VIEWS: 39 PAGES: 22 POSTED ON: 11/28/2010
Sustainable Development Sustainable development concerns grew out of the rapid exploitation of the earth's environment for economic gain. Realization that short term gains were coming at the expense of long term losses for future generations began to reshape global development strategy. Dragicevic (1991) traces concerns over sustainable development and the environmental consequences of development back to the late 50's. These early warnings, generally ignored until the World Conservation Strategy of 1980 (IUCN ,1980) and the Bruntland report of 1987 (UN, 1987), called for a global sustainable development strategy. This strategy encompasses all potentially exploitive economic development activities including tourism. Since these early conferences where the concept of sustainable development was recognized numerous other communiques and charters have been drafted and submitted to various national governments and world bodies. One of the most recent is the Charter on Sustainable Tourism coming from the World Conference on Sustainable Tourism. The main points of the Charter are contained in figure 12.7. In spite of all the attention it has received sustainable development is still a concept searching for a clear definition. Pearce and Turner (1990:24) have proposed the following definition: "sustainable development, or growth, involves maximizing and optimally distributing the net benefits of economic development, so far as these can be achieved while establishing and reaffirming the conditions of security under which the services and qualities of natural resources can be maintained, restored or improved into the foreseeable future". Originally focused on environmental concerns the concept has been broadened to include socioeconomic and cultural phenomena. Inskeep (1991: 459-467) includes in his book a draft of "An Action Strategy for Sustainable Development" which was presented at the Globe 90 Conference on Sustainable Development by the Tourism Stream Action Strategy Committee. Suggestions to achieve sustainable development in the paper are directed at governments, tourists and tourism industry operators. While it is risky to paraphrase the advice given by many international experts the basic premise is that all groups involved in tourism should become more aware of developments environmental and socio-cultural impacts and strive to reduce the by-products of tourism activity. Statements as to how this can be achieved are included in the report. While the advice provided by the Committee, if adopted, would result in less intrusive forms of tourism development there is still no clear definition as to what sustainable development is and how sustainable developments change over time to accommodate population increases or increasing tourism demand. A major difficulty in operationalizing the concept of sustainable development is determining what is sustainable. Assume two different development strategies as depicted in figure 12.8. Strategy A is sustained growth or growth occurring at a constant rate. Strategy B is no growth with the level of development held constant. Each strategy may or may not be sustainable with respect to environmental or socio-cultural impacts. A sustained growth strategy may be sustainable if it utilizes existing excess resource capacity. For example increases in tourism may result from adding a different product mix to that currently available. The use of abandoned rail tracks for biking/hiking activities or the development of a farm stay program may result in increased tourism activity without any further exploitation of local resources. On the other hand a no growth strategy may not be sustainable if consumer trends and tastes change resulting in decreased travel to the area leading to a declining quality of life for local residents due to economic losses. In order to more fully understand what makes sustainable development possible a more thorough analysis of the concept is in order. McIntyre and Hetherington (1992) have outlined the key elements of a sustainable development policy. They begin with the essence of the concept or what it is intended to accomplish. Basically sustainable development is stewardship of the air, water, and land and is sensitive to people's values and visions. A workable sustainable development policy will generally contain three key elements; Activities, Requirements and Outputs. Activities The most common types of tourism activities, representative of sustainable development, are nature, or ecotourism, and cultural tourism. Nature tourism may be represented by farm stays, heritage trails, and other ecologically sound recreation activities. Nature tourism does not have to be non consumptive as long as the resources consumed are short term renewable. In this respect activities such as regulated hunting, fishing, mushroom and wild berry picking pursuits can be sustainable. Cultural tourism may include performing and visual arts, ethnic customs, handicrafts and indigenous peoples' way of living that is freely, but not necessarily without a charge, presented to tourists. Any culturally based activity that enhances community esteem and provides for social exchanges between diverse peoples can be included in culturally sustainable tourism. If a cultural activity moves into the realm of staged authenticity and no longer serves the purpose of reinforcing cultural values it moves beyond sustainable. Other activities that provide economic benefits to local people and do not degrade the environmental or cultural