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Planning at Different Levels

Planning at different levels
Well, the other thing which I would like to talk about is not just planning, but at what level do we plan. And as I said, I think right there at the beginning of my presentation, that when we look at large countries, the principles of planning are not different from small island, or small countries not at all. But, what you find then with large countries, normally the plans are conceptual. And I think I’ve said this before. If you look at say three large countries, China, India and Australia. Now, China and India are massive in the sense, that both have populations well over one billion people. Australia is different, Australia is a big landmass, but very very low population indeed.
So, how do you plan for these countries? Well, if you look at the tourism industry, in certainly India and certainly Australia, I think in China as well the major planning, would be the national organization sat Australian Tourism Commission as it was. And what that would try and do is set out the policy for tourism? What is it? Do we want from our tourism industry? So it would set out the particular aspects of it. And then at a smaller level, at a micro-level then they would concentrate on geographically smaller locations, and then do the planning.
So, if you looked at say China India, and Australia as huge countries physically huge countries, then if you then looked at say China, looked at Hainan island which is the major resort here. If you looked at Goa in India, and if you look at Melbourne as a city in Australia, that each of these will have its own policy. I will have planned for tourism development among other sector. But these things then always have to be integrated with the national objectives, as I’ve said before. So, when we start looking at planning at different levels, I would argue that the principles are the same, but obviously the circumstances will be different. I mean looking at China is one thing.
Looking at Hainan island is something different entirely, looking at Australia is one thing, looking at Melbourne is something at a much lower level. So, plans in tourism have to be integrated in national, sub-national and area level. And, I come back to the phrase of use time and time again, we need to prioritize initiatives. So, if I take the case of India, the Ministry of Tourism in India then, and the Department of Tourism, which is the main marketing arm. It cannot sell overseas all Indian destinations. It creates the image of wonderful India for example, which arguably it is, but it cannot possibly sell all of these twenty seven states in India.
So, what it does when it goes overseas to the big travel markets in London World Travel Market in December? It goes to ITB in Berlin in Germany in February, and probably Milan. I think it’s in March. When you look at those then what India does, it goes to sell India. That is its focus. Come to India. don’t go to China, don’t go to Pakistan, don’t go to UK, come to India. That’s the first thing. Ok? But then what it does, it’ll identify maybe four states in India as a Rajasthan is one, for example. And it will then take those four states, and this year in all those markets, it sells India.
But it also focuses on what these particular states can offer. Next year will do the same thing, except it’ll choose four different states. So, in that sense then they’re prioritizing what it is they wants to sell. First of all you sell the country, and then secondly you say particularly in big countries. We are enormous country there are so many things you can do. So, I would argue someone came to China for the first time. They probably come to Beijing, they want to go to the Forbidden City. They want to go to the Great Wall, they want to try the food and they want to go to the Opera.
I don’t know but whatever they do, then the next time they come to China, you try and persuade them to use a different gateway, use Guangzhou in the south or use Shanghai as an area, maybe use Chengdu as an area, So what we find with planning a different levels then are the principles are the same. You must be realistic, you must in fact be focused, you must be balanced because you have to think about in a large country like China, or India typically developing rural tourism, you are taking tourists into areas where many people, have never seen foreigners before. Have no idea about how foreigners behave so that becomes a problem.
It becomes a possibility that you have to sensitize, not only tourists to those cultural differences, but also the residents as well. So, we come back to the idea we have to prior ties our initiatives. Even a big country like China cannot sell every destination. It has to specialize in particular areas. So, planning at different levels then really to my mind means recognizing different circumstances. So, if you look at Australia, basically ninety percent of Australian live in coastal cities. The vast interior of Australia has got nothing but camels and deserts, and that’s about it. So you know you don’t sell that.
What you’re trying to do then is sell different aspects of tourism, and things like wine tourism food tourism beach tourism, all hugely are important.
So, if we say then at different levels different approaches are needed. What are the factors which influence planning. Well, these tend to vary between countries, but there are some common plan common problems then which affect tourism. Now the first of these in tourism is demand led. As I said you cannot force anybody to be a tourist or to come to your country. So you will be holding on the tourist then to come to you. And the second point is tourism is a non-essential purchase.
If you don’t eat and you don’t drink you’re going to die, if you don’t take a holiday you’re not going to die, if you don’t ever take a holiday not going to die, you might get bored but you certainly wouldn’t die. So in this sense then, tourism is demand led and it’s also a non-essential purchase, which means that because it’s demand led, the tourists can decide for him or herself where they going to travel to and how long they going to stay. And if economic and financial circumstances change, because there’s a recession for example, then you find that because it’s a non-essential purchase, they made substitute a cheaper destination for a more expensive one.
Or, they might substitute a domestic holiday for a foreign holiday. And, there’s very strong evidence now to suggest that for many people, tourism though it’s not essential, it is a lifestyle choice People protect their holidays. And, I said they substitute because obviously the financial parameters, of what you can do it anytime is important. So, it’s demand led and it’s a non-essential purchase, that faces every tourism destination in the world. Second point I think which is important here, tourism is a highly substitutable product. I want the product is the product is the location.
So, if you don’t come to China, you could you go to Vietnam, you don’t go to Vietnam, you can go to Cuba, you don’t go to Cuba, you go to Britain, you don’t go to Britain, you go to France or Germany, So everywhere in the world then which offers tourism is a potential location. Depending on things like the nature of the attraction, the cost of getting there and other things as well. So, it’s sometimes very difficult to differentiate locations from others. And I come back to my example of the Caribbean islands.
There are thirty islands, which are very similar, I think Jamaica is the biggest with about three and a half four million people, tiny that wouldn’t be a village in China. What are they selling? Basically they’re selling beach tourism, climate tourism, and the other islands in the Caribbean selling also the same. So, how do you differentiate a holiday in Barbados to one in St Lucia and St Lucia to Jamaica and Jamaica to whatever it might be. This is a very very difficult thing. And this is why then we find that in competitive regions like the inlands. Let’s take another one ski.
There are so many places in the world you can ski, if I live in Scotland then there are five resorts in Scotland for skiing. virtually every university every European country has skiing. And also which one do you choose, and these become very important things. And so because then it’s a non-essential product, because it’s highly competitive. Then one of the most important aspects of tourism development is marketing, and how we can market these things, it depends very much indeed on two things. one of our budget, and secondly how good our market research is.
And this becomes a very very important aspect, The fact that you say we got the friendliest people in the world, and the best beaches in the world and the best scenery in the world, maybe everybody else is saying the same thing. So, when you look at this then I said this time and time again today. And today I’ll say it again, tourism is hugely competitive because very few places, have what marketing people called unique selling propositions. China you do if you want to see the Great Wall, there’s only one place to come, Pharaonic the culture in Egypt is another one probably, though there’s also the the pyramids in the Andes in South America.
So, without this type of development, then what you find is that it’s sometimes very difficult. And it raises another question, which I’ll come to in a moment, is tourism a high risk investment.

In this video, Professor Carson Jenkins introduced planning at different levels and factors influencing planning.

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Tourism Policy and Planning

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