Most Important Steps Involved In Tourism Planning

There are several processes or analysis of a plan for tourism development. It is very important that these processes are properly adhered to. The description of these planning processes as given here can only be briefly indicative and limited to mere suggestions of the topics or steps without entering into detailed analysis.

The main steps or phases in the planning process are as follows:

1. Assessment of Tourist Demand and Supply:

One of the early steps in planning is gathering information on the thing the way they are and on the potential available for desirable growth. One of the main problems in investigating the potential of tourism can be the simple lack of information.

Recording of information and the development of statistics is, therefore, of utmost importance. The important initial steps in evaluating a potential for tourism development lives in determining present status. An analysis of the present structure of demand and supply in tourism is a precondition of any other estimate.

This information base is a prerequisite for initiating tourism planning programme. In the first place there must be a survey of the tourist attractions of various types which the country has to offer.

Without a full study of the attractions a country possesses, it is not possible to plan for future expansion. It is, therefore, of fundamental importance that very careful assessment be made of all attractions- physical, cultural, historical – that a country possesses.

Peters lays down a number of principles on which assessment should be based.

1. It is highly desirable that the attractions should be developed progressively throughout the entire country so that tourism is spread as widely as possible. In this way the benefits which accrue from the industry are also widely spread and most parts of the country benefit.

2. Areas and attractions which are singled out for special development should appeal to the widest possible cross section of tourists over the longest possible season. By adhering to this principle, overdependence upon a particular season of the year will be avoided.

3. Priority should be given to those attractions which can be most easily and most successfully developed viz. those which can be based upon the existing infrastructural services and would require less finance.

4. Since it is very difficult, rather impossible, to develop all the potential attractions at the same time, it is important that similar or competing attractions should not be embarked upon until the volume of visitors can justify them.

5. It is important to know that the tourist is usually looking for something new; he desires new experiences, different environments, new thrills, etc. Any country possessing attractions which are unique or out of the ordinary should attempt to capitalise on these for they are likely to have a great drawing power.

Demand must then be estimated, for both national and foreign tourists. Both internal and external data on tourism activities affecting the area under consideration should be assembled.

This task should use published statistics on travel and tourism which are readily available from international and regional organisations. In addition travel and accommodation statistics can be assembled from the region under study.

Next the tourist supply must include all the different types’ of facilities additional to various type of accommodation establishment. Special attention must be given to the seasonal factor, i.e., the annual fluctuations in the demand as related to the country’s tourist attractions.

2. Objective Setting:

The initial data or the information thus gathered should develop a composite picture of what tourism can do for and to a particular area. In order to relate these projected results to a decision on whether to proceed with tourism development, there must be a basis for comparison.

This basis is the cumulative set of objectives which should be developed concurrently. Basically, objectives for tourism should be a sub-set of the overall objectives (either implicit or document) for the nation, its economy, people and the social structure within an area. There are, however, no hard or set rules as to what the objectives should be.

In general, however, tourism objectives should deal with growth leading to increased standard of living, employment levels, and opportunities for intellectual growth, enhancement of the investment potential in an area or country. Cumulatively, tourism objective should describe the set of conditions under which a favourable decision should be made.

If the data indicate that reasonable objectives for tourism development can be met, this will generally lead to a decision to proceed with a conceptual planning study. As a first step towards preparation of conceptual plan for tourism development, a market study begins with a determination of the type of tourism business which exists and can be expected.

Market study provides the basis for conceptual planning. The conceptual plan provides a general view of the future tourism development programme and the steps necessary to achieve targeted results. The various steps involved in conceptual planning, once the market survey has been performed, include:

(i) Statement of objectives

(ii) Selection of site

(iii) Requirements of various facilities

(iv) Supplementary attractions

(v) Land use allocation and control

(vi) Budgets and

(vii) Legislative requirements.

Preparation of master plan is another important step in planning. Master Planning is a process for completing and detailing additional work on the portions of the conceptual plan which are approved for further development. The differences between conceptual and master planning lie largely in the level of details involved.

