Boniface_and_Cooper_2005a-Geography_of_Resourses_for_Tourism

Boniface_and_Cooper_2005a-Geography_of_Resourses_for_Tourism...

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Unformatted text preview: A. .q fl , Chapter 3 The geography 0f resources for tourism Learning Objectives .After reading this chapter, you should be able to: I Appreciate the nature of resources for tourism. I Distinguish the methods used to classify and evaluate resources for tourism. I Outline the main factors favouring the development of tourism resources. I Understand the way that destinations evoive. I Appreciate the need for tourism planning, marketing and sustainable development. introduction Technology now allows tourists to reach most parts of the world, yet only a small fraction of the world’s potential tourist resource base is developed. None the less, with a growing demand for tourism focused on a small resource base, tourist destinations are under pressure. In part this is because tourism does not occur evenly or randomly in space — pressure is focused seasonally and at special and unique places. This demands the effective planning and management of tourism resources and in particular the matching of appropriate types of tourists to particular types of resource. Of course, different types of tourism will have distinctive requirements for growth, and certain sites, regions or countries will be more favourable for development than others. This chapter examines tourism resources at three scales: the world, the national and the local. 32 Worldwide Destinations Resources for tourism Tourism resources have three main characteristics: 0 The concept of tourism resources is normally taken to refer to tangible objects that are considered of economic value to the tourism sector. The sector, and indeed the tourist, therefore has to recognize that a place, landscape or natural feature is of value before it can become a tourism resource. For example, the combination of sun, sand and sea was not seen as a valuable tourism resource until the 1920s, when sunbathing became fashionable, while the increasing threat of skin cancer is now causing perceptions to change (see Chapter 4). 0 Tourism resources themselves are often not used solely by tourists. Apart from resort areas or theme parks where tourism is the dominant use of land, tourism shares use with agriculture, forestry, water management or residents using local services. Tourism is a significant land use but rarely the dominant one, and this can lead to conflict. Tourism, as a latecomer, is “fitted in’ with other uses of land. This is known as multiple use, and needs skilful management and coordination of users to be successful. 0 Tourism resources are perishable. Not only are they vulnerable to alteration and destruction by tourist pressure but, in common with many service industries, tourism resources are also perishable in another sense. Tourist services such as beds in accommodation, or ride seats in theme parks are impossible to stock and have to be consumed when and where they exist. Unused tourism resources cannot be stored and will perish, hence the development of yield management systems to maximize the consumption of resources. Manning for tourism resources Inevitably, tourism is attracted to unique and fragile resources around. the world. In the period following the Second World War many countries sought international tourism as an ideal solution to economic problems. Tourism was seen as an ‘indus« try without chimneys’ which brought economic benefits of employment, income and development. However, this economic imperative overlooked the environmen- tal, social and cultural consequences of tourism in many countries. In part, this was due to the ease of measuring economic impacts of tourism and the difficulty of quantifying other types of impact. However, there is an increasing awareness of the need for environmental and host community considerations to complement the economic need of destinations. Consumer pressure is shunning ethically unsound destinations and environmental impact assessments are being completed for major tourist developments. Since the late 1980s, sustainable tourism development has become the organizing framework, as mainstream concepts of sustainability have been applied to tourism. Bramwell and Lane (1994) see sustainable tourism devel— opment as a ’positive approach intended to reduce tensions and friction created by the complex interaction between the tourism industry, visitors, the environment and the community which are host to holiday makers’. A key priority is to translate the principles of sustainable development into action. For example, in the tourism industry, this is being done in a number of ways: 0 codes of conduct and guidelines — providing the industry with practical measures for say, recycling -v mat-6n . Jtux‘i'31'i-P 1:- Hula-’szlz“'|_'fifil’;-=VW-Il-=fl-'-'4\1lfi'JY-‘lf:‘f.-y.'_r:fig§ 11.571,“._..1..-.su.a-r.