CHAP09_Attraction_Development.pdf - 1 Chapter 9 Attraction Development Learning Objectives Understand that attractions form the pull component of the

CHAP09_Attraction_Development.pdf - 1 Chapter 9 Attraction...

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Unformatted text preview: 1 Chapter 9 Attraction Development Learning Objectives • Understand that attractions form the pull component of the push/pull equation and that attraction types can be grouped into eleven different categories. • Examine the basic principles of attraction development. • Examine the principles of feasibility analysis for attractions. • Review factors that must be considered in any attraction location decision. • Review concepts and methods used to identify and delineate a trade area. • Examine different location decision models. • Review benefit or revenue/cost analysis procedures including selection of an appropriate interest or discount rate. • Review techniques, and the issues surrounding the use of them, to value publicly held attractions Introduction Attractions form the core of the tourism experience. They are the counterbalancing part of the supply/demand or push/pull equation addressed in the previous chapter. Attractions are the reason people travel to a particular destination. Hotels/motels, restaurants, souvenir shops, etc. all depend on the existence of at least one primary destination attraction. The primary attraction can be a stand alone operation or the conglomeration of many smaller attractions into a unified whole. Understanding relationships between different types of attractions is an important part of attraction 2 development. Attractions are not easy to categorize. They come in all shapes, sizes, appeal to different groups, have diverse ownership, and present different opportunities and problems to developers and members of the host society. Amusement parks, water parks, different types of resorts, nature based parks (public and private), mega malls etc make up the broad category of attractions. Not all attractions are compatible with each other and the beginning point of any attraction development program is to understand the unique features of the area (e.g. natural, socio-­‐cultural) and work within given limitations. Not all successful attraction developments have used this approach but these are generally the large mega developments which have created their own community to support their attraction. This chapter begins with a brief overview of the types of attractions most commonly found within the tourism literature. It then summarizes the basic principles that should be considered for successful attraction development. The remainder of the text, which constitutes the core section, discusses the various externalities affecting attraction development and analytical techniques utilized to value private and public sector attractions. Types of Attractions The point to keep in mind when determining what is an attraction, and what is not, is that almost anything can qualify as an attraction. The main determinant in attraction development is not what exists or can be built but how the attraction is managed, where the attraction is located, who it is an attraction for, how it is interpreted, and what 3 significance it has for locals residents and visitors. Attraction types can be grouped into eleven different categories. Many types of attractions can be allocated to more than one category which helps them draw from diverse markets. However for the purposes of classification the characteristics which exert the strongest pulling power determine the category. For example recreation activities fall into many different categories and are not included as a separate category in the list below. This does not mean they are unimportant rather the following categories should be examined with respect to what resources exist to make something an attraction amenable to various activity types. The reader will note striking similarity between many of the different types of tourism described in the previous chapter and the attraction categories discussed below. Say's law of supply creates demand can be restated to supply categorizes demand meaning it is often easier to name something intangible (i.e. travel motivations) after a tangible characteristic (predominant site feature or activity). For that reason the description of attraction types is brief as many of the explanations used in the previous chapter to describe types of tourism are sufficient to describe attraction types. 1. Natural-­‐-­‐Natural resource characteristics such as dominant land or water features, flora and fauna, and their respective climates form either the main characteristics or supply supporting features of most attractions. Publicly provided attractions are primarily natural resource based. Unique natural resource characteristics, because of their attraction appeal, are most often part of the public domain primarily to provide protection from major transformational development. Private attractions, which rely more on built 4 environments, often require particular climatic characteristics for success. For example Disney properties are located in areas with season extending climates. Their large capital outlay in a physical plant requires sufficient season length to maximize return on investment. 2. Business-­‐-­‐Large metropolitan areas are the centers of business tourism activity. The conglomeration of manufacturing, financial services, government, and individuals which collectively form large markets make metropolitan areas attractions for business tourism. For example a supporting infrastructure of accommodations and food service operations, together with publicly supported convention centers, has led to a growth in conference business in metropolitan areas. Rural areas, although less important as centers of business activity, also actively seek the convention/conference aspect of business tourism relying on their natural resource base, authentic or contrived, to provide the attraction support for conference or meeting based tourism. 3. Historic-­‐-­‐ Relics of the past, whether they are remains of built environments or places where significant events took place, can be offered as an attraction. Some sites may require restoration or preservation before becoming an attraction but the key element determining success is interpretation. Sites from early history or prehistory need grounding such as an explanation of their significance and relationship to modern day life. Interpretation that entertains and educates at the same time is necessary for a historical attraction to have strong appeal. Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania are two examples where interpretation of period living and historical events respectively has resulted in major historical attractions. 