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Tourism Planning

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Tourism – Comprises the activities of persons traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes not related to the exercise of an activity remunerated from within the place visited country

Tourism refers to the movement of people from one geographical location to another for the purpose of engaging in leisure and/or business acts, and the economic transactions that accompany this. It is essentially a service activity, and involves the flow of capital, finance, goods, knowledge and humans. Tourism has both a production and a consumption component. As a form of production, tourism is multi sectoral and multi faceted, drawing upon the activities of a wide range of actors from a number of economic sectors.

As an activity of consumption tourism is distinct in that the consumer has to travel some distance to a destination in order to consume the product. This feature of tourism means it is referred to as an invisible sector. It also means that tourism is the nexus between systems of production and systems of consumption. The tourist product is varied. It consists of both tangible (e.g. flights, hotel accommodation) and intangible (e.g. customer satisfaction or perception) elements. Given its ephemeral nature, the tourist product can be viewed as a highly perishable item (Mathieson and Wall, 1982).

The standard and most widely accepted definition of what constitutes tourism is that utilized by the World Tourism Organization (WTO, Basic References on Tourism Statistics). A tourist is a person who travels to and stays in a place outside his/her usual environment for at least one night and less than one year, and whose primary purpose of travel is not remunerated from within the place visited. Tourism is defined as the set of activities engaged upon by a tourist. Domestic tourism refers to the movement of residents within their national borders, whilst international tourism involves people travelling to another country.

The process of defining tourism is therefore not without contestation. Part of the reason for this may be the definitional inadequacy of the key concepts related to tourist activities – leisure and leisure time. The conventional treatment of leisure sees it as that state or condition where no work is being carried out, and where there is no (tangible or intangible) product or commodity as outcome. Leisure is seen as the opposite of work or labor, as ‘free time’ with no economic value.

Similarly, tourism as a form of leisure activity is that action engaged in by people in their ‘free time’. The problem posed by such an understanding is that it treats labor, and the value of labor, in a minimal way; it is only true for some parts of some societies some of the time. As noted by Britton (1991) the concept of ‘free time’ (the condition of an absence of work) disregards the disparity in the value accorded to, for example, men and women’s work, and particularly labor in the domestic (household-level) sphere. Furthermore, ‘free time’ is a culturally determined, context-specific concept – different societies orient themselves differently to time. A similar epistemological problem is the lack of distinction between a tourist and a traveler.

As it has evolved, contemporary standard treatments of tourists see them as present-day reincarnations of the pioneering travelers from former times. While in one sense this is valid, particularly when one considers the psychological dimensions involved in the selling of tourist packages in the advent of cultural tourism in another it fails to distinguish between the very different economic origins and significances of touring and travelling: a business traveler is something different to a business tourist – the latter is set apart by his/her consumption of explicit tourist goods. How one draws a discrepancy between these has a very important impact on how one gathers information in tourism research.

A parallel and equally vigorous debate in tourism studies is on whether tourism constitutes a single industry. Several researchers argue that tourism should not be seen as a monolithic industry, but rather as a collection of industries that share similar functions and produce similar products (e.g. Tremblay, 1998). Leiper (1990), one of the most vehement proponents of this view, contends that tourist activities do not constitute an industry in the conventional sense since no single or standard product is produced.

The outcome is rather an array of products; the fact that these are both tangible and intangible leads Leiper to conclude that tourism is in addition only partially industrialized. Specifically, Leiper argues, a large part of those economic sectors or functions involved in tourism can exist independent of any tourist activities, e.g. restaurants or retail stores whose primary market base 6 The Global Tourism System comprise of households. This industrial duality precludes any logical typification of a single tourism industry (Leiper, 1990). This book’s analysis of global tourism uses the concept of sector, rather than industry.

A broad categorization may be made of demand-side and supply-side approaches to tourism. A simplified distinction is that the former is occupied with aspects and activities related to the buying and using (i.e. consumption) of tourist goods, while the latter is concerned with the creation (procurement and production) of those goods.

