The purpose of this portfolio is to highlight three main issues that are shaping current trends in international tourism development. These are: Increased interest in the management of sustainable tourism, greater interest in the debate on climate change and tourism and strategic tourism planning for communities and nations.
These issues will be critically analysed to view the positive and negative impacts PESTEL factors such as economic, environmental, technological and socio-cultural will have on destination trends in tourism.
The method used to analyse such issues are recent and current academic literature and models that predict and forecast future trends, with case studies illustrated to give example of destination issues.
The report will highlight that all issues are on the rise, and sustainable tourism can have positive impacts for the environment and economy, but negative social impacts for the host community if they are left out of the planning process or not considered. This example is closely linked to the issue of communities and nations, because strategic planning, as highlighted further on, does not effectively serve a destination if it does not consider the expectations of its population and community. The current trend in debating how climate change affects tourism is definitely proven in the report – however a twist arises when tourism is shown to be benefitting economically, but taking advantage of that can affect the destination – although tourism development will most definitely grow as a result in the case analysed.
In conclusion, these three issues help to increase the economic, environmental, political and other factors to a destination and increases its international tourism, however if not carefully monitored and all factors that make up a destination are not considered – then the destination may be the one to suffer and not the influx of tourists to that destination. The report will highlight specific recommendations given each case scenario, but the overall recommendation is one of careful planning, consideration, marketing and strategising.
This report will highlight three of the major issues shaping the current and future direction of the tourism industry – focusing on international impact. As stated by Edgell Sr. (et al. 2008), the future of the tourism industry will be one of change, vibrancy and growth – and he also declares that without guidance the future of tourism may not meet the expectations of private and public stakeholders.
The drivers of change, or factors that contribute and impact the direction of the tourism industry, has been defined as PESTEL according to Cooper (et al 2008). The PESTEL factors are an acronym to signify: Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental and Legal. Other environmental factors that impact change are: Total Market, Companies, Product Development, Price, Distribution, and Promotion (Cooper et al 2008).
According to research from various journals, academic literature, newspaper clippings, textbooks on tourism, internet blogs and research websites, the top ten issues recognised to be shaping the future direction of tourism are: Repercussions of the global economic slowdown on tourism, continued concern for safety and security in tourism, impact of fuel costs on tourism, increased interest in the management of sustainable tourism, upswing in the use of electronic and other technologies in tourism, greater interest in the debate on climate change and tourism, influence of mega events (including festivals) on tourism, strategic tourism planning for communities and nations, introduction of new tourism products and effects of natural and other disasters on tourism (Edgell et al. 2008).
The three issues which will be broken down and analysed against the positive and negative impacts of PESTEL factors, on international tourism development in destinations are: Increased interest in the management of sustainable tourism, greater interest in the debate on climate change and tourism and strategic tourism planning for communities and nations.
Edgell (et al. 2008) mentions that sustainable tourism has been an issue of concern for destination planning, and dozens of conferences take place each year with this topic as the central theme and more books are written on it now than 25 years ago; and one can expect new and innovative approaches to planning which will result in policy changes. Sustainable tourism refers to achieving quality growth in a manner that does not deplete the natural and built environments and preserves the culture, history and heritage of the local community (Edgell Sr. et al. 2008).
There has been a global recognition of sustainable tourism since the 21st century and its importance has caused plans and policies for international destinations to be drafted (Edgell 2008). The National Geographic Traveler (March 2004) completed a survey with various rating criteria (see Appendix I) and it was measured that there were tourism sustainability in 115 destinations worldwide. In Gezici’s article (2005) it is claimed that making regions in a main destination area sustainable is a significant tool; and that the sectors relevant for sustainable development are transportation, energy, industry and tourism.
There are various PESTEL factors that impact sustainable tourism for destinations, the most common from readings done for this report are: political and environmental. In the case of the Mediterranean and coastal regions of Turkey (Gezici 2005), the Government put forward plans for sustainable tourism after ‘Cappadocia’ was placed on the World Heritage Site List in 1972, and according to Appendix II, surveys were done to prove that there was a general appreciation by tourists of the improved sustainability of the surrounding region. However the increase of accessibility and improvement of transportation throughout surrounding regions had a negative impact on the local community as well. The sociocultural impact of the area decreased as locals resented tourists that stayed too long and saw the sustainability plans as destroying the quality of their life. They thought the government’s plans were biased and did not include the smaller regions for improved water access and better roads as well, and lastly they felt left out and not included in the improvements which contracted internationals without giving them the opportunity to prove they were productive. Here it is seen that these regions had great intentions of increasing their sustainability to attract more tourists (Appendix III), by making the surrounding regions accessible for travel – but the political party in-charge did not consider the social demands of the host community, neither did it give them an opportunity to get involved in the planned physical improvements. The environment suffered as tourists did not value flora and fauna (Gezici 2005) as much as they valued levels of foulness such as air pollution. However, such things can cause ecological issues, species loss, biodiversity and critical changes to habitats. As noted in Appendix IV, the locals reflected feelings of ‘annoyance’ where they began to have doubts about the way sustainable tourism for the regions was being handled. According to Edgell (2008), the UNWTO has provided guidelines on how to incorporate sustainability in an area’s tourism programme; other organisations like the World Travel and Tourism Council, Business Enterprises and the Sustainable Travel-Education Network (BEST-EN) have also put forward effective strategies for education and development towards sustainability.
