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Tourism Destination Area Planning Approaches

Tourism destination area planning approaches
The destination area planning approach requires a set of questions that need to be asked at the beginning. First, choosing the planning approach. The approach can be either top down bottom up or combined now. What I mean by that is a top down approach is an approach where, for example, a national government or a provincial government in China decides to do a tourism plan which is led from the higher level. In other words, it’s a framework plan. It doesn’t necessarily involve all the actors at the lower levels.
For example, in the county, in the brief act, as you know, province, a bottom up approach would be the reverse of that where you have the counties, the local communities, the committees involved in the actual formulation of the plan. A very different approach and much more complex and difficult to achieve. And then the combined approach is which is typically, the other planning approach adopted here in China and many other parts of the world is where you recognize the fact that there are certain things that have to be done at a top down national provincial level. And there are also certain things that have to be done at a very grassroots level.
And you have to bring those together in order to have an effective outcome in terms of a destination area plan. Choosing the right planning tools and methodologies is critical in ensuring a good outcome for the plan. So, some of the examples of the sort of methodologies that we have used in our planning work include, of course always desktop research, which is essentially data mining. The research statistics to reports that are already available at a global and national local level . Key informant interviews. This is one interviews with a key individuals who have particular knowledge. It might be the governor of a province.
It might be the interview of operation manager of a particular tourist facility or a destination or a scenic site, for example, Focus group discussions. These are used generally for a smaller group of eight to nine people can be either experts or it can be community groups, for example, or public sector groups, and the idea here is more to identify issues and concerns that need to be addressed in the planning process. Workshops, workshops are a way of essentially getting all the stakeholders together in order to agree the strategies, the action plans and the broad approach including setting visions, for example, the objectives identifying the results outcome, for example, and so forth.
Scenario building is a technique which is very important, because there are always different ways in which tourism developed. And it can evolve in a particular destination and finding the one that provides the best outcome against objectives is the purpose of scenario building. So, this is a very important exercise and that’s connected to forecasting which once you know which scenario you wish to propose as the approach for the destination area plan. Then, you’re in a position where you can begin to forecast the requirements in terms of infrastructure, tourist facilities and services human resource requirements educational training and so forth.
The economic impact on input-output analysis is a critical part of the overall environmental and economic and social impact analysis of a tourism plan. And no tourism plan can be successfully implemented unless those components are built into that plan. And not to forget that the environmental impact needs to include provision for adapting and mitigating climate change in this day. And of course, all those impacts need to be responsive to the sustainable development goals of the United Nations, which I think most countries with the world including China are signatural too. An important thing in the planning process at an early stage is to define the boundaries of the destination area.
In other words, where at what point do you stop planning, where is the boundary within which interventions from the planning will take place, and what of course is the context for the boundary. So, if it’s a tourism master plan for Sichuan province that provincial boundary is very clear but the context is China. And of course the regional context is Asia and those understanding that context is a very very important part of effective planning. That is why you see that provinces like Sichuan, for example, are very strongly connected to the west of China but also to the international context in Asia and southeast Asia.
For example, Yunnan province cooperates with the greater Mekong subregion, which is the southeast Asian countries of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand. And of course, once aside from the boundaries it’s very important also to identify the target beneficiaries of the planning and the key stakeholders in the plan formulation and implementation. The target beneficiaries are the people who will benefit directly from the results of the planning works. So, there will be the recipients of the outcomes of the plan. So, this might be community groups, it might be disadvantage, a groups such as women, for example, or minority groups for example, where you address poverty, empowerment and address equity . To reduce inequality, for example.
Those are the kind of people that would be at the beneficiary end of the tourism development planning chain. Remember this, in a developing context, developing tourism is about creating targeted benefits for those sectors of the community that are disadvantaged economically and physically in some way. And, so if tourism can’t make a contribution to that then tourism would not be given very high priority in the development process programme of a government. And, of course in China, we know that the Ministry gives great priority to poverty reduction especially for disadvantaged groups.
And, so this is very much the target beneficiary The key stakeholders in tourism are, of course, the target beneficiaries themselves, but also the public sector agencies the tourism administration at national, at provincial and prefecture at the county level. So they are important actors in this process But so is the private sector, the organizations, the companies that produce the transportation services. The operate services to hotel and lodgings, the restaurants, the theme attractions and entertainment facilities. All of those are part of the stakeholder group and a successful outcome for tourism development area plan requires their participation. And of course, choosing the planning tools and methodologies is a critical a key component of the success of a well structured tourism development plan.

In this video, you will understand a set of questions on tourism destination area planning approaches eg. Choosing the planning approach, Choosing the right planning tools and methodologies , defining the boundaries of the destination area clearly and so on.

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Tourism Policy and Planning

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