In this article the overall process of producing a plan is examined, while specific techniques that might be utilized in the process are addressed. The process of strategic planning is considered initially, followed by a brief examination of some official guidelines for planning recently published in Britain and Australia. The main part of the article discusses the overall planning process, in the context of the rational– comprehensive model outlined in Fig. 5.3. Finally, the process of land-use planning and its relevance to leisure and tourism are discussed.
The contents of this article are addressed primarily to the local-government sector, since local government is the level of government that has a comprehensive range of powers and responsibilities with regard to leisure and tourism services. Much of the book’s content is almost equally applicable to specialist agencies, such as tourism-development or nationalparks organizations, trusts responsible for single services or facilities, in either the public or non-profit sector and, in federal systems such as Australia and Canada, to state or provincial governments. In what follows reference is made to elected councils as the source of authority and decision-making power, but for other types of agency this role is played by a board or committee or, in the case of state and provincial governments, by state or provincial governments and parliaments.
The terms strategic planning and strategic management have been used to refer to an approach to planning and management that seeks to ensure that medium- to long-term goals are given prominence, and day-to-day management is harnessed to the achievement of such goals rather than being distracted by ad hoc, short-term objectives. This approach has its origins in the private sector but, since the 1960s, public bodies have increasingly been required to behave much like private corporations, preparing strategic plans, which are rolled forward annually and which integrate forward planning with budgeting, implementation strategies and performance appraisal (Caret et al., 1992: 5–24). The terms strategic planning and strategic management are used interchangeably by some, but strategic planning is seen here as the initial process of preparing a direction and broad programme of activity for the organization, while strategic management, on the other hand, is seen as those aspects of management which are concerned with ensuring that the strategic plan is implemented and that the organization does not lose sight of its strategic directions because of day-to-day concerns.
We all make decisions all the time, as individuals and as part of social groupings, such as a household or a group of friends. Some of the decisions are short-term or dayto- day in nature, such as what brand of instant coffee to buy; others are more significant, often with a number of long-lasting consequences – for example, buying a house, embarking on an educational course or getting married. These more significant decisions might be called strategic – they imply a strategy for the future with a range of factors and further decisions being dependent on them. More time and care are generally taken over these strategic decisions than over day-to-day decisions; often they involve complete appraisals of our lives, our values and our relationships. Leisure and tourism organizations similarly make day-to-day decisions and strategic decisions. Examples of the range of decision-making, from the minor day-to-day level to the strategic level, in leisure organizations, are given in Table 6.1.
Table 6.1. Levels of decision-making.