Strategic Planning in Tourism and Leisure: A Critical Assessment of the Theory and Practice of Strategic Planning for Tourism 1.0 Introduction: Tourism is acknowledged as one of the largest and fastest growing industries in the whole world. It has consistently maintains high growth and development rates, puts in substantial volumes of foreign currency inflows, spurs infrastructure development, introduces a brand new experience in management and contributes positively to the overall socio-economic development efforts of nations…
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Despite this slump, the WTO still forecasts arrivals to reach 1.65 billion by 2020. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, the contribution of the travel and tourism to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is expected to grow US$10.478 billion by 2019 (2009). In order to achieve optimum growth in tourism, a crucial plan must be developed and henceforth be implemented. There are numerous approaches to tourism planning as stated by Getz (1986) are boosterism, economic, physical / spatial, community. While Edgell, Allen, Smith & Swanson (2008) argues that “One popular tourism planning mechanism is ‘strategic planning’, a framework designed to provide direction for any tourism organisation or destination with the emphasis on quality, efficiency and effectiveness” Consequently, this research aims to analyse and focus on tourism strategic planning and its importance, evaluate the strategic process and practices of the current time, layout the various stakeholders and the level of participation of each in strategic planning, establish the relationship of marketing to strategic planning through the analysis of case studies and previous inputs. 1.1 Literature Review The tourism sector entails extensive and detailed planning and coordination. According to Stynes and Halloran, “it should be comprehensive in such a way that it takes into account resources available to tourism in its entirety, organizations, markets, programs within a region and consider the economic, environmental, social and institutional aspects of tourism development (1987a).” Tourism planning has developed from two interrelated but diverse sets of planning beliefs and methodologies. The first is that tourism is one of many activities in a subject that must be regarded as part of physical, environmental, social and economic forecasting. The degree by which tourism is addressed in such plans depends upon its comparative significance to the community or area and how responsive it is to tourism-related activities. Likewise, it can be perceived as a business wherein the community or region opts to engage in planning to include feasibility, marketing, promotions product development and forecasting. A comprehensive approach combines a strategic marketing scheme with conventional planning efforts to create a balance between the needs and wants of tourism and that of local residents. GUNN (1979) With the growth of tourism, the market has become both complex and challenging so it has become imperative for stakeholders to meet the escalating demands of tourists who travel and spend their holidays in resorts, hotels and leisure destinations for more efficient world-class standards in accommodations, amenities and transportation. Important considerations include the concept of new tourism which Poon explains as having gone through intense transformation in terms of new consumers, novel technologies and forms of production, management styles and prevailing circumstances (1993). Fayos-Sola mentions that new tourism is distinguished by the super-segmentation of demand, flexibility of supply and distribution and achieving profitability through diagonal integration and subsequent system
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