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Case Studies in Tourism Planning (1)

INTRODUCTION
This article presents three case studies designed to demonstrate the
theories and techniques outlined earlier. It will become
evident that each case focuses on a few of the techniques described,
rather than incorporating all equally. In real life, each situation is
unique and requires a customized approach to planning. It is when
tourism planners use a cookie-cutter approach to all problems that
difficulties often arise. Most tourism developments, from the
perspective of either the entrepreneur or the community, nevertheless
encounter issues that are likely to be common to all cases. These
usually include: concerns with supply and demand; cost-benefit
analysis; cost-unit analysis; establishing a range of fees and charges
for the product that the market will bear, and the economic impact
of the development upon those who will assume the costs, both
physically and financially. In addition, there are likely to be issues of
process and resource allocation, such as who defines the vision on
which development is based, and how decisions are made when there
are conflicting views and opinions.
All development represents what economists call ‘opportunity
costs’ – that is, once a resource has been allocated and used for one
purpose, society forgoes its use for some other, perhaps equally
important purpose. There are also two major practical concerns of
tourism analysis: the evaluation and selection of suitable resources for
the facility or activity being planned; and the identification and
management of the conflicts between users of the same resource.
Finally, in parts of the world where traditional cultures are involved,
tourism planners must grapple with the consequences of the commodification
of culture. It is in this domain that tourism development
can have drastic effects on people’s everyday lives and even on their
basic construction of reality. Tourism development has too often
changed the living patterns of communities without giving much
thought to the consequences of those changes. This is illustrated by
the short discussion of the Ladakhis and the Canadian
composite community scenario also presented in that article.
This article examines several case studies in light of the issues
outlined above. Each case study represents an attempt to deal with
a number of the issues raised in this article. While it will be evident
that the processes deployed in each case are focused on certain areas
and not on others, the studies were chosen because it was felt that
their planning activity had proceeded in a way that was generally
consistent with the values outlined in this article. In each case, a
concerted attempt was made to take the welfare of the community
and the environment into account, rather than only the interests of
profit maximization. Attempts were made, in other words, to
incorporate much of the philosophy outlined in the preceding
articles. Fundamentally, these cases saw attempts to
institute a planning process that recognized the partnership between
the producer (the environment or culture), the supplier (the tourism
industry), and the consumer (the tourist), as depicted in Figure 5.3.
Thus, each case discussed approaches tourism development from a
systems perspective.


 

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