Sustainable Tourism Management is on the increase to the point where universities are incorporating it into their higher education programmes, and in East Carolina University (2006) a Centre for Sustainable Tourism was even developed. Also, in Guilin, China, the UNWTO is to carry out a monitoring system for the development of sustainable tourism in this outstanding and beautiful scenic destination (Edgell 2008).
However a sustainable tourism approach is a complex process and requires evaluation of economic, environmental, cultural, heritage and social factors – in order to design the least intrusive form of intervention for efficient and effective results of international tourism for a destination (Edgell 2008).
A rapidly emerging trend, according to Edgell (2008), is the importance for tourism policy to reflect climate changes because of its impact on tourism. There have been various reported climate changes and their impacts on tourism: global warming becoming a growing concern for travellers; environmental tourists concerned about the emission of greenhouse gases; overuse of natural resources concern heritage tourists; land that is susceptible to mudslides, wildfires and ecological disasters prove a threat in tourist attraction areas – and many countries are coming on-board with this threat of the climate to tourism, as seen further on.
The United Nations climate conference scheduled talks to set new quotas on carbon dioxide and other emissions before 2012. Switzerland started building a dam to protect mountain tourist from mudslides as the permafrost melted and shifted due to temperature increase (Foulkes 2001), and 300 of their ski resorts are anchored in permafrost. Research by the Pew Research Centre has projected that global warming can cause major shifts in tourism in locations that have higher altitudes winning out to warmer countries such as Mauritania, Mali, Bahrain, Aruba and Jamaica will experience a 20% loss in international arrivals (Edgell 2008).
In the case of Montana in the US (Nickerson et al. 2008) it was predicted that climate change, as snow elevation climbs upward and snow amounts are unpredictable, will wreak havoc on ski-areas in the travel industry (see graph in Appendix V). In Brigham’s (2007) article, it is expounded that the warming of the Polar Arctic could have the benefit of more circumpolar transportation and access to the rest of the world – but would have a negative effect to the environment with overexploitation to the natural resources.
In this article it states that the Arctic is undergoing significant environmental changes such as retreating sea ice, melting glaciers, thawing permafrost, increasing coastal erosion and shifting vegetation zones – and the impact from one recent study shows that the Arctic Ocean could be ice-free during summer 2040. These changes will impact the indigenous people in the region, Arctic species, eco-systems and economic development (Brigham 2007).
There exists a political impact as continued enclosure of the Arctic Seabed by its coastal states Canada, Denmark (Greenland) Norway, Russia and the US could drive conflicting geopolitics (Brigham 2007). With increase in access (See Appendix VI) for marine transportation being an economic benefit (see Appendix VII for tourism benefits), there is also the environmental negative effect to the Arctic resources. The debate that arises is tourism is benefitting, but at what costs to the climate? If the options of exploitation to the marine sea-bed and easy access to the rest of the world were taken advantage of, then the Polar Arctic could suffer great losses environmentally, economically, politically, with struggles for claim, and socioculturally, with the natives feeling intruded upon (see Appendix VII for negative impacts).
STRATEGIC TOURISM PLANNING
Tourism packages that are sold by governments and tourism bodies are highly dependent on the goodwill and co-operation of host communities. The development of facilities and infrastructure for tourism require public investment, and many festivals and events have mostly evolved from being local to becoming commercialised and promoted as tourist events. The citizens of a destination live with the outcomes and communities should be considered in strategy planning for tourism (Murphy 1991).
Strategic planning for nations include social and economic impacts such as partnering and alliances formed; political impacts of creating policies to create future development of the tourism industry and social and economic links by forming strategies where various tourism products reward their customers with products from another tourism industry – e.g. the popular ‘frequent flyer points rewards’ system being used for car-rentals or hotels. (Edgell 2008).