integrity of the land or people are considered sustainable. Requirements Sustainable development demands active planning. The requirements for it to work include knowledge of tourism's impacts on the natural and cultural environments of the area. In order to accomplish this information from all segments of society must be solicited. It is critical that the public involvement process is directed at uncovering the interrelationships between the areas natural and cultural resources and its economic and social well being. A major goal of sustainable development is to ensure that the economic and social benefits from tourism are distributed as equitably as possible throughout all segments of the community. Without active public involvement decision makers are only guessing that this goal is being achieved. Planning is also necessary to ensure that whenever negative impacts, perceived or real, are encountered there exists a framework to address the problems. A planning framework developed by Draper and Driscoll (1991), to solve some of the problems related to sustainable development, involves social dilemma theory. They maintain that tourism development has historically been one sided with developers focusing on self interest leading to unchecked development. The theory underlying this trend (i.e. Tragedy of the Commons) is discussed in chapter 3 . Problems can be mitigated on the basis of either structural or behavioral solutions. A structural solution is one which changes the reward system for those who either cooperate or defect from the preferred outcome. For example if development is occurring in a fragile ecosystem restrictions on development can be imposed. The use of zoning is one method of restricting development. Alternatively if a developer presents a plan to maintain the environmental integrity of an area, which includes some public land, the public property can be converted to private property allowing the developer to reap economic returns from environmental protection. The idea behind structural change is once a decision has been made about the type of development appropriate for an area the regulatory incentives/disincentives can be used to achieve the desired result. Behavioral changes do not use regulatory power but instead rely on social values such as altruism, group norms, social responsibility and such to produce the desired result. A key component affecting behavioral change is education. As mentioned above one of the requirements for sustainable development is knowledge about tourism's impact on the natural and cultural environment. As more information becomes available regarding these impacts the opportunity to affect behavioral change increases. Achieving sustainable development will most likely involve the use of both structural and behavioral changes. A systems model showing how the process works is presented in figure 12.9. Again the interrelationships between the economic, social, and environmental systems must be understood. This requirement mandates an active community planning process. Outputs Assuming sustainable development is achievable what are the expected outputs? They are the same as embodied in the tourism planning goals discussed above. The protection and enhancement of the natural and cultural environment of an area is most important while maintaining or increasing the level of economic returns. If this can be accomplished the quality of life for residents of the host community will increase and visitor satisfaction will be enhanced. Ancillary outputs such as infrastructure improvement and an increased supply of recreation and cultural facilities for residents and guest will also result. Techniques for achieving sustainable development have been proposed by Bramwell (1991). They include: ..Assessment of capacity--An assessment of the maximum tourist load the environment can tolerate before deteriorating, ..Transport Management--To lessen the stress of congestion and its effect on host communities, a plan consisting of parking strategies, signpost routes, traffic restriction and such should be implemented, ..Marketing and Information--A plan to market only those areas not considered sensitive and likely to loose critical resource values through land use change, ..Conservation and Adaption-Minimization of visitor wear and tear through continued resource management, ..Design and Control of Development--Tourism developments designed to blend with the existing environment, ..Involving the Local Community--A forum for continued local input should be established. Sustainable development strategies are still in the experimental stage. For example an operational model (figure 12.10) has been developed for Costa Rica. It integrates economics, agriculture, water resources, mining, tourism , energy, urbanization and science (Quesada-Mateo and Solis-Rivera, 1990) Because of the recent attempts to define and operationalize the sustainable development concept few workable examples are available. Planning for Mass Tourism Sustainable tourism development is a reaction to the consequences of unplanned mass tourism developments. The principles of sustainable development are the same as those embodied in the concept of alternative forms of development. As such they are one and the same. This poses an interesting dilemma. Should mass tourism developments, which generate substantial amounts of economic earnings, be rejected? The answer is no for many reasons. Since mass tourism developments have enormous economic potential they will be continually sought after by countries in need