Rethinking visitor management for the 21st century internet version

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Presentation on visitor management given at National Taiwan University

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Rethinking visitor management for the 21st century internet version

  1. 1. Rethinking Visitor Management for the21st Century Stephen F. McCool Professor Emeritus The University of Montana National Taiwan University Internet Version 25 March 2011
  2. 2. Competing Demands Rising visitor use collides with diversifying expectations for forests Rising visitor use collides with diversifying expectations for forests
  3. 3. Preserve environment and allowvisitor use?
  4. 4. Objectivespartiallycompeting,partiallyoverlapping
  5. 5. Creates dilemmas and confusionfor managers
  6. 6. Implications We manage in a new world of complexity, uncertainty and change Recreation management and planning is in a crisis  Implementation and monitoring remain problematic It is in a crisis because  Of lack of funding  Declines in organizational capacity  Mindsets or mental models for managing recreation
  7. 7. What I Will Try to do Today Emphasize a change in looking at our management Discuss reasons for why management of visitors is in crisis Suggest how we can re-think our approaches
  8. 8. Given the Variety, Complexity and Uncertainty of the Context, The World of Nature-based Tourism … Is wicked  Conflict/confusion over goals  Scientific uncertainty about relationship between causes and effects
  9. 9. And is messy Problems are connected, cannot solve one problem without affecting other problems
  10. 10. And while international travel isgrowing rapidly, It is also increasingly competitive
  11. 11. Fundamental Propositions about Nature- based Tourism Application of systems thinking helps integrate varying disciplines and forms of knowledge
  12. 12. Live in a complex, uncertain environmentwhich is also politically contentious
  13. 13. Tourismexperience isdependent uponheritage valuespresent
  14. 14. Need a framework to “work through” issues
  15. 15. Mental models determine how we respondto life’s situations
  16. 16. A Mindset or Mental Model Is termed a paradigm Develop out of prior success in dealing with problems But may not be applicable in the future  Future is no longer like the past  What was successful in the past may lead to failure in the future Are difficult for followers of a current paradigm to understand and change to
  17. 17. Paradigms in Real Life
  18. 18. Some Mental Models in Visitor Management Managing for activities vs.  Identifying a carrying capacity managing for experiences vs. identifying acceptable conditions Incremental/ad hoc decision-making vs. using a  Site focused vs. regional level framework management  Conceiving of planning as a Focusing on biophysical technical exercise vs. attributes vs. focusing on building professional values competencies Focusing on the average  Destination (end state) is static visitor vs. understanding vs. destination dynamic diverse motivations  Focusing on events not Thinking of recreation understanding the system planning as separate from underlying the events implementation
  19. 19. Mental modelsoften serve to models we use to frame tourism  The mentalhandcuff our development questions are often barriers tothinking achieving goals
  20. 20. What is a Planning Framework? Focused on recreation/tourism Not law or regulation Guidelines, a process, propositions, steps Notion of “working through” Helps frame/define the problem Forces explicitness Not mechanistic
  21. 21. What Makes a Good Framework? Salient – not all frameworks address all issues Conceptual soundness – defendable theoretical foundation Technical – translated into practice well  Knowledge, skills, abilities  Administrative feasibility Ethical – who wins and who loses  Identifies trade-offs Pragmatic  Efficiency – biggest bang for the buck  Effectiveness – does it help achieve larger order goals Adapted from Brewer, 1973
  22. 22. Some Examples of Tourism and Visitor Management Frameworks Carrying (Visitor) Capacity based Frameworks – 1960s +  Social, Biophysical, Facility Recreation Opportunity Spectrum based Frameworks  Recreation Opportunity Spectrum – 1970s  Tourism Opportunity Spectrum – 1990s  Water Recreation Opportunity Spectrum – 2000s
  23. 23. Some Examples of Tourism and Visitor Management Frameworks Limits of Acceptable Change based Frameworks  Limits of Acceptable Change – 1980s  Visitor Impact Management – 1980s  Visitor Experience and Resource Protection – 1990s  Tourism Optimization and Management Model– 1990s The Benefits Based Management – 1990s Placed-based Frameworks – 2000s
  24. 24. Principal Question Addressed Carrying Capacity  How many is too many? ROS  What settings exist and what should be provided? LAC  How much change from a desired condition is acceptable? BBM  What experiences should be provided? Place-based  What meanings are attached to this place?
  25. 25. Some Characteristics of Useful Frameworks Jointly developed  Managers, scientists, constituencies Focus on understanding the system Structure our thinking Integrate public and technical knowledge
  26. 26. Management that iscompartmentalized
  27. 27. OrIntegrated?
  28. 28. Evolution of Recreation and Tourism Planning Frameworks Command/Control to Collaborative Generic to Issue/Place Specific Reductionistic to Realistic Implicit to Explicit Sites to Areas to Regions
  29. 29. Frameworks Only Work … Organizational will People are not rushed, distracted, careless or ignorant Technical capacity and proficiency Inclusive of differing values and systems of knowledge Open and deliberative Effectiveness rather than efficiency When thinking is at the systems level
  30. 30. Conclusions Driving forces and context mean that trade-offs will be made Raise the need for a framework to structure thinking Mental models or paradigms may hinder effective solutions Frameworks help decision makers work through complex issues A variety of frameworks exist, but vary in suitability
  31. 31. Conclusions Collaboration important aspect of success in framework development Institutional capacity is an issue  Managerial proficiency  Scientific expertise  Constituency understanding
  32. 32. Thank YouSteve.McCool@CFC.UMT.EDU

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