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Capacity Management and Tourism Distribution Channels: The Case of the Brazilian National Park of Fernando de Noronha, a World Heritage Site

Amalina Andrade

Abstract


Fernando de Noronha is an archipelago located in the Northeast Region of Brazil and at the Southern Atlantic Ocean. It is both a national park and a natural World Heritage Site. Since tourism presumes movement of a person from one place to another, for this small island located 360km from the Brazilian coast, the role of distribution channels can be crucial for the development of the destination. Although tourism distribution channels are a growing area of research, this investigation in developing countries is still emerging and there are very few studies on Brazil. The novelty of this study is the examination of capacity management—understood as the use of carrying capacity which is a tool used by the public sector to manage destinations based on the principles of sustainability—as a factor influencing suppliers’ distribution channels. The carrying capacity measures currently in place are: the payment of a conservation fee to gain access to the destination, the limited number of regular flights to the island (and regulated number of seats available), the restricted amount of airlines allowed to provide flights for the island and the controlled number of people that can get to the destination by plane and cruise ships each day. The research took a supplyside perspective, recognising the challenges of both suppliers and intermediaries when selling the destination. A total of 41 in-depth interviews were conducted with suppliers, intermediaries and governmental organisations (local, regional, and central) located at Recife, Natal, and at the destination. A mass-market approach on selling the destination is in place by both the public and the private sector. Results demonstrated that capacity management are having an impact on businesses when selling the destination and on tourists’ travel decisions. The capacity management of the destination is influencing suppliers’ distribution channels because it causes a lack of flight tickets in the high season, it increases the price for reaching the destination, and consequently it creates a negative image of an expensive destination. As a result, it is making suppliers (especially accommodation providers) be obliged to work with tour operators due to tour operators’ practice of holding the transportation tickets to the destination in advance. Thus, stakeholders should think of distribution channels as a key tool to strategically reposition their product for providing sustainable development to the destination. All in all, capacity management must be considered as an external constraint influencing stakeholders’ distribution mix choices.

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Keywords


Capacity management; Fernando de Noronha (Brazil); island; protected area management; tourism distribution channels; national park management; world heritage site

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.18666/JPRA-2018-V36-I3-8341

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