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Diploma in Travel and Tourism
Unit Number and Title
Unit 7 Sustainable Tourism Development
Travel and tourism is an essential part of human being today. Tourism is one of the most important industries for several countries. Tourism helps a country in generating revenue from both domestic as well as international tourist (Palomino, 2013). Especially if a tourist destination is of international attraction then it gets lots of international tourist, and in the process significant amount of revenue gets generated (Inskeep, 1991). Across the globe there are several popular destinations from Asia to Europe and entire United States where tourists from several countries like to visit. For developing nations tourism is one of the most important export sector in present scenario (Cook et al, 2010).There is a general consensus about the fact that tourism not only generates foreign exchange, but it also produces new job opportunities, stimulates growth of tourism industry and by virtue of this, overall economic growth gets a boost. This task will focus on various aspects associated with tourism development of a less developed tourism destination from a perspective of a newly appointed tourism development manager of national tourism authority. For representative purpose, Sri Lanka has been picked as a tourist destination which currently has tremendous potential as a tourist destination, but still needs lot of focus on its tourism development.
When a country or a tourist destination is planning to focus on its development, then there are several stakeholders associated with it. In order to identify that how these stakeholders can benefit from the planning of tourism development, it is first necessary to list down, that who exactly is the stakeholders in this scenario. Thus for Sri Lanka there are several stakeholders such as:
Above are the key stakeholders who will be benefited from the planning of tourism development. Sri Lanka is considered to be one of the most beautiful beach destination in South East Asia, however due to decades of civil war, it has lost significantly in terms of tourist destination (Ghimire, 2013).With tourism development plan there will be impetus to local economy of the tourist destination, local residents of the specific tourist destination will get an opportunity to engage themselves in tourism services such as accommodation, food etc. hence giving them new avenues to earn money. Sri Lankan government will also get benefitted because of this planning of tourism development, as it is able to generate crucial foreign exchange from the foreign tourist. Also more inbound international tourist will reflect their confidence in the country as a tourist destination hence creating a positive image of the country. This will send a positive signal to business sector that Sri Lanka as a country is completely safe and it can then attract business investment as well, thus helping the overall economy to become strong and positive (Briguglio et al, 1996).
Public/Private model of business is a tried and tested model in several business sectors. In tourism this model has its own share of advantages and disadvantages. In Sri Lanka, national government which has been struggling with civil war since few decades is now focused on tourism sector (Crick & Harrison 1992). With an end to civil war, government has realized that tourism is the sector which can put Sri Lanka on world map as a major tourist attraction (Harrison et al, 2013).That is why it has been coordinating with several private companies in tourism sector related to chains of hotels and other hospitality businesses through its ‘Domestic tourism Unit’. Public/private model is advantageous in following ways:
In public/private partnership there are situation when government gives permission to the company to conduct their business, and these business then exploit the natural resources to gain maximum profit out of it. For example recently in Sri Lanka, government coordinated with a local business to set up chain of eating outlets along the beaches. But as a result the business house established its monopoly in the region leading to exploitation of other businesses. That is why Sri Lankan government has ensured through various clauses in the agreement that there should be no situation of monopolistic trade practices and exploitation of natural resources from these private business houses
It is important to understand that tourism industry originated because of tourist’s desire to travel, which ended with the desire getting fulfilled. Thus tourism development planning is an importance aspect with its initial target as fulfilling of tourist’s desire. It can be said that tourist development planning is a series of systems of goals and overall arrangements, which is based on regional tourism, history, present situation, and several market factors.
Thus various features of tourism development plan are as follows:
Inclusive in nature: A tourism development plan should consider developing entire tourism region rather than focusing of a specific area. For example if there is a stretch of coastal area which is famous among tourists, then government should ensure that it should not only develop that area further, but it should also focus on neighbouring area. This will ensure an overall development rather than one-sided development of region.
Care for environmental aspects: A tourism development can never be assumed as complete if it does not consider environmental aspects. Sri Lanka has a rich bio-diversity in form of coral reefs etc. However with its tourism development strategy government has ensured that irrespective of tourism development, there is no impact on environment in destination of tourist attraction (Hall & Page, 2012).
Encouragement to local economy: Tourism development plan should always have focus on this feature. Especially with globalisation where multinational companies are setting up their business in other country’s tourist place. It has become tough for local business to survive that is why government should ensure that there is equal focus on securing and encouraging local business and economy.
Planning is an essential process in order to achieve goals and objectives related to tourism developments. That is why Sri Lanka government has been focusing on establishing a system where the entire tourism development plan is driven by participation of not just two entities (i.e. public and private) but also from other important entities of societies. Interactive planning systems help in achieving better decisions. In travel and tourism development interactive planning systems proposes top-down, together with bottom-up input. This approach helps in better implementation of the plans. Another major advantage of interactive planning system is that it is a continuous process, which does not starts or stops. Thus with an interactive planning system Sri Lankan government can ensure that there is participation not only from major public or private agencies but other entities as well , such as local residents, business organisations etc. this will ensure that there is participation at every level, which will prove beneficial for an overall well-planned tourism development of the region.
Impact of tourism is at different level. It can be at economic level, environmental level or socio-economic level. For example Leopold matrix which is qualitative environmental impact assessment helps in assessing the impact of tourism on the overall environment of the tourist region. There are various tourist places which are ecologically sensitive; hence it is important that tools such as Leopold matrix should be used to have a detailed assessment of the tourism. This will enable the Sri Lankan government to analyse various factors which can provide detrimental to environment of the tourist location, and accordingly government can take proactive action to prevent any harm to environment.
CSIRO tourism futures simulator model helps in evaluating the benefits and impacts of tourism, and it helps the major stakeholders with an option to explore how a destination can be managed to achieve sustainable tourism in long term perspective. This particular model helps in analysing the economic impact of tourism on the area.
Similarly there are various social indicators such as rise in cost of living, improvement in maintenance of public facilities; increase in level of urban development, improvement in opportunities for local business etc. can be some of the parameters on which the impact of tourism can be measured.
Overall it can be said that tourism impact should consider all the three aspect, i.e. environmental, social and economic. Then only there will be a holistic picture of the impact which tourism will have on a specific region or location.
In conclusion it can be said that tourism development is an important aspect of country’s tourism growth. A developing country such as Sri Lanka should focus extensively on ensuring that its tourism development program is in sync with local development. Tourism development should also follow the concept of sustainability. With this Sri Lankan government will be able to ensure that development of the region is not one sided and happens in a holistic way. Tourism development is a resource intensive process. It needs a focused approach from the government and various other private agencies involved in it. Unlike other sector such manufacturing etc., tourism is one such sector which has impact at not only economic level but also at social and environmental level. Thus tourism board should take special care of this fact so that there is no negative impact on the environmental or the social aspect. Ultimately how the action plan is executed and, how much clarity is there over the overall strategy of Sri Lankan government related to tourism development will decide the success of the tourism development program.
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