of foreign exchange. They are also in demand by tourists. Consider the advantage of cost. Mass tourism developments make their money on volume. Profit margins can afford to be small as long as volume remains high. Tourists benefit through lower prices and developers, managers, and host community residents benefit through a constant flow of money. Eliminating mass tourism destinations is not economically feasible nor desirable. The key to developing mass tourism destinations is, once again, planning. First, it must be recognized that mass tourism is not an evil but an opportunity. It is ideally suited to urban areas where the infrastructure needed to handle large amounts of people is already in place. It is also ideally suited for resort destination areas. The same principles used for sustainable development can be applied to mass tourism destinations but with the understanding that major transformation will occur. Where it occurs is a planning challenge. It may be acceptable to allow certain ecosystems , which are deemed in adequate supply, to be transformed by major development. Fragile or scarce ecosystems should still be protected. Cancun, Mexico provides an example of a land area, unsuitable for the production of agriculture and most other goods, which has been transformed into a resort destination area and has generated substantial foreign exchange earnings through tourism development. Cancun also had a relatively small indigenous population in place when development began. Unfortunately Cancun also provides an example of a planned mass tourism development, which because of the access it created, has resulted in major development spread along the coast. Lack of planning outside of the resort area proper has now created a new set of environmental concerns. Planned destination areas, sometimes called enclave developments, are ideal for hosting large amounts of people in a relatively small area thus concentrating and making possible the management of impacts. Criticisms of enclave developments, especially in developing countries, focus on the expatriation of earnings and the lack of significant host/visitor contact. The problem of social alienation between the groups will probably never be adequately solved but carefully planning and management can increase the flow of economic returns to residents of host communities. There is some evidence to reject the goal of social exchange as beneficial when dealing with mass tourism development. A study be Allen et al (1988) showed less community acceptance for tourism as the level of tourism development and the number of tourists arriving increased. Planning for mass tourism development must recognize that trade offs in impacts will have to be made. It may be possible to offer both mass tourism, in the way of enclave development, and a community based alternative form of tourism, which is more host/guest interactive. Planning for enclave development should concentrate on the full range of structural and behavior change agents required to reduce, as much as possible, the undesirable impacts of this type of development. Integrated Development Tourism development works best when it is fully integrated into the economic base of an area. When it is only one of a group of industrial activities the economy will be diversified and less susceptible to major economic fluctuations. For example if tourism declines because of a shortage of fuel for transportation a tourism dependent community will be harder hit than one which also has an agricultural or manufacturing base. Major losses in one industry can be cushioned by stable or increasing demand for the products produced by other sectors. Even when demand for all locally produced products declines the total economic loss is a weighted average of the losses from all industrial activity. An economic diversification strategy is a form of risk avoidance or, in other words, an economic insurance policy. In addition to reducing the chances for major economic losses a diversification strategy can almost always produce more economic and social benefits than a single industry even if that single industry is experiencing an economic boom. This can be shown by reference to production theory. Production is a function of the combination of fixed and independent variables. A production equation may take the form: Y = f(X1....Xf, Xf + 1 ...... Xt) where Y = production, X1...Xf are fixed inputs and Xf + 1 .... Xt are a set of variable inputs. the production function produced by this equation is shown in figure 12.11. Notice that the production curve increases rapidly, begins to level off and then declines as inputs are increased. This is due to the law of diminishing returns. For example assume the equation represents corn production. Nitrogen is one of the variable inputs needed to produce corn. However excessive levels of nitrogen can stunt or kill the corn plant. After a certain amount of nitrogen is applied to the land any additional amounts will have deleterious effects and reduce the harvest, hence the law of diminishing returns. Tourism is also subject to a production function. Some of the variable inputs include land and labor. As inputs increase more land may be converted from other uses and be used for tourism development. Diminishing returns can occur in many ways. Increasing levels of development may change the market for the product leading to an eventual decline in visitation. If the production function represents quality of life outputs rather than economic returns diminishing returns can be viewed from an