The end is not apparent from the very outset.
—Herodotus, The Histories, 440 BCE
The quote introducing this chapter is certainly apropos with respect to the global tourism industry. The tourism stage in the first quarter of the twenty-first century presents profound challenges to all actors involved in tourism policy and planning within the tourism industry. Consumers of tourism in today’s world are demanding greater quality in their tourism products. Tourists want new and different destinations and more variety and flexibility in their travels. Increasingly, visitors are expressing a desire for a clean environment, nature tourism experiences, adventure travel activities, and tourism products that include culture, heritage, and history. It has become necessary for businesses, governments, not-for-profit entities, academicians, and local tourism leaders to develop good policies and effective plans to meet the needs of the tourism industry.1
The aim of this chapter is to provide an introduction to the principles and practices of tourism policy and planning from a global perspective. Tourism – a set of dynamic and growing industries – involves not just people traveling, but also practical policies that give us future direction for our tourism programs and plans that help us to grow and protect the destinations and attractions to which people travel. Tourism is composed of private, public, and not-for-profit components interested in tourism development, new products, destination marketing, economic benefits, and future sustainability. These tourism interests have broad impacts on community life and need criteria and guidelines to help define and plan the future direction of the tourism industry, ultimately, providing quality tourism products and services. Tourism policy and planning should aim toward setting guidelines for the development of quality tourism products and for improving the quality of life of the local citizenry at any given destination.
This book identifies some of the issues and concerns that tourism policy and planning should address in order to ensure a positive sustainable future for the tourism industry. This first chapter provides brief introductions to three central concepts – tourism, tourism policy, and tourism planning. Setting a foundation for these concepts adds to the readers’ understanding of subject matter covered throughout the book. The background and
explanations in this chapter can also be a good reference point for students, professors and tourism professionals who are either new to the study of tourism-related public policy or are looking for existent concepts in tourism policy and planning.
In this book, the term “tourism” is used synonymously with all aspects of travel and tourism, unless otherwise specified. It includes all aspects of the tourism industry, be they related to hospitality, food service, events, and other sectors that support the tourism industry. With respect to international tourism, this text uses the following definitions as recommended by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO):
- Visitor: Any person visiting a country (or community) other than that in which the person usually resides, for any reason other than following an occupation remunerated from within the country visited. This definition covers two classes of visitors: tourist and excursionist.
- Tourist: A temporary visitor staying at least 24 hours in the country (or community) visited, the purpose of whose journey can be classified under one of the following headings: (a) leisure, recreation, holiday, health, study, religion, or sport; or (b) business, family, mission, or meeting.
- Excursionist: A temporary visitor staying less than 24 hours in the country (or community) visited (including travelers on cruises).
- Tourism: In terms of balance-of-trade accounting, tourism is defined as travel and transportation and is determined a business service export from the tourism recipient to the tourism generating economy.
Tourism is an inherently complex field of inquiry. For example, the above definition yields guidelines useful for comparisons of international tourist arrivals and receipts but is not very helpful for measures of domestic tourism. Different countries use differing definitions for measuring domestic tourism. In the United States the general rule is that if you travel more than fifty miles from your home to a destination for purposes other than commuting to work, you are considered a visitor.
The tourism industry is a multifaceted industry of many sometimes unrelated parts, resisting comparability within itself and with other industries. It is an industry that cuts across many different constituent components, as indicated in Table 1.1
The study of tourism also incorporates such human science topics as anthropology, archeology, geography, demography, economics, history, sociology, and natural philosophy. Selected sectors of the tourism industry include those listed in Table 1.1
The tourism industry is composed of businesses that provide various products, services, and facilities associated with tourist travel. Tourism is not a single industry but instead an amalgam of industry sectors – a demand force and supply market, a personal experience, and complicated international phenomenon. Tourism incorporates social,
cultural, and environmental concerns beyond physical development and marketing. It encompasses both supply and demand, more than the sum of marketing and economic development. As the world’s most dynamic industry it demands a constant reassessment of its quality, variety, and sustainability. Because tourism is such a fast-growing
Selected sectors of the tourism industry
|B&B inns ||Theme parks ||Tour operators |
|Vacation rental homes ||Entertainment venues ||Tour guides |
|Hostels ||Gaming ||Specialized tours |
|Restaurants ||Night clubs ||Native folklore |
|Taverns and bars ||Music concerts ||Sports events |
|Airlines ||Shopping ||Outdoor recreation |
|Cruise ships ||Boating ||Hiking |
|Trains ||Skiing ||Camping |
|Buses ||Museums ||Fishing |
|Taxis ||Historic buildings ||Hunting |
|Automobile rentals ||Theaters ||Bird-watching |
|Uber ||Spas, hair salons, etc. ||Whale watching |
