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Tourism Destination Area Planning Process

Tourism destination area planning process
Let me move into the discussion of the destination area planning process. It basically involves five steps and I’ll work through them sequentially. In this practice, in terms of how it’s done in actual planning engagements at least in terms of the sort of work that I’ve done over my career in the planning sector. So, It’s hopefully very much a practical perspective, but the very first step is setting the plans goals impact, now by impact or is that a goal? And usually that is bigger than the plan itself in the context that the plan will produce certain outcomes that should contribute to a goal impact that’s bigger than itself.
For example, if the government has as its focus of say tourism development to create employment, generate income, reduce poverty and inequality, or benefits specific disadvantaged groups. It could be these people with disabilities, it could be women, it could be unemployed youth or ethnic minorities. Then those are the goals or impacts to which a tourism plan would be focused. So, that’s the very first and of course, the data for that comes from the national development planning or the provincial development planning or the local area development planning documents and frameworks. The next phase is a desktop review of existing framework strategies and plan that could be a national level, provincial, regional, or provincial and local.
And that’s very important because you need to understand what is the planning framework not just from a tourism point of view but also from the point of view of the plans and programs in the infrastructure area, roads, bridges, airports, power, waste management, sanitation. Those are all very very critical parts of the tourism development process but they’re usually parts of the process that the local tourism administration or even the national tourism administration has no direct control, once, it’s not in its purview. It’s other ministries or other departments or other agencies that have responsibility. But understanding the framework strategies and plans in those areas is critical to ensuring a successful destination area planning outcome.
And of course, identifying the key stakeholders is critical. You need to know who it is that needs to be contacted. So, at the very beginning of the process you have to create a very detailed list of stakeholders. And they have to be grouped into primary secondary and tertiary. Primary are of course the ones that are critical to the process, the secondary and tertiary those that have inputs but they’re not necessarily critical to the whole outcome.
And of course, there is a need to undertake initial consultations on the gold’s impact with the stakeholders but at all levels, so that it’s a way of verifying and testing the direction of the plan, the strategies that it may need to adopt in terms of contributing to the goal or impact. And of course specifying the plans specific objectives, The second phase of the planning process having dealt with the question of what or to what is the sort of global goal impact structure and who it is that should be involved in the planning process and who the target beneficiaries are, is a very detailed situation analysis of the destination.
Bear in mind that we have a very clear understanding of the boundary of that destination. The situation analysis is fairly straightforward. It’s essentially a physical and land use analysis of the area. So, the geography ,the geology, the land uses, existing land uses, the tourism the infrastructure, transportation structure and its context in the broader regional situation. The socioeconomic analysis which is a closer look at the socio demographic structure of the region. And if the target is poverty reduction, reduction of inequality or benefiting specific disadvantaged groups, then the socioeconomic analysis needs to be very specific to that particular a segment of the population.
And, of course an evaluation and identification and analysis and evaluation of the tourism resources both in terms of natural heritage, cultural heritage, and potentially man made resources. I’m referring here to there may be theme attractions that built structures. There may be for example, convention and exhibition facilities there maybe a theme parks, for example, entertainment parks and so forth These are all built and a part of the tourism resource of a destination. And then of course, the most important is a detailed evaluation, of the existing products and markets to which those products are currently distributed for that destination. So, the markets divide into international, so, foreign tourists coming to that destination.
And, of course tourists from within the country that we call them domestic tourists. So, and then each of those market segments markets in turn is broken up into specific segments by purpose, for example, some maybe business travelers some maybe adventure travelers, some maybe on sightseeing and adventure tours, for example. Some might be coming and attending a meeting or going to an event or a convention or an exhibition. So, you need to understand the structure of the market and, of course also provides a lot of information on the types of products that are already being promoted and marketed in that destination.
Then there needs to be a review of the facilities services What is the current supply of hotels, of transportation services to operation services attractions. For example, that available to the international and to the domestic tourism markets. The next level of analysis in the situation analysis is the tourism infrastructure. So, this is a question. This looks at the physical infrastructure that allows, for example, tourists to access the destination. So,that’s airports. It could be seaport river ports and roads, for example, but it also deals with tourism infrastructure such as waste management sanitation. It deals with power generation capacities and transmission. It deals with water.
