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Tourism Planning

Planning refers to the process of setting and meeting certain objectives. Planning
is done by an organization or individual to achieve a common goal. Tourism
planning is a necessary process for the successful development of a tourism
product or the destination.

Main focus of tourism planning includes employment, economic diversification,

resource conservation and traveller satisfaction among many others.

Unrestricted tourism planning has negative impacts on the destination such as,
diminished image, socio-cultural deterioration, traffic congestion, overcrowding,
environmental issues etc.

Approaches towards Tourism Planning:

 Boosterism: According to this approach towards tourism development,

economic benefits are focused on while restrictions on developments by
companies are reduced. Though this has short-term impacts towards
improving public perception of the destination, it will eventually have
negative impacts on the environment and other components at the
 Interactive Planning: This approach is participative and cooperative as it
focuses on the local communities’ opinions. This is time consuming, yet
helps in making better decisions and the decisions are well received by the
 Conventional Planning: Though many governments or organizations have
laid out development plans, they are partially implemented or not
implemented at all. Such plans are made by combining information instead
of consultation thus are based on gathered data.
 Integrated Planning: According to this approach, every development plan
must be formulated in consideration with the local community, cultures,
political/economic policies and the environment. Thus it emphasizes on the
development along with conservation and content of different sectors in
the tourism destination.
 Market-led Planning: This approach puts the guest satisfaction ahead of
other components, thus the term “market-led”. In this type of planning, the
result is short term and changes the socio-economic composition of the
destination over time.
 Supply-led Planning: This type of approach to tourism planning focuses on
the product at the destination used by tourists. This means that unlike
market-led approach, it provides the facilities required by tourists as seen
appropriate by the local community thus providing an opportunity for
exchange of cultural heritage.

For materializing a strategic tourism development plan, it is necessary to

understand that it is a continuous process for long term plans that can adapt to
changes happening in the industry in the future.

Evolution of Tourism Development Planning:

 Unplanned development era: Tourism still hasn’t been considered as an

industry with potential
 Partly supply oriented stage: Basic tourism infrastructure construction
 Entirely supply oriented stage: Focused on facilities to satisfy increased
tourism inflow without considering impacts
 Demand oriented stage: Tourist demands are main focus
 Contemporary approach stage: Environmental, socio-cultural and
economic issues resulting from increased tourism development are
rectified with the help of planners.

Implementation of Planning:

 System approach: The three environments in a tourism system include

internal (policies, marketing, finance etc.), operating (tourists, suppliers,
competitors etc.) and macro (economy, politics, technology etc.)
environment. Though the system consists of separate components, for
successful development must be seen as a whole.
 Product strategic approach: These are techniques that help in achieving
objectives of a development plan. In tourism, attracting high spending
tourists is necessary for sustainable growth of the destinations. Hence, low
cost strategy can’t be applied in the case. Other techniques include
improving destination image by providing quality products to the
customers. These bring prosperity to the hosts destination while upholding
the cultural values.

Outputs in Tourism Planning:

 Partnerships: The public sector- private sector partnership can benefit a

destination. This means that the private sector would assist the
development of tourism services in return for profits while public sector
eases laws and regulates policies to produce a successful destination.
 Community Participation: Community participation comes as an advantage
in the decision making and benefits of tourism development. There are
various types of community participation-pseudo, partial and full. When
communities are given opportunities and awareness, they can help develop
the image of the product and help in the development process alongside
conservation of resources and prosperity and welfare of the local
community. They are the representatives of the destination and hence their
cooperativeness and collaboration is necessary to run it successfully. This
can be brought about by the willingness of the government and decision
makers to induct local communities into management roles. On the other
hand, there are disadvantages too. The involvement of people from the
local community who have little or no knowledge of tourism could harm it
more than helping to develop it. It is also time consuming and involves high
administrative costs. Hence though community involvement is partially
necessary, fully incorporating the locals would mean delayed decisions,
authority issues, and financial losses among many other repercussions.