-. The geography of resources for tourism 33 a accreditation and certification — inspecting and certifying businesses on the basis of sustainable practices a licences —* licensing businesses operating in environmentally sensitive areas‘ . best practice dissemination — educating and communicating sustainable tourism best practice to the industry. Carrying capacity is a key concept of sustainable tourism — in other words, plarmers determine the levels of use that can be sustained by a tourist resource and manage to that level (see Table 3.1). Table 3.1 Carrying capacity The concept of carrying capacity has a long pedigree. it was originally developed by resource managers in agriculture and forestry to determine the cropping levels that pieces of land could sustain without nutrients and other food sources being depleted. Of course, in tourism the concept has a similar meaning. Quite simply, carrying capacity refers to the ability of a destination to take tourism use without deteriorating in some way. In other words, it defines the relationship between the resource base and the market and is influenced by the characteristics of each. One of the best definitions is by Mathieson and Wall (1982: 21): ’The maximum number of people who can use a site without unacceptable alteration in the physical environment and without an unacceptable decline in the quality of experience gained by visitors.’ This definition raises two key points: - Carrying capacity can be managed and there is no absolute number for any destina- tion. For example, open heathland can appear crowded with very few visitors present, whlie a wooded area can absorb many more visitors before appearing crowded. There are different types of carrying capacity: 0 From the point of view of the resource: — Physical carrying capacity refers to the number of facilities available — aircraft seats or car parking spaces for example. it is easy to measure and can be calcu— lated on a simple percentage basis. — Environmental or biological carrying capacity is more difficult to measure and refers to limits of use in the ecosystem. There is increasing interest in the capac- ity not only of the flora to take tourism use but also in terms of fauna - such as tourism based on whale or dolphin watching, or in the African game reserves. From the point of view of the visitor: — Psychological or behavioural carrying capacity refers to the point at which the visitor feels that additional tourists would spoil their experience. This is less straightforward than may appear at first sight. For example, completely empty spaces are just as problematic as crowded ones, and the type of tourist also has an effect on perceptions of crowding. And from the point of view of the host community: — Social carrying capacity is a measure of the ability of the host community to tolerate tourism. it is a more recent addition to typologies of capacity but is becoming an important issue. Indeed, one of the most important tests of a sustainable tourism destination is the level of involvement of the local community in plans and decisions relating to tourism development. Whilst there is a concern that local residents have a lack of knowledge about tourism, new techniques such as ‘destination visionlng' (where the locals determine the future of tourism), and ’llmits to acceptable change' where they determine levels of future development, are increasingly being adopted and are a form of capacity management. 34 Worldwide D Tourism planning must be central to these issues. Such planning has evolved from an inflexible, physical planning approach to a flexible process which seeks to maxi~ mize the benefits and minimize the costs of tourism, whilst at the same time recog- nizing the 'holistic’ nature of tourism «- we must plan for the Visitor as well as the 3 resource. The benefits of tourism planning are clear (Table 3.2). Ideally, tourism planning: 0 is based on sound research 0 involves the local community in setting goals and priorities ,; 0 takes a holistic approach ’ G is implemented by the public sector in partnership with the private sector. Despite the many approaches to tourism planning, the planning process can be 7; reduced to six basic questions: i - What type of tourist will Visit? I What is the scale of tourism? 0 Where will development take place? 0 What controls will be placed upon development? 0 How will development be financed? 0 ‘Nhat will be government’s role? Table 3.2 The benefits of tourism planning For those involved in delivering and developing tourism at the destination, tourism . planning: * 0 provides a set of common objectives for all at the destination to follow 0 coordinates the many suppiiers of tourism at the destination 0 encourages partnerships between stakeholders at the destination 0 encourages effective organization at the destination I provides an integrating framework for future actions and decisions. For the destination itself, tourism pianning encourages a high-quality tourism environment because it: .1 0 optimizes the benefits of tourism to a destination 0 minimizes the negative impacts of tourism on the economy, environment and host community 0 encourages the adoption of the principles and practice of sustainable tourism 3 0 provides a land-use-based pian for zoning areas for development, conservation and protection I encourages design and other standards for the tourism sector to work to 0 encourages careful matching of the development of the destination and its markets D allows for the consideration of issues such as manpower and investment 0 upgrades the destination environment ' encourages a monitoring system to be implemented at the destination. : i i ‘. mm.