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Tourism planning is essential for any country, region, or community for a number of reasons. Imagine, if you will, your own community mounting a successful tourism campaign, only to find itself overrun by tourists for whom there are not enough hotel rooms, with an infrastructure inadequate to handle increased energy and water consumption, traffic, or sewage. Imagine a community with insufficient policing, not enough restaurants, and attractions with limited hours and facilities. And those are just a few of the problems that emerge in one community that does not plan.
If you look at the larger picture, a region or even a nation, what natural resources are at risk or even squandered if no planning takes place? What are the implications for the regional or national economy? Who are the stakeholders? Are their needs being addressed? Will tourism result in a few haves and many havenots? What consequences might there be if that is the case?
There is always a tradeoff when tourism succeeds. Sensible planning minimizes the downside and maximizes the good.
Tourism benefits the local economy of the city where it is planned. It generates jobs, increases the sales of local small businesses, and the money that these small businesses generate goes straight back into the community. This is because the more they make, the more they can meet demand and supply.
A strong local economy also increases property value. Location is one of the determining factors for pricing properties; the more things there are around a home, the more expensive the home will be.
Now that we have discussed how tourism helps, let's analyze why it is so important to PLAN it.
The biggest mistake city planners make is providing entertainment and leisure for tourism without first assessing what to do once tourism kicks in and the masses "expand".
Let's use this example although it is not in the U.S.
Think of a place like Australia.
Any trip to Australia is not only expensive, but a lot of consideration needs to be given to the time to be spent there, the time it takes to get there, how jet lag may or may not affect the trip, the changes in seasons, and where exactly to go once there.
This means that each Australian state, territory and city must fend for itself and compete as a preferred destination to attract the international tourists who must make the choices that will give them the most for their money.
The city of Victoria, one of the most visited and urbanized cities, tourism is planned from A to Z following a model that rivals many others:
1. Developing a policy: Rules, regulations, capacity, trade rules, minimums and maximums.
2. Strategy for the municipal community; direction for the department of tourism.
3. Planning and extension: What to do after a planning application for local tourism reaches its goals. What if something is going well...can it go better? Can it jump to be the best.?
4. Create a mission and a vision that reaches out through time and create a system of decision approvals made by councils.
5. Keep tourism as one of the factors for the city's economy development plan.
Back in America, imagine one of the biggest tourist attractions in the world, Walt Disney World, not being planned for?
a. How would they be able to control the unpredictable amount of tourists that visit the campus every year, at all seasons, and all year long?
b. Think about parking spaces, accommodations, places to eat, safety and security. Those are all just some of the huge factors to take into consideration.
c. Additionally, plans need to be made on how the profits will be used for expenses, supplies, and demand.
These are only the most important factors affecting tourism, but there is much, much more. Go online to your city's chamber of commerce website and you will see how your city manager uses tourism (or does not use it) to boost your local economy.
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