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Planning Principles (1)

Planning principles (1)
Well, we having spoken about what is a plan. Then the next thing we need to ask ourselves, are there planning principles? And again a huge debate on this, but generally speaking. I think we can recognize four aspects of principles. And issues I’ve identified would be one. First of all focus, so the plan there must have a focus. Secondly, the plan has to be realistic.
Thirdly, there has to be a balance in the plan. And fourthly, it should be sustainable. Now if we look at those points in each particular area. What does focus mean?
Well, focus is very obvious. Focus means that there has to be a clear indication, of the objectives of the plan. The plan has to set out then what it wants to achieve. So, for example, we know if we take the case of Singapore, which is a very small island state. But, if you look at Singapore for a long time, because it’s a wealthy country, it’s had a traffic management problem. That’s the problem what was the solution. what was a plan? Well, according to the number plate on the car, you can take your car into Singapore on one day, but not on another one. If you like the ration the use of the roads in that sense.
So, in that sense, we know now how in Singapore they are rationing not just parking space, but also access to the roads. So, the priorities can vary very much. So, let’s assume not in yes in China. China is another interesting case where, if you looked at the statistics of the population in China, China is an aging population something like twenty percent of the Chinese population is over sixty. It’s an aging population. So, if you’re in government you say, we’ve got two problems here. One, because people are retiring normally at about sixty, But, now they’ve lived healthier lives. They’ve got some pensions so they got time and money.
So, one of the things we might need to do then is to try, and develop senior citizen tourism. It’s already existing, but we need to try and do something specifically for this market. Now the other side would be if you look then at a declining birthrate, it might be what we need to be investing in is not more schools. But more hospitals more care homes and things like that. So, the the question of focus then is important. What are the priorities? And in the tourism sector it might be what we find is that, you know the attractions we have are beginning to get aged, and therefore we need new attraction. So, what are they going to be.
Are we going to maintain them in this particular location? Are we going to develop in other parts of the area? So, take an example from Hainan island, which has recently declared a duty free zone. And it’s been hugely successful in developing, the amount of spend in that particular area. So, that was a priority there. So, we need to look at focus and think not just what the goals of the plan are, but what are the priorities. Because I come back to this statement, we cannot do everything at the same time. There are always limitations may be in land, maybe in resources, certainly in infrastructure which are our priorities.
The other thing is we need a time scale, when are we going to do these things. If you decide today you want to invest a five star hotel my guess would be. It’ll take you two or three years to bring that online. You could build it, you would test it, you would find the management for it, you could put it onto the market. So, in time scale is very very important, very very important indeed. And then, is budget and costs, how much money do we have available? What if we exceed our budget? So, in all these things then with planning and policies, focus is so important.
We’ve got to decide what it is we want to do, what our priorities, what our time skills and what are our budgets and costs.
So, the plan must also secondly be realistic. What can we achieve in the time scale? And what’s the budget? So, you know, if you’re thinking of looking at Disney world or Disneyland and say, we’re gonna build something to compete with this, then you’re looking on a mega project. And, very few companies or individuals would have the funding. would have the market credibility to raise money to try, and compete with Disney.
So, in this sense then, you know, we have to look very carefully, not only what we want to do, but who are competitors are and what budget and what time scale, in which we are going to do it, I come back to my example of Caribbean islands, basically beach destinations for North Americans’, Canadians’ winter resort. In the summer they go to Europe, So, in that sense then each of those islands, are basically offering the same product. Having to compete in a very intense market. So, this whole question of realism is that you have to look and say, can we realistically be in the next five or ten years a five star resort?
When at the moment we are a resort, which attracts families to marks are very different. Can we somehow decline our seasonality if it is a problem, and try and get a year round product? How do we do it? So, all these things then becomes very important. And the other thing which I think is important here is that I used two words earlier on. One was proactive one was reactive. So, if we have a problem we can react to the problem. But as managers and particularly in tourism, we need to be very much pro-active. What if and if you take say the worst case scenario, every airline in the world will have a crisis management plan.
What happens if one of our planes crashes. And what happens if there are casualties which is inevitable. So, they will have a plan to deal with that unwanted scenario. But you talked and they never tell you what it is, because they just don’t want to contemplate it. But every big business then should have a crisis management plan. Look at the current dispute between China and America about tariffs. You know what happens if you’re in a business, where suddenly there are no tariffs, and then next week there’s going to be twenty five percent tariff. You’ve got a big problem, So, one of the things we need in these plans then, and sometimes we need a crisis management plan.
What if, and I would argue that in tourism this is particularly important, because with the exception of domestic tourism. If you look at inbound tourism to any country in the world, you cannot control the market. I can’t persuade South Africans to come to UK, or Americans to come to UK. I can try and persuade them, but I can’t compel them to do it. So, if you like then we say in tourism, the market is demand led rather than supply led. And, that is something which can create enormous problems. If you remember the Asian financial crisis in 2008. I think it was, when the whole area suffered because of the events in the United States. You have to react to that.
And if you suddenly find one of your market is drying up, you’ve got to find another market. You’ve got to do something either through price mechanism, or through new marketing initiative. You’ve got to do something then to try and cover that deficit. The third point I was talking about was balance. And here in tourism it is absolutely essential, that we not simply concentrate on tourists, but we also concentrate on the residents. What is acceptable to the residents? And one of the problems we have in most places is carrying capacity. Now carrying capacity simply means, what is the ability of a particular space in order to absorb visitors. Now the simplest example is a football stadium.
If you build a football stadium, then the licensing authorities say you can take sixty thousand people, in this stadiumno more. We can’t take sixty-two. Only sixty thousand is the physical space, with the physical capacity, That’s quite easy to do. But if you think about a landscape. I was looking the other day at some photographs of The Great Wall, the Great Wall was just like a big traffic jam. You couldn’t see the Wall for the number of people on it. So, in that sense and that is a problem. If it’s a problem, how do we balance the experience visitors are looking for? with the deterioration of the Wall. Because so many people are walking all over it.
So, one of the things we need to do in tourism as part of our plan then is to do impact studies. What’s the impact of increasing number of tourists, an economic impact, the financial a social cultural and probably environmental one as well? So, those impacts studies then become part of the overall planning nexus. And then, once we’ve trying to develop a plan to control these excesses, then we have to come back to the implementation, and we have to come back to the the operation of the plan. So tourism is a very unusual activity, because it is globally competitive, and no destination can actually control the market. There’s a saying which I’ll tell you now.
As you know nobody has to become a tourist, and nobody has to visit your country. And that’s it in a nutshell. So, you could get a wealthy person. And they said no no I don’t want to go outside UK. I don’t go outside France I’m quite happy where I am. So, you can’t persuade them. And then if they do decide to travel, you say well you must come to the UK, said no no no I go to Belgium. I go to Germany or to go to South, Africa, or China. So, these are the two immutable things about tourism marketing. It’s very difficult because you cannot control the market.

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Tourism Policy and Planning

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