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Research Proposal: Sustainable Tourism in Andalusia

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1. INTRODUCTION.

This assignment is focused on presenting an original research proposal about the extent in which a sustainable tourism industry is viable in Andalusia. Firstly, the reasons why research proves to be a worthwhile and interesting project will be discussed into this field, paying particular attention to the positive and negative effects of tourism on the environment and the economy and if the sustainable tourism industry is possible in Andalusia. Secondly, the possible literature sources and the issues which have already been researched will be analysed. Gaps in existing literature will be highlighted, and questions relating to the purpose of this research and the conceptual context will be set. Moreover, the research methods that will be used as well as their validity will be discussed in relation to the research questions. Finally, the time and resource constraints will be presented in a time schedule.

2. PURPOSE OF THE RESEARCH.

The tourist activity has developed in such spectacular way in the past decades. Hence it is being referred to as a phenomenon.

Tourism is of vital importance to many countries because it represents a fundamental source in its overall balance of payments and for many developing countries it is one of the few activities that have the possibility of becoming a competitive business contributor to their economical development.

The development of traditional tourism has generated a model of an extensive growth based on the constant increase in the number of visitors (independent of tourist reception limit of the territory) and the urgency for short term benefits. The incentive is a trivial, consumist, and basic offer, with a small or even non committal to the culture and local traditions. One of the consequences of this trend is the appearance of very strong environmental pressure, which causes important damages on the environment. It is about an unsustainable model, which has persisted for four decades. (Fullana & Ayuso,
2002)

However, since the beginning of the 90’s, many alternatives have been formulated in order to apply the basic principles of the sustainability to tourism. They are formulations based on the search for integral compatibility between preservation and development, and they involve the first steps in the construction of the future strategies in this sector, in which the environmental requests will have one of the biggest demands of the market. (Fullana & Ayuso, 2002)

Tourism is a global problem, which affects the entire world. Tourism has equally important effects on the environment of a country, as it does on the economy. Spain is a country that depends very heavily upon tourism for its economic viability.

This research will aim to investigate the various types of tourism (such as seaside tourism, rural tourism, business tourism, adventure tourism, eco-tourism, and agro tourism.) and aim to examine the diverse impact these various types of tourism have on the environment and economy in Andalusia. The south of Spain will be investigated as a case study. The industry of sustainable tourism will also be examined in order to see to what extent it currently exists in Spain and more particularly in the south of Spain. The research will go through the existing literature and it will try to fill the potential gaps setting questions mostly based on the way the above elements interact with each other.

3. CONCEPTUAL CONCEPT.

Sustainable tourism in its purest sense is an industry which attempts to make a low impact on the environment and local culture, while helping to generate income, employment, and the conservation of local ecosystems. It is responsible tourism which is both ecologically and culturally sensitive. http://www.gdrc.org/uem/eco-tour/eco-tour.html

Tourism is considered as the most important economic activity in Andalusia.
Tourism is a strategic sector due to its direct contribution to the creation of wealth and its impact on the primary sector as well as the industry and commerce sectors. Therefore, its total effects on the regional economy represent 19.2% of the gross domestic product (GDP), and 11.7% of employment. (Foj Candel, 2003)

Although tourism has less impact on the environment those other activities in Anadalusia, it is necessary to say that tourism has a serie of negative consequences which must be controlled. The most important are: the alteration of the landscape and the ecosystem, the intensive consumption of water and energy, the increase of the production of toxic waste and real state speculation. (Foj Candel, 2003)

Nowadays, one of the most important global problems is the climate change, which relates totally with tourism. The Kyoto protocol adopted in 1997 is an agreement between 83 industrialized nations, not including the US, which concerns climate change and global warming. Kyoto’s key concepts state that: developed countries should commit to reducing collective emissions of six key greenhouse gases by an average of at least five per cent; national emissions targets must be achieved by 2008-2012; and, countries have some flexibility in how to make and measure their emissions reductions.

www3.gov.ab.ca/env/climate/actionplan/glossary.html

The Spanish Ministry of environment drafted a document under the name of “Strategies of Sustainable Development”. In this document, the sustainable Tourism is seen as the greater productive sector in the socioeconomic system. This integration must take place, not only in the new tourist destinations which are arising, but in an (pre-established) industry with millions visitors.