Where conceptual planning, for example, might indicate the need to expand airport runways and terminal facilities, master planning would go into specifics on land and construction.

3. Territorial Planning:

The need will arise for locating each pole of tourism development so as to fit in with the general policy of territorial planning. Particular attention must be given here to natural and cultural assets of the country, while avoiding the damage which results from an unbalanced exploitation of their economic value.

The need for tourist territorial planning must be reconciled with the limits in place of industrialisation and urbanisation which, even though complementary to tourism, can constitute a serious danger to it. It will also be necessary to plan further tourism development in the selected zones in order to avoid excessive concentration in one area.

4. Basic Infrastructure:

If a tourism development programme is to succeed, it is necessary to provide life support through a number of infrastructure facilities and services. Infrastructure elements comprise the system of services and utilities which are necessary to the operation of a tourism destination.

The estimation of the basic infrastructure required for tourist expansion accordingly becomes a key economic factor in proceeding to the active phase of implementation.

This infrastructure will be either specifically touristic in nature, e.g., transport, or more general, such as energy producing units, and will in any case relate with the type of tourism envisaged. The requirements for infrastructure will vary for different areas.

The requirements, for example, will be different for a mountain resort and for a tourist pole adjacent to some cultural attraction. The requirements will be for both tourists and local residents. As various agencies are responsible for the development of infrastructural services, coordination is very essential.

Without coordination, different elements of infrastructure may infringe upon others resulting in wasteful expenditure. Specific areas of infrastructure are power, water communication, sewage and drainage, roads and highways, parks, recreation and health care facilities.

5. Financial Planning:

Financial planning is very essential for a successful tourism development plan. Before any major attraction facility of a destination gets into full swing, considerable expenses are involved. There follows the study of a vital element in tourist development, that is, the financing of both infrastructure and superstructure.

Assessing the cost of the project is relatively easy when compared to assessing benefits. There may be a choice of locations or a choice of techniques. Estimates must be made for each choice within a feasible range.

Each proposal must be assessed separately to establish its feasibility, cost benefit and degree of priority in making a plan. Agencies concerned with the development of an optional national investment programme should compare investment in tourism facilities and related infrastructure with alternative investment opportunities in other sectors.

In World Bank Group Operations, this comparison is attempted on the basic of economic rates of return for well defined investment proposals. In evaluating tourism investment, the World Bank Group pays very close attention to the projected financial results. In general, tourism, projects financed by the World Bank Group are justified in terms of both their economic impact and their financial viability.

In the case of the countries which already possess an active tourism industry or have a potential for increased tourism development, finances for investment will usually be available readily. However, in the case of developing countries, which are anxious to develop tourism, due to financial constraints, the provision of adequate resources of capital may be difficult.

The development of tourism sector will be only one of the numbers of options for development before a government, since government resources will inevitably be inadequate for all the competing claims upon them. In view of this the proposed investment in tourism must be justified in terms of its anticipated contribution, to the economic development of the country.

Except in centrally planned economies, such as in countries like CIS, Poland, Yugoslavia, public investment will be supported by private investment as happens in mixed economies like France,

Italy and India, The government may take the initiative in project development, but it will expect private investment support. If the government in anxious to develop and promote an active tourist industry it will help the private investor to the maximum extent.

This can be done first, by creating a favorable climate for investment and, second, by assisting private investor to consider tourism development as an attractive investment proposition.

This could be done by way of offering special financial incentives such as subsidies, tax concessions, preferential rates of interests, credits, special facilities for purchase of land, etc. All these investment incentives in some form or the other encourage private investment in tourism sector.

In addition public and private finance, foreign capital also plays an important role in tourism development programmes. Attention will have to be given to financial means and facilities designed to attract foreign capital.

A basic obligation at this stage will be the calculation of the output capital ratio, which will depend for the most part on the external economies which can be achieved. Foreign investment is usually welcomed by many developing countries, largely because of their own acute shortage of capital resources.


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