Tourism Policy And Regional Planning Destination Tourism Essay



Tourism planning is an important component when a destination decides to become a tourist attraction. Tourism has been on rise since the 1970s as more people began to work from 9am to 5pm and paid leave became more popular in at workplaces. This led to people having the leisure time to spend on their holidays. For a destination to become a tourist destination one should be able to know the market segmentation of the people travelling there. There’s a saying “Rome was not built in a day”. Tourism planning takes time and research. One would need to find out what type of product and services are needed for the type of tourist that comes to that particular destination. Tourism planning has become more important now than compared to 50 years ago. Tourism planning allows rules to be set by the government. They would be able to implement certain strategies that would help to reduce the negative impacts on the environment. This discussion paper will explore the different approaches that the government use and the challenges of tourism planning in today’s world. Many forms of research are done to find out the characteristics of the people visiting a destination. Many tourism planners assume that the market segment does not change.

According to Tourism Management, tourism has been around for many years approximately since AD 1500. Modern tourism would not have been possible without the precedents of Mesopotamia, the Nile, and Indus valleys, ancient Greece and Rome, the Dark Ages and the Middle Ages.

Premodern tourism has their own character as there are many similarities with modern tourism. The ‘Early modern tourism (1500 to 1950)’ considers the early modern era, which links the premodern to the contemporary period through the influence of the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution. The ‘Contemporary tourism (1950 onwards)’ introduces contemporary mass tourism (Weaver & Lawton, 2010).

Tourism can raise the profile of a destination, attracting the interest of investors and visitors alike.


According to Tourism Planning and Policy textbook, the definition of tourism is like what Leiper and Pearce believe that it is important to adopt an opened view of what tourism is all about:

Movement of people and their resources

By characterizing the collection of government, businesses, activities and processes that helped people to make decisions about travel

Involves the production and consumption of the range of tangible and intangible resources

Overlaps and intersects with the daily lives of local communities

Involves the production and consumption of tourist experiences

Produces the range of intended and unintended consequences and effects that need to be critically examined and managed. (Leiper and Pearce, nd)

Tourism planning and policy should not basically mean as an economic development activities that are aimed at the supply and demand side of tourism. Tourism should be explored further to improve the other elements of tourism.


Sustainable tourism development is under the tourism planning and policy is there to achieve tourism development that minimizes the negative effects and maximizes the positive effects so that they can be sustained over the long term. There are four

For the purpose of this report, this report will touch on the environmental problems, the number of challenges faces with limited infrastructure, depressed economy and using Central Highlands as a regional economic development tool. Lastly, recommendation as well as conclusions will be offered before the end of the report.

Government Approaches towards Tourism

Tourism policy and planning are divided into two categories: (1) substantive ideas that provide the direction and underpinning values embedded in tourism planning and policy.

Tourism planning and policy both theory and practices are by a range of cultures, disciplines, methods and framework (Macbeth, 2005, p.89)

According to Getz (1986) there are five approaches to tourism planning and they are boosterism, economic, spatial, community and sustainable planning. Each of these approaches has their own strengths and weaknesses which will be further explored below


Boosterism is when tourism development is perceived to be good and beneficial for the host community of a destination. It is suggested that cultural and natural resources should be used to for tourism development without any consideration to the negative economic, social and environmental impacts of tourism that will occur due to this exploitation. This approach is done mainly by two groups. They are ‘politicians who are philosophically or pragmatically believe that economic growth is always to be promoted, and by others who will gain financially by tourism’ (Getz, 1987 cited in Hall, 2008). This will continue until is proven that they will eventually run out of resources to use and when the growth of political opposition can no longer be prevented.

Although the main focus is on promotion and development of the destination, little attention is given to ensure that levels of demand are suitable to the resources and social carrying capacity of the region (Hall, 2008). Most of the time, the locals are not involved in the decision making and planning processes in regards to tourism development and those who are not in favour of these developments are deemed as being unpatriotic. For example hosting of events such as the Youth Olympics Games is deemed as beneficial for the host city of Singapore as it puts a country on display to the rest of the world making this a form of promotion. Money and resources are also spent on coming up with brand names such as ‘”Incredible India”, “Malaysia truly asia” and “Your Singapore”. This is done so that visitors would be able to identify the brand name to the country.


Economic planning is essential as it supports growth and development in certain areas. Governments built infrastructures such as hotels to support tourism in that area. This will encourage foreign revenue earning as more tourists will travel to the destination because of the useful facilities it supports. This in turn creates employment for the locals living there. Marketing and promotion is used ‘to attract certain visitors who will provide the greatest economic benefit to the destination’s specific tourist resources’ (Hall, 2008). In order to accomplish the market segmentation of the tourist coming to the destination and matching of products and services, research has been conducted by governments and industries.

