This study aims at providing an economic explanation for the observed variety in the actual consumer choice of tourist destinations. Despite its contribution to tourism research, the traditional demand theory is insufficient to justify comprehensively the direction of tourist flows in space and time, mainly because it cannot account for the importance of product differentiation and corporate power. To address these issues, the Gorman/Lancaster characteristics framework is applied to tourism and a comparative exercise is undertaken in six different fields. The theoretical conclusions are appealing as they match demand and supply, offering a holistic answer to the question of tourist choice and a useful benchmark for further research in the area.

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