TRAVEL

Act of traversing through a geographic region or moving from one place to another. This can be temporarily, as is often the case, and can be for a short period of time. Salespersons often travel to different regions in order to generate sales with another company for example.

TOURISM SYSTEM

The concept of a tourism system was developed by applying core ideas from systems theory. Two levels of systems can be identified in these applications. First, there are models of whole tourism systems. These are an arrangement of all the elements deemed necessary for tourism to occur. Second, there are models for sub-themes, perceived in systemic terms.

Gunn’s (1988) model of whole tourism systems specifies five elements: information and direction, tourists, transport, attractions, services and facilities. In a diagram, this model has the first four elements in a circle, with the attractions element shown above the fifth element, the visual superiority signifying relative importance. Jafari’s (1989) tourist model sets out six phases that occur in all normal trips and as such are elementary: they are corporation, expatriation, animation, repatriation, incorporation and omission.

The model has this process in contexts of the ordinary world (routine) and the non-ordinary world (during trips). Leiper’s (1995) model has a human element (tourists); three geographical elements representing roles that places have in all tourists’ itineraries (generating region, transit route and destination region); and an organizational supportive element (tourism industries). Various kinds of environments, such as physical, social and economic, are shown around the system. One diagram for this model is ideographic, depicting itineraries; a second is abstract, depicting heuristic perspectives.

TOURISM PLANNING

DESTINATION LIFE CYCLE

As in other economic sectors, tourism follows a “product life cycle”, with a curve similar to that of the above graph. In this process several stages can be identified:

STAGE 1: DISCOVERY: During the early “discovery stage” of the cycle a small number of unobtrusive visitors arrive seeking “unspoiled” destinations. These early “explorer” tourists generally speak the language and identify with the local culture. The social impact in this stage is generally small and resident attitudes are fairly positive towards tourism.

STAGE 2: LAUNCH: During this stage the number of incoming tourists increases. The host community responds to the increasing numbers of tourist by providing facilities. Businesses remain family based and the visitor-resident relationship is still harmonious. Later in this stage, visitor numbers increase and the community becomes a tourist resort. Outside interests become involved developing businesses and tourist facilities.

This is typically the stage during which TNC (Trans-National Corporations) foreign investment enters the cycle. Migrant workers, attracted by the prospect of tourist-related jobs, may enter the community and reduce resident contact with visitors. The tourist-relationship is converted into one of business as the novelty of new visitor arrivals declines. The more culturally sensitive “explorers” move on to new “unspoiled” areas and are replaced by the mass market.

STAGE 3: STAGNATION: The stage in which saturation is reached. The quality of tourist services falls, demand levels off, and the environmental degradation of the tourist destination begins to be obvious and worrying. The tourist destination at this stage is said to have reached ‘maturity’. Mature tourist destinations.

STAGE 4: DECLINE: which represents the current state of mature tourist destinations on the Costa Brava in Spain. Falling profits lead to foreign-owned businesses withdrawing and the community is left to “pick up the pieces”.

BOOM-BUST CYCLE

A type of cycle experienced by an economy characterized by alternating periods of economic growth and contraction. During booms an economy will see an increase in its production and GDP. During busts an economy will see a fall in production and an increase in unemployment.

PSYCHOGRAPHIC THEORY OF DESTINATION

Psychographic or lifestyle segmentation attempts to group people according to their lifestyle and personality characteristics. Back in 1998 Susan Horner and John Swarbrooke referred to psychographic segmentation as ‘fashionable but too difficult to implement’. This is because it involves correlating intangible personality and lifestyle variables such as the beliefs, interests, opinions, attitudes and aspirations of potential visitors or tourism consumers.

Predicting tourists’ behavior using a psychographic approach has evolved in response to the weaknesses and limitations of the segmentation methods outlined above in helping marketing decision-makers to ‘get inside the mind’ of their tourist consumers and to understand more clearly the factors that drive their behavior.

