What is tourism planning?
D.Getz (1987) defines tourism planning as” a process, based on research and evaluation, which seeks to optimize the potential contribution of tourism to human welfare and environmental quality”.
According to Faludi (1973) “Planning is a very important part of the process by which tourism is managed by governments at the national, local and organizational levels”.
If you search online for countries that have had success in planning their tourism, most of them are viewed as great travel destinations. Even to the point that people visit these countries with the guarantee that their travel vlogs will get youtube subscribers. In this day and age, that’s a marker of success.
Tourism development consists of many elements :
- developing and managing private-public partnerships,
- assessing the competitors to gain competitive advantage and
- Ensuring responsible and sustainable development.
viewing tourism as an interconnected system and a demand-driven sector, assessing private sector investment and international cooperation, tourism clustering and involvement by the Government.
According to Williams cited in Mason (2003);
‘The aim of modern planning is to seek optimal solutions to perceived problems and that it is designed to increase and, hopefully maximise development benefits, which will produce predictable outcomes’.
What Planning Should and Should Not Be
Basic Stages in Tourism Development Planning
Tourism development planning is a complex task.There are many variables to consider. There are different levels of tourism planning and policy.
On a basic level, the main stages in tourism development planning include:
- Analyses of previous tourist developments
- Evaluation of the position of tourism in the area
- Assessment of the competitors
- Formulation of relevant tourism policy by Government
- Defining a development strategy and the formation of a programme of action.
- The Implications of Planning
Planning enables a range of benefits to all stakeholders involved, for example:
- Increases income and jobs
- It helps preserve cultural and natural heritage
- It increases understanding of other cultures
- It builds new infrastructure facilities
(Read more here on Impacts of Tourism)
The impacts of tourism can be sorted into seven general categories:
- Social and cultural
- Crowding and congestion
- Community attitude
The costs of Tourism Development
There are also some costs which must be considered and planned for, which include:
- Costs of implementing tourist facilities can be costly
- The environment can be destructed to make room for hotels etc. to be built
- Social standards may be undermined e.g. topless women in Dubai
- The natural environment may be polluted
Formulating an approach to tourism policy and planning
There are six ‘golden rules’ that should be applied when formulating an approach to tourism planning and policy, as outlined by Inskeep (1991).
Clear recognition of tourism’s role in achieving broad national and community goals
Incorporating tourism policy and planning into the mainstream of planning for the economy, land use and infrastructure, conservation and environment
Planning for tourism development that trades successfully in a competitive global marketplace
Developing tourism which builds on the destination’s inherent strengths whilst protecting and enhancing the attributes and experiences of current tourism assets.
Incorporating the wider community attitudes, needs and wants to determine what is acceptable to the population
Drawing on primary or secondary research to provide conceptual or predictive support for planners including the experiences of other tourism destinations
Why Tourism Planning is Important
Tourism planning really can make or break a destination. If done well, it can ensure the longevity of the tourism industry in the area, take good care of the environment, have positive economic outcomes, and a positive benefit to the community.
If executed badly, tourism development can destroy the very environment or culture that it relies on. It can disrupt local economies, cause inflation and negative effects to local people and businesses. Unfortunately, developing countries tend to suffer the most from negative impacts such as these, largely as a result of limited education and experience in contrast with Western nations.