However this may not necessarily be a benefit, when government focuses too much on the tourism industry they might neglect other areas such as agriculture industry. One of the strengths of the Central highlands of the Island as a tourism destination is its scenery. Tourist numbers are likely to increase when there is more accommodation built for them. Cutting down trees would be a necessary measure to make way for these infrastructures which in turn will change the environment of the destination (Moore & Dowling, 2001).


‘Tourism is regarded as having an ecological base resulting in the need for development to be based upon certain spatial patterns, capacities or thresholds that would minimise the negative impacts of tourism on the physical environment’ (Hill, Jenkins & Kearsley, 1997). This type of planning came from people who fight for a rational approach to the planning of natural resources and deemed as the oldest form of environmental protection. The main emphasis is on the physical and social carrying capacity of the destination. As tourism increases in a destination they have an impact on the natural environment. For example, many national parks have management plans that zone sections of the park (Hall, 2008). Zoning is one of the methods used to limit tourist interaction with the environment to a certain area (Newsome, Moore & Dowling, 2001). This will ensure that the damage to the environment would be minimal.

Although strategies have been placed to manage visitors to attraction sites, these sometimes fail when there is an increased level of visitors and increased demand for the experience of the visitors placed on the attraction (Hall, McArthur 1998; Newsome et al. 2005 cited in Hall, 2008). For example the Canterbury Cathedral in England has a visitor centre built to manage the large amount of tourists as they places stress on the ‘physical and spiritual fabric of the cathedral’ (Hall, 2008).


The social and political situation is monitored as the local community have some control over the tourism development process. As tourist destinations become popular, impacts to the destination starts to appear. Therefore since late 1970s more attention is ‘given to negative environmental, cultural and personal impacts of tourism and the social context within which it occurs’ (Hall, 2008). As alterations are being done to the environment of the local community, it is highly essential that the locals of the destination are involved in the decision making processes. Without the support of the locals it would be difficult for tourism growth and developments to occur. ‘The local community can also generate income, diversify the local economy, preserve culture, conserve the environment and provide educational opportunities’ (APEC, 2010). Providing educational opportunities is highly essential as it provides them with jobs in the tourism industry. For example locals are hired as tour guides to show the tourist around national parks so that they will educate the tourist on the importance of environmental conservation.

Local participation in tourism developments may be good but for tourism development occur foreign investors are necessary. An example would be building of accommodation for visitors. Majority of the earning s are goes back to the foreign investors leaving almost nothing for local community. A country with diverse cultural background might also pose a problem if there are conflicts among them and deter any foreign investors interested in investing in that country’s tourism development.

Sustainable Planning

Sustainable approach is a combination of boosterism, economic, spatial and community while generating income for the local community. This approach brings about the least damage to the environment (Inskeep, 1991). It brings about positive experience for the local people, tourism companies and the tourist themselves. The community benefits from the increase of job opportunities and improvement to the standard of living. Due to environmental protection resources last longer so that the future generations would be able to experience them and preserve them for many more generations to come (Newsome et al, 2001).

Sustainable approach may not be favourable to private sectors whose main objective is to make profits for their businesses. Due to zoning, there is limited interaction with the environment would leave visitors unsatisfied because they are not getting the entire experience of the destination.

Challenges faced by Tourism

There are many challenges that are faced by the planning of the tourism industry. Tourism planners have to face challenges everyday, which includes both man-made as well as by nature to create a perfect and attractive site for tourist at the same time not intruding the privacy of the natives of that destination. The issues are classified as man-made and natural some of them being Terrorism, Global Warming ,global pollution. health and safety.


Tourism and terrorism cant co-exist in the same place at the same time. Terrorists seek out tourist destinations for a variety of reasons. One of the reasons being is that: An attack on a tourism center is an attack on that nation’s economy and also the nation’s security. (Tarlow, Peter E (2002). Terrorism has a strong negative impact even in countries where there is stable political system and strong traditions in the field of democracy. (K, Valery, 2010). The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon (the single worst terrorist attack in modern history), by contrast, resulted in the deaths of 3,031 persons. (MERIA, 2006). Terrorism has manifested in the United States or Europe since the year 2000, has proven to be far too irregular (in terms of the frequency of the attacks) to provide a good overall picture of terrorism’s impact on the society. (MERIA, 2006)They have proved to be a major factor for tourist decision making. Tourist react very sensitively to such calamities when making their choice of a tourist destination. A single terrorist attack can have a strong influence in a tourist spot or a whole tourist country. Where terrorist actions take lives of tourists the recovery of tourism is very difficult. So tourism is gravely affected by terrorism.