Whereas psychographic segmentation was considered to be ‘less scientific’ than other forms of segmentation, technological developments now mean that this ‘softer’ or more subtle segmentation approach is recognized as being more appropriate for the tourism sector. Indeed, the increased sophistication of psychographic segmentation is now providing detailed consumer insights to enable tourist destinations to take control of their visitor economy and actively design and create destination experiences to suit the needs of multiple visitor segments simultaneously. Geodemographic systems, such as CAMEO which incorporate some lifestyle variables, have been used in this capacity by destinations like Portsmouth

STANLEY PLOG

One of the great research minds and tourism theorists is Stanley Plog. He recently published a new book called “Leisure Travel”. Plog’s methodology combines both demographic research with psychographic research. This unique combination allows him to pinpoint problems and offer unique tourism insights into future trends. These are some of the ideas he presents in “Leisure Travel”: Sports will continue to offer an important niche market, but be careful of your market. For example, Plog notes that too many cities are building golf courses while the golfer population has remained stable. Golf’s success as a tourism attraction, rather than a recreational vehicle for those already in the community, may depend on the prestige and upscale appeal of that community. Cruises. Plog predicts continued strength in the cruise industry.

The one thing he does not mention is what might happen should there be a terrorist attack on a cruise line or if some form of illness attacks the cruise industry. The continual aging of the population means that some destinations will benefit and some may suffer. Among those attractions that will have to reinvent themselves due to population aging are theme parks and nighttime entertainment that focuses on the young. On the other hand, Plog predicts that cultural institutions, gambling locations and upscale restaurants and entertainment centers will benefit from an aging population.

The relationship between beautification, economic development and security will continue to grow. In order to take advantage of benefits of beautification, Plog suggests that locales work to improve the image of their highway system through vegetation (where appropriate) or desert-scapes (where necessary), developing clean-up projects and teaching everyone in the community that a clean environment is a safe environment. Develop your tourism plans in such a way that it emphasizes beautification ideas as pedestrian and bicycle paths, and an architectural and environmental overall regional master plan. Plog provides his readers with a number of suggestions and predictions for successful tourism marketing among western countries that have an aging population and a higher demand for travel products.

Among his suggestions are: Protect the uniqueness of your area. Do not replicate someone else, be yourself. That means that if you have a culture or architecture that is unique to your part of the world, preserve it rather than destroying it. To maintain a sustainable tourism industry, try not to overcrowd an area with too many hotels, fast food restaurants, etc. The higher the density, the greater the probability that the area is beginning a tourism industry decline. While it may take a number of years for this decline to set in, the seeds of the tourism decline have now been planted. An aging population will demand greater levels of service excellence.

That means that greater emphasis will be needed in areas of training, not only for front-line personnel, but also for everyone who may come in contact with tourists, such as police, first responders, and local citizens. Do not skimp on quality of the infrastructure. Make sure that buildings meet and exceed your community’s codes. When renovating an older building make sure that the new construction matches the older architecture, and when building a new building make sure that new construction does not destroy the artistic and architectural harmony of the area. When it comes to activities, develop a tourism industry that offers variety. No one attraction can please everyone. For destinations to succeed in the twenty-first century they will have to offer safe and secure locations with multiple products.

Product development is the key to a destination’s longevity. Do not discard local cultures and traditions. These are the elements that make a destination unique and worth visiting. Tomorrow’s travelers are seeking the unique and that which is different from what they have back home. Do everything possible to preserve local customs and traditions and make sure that the local population understands that these traditions and customs are a valuable part of the local tourism industry.

Care for your ecology by protecting panoramic vistas and build in such a way that visitors and locals alike have a sense of “breathing space.” Make sure that your destination has an overall master plan rather than simply building for building sake. One of the fastest ways to destroy a tourism destination or attraction is through poor planning and urban sprawl. Make sure that the local population understands how it benefits from tourism. Often, people in the tourism industry simply assume that all locals see the benefits of tourism.

Often they are simply wrong. Public servants such as police and other first responders often see visitors as simply extra work. In a like manner, the public does not always understand the relationship between tourism and the strength of the local economy. Make sure that as a tourism official you work with local public servants and develop new projects in such a way that the local population not only understands the benefits of the project but also supports it.

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