Understanding different approaches to tourism planning and development

LO2.1: Analyse features of tourism development planning at different levels

LO2.2: Evaluate the significance of interactive planning systems and processes in tourism developments

LO2.3: Evaluate different methods available to measure tourist impact

Planning is a distinctly important factor for any industry to be able to progress as planning marks the complex and proliferating aspects of running a successful industry or business. In travel and tourism planning is very important as it helps to influence future decisions and implementation on the tourism sector along with enabling usage of alternate approaches, consensus, unity and sense of purpose.

The Brundtland report (1987) states that planning is important for ensuring ‘development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the needs of the future generation’.

The report also states that the development and planning includes environmental protection, economic growth and social equity. Also according to Macintosh and Goeldner (1986) state the importance of different levels of planers coming together to attract more tourists and visitors.

Tourism planning is done on many different levels with the categories comprising of international, national, regional and sub-regional. Spanoudis (1982) proposes that planning should always be a reflection of the development of the total available resources without compromising the satisfaction of local conditions and demands. Whereas Dwyer and Edwards (2010) states that if planning is not carried out in an orderly fashion then it can leave permanent “footprints” on a grander scale of environmental, economic and social factors.

Dwyer and Edwards (2010) also state that in order to maintain a sustainable tourism culture a process of planning has to be put in place which can bring together a “diverse group of stakeholders in a sustainable and strategic way”.

Hall (2000) states that in order for sustainability to be adopted, different levels i.e. international, national, regional and sub-regional, need to be able to work together to integrate and engage in planning, consensus building and conflict resolution among all stakeholders for planning processes at different levels including features such as economic, social and environmental. The importance of planning and development at the four different levels ensures that planning has been done taking into account every minute detail and covering any areas that may be left otherwise.

Mill (1990) states that tourism planning is important to be started form an international level as it helps to promote the tourism industry as well as highlight any social, economic and environmental issues that may prove to be hazardous. Organisations responsible for the planning and development of tourism include, international i.e., WTO (world tourism organisation) and its regional commissions, UNWTO (United Nations world travel organisation), WTTC (world travel and tourism council), NTO (national tourism organisation), UNESCO and ICAO amongst others, national i.e., Visit Britain, Visit England, National Trust, regional and sub regional including the Mayor and the local councils.

Routledge (2011) states that international level planning is concerned with tourism policy, tourism organisational entities, laws, and investment policies, marketing strategies and promotion, education and training programs, design standards and facility development, environmental, economic, and socio-cultural analyses, whereas national level include the short-term and long-term development plan for ensuring future tourism development and planning. On the other hand department for communities and local government (2006) state that regional level of tourism planning is more specific than the national planning level and within the framework of an existing national policy and local planning includes frameworks based on the economic, social and environmental needs that are clear, succinct and easily understood by all and underpinned by comprehensive evidence process.

An example of tourism planning at different levels contributing towards tourism features can be seen from Bamiyan, Afghanistan. Due to the war being currently residing and taking place in Afghanistan, UNESCO (2010) notices that the tourism figures have dropped in Afghanistan. Since 1998, more than 6.7 million Afghans have been affected by the impacts of disasters and extreme weather events such as drought, earthquakes, disease epidemics, sandstorms, and harsh winters. (UNEP, 2009). However it has also been stated that due to the skiing advancements and development in Bamiyan, tourism has started to become a familiar phenomenon.

In 2002, UNEP’s Post-Conflict and Disaster Management Branch (PCDMB) findings and recommendations published in 2003 as The Afghanistan Post-Conflict Environmental Assessment Report addressed urban environmental issues such as waste management, sanitation, and air quality; the status and management of natural resources such as woodlands and forests, water, rangelands and wildlife; protected areas conservation; and environmental governance.

It was also stated that the main cause of environmental and social damage was contributes to “the mismanagement of natural resources that followed the collapse of national and local institutions”.

The Bamiyan Valley, on the other hand, lies squarely in the midst of the war with mountains towering on either side shielding it from the rest of the conflict which leaves the ancient city overflowing with stunning landscapes but between volatile provinces. (News.com, 2013). World Heritage List (2009) represents Bamiyan as in need of a delicate balance of responsible and sustainable tourism planning.