http://www.tecnociencia.es/especiales/turismo_sostenible/2.htm#2

The strategy of sustainable development of the region of Andalusia is much more advanced than the Spanish one. Through 24 thematic areas, the strategy defines the way towards the sustainable development, and it establishes the key points on which it is set to act ranging from the conservation and sustainable use of the biodiversity to the relation between employment and environment, institutional coordination, fights against the inequality and poverty. It also has considerations over energy, water, sustainable tourism, industrial development or citizen participation. In short, they are 255 orientations with which it has been trying to implement on Andalusia society in its design process of development for the 21st century.

http://www.juntadeandalucia.es/medioambiente/EstcambioClimatico/AntDesSostenible.html

To implant guidelines of sustainable management in this industry and to correct the malfunction and insufficiencies of obsolete infrastructures are priorities for the sustainable development of tourism in Andalusia. The environmental factor is possibly most critical for the Andalusian tourist development, and the key element for the sustainability of the entire sector. Its absence in the long term planning in previous decades has caused situations of density excess, disproportionate growth of a homogenous offer, infrastructure insufficiency, uncontrolled urbanization of some zones, and excessive pressure on the coast. (Prieto Del Campo, 2004)

The companies in this sector have traditionally been obstinate to the integration of environmental variables and therefore, understanding that their competitive abilities were being put into doubt. Nevertheless, evidence shows that long term competitiveness is reinforced after the incorporation of sustainable management principles.

The key issues for the sustainable development tourism in the south of Spain are:

* The integrated management of the coastal tourist zones.

* The rationalisation of the tourist offer. (Perez de las Heras, 2004)

4. RESEARCH QUESTIONS.

Nowadays, there is a lot of research related to tourism, concerned with the impact that it has on the economy and the environment of the local areas of Spain and Andalusia, such as those carried out by the Junta de Andalucia (Andalusian government). However the existing literature has no specific answer as to whether the industry of the sustainable tourism is possible. This is an interesting question based on the fact that tourism, its effects (positive and negative), and its correlation with the economy and the environment in general (climate change and global warming forms) an important and global problem which affects the entire world.

This is not a very easy question to answer because many economic interests are put at risk for the different governments of many countries in the world, even the non-developed countries. Besides, during the past few decades, issues such as climate change and the global warming (the main issues of the Kyoto Protocol) have become one of the main problems for the mankind. Therefore, there is a mix of economic interests, as is the case of the United States, and concerns for the sustainable development, which is very difficult to understand.

Another question which may arise concerns the different types of tourism that take place in the south of Spain and to find out the diverse impacts and effects that these types of tourism have on the economy and the environment. This research will aim to investigate through the current literature, these impacts and effects. Positive effects, such as the creation of employment and the improvement of the economic level in local areas, and negative effects, such as increased land consumption, water, energy and climate change. The south of Spain will be analysed as a case study. Therefore, the basic aim of this research will be to investigate to what extent the sustainable tourism industry, which respects the environment, is possible in Andalusia.

5. METHODOLOGY.

The basic methodology of this research will be the analysis of the theories on tourism, based on current literature as well as the analysis of secondary data and relevant cases. With the use of the available information, answers to the set questions will be given showing the way in which the relevant factors interact with each other. The sources of M&A theories, cases and secondary quantitative data will be books, scientific periodicals and the media.

The secondary data is data previously gathered and recorded by other researchers. There are many advantages and disadvantages to using secondary data for research purposes. One of the most important advantages is the fact that a research can be built on previous research using required experience and knowledge. Moreover, secondary data are usually much cheaper than primary data and very often is freely provided. In addition to this, the collection of secondary data can be extremely rapid due to high-tech information accessibility and other media.

However, the disadvantages of secondary data are equally very important and it must be gathered and used carefully. In most cases such data have been taken during past research with a specific target and this may not link with other research. Therefore, the circumstances under which secondary data have been created should be examined in detail; otherwise it has no value at all for further research (Zikmund, 2003).