5 4. Ethnic/Cultural-­‐-­‐ The way different people live, work, play and worship comprise ethnic/cultural attractions. Many cultures do not see the uniqueness of their life as an attraction for other people. While this perception may be changed the presentation of an ethnic/cultural attraction must be undertaken with sensitivity. Ethnic/cultural uniqueness, if it is offered as an attraction, must be given the same protection as other attractions, subject to transformational change, as sustainable development will only be possible if the attraction remains relatively intact. 5. Family and Friends-­‐-­‐Reinforcing personal relationships was described as a major tourism motivator in chapter 8. There is no conscious effort made to develop family and friend attractions however recognition of their drawing power is important for the development of ancillary attractions. Attractions in close proximity to a family/friend attraction market may initiate special programs to induce visitors to bring along their guests. 6. Medical-­‐-­‐-­‐Health Spas were some of the first medical centers to be recognized as tourist attractions. Resort health centers are now much more common treating a wide variety of ailments. Advances in medical science have led to specialized diagnostic and treatment centers with worldwide reputations. The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota is an example where a large tourism sector has developed to handle the influx of domestic and international patients, and accompanying persons, to the clinic. 7. Special Events-­‐-­‐-­‐Special events such as annual festivals or infrequent mega events (e.g. Olympics) serve as important short term attractions. However as generators of repeat visitation or destination awareness they perform poorly. Mega events, with the television 6 exposure they receive, are viewed as destination promotions. However as Ritchie and Smith (1991) discovered even the exposure received from hosting a Winter 0lympics does not translate into significant destination awareness. Awareness decay begins shortly after the event is over and media exposure ceases. Special events are most useful as attractors when they are used to showcase community values. Events which reinforce the image(s) destination residents wish to project serve the twofold purpose of enhancing image development efforts and increasing local pride in the community. 8. Government-­‐-­‐Regional or national capitals are attractions because of the location of governmental headquarters. Governments have a tendency to glorify their accomplishments by building monuments, museums and other symbols of their potency. Capitals then generate attraction appeal through the business of governments and by offering built attractions for tourists. 9. Parks-­‐-­‐many of the publicly provided parks would be included in the natural resource category. Private sector parks are much different and rely mostly on a built environment for their attraction appeal. The most obvious of the private sector parks are the amusement or theme parks. Theme parks have grown into self sufficient community attraction complexes offering a range of services found in any destination community. This evolution of theme parks into resort complexes poses interesting dilemmas for destination development. The enclave approach separates tourists from community residents and little if any cultural contact results. While social impacts may be less from enclave development economic impact may also be reduced especially if the attraction utilizes sources outside of 7 the local area for needed goods. It can be argued that theme parks, which rely on mass tourism markets for income, are better suited to enclave development as little if any beneficial cultural contact results from mass tourism developments. The enclave approach also allows for intensive site planning reducing the spread of development and lessening the chances for widespread environmental impact to occur. On the other hand successful theme park development often leads to other economic activity outside of the enclave border resulting in development spread. This development spread is often not controlled by intensive site planning and indirectly the well planned and managed theme park can cause major environmental and socio-­‐cultural impacts from development outside its borders. Development spread is explored in more detail in chapter 12. 10. Religious-­‐-­‐Religious Attractions are the most difficult to discuss from a development perspective. It is not necessarily the types of facilities constructed to host tourists that pose the most difficulty but rather how religious attractions come into being. Most attraction developments start with a base of support. The area’s natural resources base, proximity to markets or the presence of some other economic activity such as medical services or government provide that base of support. A religious attraction's base of support is the ethereal element of faith. Because of this religious attraction development is not predictable. Some of the more famous religious attractions include Mecca, the birthplace of Mohammed, Rome, the seat of power for the Catholic Church, and Salt Lake City, the headquarters of the Mormon religion. The first appearance of the Virgin Mary to a group of children in Medjugorje, Bosnia 8 Hercogovina, formerly Yugoslavia, on June 25, 1981, and every day thereafter touched off an unrivaled tourism boom for this heretofore unknown destination. Before the war in Bosnia Hercogovina an average of 4,000 visitors a day poured into the town and in the 1980's over 10 million visitors descended on Medjugorje coming from all over the world. Conversations with those monitoring development in Medjugorje indicate that the war in surrounding areas had little impact on visitor numbers. The city has over 8,000 commercial beds with additional developments in neighboring cities. Travel to the site did not cease even during the height of the Bosnian war. Similar "visions" in Lourdes, France transformed a little village into a major tourism destination. Although religious attractions can be built and even themed ( e.g. Bible World) there is no substitution for spontaneous appearances of religious figures with the resulting impact these events can have on tourism development in areas with no other noteworthy attraction base. Religious attractions appear to be able to withstand even the most disturbing events which have led to tourists leaving other areas. Even during the escalating violence brought on by the intifadas in Palestine and Israel pilgrimage tourism did now show significant declines. In a similar vein famous people's birthplaces take on the appearance of shrines. Presidential homesteads such as Jimmy Carter's in Plains, Georgia not only put Plains on the map (literally) but is the home of the Carter Presidential library, a major tourist attraction for the area. One of the best examples of this phenomenon is Graceland the home of Elvis Presley outside of Memphis, Tennessee. The number of visitors to Presley's mansion rival figures for some of the more popular religious sites. 