environmental or social degradation aspect. In either case production, no matter how it is measured, will eventually reach the point of diminishing returns and decline with increasing levels of inputs. Assume there exists a choice between two types of industrial outputs such as tourism and agriculture. Each one will have a separate production function as depicted in figure 12.12. If one of the variable inputs is in short supply, such as land, and is needed by both activities then a decrease in the use of that input by one of the activities can lead to an increase in output by the other. If the one using most of the input is operating in the diminishing returns portion of the curve than a reallocation of the input from the one producing diminishing returns to the other will boost production for both. For example if tourism output is at Y4, production can be increased by reallocating some of the limiting input to the other activity. Tourism production increases to a level shown by the point Y3 and agricultural output also increases. The last question that needs to be asked is what is the optimal allocation of the inputs between the two activities? This is shown in figure 12.13. It was previously shown that individuals will choose to purchase a combination of products which will put them on their highest utility curve. The same logic applies to the allocation of productive inputs. The diagonal lines in figure 12.13 are called iso revenue or iso value product lines. The further the line is from the origin the more revenue generated. The curved line is called an iso cost line and represents input costs. Anywhere along the iso cost line the total cost of the inputs used in production remains the same. Inputs are now allocated between the two production activities is such a way that if one values an input at a higher rate than another it will be sold to the one which places the highest value on it. Production is maximized for both where the iso revenue curve is tangential to the iso cost line. This is also the point where the marginal value product of each variable input in use by each production activity divided by the price of the input is equal for all the inputs. In equation form this optimal production point is where: MVPx1y1/Px1 = MVPx1y2/Px1 = MVP x2y1/Px2 = MVP x2y2/Px2.....MVP xny1/Pxn = MVPxny2/Pxn = 1. Production theory supports the need for a diversified area economy from an economics perspective. Intuitively it is also applicable when social welfare and not economic returns are considered. Assuming the primary goal of tourism development is to provide an increase in the quality of life for host communities allocation of inputs is still maximized where the marginal value products of the inputs are equal among uses. The trick is to define marginal value product in non economic terms. For example the input labor is not used efficiently when all jobs are related to one industry. Not all people are equally happy working in tourism, agriculture or any other industrial activity. When people are presented with options they can allocate their labor time in order to provide them with the highest intrinsic as well as economic return. Similarly the use of land for only one activity does not provide enough diversity of land uses to satisfy residents or visitors. Open space, wild areas, agricultural land, and clean air and water are as much a part of the tourism package as structural developments. Recognizing diversity makes as much sense from a social welfare perspective as it does from an economic point of view can lead to a better and more useful allocation of resource inputs in an area. Planning for tourism development should be directed at trying to find the optimal production point for all an area's inputs. Unfortunately no clear answer to how this is done is currently available. There are examples where tourism has stepped in to prop up an areas economy due to declining demand for traditional products. In Cyprus an economic downturn from a decline in mineral production and the closing of foreign military bases has been offset by an increase in tourism (Witt, 1991). Similarly, in Jamaica, foreign exchange earnings from tourism have lessened the economic gap resulting from a decline in bauxite production (Din, 1988). The extent to which tourism can offset losses in other sectors is a function of resource substitutability. Tourism should not be viewed as an easy or even preferable substitute for all other industries but if some resources can be easily converted to other uses it can be viewed as an economic insurance policy. Public Involvement Throughout this chapter, and indeed throughout the book, heavy emphasis has been placed on public involvement in the tourism development and planning process. While it is easy to say this must be done obtaining public involvement that represents all impacted groups is much harder to realize. Involving affected groups in the planning process is often referred to as strategic planning with stakeholders. Freeman (1984) defines a stakeholder as any group affected by or who can affect the future of a corporation. For tourism development the definition can be broadened to include the future of a community. Recognizing that one business or one group's decision affect other groups in the community is the beginning stage of strategic planning through stakeholders. Stakeholder analysis requires that planners recognize and identify groups that can be considered stakeholders, understand the goals and criteria each stakeholder uses to evaluate the planning process, and construct