When a researcher uses this kind of data he/she should be aware of the time period these data refer to. In the business sector this is particularly important. The business environment is so dynamic these days and significant changes occur very often. For example, changes in the global economy, the economy of each country, the political and economical relationships between the countries, technological changes amongst many, can make past statistics and theories useless.

Particularly in this area, the selection of secondary data provides even more difficulties. The effects and impacts of tourism on the environment and the economy of the south of Spain, for example, is not something that is instant. Therefore, it is necessary to examine several years in order to provide sufficient data. Furthermore, various factors such as the environment and others mentioned above may change in the meanwhile adding even more parameter for the evaluation of results.

Another disadvantage of secondary data is that researchers sometimes give different definitions for the same problem making the estimation of the final research result confusing.

In addition, there can be many other difficulties when using secondary data. The researcher has to know extensive details about the process which has produced the data, such as the samples that have been used and whether the process has taken all the necessary into account. In many cases, adequate information is very difficult to be found or even impossible (Zikmund, 2003).

Quantitative data also has advantages and disadvantages. A major advantage is that it is numerous and it is easily understood. Furthermore, the results are subjective. This means that if it is a result of a large sample, this result can be generally applied and it is scientific. Another great advantage is that quantitative data is considered as reliable. This means that if a researcher repeats research following the same process, he will find the same results.

A major disadvantage of this kind of data is that they are narrow. In other words, it represents a reality without providing any explanation for the result. In a way, it gives picture of the symptoms and not the real problem. In this research, quantitative data will be used as indicated during the discussion towards some sufficient answers on the set questions (psychology).

6. TIME SCHEDULE.

In order for this research to be completed and effective with sufficient answers to the questions, many resources need to be consulted. Firstly, the research has to cover a major part of the relevant books that are available in the library. As there is extensive material on the topic of sustainable tourism, however the books will be easy to find and it will take almost two weeks until they have all been sourced. The collection of all the possible scientific journals will also take place in the library; however, this kind of resource takes too much time. There is so much material that the scanning and collection of the useful information is anticipated to last two, maybe three weeks. The next step will be internet searches for useful articles on the topic.

This method provides access on magazines and newspapers very easily and quickly. However, the exploration of their validity and their scientific background will take much more time than their collection. This process will last approximately ten days – two weeks in total. The statistics found will need to be researched and explored further into how they have been created. This will take about a couple of days. Finally, the study of all the resources, the answers to the questions and the final syntaxis of the project will probably take two months. In total the whole project is anticipated to several weeks.

7. SUMMARY.

The industry of sustainable tourism and the impacts and effects of tourism on the economy and the environment is a very important topic in business. This is obvious taking into account the fact that tourism generates more than 450 millions of US Dollars per year, and that its direct relation with the environment and the sustainable development is a reality. Whether the industry of sustainable tourism is possible will be the topic of the research. It will be a discussion based on the study of the current literature, towards establishing adequate answers to the set questions. The methodology to be used, as described above, has many advantages and disadvantages; however, a clear understanding of them will help the research process and generate satisfactory results.

8. REFERENCES.

Foj Candel, J.F. (2003) El sector de la hosteleria y turismo en Andalucia. Algaida Madrid.

Perez de las Heras, M. (2004) Manual del turismo sostenible: cómo conseguir
un turismo social, económico y ambientalmente responsable. M. Mundi Prensa Libros S.A.

Prieto Del Campo, F. (2004) Indicadores de turismo sostenible en España. Multimedia ambiental,S.L. Madrid.

Zikmund, William, G, (2003) Business Research Methods. 7th ed. U.S.A.: South-Western.

Sullana, P. & Ayuso, S. (2002) Turismo sostenible. Barcelona. Rubes editorial.

http://www.gdrc.org/uem/eco-tour/eco-tour.html (Accessed 15th March 2005)

www3.gov.ab.ca/env/climate/actionplan/glossary.html (Accessed 9th March 2005)

http://www.tecnociencia.es/especiales/turismo_sostenible/2.htm#2 (Accessed 9th March 2005)

http://www.juntadeandalucia.es/medioambiente/EstcambioClimatico/AntDesSostenible.html (Accessed 18th March 2005)

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