Global warming

Another major problem faced by the tourism industry is ‘Global Warming’. Educating the government about climate change should be an additional strategy of the tourism industry. (Eugenio Yunis, 2001) Global warming has been occurring since the late 1800’s. Majority of climatologists have concluded that human activities are responsible for global warming. (NASA, 2005). The tourism industry is the booming and the most flourishing industry in the world, full of profits and money-making. But due to the both tourism and global warming work hand in hand. As tourism increases global pollution increases which in turn increases global warming. The main characteristics of the northern countries is their low temperatures. With an increase in temperature their climate conditions change. Due to global warming many nations around the world have been faced with climatic conditions such as floods, volcanic eruptions, droughts, tsunami and so on. And this has directly affected the tourism of these destinations. Avalanches may increase and the snow skiing areas will not be considered beneficial and attractive as they will not be safe in the future. They will not remain as the tourist attraction. On the other hand, new areas may become adequate for skiing. In other words, we will be observing a shift in the tourism industry. Because of global warming, people will not be able to go to beaches, scuba diving and snorkelling may have to be stopped then, skiing in the mountains will become just another memory, rising sea waters may sink many monuments like the London Tower, and water may become scarce in places like Leh which has its water source in the glaciers of the Himalayas. Countries like Spain and Greece have a favourable climate have now started becoming too hot to travel and live comfortably. There are some places are becoming major tourism because of the positive effects of global warming. By taking some profitable measures and by combating global warming we can help tourism industry flourish again. (Tourism Information Guide, 2010).Some nations for eg; Indonesia are a nation that has been seriously affected by natural calamities which include flood, active volcanoes, tsunami, forest fire. It has destroyed the economy of the nation and considerably reduced the tourist flow into the region.

Health and Safety

In today’s context, to destroy a tourism site’s reputation or to cause panic to the public, it takes very little effort. Take for example the outbreak of Sars in Toronto, Canada, once the news spread globally the hotel occupancy rate in the particular region dropped considerably despite the fact that there were no visitors who were stricken with the illness and cautious precautions were taken. This goes the same of the swine flu outbreak in Mexico. Visitors stopped coming to Mexico. World tourism faces a lot of global challenges in the event if there is a world pandemic. Examples being are the possibility of quarantines, the fear of airports and other crowded tourist destinations. The fear of not knowing what to do in case of illness in a foreign country, the need for cross-border medical insurance all this leads to second thoughts for a tourist. Tourists and convention planners are acutely aware of how hard the change or the cancellation of reservations both at the hotels and the airlines are. The change and the cancellation fees mean that there is a higher degree of travel risk in uncertain times. (Peter E Tarlow, nd)Recent crises like the September 11, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), H1N1 and Avian flu, tsunamis, earthquakes and currently the volcanic ash cloud have impacted the Travel and Tourism economy over the last decade in a very serious. (World Travel and Tourism Council, 2010) In Florida, in order to protect their tourism as their economy depends on the large part of tourism, and as tourism is already down as compared to previous years, mostly due to the economic downturn. If news of outbreak of swine flu in Orlando gets out, people might cancel their travel plans and stay home, causing loss of revenue to Florida businesses. Florida’s tactic seems to be in deny of any infection by citing CDC language, saying There have been no confirmed cases of swine flu by the CDC in Central Florida . But saying that the damage has still incurred no matter how much ever clarification or precaution is done on the situation.

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Introduction of Central Highlands

Central Highlands has been controlled by Great Britain until they became independent in 1964. A decade later, they became a republic. Since the mid-1980s, the island has transformed into a freight point, petrol refining point and a tourist destination and has had immense growth both economically and financially. The key features of Central Highlands of the Island are that it has a temperate/sub-tropical island approximately 1 hour by air and 5 hours by ferry from the mainland. There is an established tourism sector on the coast of the island but has experienced a number of environmental problems. They have also faced a number of challenges as they have limited infrastructure, depressed economy and limited natural resources. There are several isolated ethnic groups living within the region and have been ignored in most government policy exercises. They also do have a number of potential tourist attractions which is another important source of their revenue. The regional government there are also exploring the possibility of using tourism as a regional economic development tool. Also infrastructures of the region has immensely grown from the initial stage .


The infrastructure in the central region is limited and because it plays a major role in tourism, tourist are hesitant to travel to the destination. The Government should work to address the challenges which will connect the people with water, electricity, accommodation, roads etc and should try to develop the facilities provided for the welfare of tourist and natives of that region.