11. Other Built-­‐-­‐Built attractions such as zoos, aquariums, sports arenas and so on 9 are all attractions that could make up separate categories. They are grouped together in this category for simplicity and because they all require facility construction. Simply because they are grouped together in one category does not detract from their attraction potential. Many urban areas are beginning to rely more heavily on built attractions to complement the business tourism that now exists. Principles of Attraction Development Attraction development can be described sequentially beginning with a thorough understanding of what currently exists. Secondly an assessment of the attractions identified in step one is undertaken and finally an attraction mix strategy is formulated. Inventory Attractions are not always easy to identify especially if there is an absence of the obvious natural or man made variety. Therefore the first step in attraction development is to inventory all existing and potential attractions. A potential attraction is one that may already exist but has not been previously recognized as an attraction. For example the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) are common sights above the 45th Parallel. Visitors from areas where the Northern Lights are not visible may not know they exist and even if they do they may not be aware of the time or conditions most likely for them to appear. Hence the problem is not only in marketing the natural occurrence as an attraction but in providing the right type of information/interpretation allowing the visitor to fully appreciate the phenomenon. Attraction inventory is not always an easy task and usually requires a great deal of time and the assistance of many people in order to list the entire range of attractions 10 available. Attractions should be inventoried by category such as those described above. Assessment Once attractions have been inventoried they should be subjected to an evaluation process. The Tourism Center at the University of Minnesota has identified six criteria for evaluating attractions. Quality Tourists, like other consumers, are in search of value for money spent. Product quality determines value. It should be recognized that high attraction quality goes beyond prominent levels of customer assistance, neat and pleasing facilities, and efficient operations to include natural and socio-­‐cultural resource protection. Maintaining the quality of an area's resource base sets the stage for the projection of quality services for all aspects of destination services. Quality assessment of attractions is provided by many private sector organizations which rate and evaluate member businesses. However for those attractions which are not affiliated with a larger organization quality assessment must be done at the local level. Local groups must also be involved in assessing attraction quality in terms of integration with community resource values. Authenticity Authenticity reflects a "sense of place". Tourists may have limited experience with a destination. What they perceive exists may have been acquired from many different sources. Actual visitation results in new perceptions. What is offered to tourists in the way 11 of attractions represents the perceived authenticity of the destination. There have been many successful communities which rely almost exclusively on built attractions such as casinos, water parks and so on. When a decision is made to move in the direction of built attractions, which are not integrated within the socio-­‐cultural or natural resource base of the area, the destination must realize that it moves into a higher risk category. Destinations relying exclusively on non-­‐authentic built attractions must constantly evaluate competitors as their attractions are more easily substitutable. Non-­‐authentic attractions, to prosper, must constantly change, improve product quality, adjust to market trends and be heavily budgeted for promotion and marketing. They are also more likely to undergo rapid development transformation as they respond to market trends. Countering the risk assumed by a development strategy that emphasizes non-­‐authentic attractions is the financial reward that comes from catering to a mass market. Development of authentic attractions is more compatible with an alternative form of tourism and sustainable development strategy. The point to keep in mind is that authenticity represents what currently exists. Cultural, historic, and natural resources form the foundation of establishing authenticity. Almost every area has something already in place that cannot be replicated elsewhere. The trick is to realize what those resources are and present them to visitors as representative of the area's sense of place. Too much development or too rapid development changes what exists and by definition changes authenticity. Authenticity becomes transitory and subject to interpretation. Examples of authentic attractions are theme communities which represent the ethnic heritage of the residents. Integration with existing commercial activity may also lead 12 to the development of authentic attractions. Farm stays, roadside fruit and vegetable stands, tours of processing facilities, farm tours which offer agricultural education as an attraction, are all examples of authentic attraction integration with existing commercial activity. As discussed earlier community development strategies have an impact on the type and level of social impacts that result as well as the magnitude of the economic returns. In general terms the farther removed from an authentic attraction the destination community becomes the more likely the potential for higher levels of socio-­‐cultural impacts to occur but also the opportunity for higher economic returns. Uniqueness As more and more destinations become interested in developing a tourism attraction base uniqueness will become even more important. As previously discussed travel brings a change of place and pace. Replicating what exists in the market or in other destinations does not offer anything new to the tourist. As destinations complete their attraction inventory they will most probably find a wide range of attraction development options. Finding the...
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