Tourism Policy and Planning

Tourism Policy and Planning

Essay
Tourism sector has a strong impact on people’s lives as well as places where they are living at. That is because of the numbers of people travelling, numbers of people tourism sector employs and amount of money it generates. There are many factors that affect tourist flows: economic growth, transportation access, cultural aspects (Hall, 2000). Nevertheless, various activities, behaviours, policies, planning and development strategies have a significant impact (Hall, 2000). Cooper et al (2005) argues that any development requires detailed planning in order to achieve all objectives successfully. Tourism is a multi-sector activity which brings social, economic and environmental impacts that require careful planning in order to avoid negatives (such as environmental damage, lack of power) and maximise socio-economic contribution, involvement of local community within the destination. In many countries the tourism policies are based on their overall economic policy. Even though countries are operating in a competitive environment, a number of different agents of national tourism policies are called upon to cooperate by international (governmental and non-governmental) organisations. Their role is to promote the national and international tourism development and to create a balance between macroeconomic policies and each sector that is involved in tourism (Vellas and Becherel, 1995). Different international organisations are focusing on diverse issues: security, sovereignty, health, safety, environmental protection, rights of local people, and the role of industry in development. Two examples of different organisations will be used in order to demonstrate issues they are focusing on and show how they are fitting in within tourism planning and development aspects.
UNESCO stands for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. Its purpose is to promote international co-operation through education, science and culture which helps to contribute to peace and security (UNESCO, 2014). One of the ways how this organisation is trying to build intercultural understanding is by protecting heritage and supporting cultural uniqueness (Leask and Fyall, 2006). UNESCO created a World Heritage Site (WHS) as an idea to protect the unique universal value. There are a few reasons why destinations and regions want to nominate sites for WHS inscription. This cultural tourism allows destinations to expand their customer base; add variety to their offer; extend the stay of tourists; and reduce seasonality (Hall and Piggin, 2001). An example of Italy could be brought up to illustrate how WHS affects numbers of visitors. Patuelli et al (2013) analysed domestic tourism of Italy and how important the regional endowment in WHS is. They found out that regions that are a part of WHS manage to attract greater numbers (higher by 4%) of visitors when all else is being equal. However, that might have a negative impact as well. Since WHS attracts more short term tourists, Italy (especially Venice and Florence) is suffering from high numbers of day-trippers who do not spend a lot of money so that does not bring enough positive impact to countries economy. These high numbers or tourists make it harder and more expensive to maintain such heritage as well as spoils the experience of long-stay and high spending tourists that are the actual target market (Tjolle, 2014). Arthur Pedersen (2002) argues that many tourists are becoming more interested in environmental protections. According to him high spending tourists are interested in high standard of environmental conservation and before choosing the destination people inform themselves about environmental issues at individual sites more than ever. In order to attract this type of demand, destinations have to meet their needs and WHS helps to cope with it. This organisation provides financial as well as technological support to maintain and repair heritage, helps to improve management and protection of the site via specific management plans that provide a framework for decision making and contribution in monitoring activities (Leask and Fyall, 2006). The Old City of Dubrovnik could be brought to illustrate how WHS helped to recover from damage caused by artillery fire in 1991. This old town was included in a List of World Heritage in Danger right after. UNESCO was providing a technical as well as financial support to the government of Croatia which helped to rebuilt buildings rapidly and allowed to remove the city from a List of World Heritage in Danger by 1998 (Murray, 2014). This paragraph shows that WHS can bring many positives to the destination as well as unwanted negatives. This Site is often being used as a promotion to the destination. However, heritage that has to be protected requires smaller numbers of visitors in order to maintain and secure.
The Word Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) is the only global organisation which consists of the top decision makers in travel and tourism sector and is not for profit organisation. It is about 150 chief executives and presidents from all tourism industries including airlines, hotels, travel agencies, cruise lines, and catering services (WTTC, 2014). A main objective of this organisation is to achieve a promotion of industry in governmental level worldwide, create jobs, and to reduce barriers that are slowing down growth of tourism industry. WTTC global activity is to address tasks and prospects that influence all aspects of world travel and tourism industry. An example of that is WTTC engagement with UNWTO on visa facilitation which influenced millions more new jobs and revenue generated for national economies were increased by billions. Moreover, WTTC concentrates on tax policies where after research they found out that in USA taxes in air travel were higher than those generated from alcohol and tobacco- goods that are known to be taxed high in order to discourage usage (Baker, 2011). This organisation is still fighting for ability to reduce these taxes. WTTC is also setting up Regional Initiatives for countries that do not have any private sector representatives in travel and tourism sector (Bhatia, 2007). An example of that is India where this initiative had the most significant impact and importance. This initiative was set in 2000 to raise awareness of importance of the industry, job creation possibilities, economic opportunities, and a need to remove barriers to grow. The key players within the industry have been invited to speak with a single voice in order to take tourism forward. A main goal of this initiative was to create stronger interaction between public and private sector. That helped to achieve a great deal regarding open skies policies that attracted more investment in this sector; privatisation of international airports; privatisation of national carriers; development of modern and efficient infrastructure, particularly roads, railways, energy and water treatment plants, and airports; better promotion channels (WTTC, 2005). Numbers of international tourists after this initiative more than doubled in first ten years (from 2.65mln. in 2000 to 5.78mln. in 2010) and is still facing a rapid growth (Statista, 2014). Last but not least, WTTC is responsible for macro-economic research which measures the current and projected impact of tourism on 184 national economies around the world (WTTC, 2014). These reports include the total direct impacts of GDP, investment, exports, direct and indirect employment. They are responsible for forecasting one year and ten year reports based on these impacts (Dwyer and Forsyth, 2006). It also has been noted that countries that encouraged travel the most and co-operated with WTTC in such aspects as visa facilitation have faced the biggest trade growth (Taylor, 2014). These reports help countries to stay in a competitive environment as well as to grow, improve, see how the industry is doing overall and find specific areas to focus on in order to achieve better results.
These two examples of international organisations have drawn a picture of how do they work and what are their aims and objectives. Many destinations try to become a part of World Heritage Sites in order to receive their support and help to maintain unique heritage that has to be saved for future generations. Another driver is to gain more popularity, become well recognised and generate more different currencies to the country’s economy via higher numbers of tourists. Nevertheless, focusing on cultural tourism helps destinations to promote themselves during off-peak seasons (especially such places where weather is a main driver of tourism demand) and ideally reduce visitor numbers during peak seasons (Hall and Piggin, 2001). Such organisations as World Travel and Tourism Council help tourism sector to grow worldwide, reduce barriers to travel, increase levels of employment (WTTC, 2014). Tourism has may different sectors involved in the industry what requires good planning in order to benefit the most and avoid undesirable (Cooper et al, 2005). This sector is becoming too big to rely on government decisions only that is why various organisations are being established to look after specific issues (culture, heritage, growth, security, health, and environmental protection). That helps planning and development of tourism to succeed better since there are more bodies responsible for overall accomplishment and a better focus on each aspect.

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