‘m.wmuw.m ara-flr-rn‘lrtrwo—I‘M -- _- u. man—'E‘Zs-4n13v—1 ..-.; ._-_s_.-;~r_»~. 5.3» :71, _ The geography of resources for tourism 35 The answer to these questions will depend, from place to place, on the government’s approach to tourism and the importance of tourism to the economy. The planning process is summarized in Figure 3.1. »~ Unfortunately, despite the emergence of tourism planning as a profession, plans for tourism still either fail or are opposed. They may fail because policy changes, demand changes, unforeseen competition emerges, investment is not available or the plan was too ambitious or inflexible. If tourism planning does not succeed then: - the quality and integrity of the tourist resource are at risk 0 the role of tourism in multiple land use may be threatened as other uses dominate ‘ the tourist suffers from a poor quality experience. As we have become more sophisticated in the management of tourism, the emphasis has moved from the protection and preservation of resources to the man— agement of the visitors and in particular the need to deliver an enjoyable, worth— while experience. Figure 3.2 outlines the approaches used to manage visitors. Analyses the area's situation- demand, supply and the industry Background analysis Collects data to support stage 1- market and resources data: develops Research a sound database for the plan Draws together data from stages 1 and 2 and produces Synthesis position statements Determines goals, e.g. boost environmental protection. and strategies, eg. develop a visitor Goals and strategies management strategy Identifies actions, responsibilities, Plan development timings, funding and monitoring The point at which Implementation many plans fail Figure 3.1 Tourism planning flow chart Source: Based on Mill and Morrison, 1935 36 Worldwide Destinations Locating facilities Managing facilities Site restoration .s C CD E OJ U1 m C (D E E 5 information and education Fees E an E U.) 5'1 m E {U E § 2 > Indirect management ——fi~> —————-)ll(-— Regulating visitor use - Numbers 0 Group size 0 Length of stay 0 Enforcement 4— Direct management Figure 3.2 Visitor management strategies and actions Tourism resources at the world scale Physical features The earth’s biosphere consists of the atmosphere (air), hydrosphere (water) and lithosphere (land) (Newsome et at, 2002)., Nearly three-quarters of the earth’s sur— face consists of sea, including the five oceans —- namely the Pacific (by far the largest), the Atlantic, lndian, Southern and Arctic Oceans. Land makes up the remaining 29 per cent comprising the seven continents and associated islands, namely Asia (the largest both in land area and population), followed by Africa. North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe and Australasia. (Strictly spealo ing Europe is part of the greater landmass known as Eurasia.) Almost 40 per cent of The geography of resources for tourism 37 the Northern Hemisphere, but less than 20 per cent of the Southern Hemisphere, is made up of land. This uneven distribution of land and sea has important implica— tions for Chfllate, population distribution, economic development, communications and, thus, tourism. The land surface of the earth is composed of a variety of landforms which we can broadly group into four categories: mountains (areas of elevated, rugged terrain), more gently sloping hill lands, elevated plateaus and lowland plains. Within each landform category there are features resulting from natural forces and variations in the underlying rock. Volcanoes, crater lakes and calderas, lava formations, geysers and hot springs, are geothermal features caused by disturbances from deep within the earth’s’ crust. Even in areas where volcanic activity ceased long ago, springs rich in minerals have in turn given rise to the type of health resort known as a spa. Another important group of features is found in host limestone areas, where Surface streams have 'disappeared’ undergrbund to carve out impressive caves, sinkholes and gorges. Mountains and hill lands account for 75 per cent of the land surface. Mountain ranges are found in every continent but are particularly associated with geologically unstable areas characterized by earthquakes and volcanic activity. This explains why some of the world’s most spectacular mountains are situated in the ’Pacific Ring of Fire’ close to the western and eastern margins of the world’s largest ocean. Those mountain areas in middle latitudes affected by glaciation during the last Ice