strategies to deal with each stakeholder (Bryson and Roering, 1987). Rowe et al (1986) have proposed a "Force-Field" analysis to more fully understand stakeholder analysis. Basically it involves reviewing past stakeholder positions and then identifying assumptions stakeholders will bring to the bargaining table for the issues to be resolved. Two categories of assumptions are identified; supporting or driving force assumptions, and resisting or constraining force assumptions. Supporting or driving force assumptions are those considered in favor of the planner's position and constraining force assumptions pose threats or danger to the desired outcome. Both set of assumptions are assigned subjective weights with respect to importance and support for the planner's position. Supporting and resisting assumptions, for each stakeholder, are then arrayed in a grid format with each one paired against its closest counterpart. A simple summation of importance weights provides the planner with some idea of the probability for success or failure of the proposed initiative. One problem inherent in the discussion so far is that stakeholder groups have been assumed to have equal political power. Obviously this is an unrealistic assumption. Therefore to deal with this problem once the stakeholder analysis process is completed two different strategies to deal with unequal political power can be utilized. These strategies are referred to as a cooperative linkage model or gaming theory model. The stakeholder analysis leading to these two different strategies is outlined in figure 12.14. The cooperative linkage model recognizes unequal political power exists between stakeholders and uses the interrelationships existing between groups to influence the outcome. Basically it involves linking groups with common goals and shared interests thereby creating a temporal mega stakeholder group. The new stakeholder group uses its power to counter adverse assumptions or develops compromise alternatives which effectively leads to new supporting assumptions in favor of the planning initiative. The key to success for the cooperative linkage model is in finding supporting assumptions which bind different stakeholders together and isolates stakeholders holding important adverse assumptions. Accomplishing this task requires planners have both the time and political savvy to act as change agents and resource personnel for the key stakeholders identified as critical members of the new cooperative stakeholder group. The gaming theory model comes into play when two powerful stakeholders hold divergent views on the proposed initiative. There are two different strategies each stakeholder may adopt. One is to negotiate. Negotiation results in a compromise position which neither group fully supports but is willing to accept because of fear of losing some control over the outcome. Another strategy is to "play hardball". When one group feels it has sufficient political clout to carry its position it may refuse to negotiate. The outcome then favors one group's position entirely over the other. However if this strategy is used adversarial proceedings may be initiated with a solution imposed by an outside body such as the judiciary. Since the legal process may take years to resolve and the outcome is apt to be a win/lose situation negotiation may be a more desired outcome for both groups. The stakeholder analysis process which identifies supporting and adverse assumptions is used as the basis for negotiation. One clue to the probable success of a negotiated outcome is the importance placed on what can be considered emotion or principle based assumptions. The more emotion or principle based assumptions there are the less of a chance for a negotiated settlement with an increasing probability for a court imposed decision. Stakeholder analysis provides an option to resolve some of the issues surrounding any tourism development plan. As one option it may lead to more public involvement in the planning process a goal that has been emphasized throughout this text. At the very least it allows assumptions both in favor and against any plan to surface and be dealt with in a structured and strategic manner. While every planner has to consider the political system in which he/she operates no plan will be met with complete acceptance by every segment of society. Success in planning requires as much, in some cases more, attention be paid to the political process as to the numbers derived in a feasibility analysis. Community Tourism Organizations The tourism industry often lacks organization especially in rural communities. Small businesses dominate the industry in rural areas and even though individual businesses may be operated efficiently and along defined organizational lines the industry itself is often left to find its own path of least resistance. A community tourism organization entity is often needed. There are literally thousands of different types of tourism organizations operating throughout the world. Organizations are classified in many ways. McIntosh et al (1994) propose five methods for classification. The first is geographical. Organizations can be classified depending on their geographic influence: international, regions (within the world), national, regional (within a nation), state, republic, or provincial, regional (within a state, republic, or province), and local (community level). Organizations can also be classified by type of ownership (private, public, or quasi-public), function (regulators, suppliers, researchers, consumers, consultants, etc), industry