Methodological Review : Qualitative Tourism Research


Describe about the Methodological Review for Qualitative Tourism Research.



The researcher will be conducting a study on ‘Adventure tourism in India’. The objectives of the study are: To identify the adventure tourism operations that existed in 2010 in leh ladakh , Himachal Pradesh; to identify the adventure tourism operations that existed in 2015 in leh ladakh; to evaluate the growth and development of adventure tourism in this sector over five; to identify and evaluate the money invested and profit attained from this sector. The research methods differ as per the research topic and here three journals related to Indian tourism industry has been analysed.

The first journal titled ‘’An economic evaluation of Indian Tourism industry’’ by Mir

Brief Overview:

This paper outlined the tourism sector and its economic contribution with reference to India. The connecting agent of the social and cultural exchange, tourism has been identified as the ability of an industry sector to project the destination of India with growth potentials and opportunities for the sector in the country. Author Mir stated that the tourism industry has many allied sub sectors which can generate the employment and also serve as a foreign exchange earner attracting foreign tourists.

Methodological approach:

The method to achieve the objective henceforth laid on the secondary data which comprises of old research journals, Government publications, books, newsletters, magazines, internet (Riley & Love, 2000). The secondary source which is preferred by the author has no other alternative as the information published from the different sources allows the author to form an opinion and relate to the research topic by alignment. However, the criticality of the author Mir’s research depends on the quality of the data that questions the source. The credible source renders authenticity to validate a claim about the economic condition, tourism sector status (trend and current status), sub sectors of tourism. On research methods we find that secondary data has been used about foreign tourist arrivals which is a link for the country economy to get a boost (Frechtling, 2012).


The table shows the years and the incremental growth (negative or positive) that allowed the author to relate to the India’s GDP (gross domestic product) and opportunities as a contributor. The source for the first data was obtained from the Ministry of tourism whiles the economic data which has been related with foreign tourist arrivals from Ministry of commerce. The analysis therefore is dependent on the published data by the each of the respective ministries of the Indian Government and World tourism organisation and International labour organisation. The author trying to correlate the arrival of the foreign passengers in India with the time ( in years) applied statistics to come to a conclusion as the variation of data after plotted in a graph showed rise and fall every alternate year. The OLS method was used which is ‘ordinary least square’ where the data set of the years are put in to estimate the unknown parameter using the linear regression model. The aim of this statistical method was to minimise the sum of the squares of the observed given data set and predicted linear function. The results of this OLS method showed that 88% times of the foreign tourist inflow over time (in years) can be attributed to the economy while the rest were due to unknown external variables. Thus the author concluded that the ability to do demand forecasting would allow to the tourism sector to be prepared with infrastructure of service creation and goods for the foreign tourists arriving in India. This is called capacity building of the major and minor services which the Indian Government using the tax revenue of the tourism earnings can distribute back to the sector addressing the gaps. The author also compared the domestic tourists within India who travelled over the years showed that it has created direct employment opportunities.


This coincides with my research as the different need based trends of tourism have been opening new avenues, destination prospects which need for the Government to create necessary tourism support structures, systems and procedures in order to streamline the service delivery process for meeting tourist expectations (Getz, 2008). This can be in the labour intensive sectors promoting job creation as many of the destinations are seasonal and difficult to access. The opportunity for local and small businesses that supports this can be passed down from national level to state to smaller city level which will sustain the economy. This is a long chain of key actors in the tourism sector for the foreigners which the author Mir, wanted to identify as it has a direct relationship of the foreign earnings contributing to the Indian economy.

Thus the above method showed the use of secondary data which was analysed using OLS method in statistics to arrive at a conclusion that demand (foreign tourists) can be steady if the Government capitalised this opportunity by linking the forward and backward linkages to complete a tourism delivery to customers.

The Second journal in the tourism is a study of ‘’ Employee retention with special reference to Indian tourism industry’’ European Academic Research by the author Neha Gupta.


