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Policies are “Wish Lists”

Policies are "wish lists"
I say that policies are wish lists. And your reaction to this might be. Well, that’s very vague But, when you look at policies, policies can be basically of two types. They could be reactive. Therefore in the tourism sector, we might have problems and we need to deal with those problems. So, in that sense then, we are reacting to difficulties we already have. And these can be many, they can be social they can be economic, for example it might be environmental, but we know these problems are there. So, part of our policy then will be to look at how do we react to it. How do we change it? Now, the other side of this is called proactive policies.
And this is where we have a problem, because we think there might be problems in the future. And we would like to take those into account in developing a mechanism, a policy if you like a structure to deal with those particular issues. Now, we have knowledge in the sense that, if you look globally at how tourism has developed. I cannot think of a country. I cannot think of a location which has not had some problems with tourism. And, as I said those tourists those problems then can be very many. They can be environmental and social, they can be political all sorts of things. So, what we might have to do here is say well? how do we attract tourists?
But not tourists who are going to bring these problems to us. And in this sense, then we are looking to the future and we are trying to establish guidelines if you like, which will help us to confront those problems if they come around. Let me give you an example from the south Pacific, from a very small country called Vanuatu. Vanuatu is made up of about eighty small islands. When they decided they wanted to begin tourism, they did a deal with a small but very good Australian airline. And they said we want you to bring us tourists and they did. They did very successfully. But what sort tourists, most of the tourists who came to Vanuatu then were young backpackers.
So, they get off the plane, they go to the beach they often unfold the tent. They spend the time in the beach enjoying themselves. And would Vanuatu soon discovered, that the per capita spend of these tourists was very low. And they said we don’t want this. So, despite the airline been very successful in attracting tourists, and you know you get these the young backpackers particularly. The country said no no no no no, we don’t want this type of tourists. We want to go up market. So they took the decision than to aim for a five star market. And they did a number of things. They attracted quite a few of the big international, five star companies to open hotels there.
They did something else. They opened an international marina, So people who have yachts, very wealthy people came to stay in the island. And they also had a very strong policy of where tourists could go. So certainly about half of the islands were out of bounds for tourists. And the reason for that was very simple. These islands were very remote and many of the people living there and never met foreigners before, so they took the decision and to protect them if you like, from the modern world. Now that was a very controversial issue. But, what I’m saying here is that often tourist policies are wish lists. Now, we have experience in China where tourism was increasing, coming into China.
then suddenly you had an outbreak of SARS And that stop people come in, they were afraid to come until the market picked up again. You cannot control that. It’s the same you may be attracting people, and suddenly have an earthquake like that in Japan, or you might have eruptions of volcanoes like they get very often in Indonesia. So one of the things about policies then they are really wish lists. As I give you an example again. Let’s assume as I said to you earlier on that, target is a ten percent per annum increase in tourists. That’s I wish but we not be able to get it for different reasons.
Okay, so we have to go back to our policy and say we need to adjust it. And another thing here changing markets from say a family market to an up market, the five star type hotel is very difficult to do. It takes time it may not be achievable in the short term, There are other things which makes policies difficult. I mentioned in India in Goa water shortage. So, real hostility between the tourist who came and come, and expect big pools in the hotel and the farmers will say, wait a moment you’re taking our water. How do we water our crops? How do we water animals? So that’s a conflict. Again transport limitations.
You find that we simply do not have enough capacity to bring tourists in or shift them around the country. Financial constraints. We know we can increase our market, but we can’t do it because we simply do not have the money available, or we could make it available but it’s too expensive to borrow. So, in this sense then what we have to do very often is in the short term, we have to as part of our policy we have to develop a priority list. We cannot do everything at once. Even the richest countries in the world cannot do everything at once. You’ve gotta say a priority is this to do this and that.
And if you believe as I do that development is incremental. Then you need to take small steps. But, sure steps in order to develop your tourism sector. And, a last example, I want to give you show how this important is, I once went to an exhibition as I was working in the United Arab Emirates. And about forty years ago fifty now, if you looked at the Emirates that is the local people, they were basically living in desert conditions, intense and carrying water buckets on their head and various things. Look at Dubai now, particularly Dubai and Abu Dhabi and some of the other Emirates, they have some of the most modern infrastructure in the world.
Okay, so I’ve often said in forty years they’ve jumped the development gap. They’ve been able to do so much more than most other places. Why? Because they had oil and because they had oil, then they had money. So, very often then it’s not the lack of natural resources, which limits our development. It’s probably the lack of funding or the cost of funding, if we need to borrow it as well. And to be fair in the Emirates, they also had not only good funding, but they’ve also had, excellent leadership, which is made things possible. So, what I’d like to say to you in this section then, the policies must be regarded in many ways as wish lists.
And, because they are wish lists and over a period of time, we might not be able to achieve what we want achieve. We still have to build step by step by step, and that require us two prioritise to rise particular actions.

In this video, Professor Carson Jenkins shared with us why policies are wish lists.

We would like to invite you to share some thoughts in the comments section below.

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Tourism Policy and Planning

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