|Attractions ||Art galleries ||Convention centers |
|Festivals ||Visitor bureaus ||Paddling trails | Figure 1.1
The Hotel Nacional de Cuba is a historic building in Havana
Photo: Jason Swanson
industry, it must be mindful of potential issues and directions that could lead to disastrous impacts on the industry. For this reason, it is necessary to understand its powerful impact on the natural and built environments in order that well-constructed policies, plans, and management practices can be put in place to ensure its future quality growth. The popular textbook Tourism: Principles, Practices, Philosophies
(12th edition, 2012) defines tourism as “the processes, activities, and outcomes arising from the relationships and the interactions among tourists, tourism suppliers, host governments, host communities and surrounding environments that are involved in the attracting of visitors.”3
Tourism has strong links to cultural and social pursuits, foreign policy initiatives, economic development, environmental goals, and sustainable development planning. Tourism includes the buying, selling, and management of services and products (to tourists) that might range from buying hotel rooms to selling souvenirs or managing an airline. To accomplish these complex activities, tourism demands the most creative and innovative managers in that much of the tourism industry represents collections of perishable products. For example, if hotel rooms, airline seats, cruise-ship cabins, or restaurant tables are not filled daily and repeatedly, the point-of-sale moments to generate revenues from these products are gone forever. There is no opportunity to put such unsold products on sale at a later time, in storage, or in inventory. This perishability factor distinguishes tourism from consumer goods, such as automobiles, sunglasses, or sports equipment and puts additional pressure on hospitality and tourism managers when dealing with employees and customers.
Tourism is also wide-ranging in the sense that it demands products from other sectors of the economy. For example, for the economy of many countries the major products may be agricultural or mineral-related product exports such as leaf tobacco, animal products, cotton, lumber, minerals or grains to meet the demand of the world markets. These products may also be utilized in some form or another by the tourism industry. However, tourism products are more often recognized in such business components as hotels, resorts, conventions, meetings, events, entertainment venues, attractions, amusement parks, shopping malls, music concerts, festivals, parks, restaurants, theaters, museums, history, heritage, culture, and nature sites and more, as noted in Table 1.1
. The tourism industry is a large, complex and highly competitive sector of the economy at all levels: local, state/province, national, and international.
The full scope of domestic and international tourism, therefore, encompasses the output of segments of many different industries. The travel industries consume the output of and create a far-reaching base of wealth for feeder industries such as agriculture, fishing, food processing, brewing, construction, airports, transportation vehicles, communications equipment, and furniture, to name a few. In addition, tourist activities make use of the services of other industries, such as insurance, credit cards, advertising, database and niche marketing, the internet, social media, and e-commerce tools. In order to plan for and provide rational order to such a diverse and dynamic set of industries, it is necessary to develop policies and plans to assist decision-makers in the management of this complex phenomenon called tourism.
Generally, the wealth of nations is measured almost entirely on the development and exportation of tangible goods (agriculture, livestock, mining and manufacturing), on the construction of infrastructure (highways and dams), and transportation (ocean vessels, railroads, airplanes, buses, automobiles, and other vehicles that transport people and assets from place to place throughout the world). In the twenty-first century many nations are deep into the “services revolution” that is changing the way we live and evaluate the world’s wealth and economy. An ever-expanding world of innovation has already provided us with smart phones, e-commerce tools, digital cameras, high definition television, and satellite technology. In this bright new world of the twenty-first century we find that a major growth area in the service sector today is the travel and tourism industry.
One of the fastest-growing industries in the contemporary world of economic growth is the travel, tourism, and hospitality industry. Demographic changes, increasing disposable income levels, heightened emphasis on sustainability, greater availability of leisure time, new communication tools and technology, higher levels of education, emerging tourism markets, growth in the supply of facilities and destinations, new marketing techniques, and other supplementary factors are having an impact on the demand for tourism. Tourism has become one of the most dynamic industries throughout the globe as it adapts to technological change, product innovations, and new markets. Tourism embraces technology in its widespread use of e-commerce tools, for its applications to new products such as space and undersea tourism, and in the development of new methods of marketing and promotion. Managing sustainable tourism in today’s world adds an important dimension to the growth of tourism. The policies set forth for tourism in an ever-changing world will direct the courses of action for tourism in the future. This book is an effort to meet this challenge and to provide policy and planning suggestions for the orderly sustainable growth and development of tourism.
The opportunity offered by tourism for future economic, environmental, and social benefits will depend on understanding the tourism industry of yesterday, making the best possible decisions today and addressing forward-thinking trends for tomorrow. We can either define clear plans and policy guidelines for the future of the tourism industry or let it ...