This research paper aimed in the understanding the reasons behind the high attrition rate in the tourism industry which is hampering the successful operations, efficiency and management (Decrop, 1999). The author described the tourism sector of India and the current status with special focus of the sub sectors and tourists benefiting from each of them. The analysis of the Indian labour market data and the industry structure was analysed by the author using the ministry of tourism department, Government of India. The next stage by author was to design the attrition rate in tourism industry and the data to explain the current status.


Here, the data used to arrive at conclusions was secondary and from World Travel and tourism council which is a credible and reliable source for analysis (Law et al. 2010). The citations from secondary sources like Assocham (Associated chambers of commerce and industry of India) showed credible data with the use of business magazines like Business Standard was done. Additionally, the ‘Hotel and Restaurant association of India’ data was also used to form a trend of the attrition level. The research method was dependent on the availability of data which had the author to conduct a survey (online) that comprises of tour operators, travel agencies and their employees by using primary research method (structured questionnaire) (Veal, 2006). The research hence targeted the above segment of people who are already working in the industry to answer questions that are linked to the objectives. The nature of questions ranged from social status, industry working atmosphere, physical conditions, career growth and opportunities, co-worker and manager relationship that affected the respondent’s decision to about job engagement or leaving it due to any reason. The primary research method which is able to elucidate the responses from the respondent group(s)  is a excellent method provided the efficacy of the research instrument is appropriate (Walle, 1997).


The linking of objectives and the questionnaire being tested with laddering type of questions, each logically leading to the other hence is a key driver of data collection process. The author illustrated in table the major reasons of attrition as working hours, pay, nature of job-industry, career prospects, interpersonal relationship with management-customers and others amongst the reasons leading to attrition. The responses using tables and graphs led to clear understand as to what percentage of respondent groups said what. This primary research method of the findings from data actually tries to prove the hypothesis which is a statement either agreeing or disagreeing the relationship of two variables in the context of the research problem (Xiao & Smith, 2006). The results showed industry average of wages is low, while industry comprised of qualified people that in the longer term led to stagnation in career in a 24X365 industry. The research method was also able to identify though interviews, where open ended questions removed the structured limitation and allowed deeper probing to find the actual cause of the relationship between two variables. The industry has high priced tourism packages that were a part of the employee target that became a tougher proposition in the economic recession. Thus the above method allowed to link the findings with the objectives of the research set earlier. It helped to identify the series of variables that are involved and narrow down the particular one. This research however could have been treated with statistical process and methodology to quantify the correlation of the factors (Xin et al. 20013). The use of factor analysis using statistics would allow the author to narrow down the host of reasons to be pinpointed to one single factor through elimination method which would have further supported the scope and outcomes of the research.


This is applicable for my research as adventure tourism is a new segment and has many young domestic and international tourists showing interest requires the Indian tourism industry to be equipped with trained and qualified resources (manpower) and infrastructure to handle risks. The author did use the secondary data from Department of tourism, IRS employment review, Indian Planning commission,  data from ILO (international labour organisation) which outlines the data reliability and validity of published secondary sources.

The third research paper methodology analysis is on ‘Tourism industry losses and recovery process from Indian ocean Tsunami by author Karatani presented in Beijing World conference on Earthquake Engineering.


The author Karatani detailed that post affects of Tsunami that caused disaster in the countries outlining the Indian Ocean. The most affected being Thailand, India, Burma, Andaman Islands while the tourists from Japan, Germany, US, Australia, Sweden holidaying got washed away. A natural calamity which destroyed the tourists confidence and the damage caused to the tourism infrastructure was immense. The aim of the research was to find out the disaster management response the recovery process in the tourism industry amidst the damage and losses.

