Unit 20 Visitor Attraction Management

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This unit enables learners to gain understanding of visitor attractions, visitor types, impacts and tourist motivation theories, issues affecting its development process and management techniques and their impact on sustainability.

Unit abstract

This unit gives learners a broad understanding of the nature, development and management of visitor attractions. The unit highlights the range and importance of visitor attractions within the tourism sector and allows learners to explore the development process for establishing a new visitor attraction. The unit then explores the different types of visitor, their impacts and various theories of tourist motivation, which should aid the management of a visitor attraction. Key issues of visitor attraction management will also be investigated. Learners will explore the techniques available to managers of visitor attractions and how they can be used to achieve sustainability.

Learning outcomes

1 Understand the scope and importance of visitor attractions

Scope: purpose built to attract visitors eg Thorpe Park, London Eye, Eden Project; built for another original purpose that have become tourist attractions eg Windsor Castle, York Minster, Goonhilly Downs; natural attractions eg Pembrokeshire Coast, Lake Windermere; events and festivals eg Glastonbury, Olympic Games, Eurovision Song Contest; overlaps/common characteristics with other attractions eg an English country house is a human built structure, not designed as an attraction, which may contain an art gallery (frequently these are purpose built) and may run regular events such as festivals or host conferences; local, national and worldwide attractions
Importance: revitalising an area; attracting new business to a destination, contribution to the overall destination product, employment, revenue, multiplier effect, enhancement of local heritage and culture; purpose of attraction eg profit, conservation, preservation

2 Understand visitor types, impacts and tourist motivation theories

Visitor types: market segmentation eg demographic, geographic, psychographic; visitor needs; special interests, characteristics and profile
Visitor impacts: overcrowding; wear and tear; carrying capacities, traffic-related eg traffic congestion; pollution; increased risk of accidents; erosion; impacts on local community; visitor facilities; authenticity of attraction eg adaptations to architecture, intrusive interpretation to the history of the site, education and training
Theories on tourism: theories eg ‘responsible tourism’ (Goodwin, 1998), the ‘smart consumer’ (Voase, 2002)

3 Understand issues affecting the development process in visitor attraction management

Issues: location eg natural; opportunities; incentives, access, catchment areas; land and reclamation; funding eg private sector, public sector (local, regional, UK, EU), membership schemes; stakeholders; attraction management; tourism consultants; local authorities; local communities; tourist boards; private enterprise; public sector; pressure groups; tourism organisations eg National Trust, English Heritage; transport companies; technology
Process: processes eg project management feasibility study, design, local community involvement, planning applications, construction period, access and signposting, recruitment, training, opening event, customer care, crowd management, reservations and ticketing, internal and external communications

4 Understand the application of management techniques and their impact on sustainability

Supply: services eg visitor flows, flexible capacity (extended opening hours, peak strategies – specific time slots, increased staff levels, additional tills/eating area, identified routes within attraction, multi-skilling of staff); increasing capacity (additional buildings/attractions); security, identified footpaths; regulated room conditions (protection of textiles, carpets), signage, concessions
Demand: influence the number or behaviour of visitors including price incentives, marketing interpretation, education
Renewal: product life cycle, visitor expectations, passive and active modes of delivery; innovation eg new adventure, new theme, new area
Sustainability: economic (international, national, regional, local); visitor expectations (negative impacts result in lack of repeat business); social eg heritage, culture, lifestyle; environmental eg conflict between conservation and preservation


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