Since the second world war, planning for tourism has changed and evolved along with the industry. It has developed from a state-oriented and physical emphasis into a more regional and systems approach.
Public opinion and political power must be courted and won if the tourism industry is to continue rely on government support and community assets for its survival and success.
By stressing the community and system aspects of tourism, it become apparent that this activity is interwoven into the social, economic and environmental aspects of all communities, whether or not they are major destinations .
The economic problem of the late 1980s and early 1990s have led many communities to consider embracing this growth industry of the post-industrial era. To do so, however, without careful analysis and consideration of the consequences can lead these same communities into a quicksand of false expectations.
So, for a more sensitive and cautions approach to development is the adoption of an ecological community approach in conjunction with system planning.
In this way, existing or new destinations may create more community control over the pace and style of their tourism development, enabling them to become individually recognizable components of the tourism markets assortment.
Tourism can bring many broader benefits that will contribute to the economic and social well being of local communities as well as to individuals, it cant be the focus of regeneration of urban and rural areas.
Provide a catalyst for growth in an area, raising its profile and stabilizing out-migration;
Provide opportunities for retraining for the resident workforce and help to diversify over-specified economics; and
Help maintain and expand under-used sports and recreation facilities in urban areas;
Support and enhance local services and facilities such as shops and pubs in rural areas.
Planners will need to consider what methods they need both to access and handle data and in using it to make robust plans and decisions. A clear and methodical approach will be particularly required for community involvement and consultation which include:
Formal written consultation at the outset to the nature and extent of local business interests in tourism.
Focus group, panels or one- to-one meeting to explore options and support for particular proposals;
Public meetings and exhibitions to disseminate the plan’s vision for tourism and establish the degree of support for those amongst the wider community ; and
Area forums, workshops and planning for real exercise to develop detailed ideas and to promote ownership of the plan’s proposals.
How a community responds to the opportunities and challenge of tourism depends to a large extent on its attitude to the industry. Attitude are personal and complex variables but in terms of community attitudes to tourism, 3 identified determinants can be identified:
First, the type of contact which exists between resident and visitor can have a bearing on a residents reaction to and support of the industry;
Second, the relative importance of the industry to individual and community prosperity will be a factor;
Third, a tolerance in resident receptiveness can be expected, in terms of the volume of business a destination can handle.
The inclusion of complex impact consideration in a tourism planning process strongly implies relatively wide community involvement in impact assessment . Increased involvement in estimating complex impact contributes to reliability of the estimates. Such involvement also serves as a constructive vehicle for appraisal of impacts by individuals and groups other than these which are “expert”, a body in a planning process ( Runyan and Wo)
The community emphasis of the ecological community model indicates that as the scale of planning decreases more public participation should be expected and encouraged. Planning experience in other fields reveal communities are willing to participate in decisions regarding their future development. (Coppock and Swell, 1977)
Inventorying consists of compiling a list of all local attractions and resources that meet the project objectives, even those that seems obvious to community residents, since visitors may find these interesting. From this inventory, a list of attractions and resources that have propriety for interpretive development based on visitors demands and needs, and budgetary constraints, should be produced. Some key features to look for in attractions and resources as for example:
Uniqueness – natural areas, unusual wildlife, different cultures.
Aesthetics – Scenic overlooks, beautiful sunsets, fall foliage.