The government should introduce laws which guarantee free and compulsory education for all children under the age of 16. Education is every humans right no matter the rich or poor. As education is very important in the tourism industry , resources should be implemented to provide proper training to citizens to bring tourists around. Education also helps as a whole to enrich the countries overall development and wipe unemployment from the countries face. It brings a total development to the society and the nations development.


Permits are to ensure that the states have the following facilities to provide better circumstances for the people and the tourist and to keep a control over the functioning:

To reduce the impacts on high-use and sensitive areas

Separate potentially conflicting activities

Encourage responsible behaviour to all users

Collect data for planning

Monitor activities which may become damaging to the environment and try to remove them or prevent them.

Before any activity is undertaken, it is essential to see if the activity is allowed, and whether the activity requires a permit. Activities that require a permit are:

Most commercial activities, including tourist operations

Installation and operation of structures

Any works, such as repairs to structures, dredging and dumping of spoil, placement and operation of moorings

Anchoring or mooring for an extended period

Waste discharge from a fixed structure

Research except for limited impact research

Educational programmes

Traditional hunting. (Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, 2010)

The nation has to have a overall control of the functioning of certain aspects of the government to increase the development of the region as a whole and to improvise the tourism sector of that particular region.

Community Involvement

By letting the community be involved, there will be employment boost, training and economic opportunities for the community. Tourists who are there will respect the customs of the local hosts, pay for local goods and tourism services. For the tourism of any region to boom the particular locality should have a welcoming feeling to foreigners and to make the tourist to feel at home. There should’n be any kind of negative vibes within the natives and locals of that particular destination against the tourist who flow into that region for tourism purposes, The community of any particular environment plays a major role in developing the tourism of that region. Communities should be made aware and educated about how to welcome foreigners and tourist and providing them with inviting smiles and pleasant conversations so that the tourist don’t feel strange or weird of being in a new place. The development of the society and upgrading the knowledge and education level of that particular community. They also help in providing more employment offers to the locals of that area also increase the job offers.

Fines and Penalties

By implementing fines and penalties to the tourist destination, it helps in conserving the region and preserving the beauty and the naturality of that region. In Central Highland Island, bringing rules and penalties protects the environment and this in turn this will discourage the community from damaging the environment. While the Central Highlands do have a lot of natural forest and local architecture, Tourist might not be properly educated on how to conserve the region and in not polluting the destination. Tourist flow in from different regions of the world from different cultures and different society so its very important that the tourist destination should have proper rules and public safety officers to overview the entire functioning of the society as a whole, and prevent anyone who dare to be a nuisance to the public.


As having guided tours around, they will help to tell stories that are from the community, places (environment), artifacts. They also communicate ideas, enrich the tourist experience. They do have key roles to play in the management and conservation, in this case, as Central Highlands have little development, negative impacts and have substantial remaining natural forest and local architecture. Central Highlands also do have archaeological sites. The communication aspect helps the tourists to discover and appreciate their environment (natural, cultural etc). As the Central Highlands have very strong cultural heritage and unique ethnic groups, having tour guides made up of the community will certainly help the tourist understand more about the culture.


As the purpose of this report is to make Central Highlands to be more of a tourist attraction the report has included information on Government Approaches to tourism where the five approaches are listed, Getz (1987) has identified approaches to tourism namely boosterism, economic, physical/spatial, community and sustainable planning. Boosterism, has been around for a long time and currently still used to approach tourism. Sustainable planning is currently in used by tourism planners for the government.

Tourism planners should be aware of the challenges faced in tourism are both man-made as well as natural. Tourism industry is affected by terrorism, global warming and health and safety. Currently, tourism planners have to face these challenges as they occur on a regular basis such as Terrorism.

In the introduction to Central Highlands, infrastructure, education, permits, community involvement, fines and penalties and interpretation are used as regional development tool to help aid other possibilities of tourism. These tools have to be put in place as more tourists will come, enjoy their stay in the Central Highlands and spend more money.

Tourism is very important in many countries as one of their main sources of revenue. Central Highland’s economy is based on both the petrol production and tourism. Infrastructure, water and electricity are lacking in Central Highlands, therefore, tourists will not want to come down to the Central Highland for tourism purposes.

An issue to be implemented includes educating the ethnic groups in Central Highlands about the importance of having tourism in the country. Ethnic groups are important as their culture is part of what makes the destination attractive and they will be able to educate more tourists about their culture, protect their environment and understanding these interpretations, the tourist will be able to reduce tourism impacts.




Approximately 250 words