Presentation of the Cultural Master Plan Bamiyan (2006-2009) also states that although Bamiyan has the potential to become a popular tourist destination there are still many areas lacking sustainable planning to prevent any further damage of historic buildings, monuments and architecture, respecting the local communities and providing a safer environment to the tourists.

However, despite the negative influences surrounding the area, SAARC (2015) states that approximately 14 million GBP have been invested during the last five years, into defining luxury facilities in the province and protection of Central Asian Buddhist temples also believed to be some of the oldest cave paintings in the world.

On the other hand planning is under way to build international and national transportation links to enable more flights to be directed Bamiyan, as stated by Ahmad Hussain Ahmadpur, head of the Provincial Department of Information and Culture in Bamiyan (2014). It has also been noted that with the trickling of local and international tourists and the emergence of Bamiyan as a skiing destination East Horizon Airlines, a domestic Afghan carrier, now operates two weekly scheduled flights from Kabul to Bamiyan. World travel guide (2015) also stated that since the opening of skiing as a tourism generator in 2011, Bamiyan’s ski lodge has hosted skiers from Scotland to New Zealand, also encouraging tourism globally and providing economic funding for more development to take place in the region.

However BBC (2013) has also stated that even though increasing opportunities for tourism has increased the social prospects by providing a start to employment, the moribund economy offers little hope with students forced to study under solar-lit street lamps, no heating, kitchen or toilet sanitation and dreary predictions for hoteliers and shop keepers admitting “living a slow death until tourism blossoms”. Al-Jazeera (2011) also expands on the importance of planning by stating that due to a lack of development and planning measurements put in place, there is still unsolicited building going on in the area by the area locals, prohibiting and hindering developments and discoveries being underway by the archaeological groups currently residing there.

Andriotis (2001) states that in order to plan productively, planners need to have experiences, opinions and constructive recommendations followed by an interactive approach in order to produce more sustainable results. Gunn (1994), however, proposes interactive planning, whereas Bramwell and Sharman (1999) suggest collaborative planning to include the local community’s opinions and desires in the planning process.

On the other hand, Braddon (1982) suggests his idea on planning by stating that tourism planning should be “market oriented, providing the right product for the consumer”. Therefore, it has been warranted that interactive planning should be flexible and adaptable to be able to measure up to rapidly changing conditions of the local community (Atach-Rosch, 1984; Choy, 1991).

An example of the importance of interactive planning can be reviewed through the example of Brazil, its lack of interactive measures during the 2014 world cup as well as the most recent outbreak of Zika virus and the lack of protective measures being put in place. Schwanbach (2014) states in her article Mega-Events in Rio De Janeiro and their influence on the city planning, that although the big events being organised in Rio are proposed to bring much of economic and social benefits, however, there are many challenges that need to be taken into consideration such as mobility, security, infrastructure, housing deficit and the lack of government and local interaction in relation to the favelas (slums).

The report also stated that in order of trying to turn Rio into an urban regeneration hub, there has been less to none political empathy towards commitment to the local community and to the better use of resources. The report also concluded that the focus on the rich is more than the focus on the poor which is resulting in creating more rifts between the locals and municipality.

On the other hand the increasing spread of Zika virus is causing international concerns. BBC (2016) reports that the government is part of the blame as protective measure were not fully put in place at the start of the Zika virus eruption and the lack of interaction with the locals and understanding of the severity of the situation has resulted in international health emergency and has restricted tourism for fear of contracting the virus by the tourists. On the other hand it has also been reported by BBC (2016) that the looming threat of the virus has not halted Rio carnival goers with some even dressing up as the Zika virus mosquito.

With the Olympics also being held in Rio for this year The International Olympic Committee is in “close contact” with Rio organisers, along with the British Olympic Association (BOA) and British Paralympic Association (BPA) monitoring developments.

Along with planning it is also important to be able to measure tourism impact, and for that there are many different measures available to measure the impact. One of which is TBL also known as Triple Bottom Line. TBL (Triple Bottom Line)

Therefore it can be concluded that, planning and development is an important factors in the approaches towards tourism and its sustainability. Planning and development is also seen from above to demonstrate a higher value amongst the tourism industry as it signifies the different stages of planning and development and how they all play a vital part in making sure significance of economic, social and environmental features are analysed. Planning and development is also important especially if it has been carried out in a manner that promotes interactive procedures between different tourism levels and the impact of tourism is also measured.


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