group (transportation, lodging, recreation etc.) and motive (profit, nonprofit). Gee et al(1984) suggest classifying tourism organizations into three levels. The first is direct providers which include the front line tourism businesses such as hotels, airlines, rental car agencies etc. The second level is made up of supporting businesses such as tour brokers and contract food service operations and the third level is defined as tourism development agencies. Planning offices, local chambers of commerce, universities offering courses in tourism would all fall into the third category. Pearce (1989) contends that there exist a group of associations or organizations indirectly involved in the tourism industry that should also be considered. These would include cultural and historical societies, which are responsible for the conservation of historic districts and management of art galleries or museums. One may even extend this argument to include organizations or associations dedicated to environmental protection as pursuit of their goals will ultimately affect tourism in some manner. Obviously there is no clear cut definition of what qualifies as a tourism organization. Because tourism is such a complex, fragmented industry almost every organization or association can lay claim to some aspect of it. The following section focuses on what constitutes a viable tourism organization at the local or community level, its role and function in serving in serving the needs of its citizenry and their respective constituent groups. Types of Community Tourism Organizations Many times a chamber of commerce supplies local tourism leadership by operating within its own internal structure to meet the needs of member businesses. In larger communities the organizational function may be provided by a convention and visitors bureau (CVB's). CVB's are usually non-profit organizations that represent a city or urban area in the marketing of that destination to all types of travelers. Their main objective is to fill hotel rooms, convention centers, restaurants and tourist attractions (Levin, 1988). CVB's are not the type of tourism organizations normally in charge of overall planning for an area. Instead their primary goal is to increase travel flows to the area. Some communities will establish a separate organization to deal specifically with the tourism industry. The smaller the community the smaller the tourism organization. In many communities the tourism organization begins with a small group of people meeting informally to discuss or advocate tourism development or in some cases it may be only one strong willed individual that begins to assumes a leadership position on the issue (Murphy, 1988). Whatever the type of organization in place at the community level there are five key functions necessary to their successful operation. The United States Department of Commerce (1986) has identified these five functions as Communications, Research and Data Collection, Education and Training, Promotion, and Budget and Finance. These five functions are discussed below. Budget and Finance Any tourism organization, to be effective, must be adequately funded. In order to carry out the functions discussed above a budget must be prepared and financial means found to carry out the responsibilities of the organization. There are two types of funding sources: those that provides funds for daily operations and activities, and those that are revenue sources for special projects. Local general revenue funds, for a long time, were the main source of support for tourism organizations. Often these funds were inadequate to maintain an organizational staff let alone allow for the carrying out of the above mentioned functions. Budget and Finance is the most critical function as the organization is doomed to failure unless it has a budget to carry out the other four functions. There are many methods currently used to acquire a budget for the organization. Special tax levies such as a transient room tax (see chapter 6) is one of the most common. Others may include general tax revenue appropriations, organization dues, fund raising events, and contributions. Usually a mix of the above methods are employed. Communications There are two types of communications to consider. One is to the visitor and the other to local residents. Communication to the visitor is often confused with promotion. The main purpose of promotion is to help push the destination into an individual's evoked set (see chapter 8) of possibilities. As such promotion is directed at potential visitors while they are in their home community. Communications with visitors takes place once they arrive in the community. Essential to the communication function is a visitor or information center. Information on community attractions, events, and services are a few of the needs fulfilled by a well staffed center. Obviously operating a visitor information center requires a substantial budget and in many small communities information centers are not well maintained, staffed or located in areas frequented by tourists due to the inability to rent or purchase prime space and employ full time personnel. However without some type of information center a valuable communication linkage with the visitor is missing. In many cases individual businesses recognize the need to provide this service and will establish their own informal information centers. Again due to lack of resources information disseminated in this manner is often too limited to adequately serve the community. There