An introduction to the Principles of integrated tourism planning (Part One)

Integrated tourism planning is an exercise in good management.

To be effective and contribute to the overall management of a destination’s welfare, tourism development should:

  • be coordinated with other activity and policy areas
  • be supported and promoted by the government
  • be considered as a good risk for investment
  • be conducted by a well-informed and well-trained tourism industry.

It is important that tourism does not become isolated, and that it is not considered in a vacuum.

Even if tourism activity is, or may become, the dominant economic sector, it will still need to be interpreted and operated within a broader context of the destination region’s welfare.

For most regions, districts, zones or development corridors the prospectus of aspirations for tourism will include action to:

  • match demand with supply (or vice versa)
  • maximise economic benefits
  • minimise social dislocation
  • minimise environmental disturbance
  • achieve sustainability (of the environment, economy, society, and culture)
  • maintain flexibility (to respond to market changes)
  • achieve a well-trained labour force
  • ensure efficient planning, management and monitoring

The basis of integrated tourism planning is derived from generic planning theory, a domain of theory which has undergone a series of paradigm revolutions. At the present stage of theory development, integrated tourism planning is more expansive than physical or land use planning.

It includes:

  • economic planning (principally at the macro level)
  • human resources development planning (including education and training)
  • social and community planning
  • environmental planning
  • business planning and corporate management
  • public administration
  • infrastructure planning
  • design

The complexity of approaches, interests, operational frameworks, resource demands, resource inter-linkages, community aspirations, and competence needs render a simple, integrated tourism planning model virtually impossible. Therefore, a set of principles for integrated tourism planning are suggested here. Implementation and application of any, some, or all, of these principles will depend upon the stage of development of tourism activity in each particular country, region, zone or corridor.

In addition, a tourism plan at any level, and especially at national, regional and district levels, will need disaggregation so that the various resource needs – land/water, labour and capital – are seen in their spatial, temporal, financial, infrastructural, and social inter-relationships.

An additional consideration is the likely impact of forces external to the destination area, and especially the impact of the decisions of the international airlines which service the region, and the international tour operators who facilitate the arrival of tourists.

The second blog on the Principles of Integrated Tourism Planning will follow. The principles considered there represent the types of principles appropriate to a master plan which is both comprehensive and integrated. Contact Lorton Consulting to find out how we can assist with your tourism planning needs.


1 Comment

  1. tumwijukye laban

    increased productivity per unit area, only results from proper land use planning.

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