So, you can see that it covers quite a broad range of infrastructure, including information communication and technology infrastructure. The next most important part within the situation analysis is to look at existing plans and projects. both in terms of public sector projects. in other words, what are the infrastructure projects that are plan for development within timeline. What will be the impact? And also, what are the public private sector projects for example, hotel construction, resort construction, new transportation services into operation services. It’s important to understand what is going to be, that, is not only the existing position but also what is likely to be the immediate future situation with respect to both infrastructure and tourist supply development.
And finally, we need to be cognizant and aware of the impact of tourism and sustainable development goals. This is about ensuring that tourism is part of the solution to sustainable development on our planet So the questions here deal with to what extent is the destination currently, adopting the sustainable tourism development goals in its planning in its operations of the tourist facilities and services. So, this is about the extent to which hotels use renewable energy, for example, the extent to which there’s water harvesting and conservation, the extent to which there is a recycle and reuse.
So,there is very little waste in the extent to which you minimize the amount of resources used , for example, natural and cultural heritage sites using, for example, carrying capacity concepts. Thirdly, analyzing the third step in the process for establishing a tourism development area plan is strict setting of the strategic directions for the plan. And this requires doing a number of things. Firstly, you need to have an understanding of the strengths, the weaknesses , the opportunities and the threats facing the tourism sector in that destination. Now, the SWOT analysis as it’s called is actually a competitive analysis.
So,it says essentially what are competitive strengths and what are our competitive weaknesses, what are competitive opportunities and what are the threats to those opportunities and to our strengths. The strength and the weaknesses are internal to the destination. It says something about the destinations ability to deliver a result. For example, a strength might be that it has a globally important heritage site or a unique animal, for example, like the panda in Sichuan province for example . So, those are strengths, Weakness might be limited capacity of the local governments, for example, to use that strength to generate tourism flows into the local area. So, the strengths and the weaknesses are internal to the destination, the opportunities and the threats are external.
So,an opportunity such as the presence of a large and growing coastal market in China for western China. It’s an external opportunity. It’s an opportunity that’s there and a destination may or may not choose to take advantage of that opportunity. And of course a threat , an external threat could be an event such as a natural disaster . That occurs unseen that has no necessary relation to that particular destination. It could be an earthquake. It could be a typhoon. it could be a weather event. It could be climate change, for example , which is a global threat that has very serious implications at a local level.
For example, if you take Sichuan province, if you go to the national park, the glacier. The glacier is a major tourist attraction for travelers from abroad and of course from many parts of China. But the glacier is under a threat from climate change. It’s receding so that it is not inconceivable that in fifteen, twenty years time there will be no glacier, and that means that attraction is gone. So that’s a threat. And the challenge always is how do you deal with the threats, and so the toes analysis as we call it is a method of looking at what strategies you can use to offset the weaknesses, maximize strengths and minimize threats.
And so that’s a very important level of analysis that needs to be undertaken in setting the strategic directions and results of the tourism development area plan. Scenario analysis is an echnique, as I mentioned before for identifying alternative ways of proceeding on. There are different routes that you can take to the end result, and the idea of scenario analysis is to look at options and find that option, which is going to give the best outcome for the least cost and the highest impact in terms of the target beneficiaries that are being targeted in the tourism development plan. So, the scenario analysis setting is undertaken usually first with a technical analysis.
But then the actual choice of the preferred scenario has to be done by the stakeholders. It can’t be done by consultants, for example, it has to be done by the stakeholder because the stakeholders have to own the scenario and the strategies, the strategic direction that implies. So, this is a very important point. And of course the last part of the third phase in the process of tourism development area planning is setting the strategic directions, the options and the evaluation of those directions .
The strategic directions are essentially strategic objectives sometimes referred to as such But they are basically the theme the thematic areas that need to be addressed in order to get a solution to the outcome of the master plan. The process includes the recommended outcomes and outputs and of course in the in fleshing out the strategic directions. You will have physical plans and zoning and most importantly a result framework. The result framework is a critical part of any plan because it essentially provides the basis for identifying. First of all, the change theory underlying the plan.
In other words, what is the theory of the plan in relation to the changes that it wants to bring about to create the outcome and the results. And then the results framework provides the measurement and the indicators that allow you to measure progress against that I will now ask a break and continue with the balance of the lecture shortly.

In this video, we will discuss the destination area planning process, at the end of this video you will know what are five steps in the tourism planning process.

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Tourism Policy and Planning

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