may also be resistance to informing visitors of a competitor's services leading to limited community coverage. To overcome these problems a program initiated by the Northwest Regional Planning Commission (1989) in Wisconsin and the University of Wisconsin Extension Service resulted in the compilation of a directory of services available in a ten county area. The directory was put into a three ring binder with tabs for reference by county, attractions and services. Participating businesses receive a copy of the directory and affix a decal to the outside of their establishment. The decal reads "Tourism Spoken Here" (figure 7.2). Any visitor requesting information can be easily taken care of simply by referring to the directory. This innovative approach shifts the focus of visitor communication to the industry in a way that shares production costs for all participating businesses making it possible to produce a quality reference guide for a large region at minimum cost. Participating businesses also expect sales to increase as more potential customers are initially drawn into their store in search of information. Communication to residents is also an important function of a community tourism organization. Socio-cultural impacts, discussed in chapter 5, are often exacerbated by ignoring the people who bear the brunt of increased tourism but do not readily see increased economic benefits. One of the problems most often cited in studies addressing tourism's impact on communities is perception that local control over the industry has been lost (Jordan, 1980; Allen et al, 1988). Communicating with residents has the effect of involving them in the development processes and helps form a bridge between a tourism organization and the people it is intended to serve. Problems, as well as opportunities, that tourism presents should be part of the information made available to local residents. Education and Training Education is related to the communication function in the sense that its intent is to provide information directly to local residents. However where the intent of communications is to keep local residents informed as to the workings of the tourism industry, education and training helps prepare the local work force to better serve the visitor. The importance of friendly and efficient service personnel is being increasingly recognized as key to a community's package of tourism goods and services. Gartner and Shen (1992) theorize that images of service related attributes, which include receptiveness and friendliness of local residents to tourists, may actually be more important in maintaining and increasing travel market share than the image of tourism attractions. Further support for this line of reasoning can be found in Scott et al. (1978) who found that the most important variable influencing a decision to visit Massachusetts was the friendliness of the local people and Fridgen (1984) who refers to the importance of the image of destination "social situations" as a powerful factor affecting the travel decision process. It is imperative then that a community tourism organization assist local businesses to educate and train front line personnel about the benefits derived from hosting visitors with the goal of providing not only better but also friendlier service. Research and Data Collection Some of the perceived problems with research is that it takes too long to complete and it never answers all the questions. Often the need to conduct research is viewed as a means of forestalling decisions. Recognizing that research will not answer all questions it is nevertheless an important function of a tourism organization. The type of research conducted at the community level for use by area businesses is of an applied nature. Visitor profiles are an example of an appropriate applied type of research for communities. Visitor profile research falls under the heading of an immediate practical concern. It must be completed prior to any major promotional campaigns. Research on the type of education programs needed for front line personnel is also a form of applied research with immediate practical applications. Tracking type research is intended to monitor change. Visitor satisfaction, attractions visited, and image assessment are all subjects that should be considered for periodic review. Research conducted on a regular basis, and compared to base line data, can help a community predict changes that may affect the level of tourism presently experienced by its visitors. Tracking type research should also be considered as a means to evaluate local resident satisfaction with the tourism industry. Promotion Promotion is sometimes viewed as communications but the distinction between the two is quite clear. Communication is the provision of useful information to tourists who have already selected your community as a destination. Most communication functions take place within the community itself. Promotion is intended to move a community into an individuals awareness or evoked set (see chapter 8). Promotion can take the form of direct advertising utilizing a mass audience media source, through direct contact with individuals such as meeting planners or tour brokers, or through special events which are promoted via second party sources such as the local news media. As mentioned the intent of promotion is to protect or increase market share. For a more in depth discussion of promotion techniques the reader is referred to chapter 10.
Pages to are hidden for
"Sustainable Development"Please download to view full document