Research methodology:         

The research methodology was based on the secondary collection of data about the tourists who visited one location ‘Phuket’ in Thailand to be mapped over the months before and after the incident. There has been use of data from the third party of bank processing like VISA which allowed to publish the impact of the foreign tourists propensity to travel abroad and geographies which are affected by Tsunami. This had the maximum negative trend on the country like Japan where the epicentre of earthquake which led to Tsunami was there. The respondent groups were the people who were in the coastal areas and were interviewed. This technique allowed the researcher Karatani, to understand the experience of the respondent as a survivor of the natural disaster. The story based approach allowed free flowing of the past memories of the respondents that were recorded. This field interviews forms the most appropriate method as the incident cannot be repeated which has already happened in the past (Veal, 2006). This was not a question answer session which helped the author to avoid restrictions on respondents while open ended allowed to understand the situation, factors, actions taken, escape methodology to survive (Xin et al. 2013). This allowed to visualise the Tsunami in the tourism spots, infrastructure availed, judgements made by each respondents to save their own lives. The method chosen was appropriate with the author able to recommend some measures for the tourism industry that should be applied to country specific procedures in order to handle a natural disaster effectively.


The analysis of the content also led to the post disaster re-construction phase to the tourism spot, town and city. The findings showed that most of the tourists were not aware what was coming, and failed to apprehend it as a Tsunami. The stories also elucidated the (1-3) days of events that unfolded in the city where tourists flocked to airport, embassies in order to get back to their destination country. This is the first response from the survivors while the ability of the country level support extended dependent on the restoration of the normal communication services within the country and at international level. The disaster management team of the city in prompt cleaning of the debris and helping tourists to destinations, medical treatment, hotel managers responding fast with queries of guests was priority. The one month post disaster showed rehabilitation process of the tourism ministry, hotel industry joining hands to how media playing negative image that reduced the subsequent flow of tourists in the tourist destination. The interview methods as a primary research instrument provided rich information that are first hand experiences (Law et al. 2010). However, in each of the response the need to analyse the content was necessary that illustrated the respondent’s ability to relate to the core research issue. Based on the response patterns the author was able to find gaps in the process and infrastructure in the country based response to disaster management affecting the tourism department.


The paper thus highlighted that disaster in tourist spots that can happen any time is an eye opener for the adventure sports. This is vital area for my research, as the area of adventure sports that is the riskiest of the all and handling the disaster management in a tourist spot location holds the key to the future of the tourism arena. This is more so as most of the adventure sports happens in Himalayan belt which the seismic activity is more that can cause earthquake as a natural calamity.

The above three research papers thus used different methods to collect the data which is the key to link the research objectives and questions. The authors have been able to define their research objectives after knowing the scope which has led to understanding the need to use either or mixed combination of primary and secondary research method choice.


Decrop, A., 1999. Triangulation in qualitative tourism research. Tourism Management, 20(1), pp.157–161.

Frechtling, D.C., 2012. Research Methods for Leisure, Recreation and Tourism,

Getz, D., 2008. Event tourism: Definition, evolution, and research. Tourism Management, 29(3), pp.403–428.

Gupta, N., 2013. A Study of Employee retention with special reference to Indian tourism Industry, European Academic Research, 1(6), pp. 996-1012

Karatani, Y., 2008. Tourism Industry losses and recovery process form the Indian Ocean- A case of the affected tourist destination in Southern Thailand, World Conference on Earthquake Engineering, Beijing China.

Lateef, A., M., 2014 An Economic Evaluation of Indian Tourism Industry, International journal of Scientific and Research Publications, 4(12), pp. 1-7

Law, R., Qi, S. & Buhalis, D., 2010. Progress in tourism management: A review of website evaluation in tourism research. Tourism Management, 31(3), pp.297–313.

Riley, R.W. & Love, L.L., 2000. The state of qualitative tourism research. Annals of Tourism Research, 27(1), pp.164–187.

Veal, A.J., 2006. Research Methods for Leisure and Tourism,

Walle, A.H., 1997. Quantitative versus qualitative tourism research. Annals of Tourism Research, 24(3), pp.524–536. Available at:

Xiao, H. & Smith, S.L.J., 2006. Case studies in tourism research: A state-of-the-art analysis. Tourism Management, 27(5), pp.738–749.

Xin, S., Tribe, J. & Chambers, D., 2013. Conceptual research in tourism. Annals of Tourism Research, 41, pp.66–88.


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