According to Williams (2008), West Virginia does a good job promoting and encouraging recreational biking, with a healthy Rails-to-Trails program and an emphasis in its tourism advertising on mountain biking – and this strategy impacts the economy by bringing more cyclist as tourist to the state.
According to Edgell (2008) strategic planning for communities: should associate tourism activities with the local community so they can share in the economic, social and cultural benefits with jobs being created; tourism policies should raise the standard of the local community and when skills are equal to international, preference should be given to local manpower which benefits socially and economically; tourism professionals and investors who are governed by local regulations, should study the impact on environment and natural surroundings with transparency and objectivity and open dialogue with the local population over their plans for future developments.
In Siomkos’s (et al. 2004) article, a technique was designed for planning strategies for international tourism, and consideration was given to landscape architectural design, destination analysis and tourism development analysis – based on marketing concepts, information on demand and opinions of the residents within each community. This suggests that strategic planning in tourism cannot have long-term economic, social, political and other PESTEL benefits without the thoughts of the host community of a nation.
Siomkos (et al 2004) put forward that strategic tourism planning should follow these steps firstly: area evaluation, situation and SWOT Analysis; future visions and objectives; formulation of strategy; actions and tactics plans and application and feedback. However using the evaluation matrix for Tourist Attractions Technique, the strategy is then formulated. The factors are: accessibility, economic potential for development, environmental impact of development, sociocultural impact for development, national and regional significance and international significance. See Appendix IX for analysis of the features which affect strategic planning.
Strategic Tourism Planning concerns anticipating and regulating change to promote development which increases the economic, social, and environmental benefits of the development process. For tourism in industrial nations, the goals need to be a compartment of overall community objectives, where it represents one of several activities within the local economies and is affected by seasonality, climate, political uproar, social conditions.
An example is the Snowdonia National Park Plan (1977) which integrated tourism with the economic and social well-being of locals. In its objectives it included goals like: to maintain traditional pattern of agriculture, to encourage those forms of tourism with the greatest local benefit, to create jobs at most of the existing settlements with the park and to safeguard the identity of the local community by seeking to retain and develop the cultural heritage (Murphy 1991).
Strategic planning for communities and nations should include economic and social benefits for the community, and political, economic and other PESTEL factors for the nation and the tourist – then will it positively impact on international tourism and negate factors that can hamper that process.
In conclusion, sustainable tourism is in growing demand and its impact on tourists and destinations, awareness and education of climate changes are increasing. Debate over its potential impact on tourism is being more and more researched, and the voices of the communities are making more of an impact in this century as the trend in strategy planning has included the impact on the community in its policies. International tourism development will prosper economically, socially and politically if it considers factors like the ‘communities demands and expectations’, ‘the opportunity costs of every new benefit to tourism’, and the ‘proper marketing and strategising of all the potential resources of a destination and how community cultures affect tourism development and the other way around’.
On the issue of sustainable tourism, all the plans and outlines drafted by various heads of states and tourism bodies should be taken into consideration before any governmental or other projects are put into place. The local culture and community needs to be clearly informed, and be given a chance to be involved in improving sustainability, which will increase the social impact of tourism if they are happy Improvements should not just benefit the tourist but the host community. The result would be an increase in the social, cultural and environmental impacts of tourism – as everyone would be satisfied and the environment protected when physical land capabilities are considered.
On the issue of climate change, there are many negative impacts of recent climate changes, such as global warming and others, but to combat it governments should support awareness campaigns and put facilities in place to combat things like emissions of toxic gases. Where there appears to be a change in the climate that impacts tourism positively, consideration should also be given to what the opportunity cost of exploiting and developing those new arenas are. As in the case of the Arctic, a positive economic and social impact due to the climate change, debates the issue of also having a negative impact on society of the natives, environmental and political negative effects. See Appendix VIII – for recommendation strategies to combat negative climate change and keep tourist interested. Careful consideration should be given to climate changes when it comes to tourism development – as nature is not something man can reverse once it has taken its course.
In strategic tourism planning for communities and nations, the strategy planning process should undergo various phases through market surveys and analysis of the expectations of tourist on the destination, and expectations of the community for the destination and on the tourist behaviour. Many steps go into a strategy, and the country’s objectives are weighed heavily against the community’s culture – and combined there should be economic and social benefits for all parties involved.
If these things are weighed heavily, then the impacts on international tourism development for the future can only look bright, as these current issues stay their course.
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Brigham L. W. (2007) ‘Thinking About the Arctic’s Future: Scenarios for 2040’, The Futurist September – October 2007, Vol 41 (Issue 5), pp 27-34
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Williams, W. (July 2008) ‘Communities Look to Accommodate Bicyclists’, The State Journal, Vol 24 (Issue 27), pp22