Age are particularly attractive for tourism development. This is due to the variety of scenic features, including spectacular peaks, glaciers, cirques, lakes and water- falls, as well as the crisp clear air which encourages a range of activity and adven— ture holidays Most of these involve limited numbers of visitors and are the concern of ’niche’ tour operators dealing directly with their customers. In contrast, skiing, and more recently, snowboarding have attracted a mass following, and a major winter sports industry has burgeoned in most developed countries. Much of the demand is generated from densely populated countries where suitable resources are in short supply. This has resulted in the development of a multitude of ski resorts in the more accessible mountain regions: some of these are based on existing rural communities but a growing number are purpose-built at higher altitudes for the skiers’ convenience. In summer these same regions attract tourists interested in sightseeing for a ‘lakes and mountains’ holiday. In southern Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America mOuntain resorts cater more for health tourism, providing relief from the oppressive summer heat of the cities in the lowlands. The sparse population of most mountain regions has made it easier for govern— ments to designate areas as national parks for their outstanding natural beauty, unique geological features, wildlife or for their ’countryside capital’ — the rural fab- ric such as buildings and landscapes. Nevertheless, few suitable areas are pristine wilderness, so that tourism has to compete with other demands on resources includ- ing forestry, pasture for grazing, hydroelectric power generation and mineral extrac- tion. Since mountain areas have a limited carrying capacity, over-development involving the construction of roads and cableways is a matter of growing concern. This has led many authorities to discourage the more popular forms of tourism in favour of activities in harmony with the natural environment which will sustain the resource for future generations. The coast continues to be the most popular location for holidaymakers world- Wide. The beach, more than any other environment, appeals to all the physical senses and is associated in people’s minds with carefree hedonism. Sandy beaches 38 Worldwide Destinations and sheltered coves providing safe bathing with a protective backland of sand dunes or low cliffs, will encourage tourism deVelopment and a wide range of recreational activities. More rugged and exposed coastlines might attract surfers, but would deter other water sports enthusiasts and families with young children. Although beaches have a high carrying capacity compared to most ’natural’ environments, they are prone to pollution and erosion by winter storms. Small islands, and the coral reefs found along many trepical coastlines, are particularly vulnerable to the ecological damage caused by excessive numbers of tourists. Coastal plains are ideal for large-scale resort development, but such locations are also sought after as sites for major industries, and most would agree that oil refineries do not make good neighbours! Most destinations are now aware of the tourism potential of attractive beaches, so that the developers’ attention has turned to the wetlands m estuaries, marshes, swamps and tidal mud flats, which are not valued as a tourist resource. Although ecologically important as a Wildlife habitat — a faCt recognized by the Ramsar Convention — the world’s wetlands are increasingly under threat. In many tropical countries for example, mangrove swamps have been dredged to provide harbours and yacht marinas, or to expand the lucrative shrimp—fanning industry. Elsewhere, wetlands have been reclaimed for use by airports, industry and intensive agriculture. ’ Inland water resources for tourism can be viewed as nodes (lakes, reservoirs), linear corridors (rivers, canals), or simply as landscape features (such as the Victoria Falls). Lakes are particularly numerous in recently glaciated areas such as the Alps, Northern Europe and North America. Where lakes are accessible to major cities they attract second—home owners and a wide range of recreational activities which may not be compatible (for example, anglers and jet—skiers). Spatial zoning and temporal phasing of these activities may be necessary to avoid conflict. Water pollution is also a problem, as unlike the tidal nature of the sea, lakes have no natural cleansing mechanism. Rivers are more widely available than lakes but, in most cases, tourism and recreation take second place to the needs of industry, COmmerce and agricul- ture. Even so, boating holidays on the inland waterways of Europe are growing in popularity, while rivers previously regarded as unnavigable are sought out by adventurous tourists for the challenge of Whitewater rafting and canoeing. The world’s forest resources also deserve Special mention. In most developed countries forests and w...
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