With respect to destination Abu Dhabi, this research provides valuable recommendations for TSBs. First, UAE tourism industry has been developing and is projected to continue developing for the predictable future. Accordingly, this signifies business opportunities for big and small companies. Also, this designates that it is more probable for new entrants to discover opportunities where their tourism undertakings of interest meets substantial demand. Nevertheless, in order to compete with bigger companies, TSB owners are recommended to find niche bazaars where they can best serve their clients. Possible markets comprise historical fort tours, mountain trekking activities, and bird watching tours.

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Concerning specific marketing activities, TSB proprietors in UAE need to offer quality personal services as traditional hospitality is part of UAE culture and is debatably becoming predictable by holidaymakers. Also, highlighting personal services enable TSBs compete against developed players in the UAE’s tourism industry. The study also indicated that, particularly for the inbound diving bazaar, there is little rivalry and minimal pricing pressure for the existing players. Nevertheless, dive hubs and other TSBs in same positions are recommended to offer reasonable prices to consumers due to the influence on supposed core experience and satisfaction heights. Furthermore, due to the existence of poor transport systems, tourism small businesses operating in UAE need to exhibit care when transporting holidaymakers to attractions.

5.4.3 Recommendations to the UAE Government

Due to the fact that UAE’s government is attentive to improve the tourism industry, it ought to support more the TSBs. As a result, this will aid further job formation and economic growth in UAE. The government represented by the Ministry of Tourism must aid TSBs in areas of support, regulations, and promotion. To begin with, the government must ease barriers to entry by lowering license fees, paperwork, and commercial necessities. Moreover, the government ought to pay close attention and lessen possible monopolistic policies by big companies. Secondly, government has a duty to provide training and financial and marketing intelligence provision. Owing to the fact that TSBs lack monetary strength, governments can aid by providing simple loans or selective subsidies. Also, TSBs are not generally robust in marketing intelligence, which makes it vital to understand consumer behavior and trends.

In addition, the government should offer low-cost training in areas such as customer service and business planning. By doing so, governments could shrink the business knowledge gap between small and big businesses. Finally, with regard to promotion, the government could aid TSBs by developing, subsidizing, and managing online portals showcasing small enterprises, their services, and contact information. Since the Ministry of Tourism already partakes in international travel trade exhibitions, it could provide show spaces for TSBs grounded on identified criteria.

5.5 Recommendations to Researchers

The findings reported from the ten questionnaires led to the TSMARK exemplar and the crucial theoretical findings. These are the results that are supported by the gathered data and directly correlated to the objectives, purpose, and research questions of the current study. The research also generated other results that, though not adequately grounded on this sample set, offer some direction for model development and future researches. With regard to TSMARK, gathering similar data sets from local and international destinations would develop an official TSB marketability model. In spite of the special attention given to evaluating theoretically universal concepts, the generalizability of TSMARK would gain from analyzing TSBs in different destinations. Constructs discovered that in analytical categories linked to seasonality, business alliances, competition, and government role would be analyzed better by examining TSBs in other destinations. The reliability of the influence of these constructs in one destination could restrict the ability to draw important theoretical findings.

Also, future research would be required in the area of customer awareness. This study did not directly examine customer perception but rather theorized their significant constructs grounded on TSBs’ proprietors’ reports on consumer feedback. Future restatements of the TSMARK model would be reinforced by the analysis of focus groups, rich interviews, observations of TSB consumers, or detailed questionnaires. Analyzing consumers’ experience and gratification would be of specific interest. A third field in need of further study is the relationships between Work Enjoyment, a TSB’s marketing components, and other proprietor attributes. Although this study offers theoretical suggestions regarding the interactions between these constructs, a directed gathering and analysis of extra data could improve comprehension of the effects and spirit of Work Enjoyment in the framework of tourism small businesses.