The Tourism Development Plan
A Tourism Plan is a blueprint that provides direction and focus for the local tourism industry, as well as for the community, local business and government. It is a mechanism through which the local industry can assist in accommodating the diverse aspirations of the community.
A Tourism Plan assists with:
- Balancing development of tourism throughout the area,
- Optimising the tourism industry’s contribution to community income and employment growth,
- Forward planning by individual sectors of the industry, the community and local government,
- Encouraging sustainable tourism through the conservation of natural and cultural heritage,
- Preserving the inherent character of the community and areas of environmental sensitivity,
- Ensuring the benefits of tourism flow to all sectors of the community,
- Minimising the social disadvantages that may arise.
Undertaking tourism planning should involve an analysis of the key factors for tourism success: both demand and supply related.
Demand related factors include:
- Targeting the right target market segments; those who will be most responsive to the product offering of the destination or region,
- Achieving and maintaining the right image; determining an image that markets will acknowledge, accept and be motivated by,
- Securing the right distribution network; increasing the opportunity for visitors to access travel information, travel packages and booking services,
- Securing the right balance in visitation; developing strategies based on visitor numbers, length of stay, expenditure, dispersal of the expenditure and the time of the year they visit.
Supply factors relate to:
- Securing the right balance of tourism product; product that is authentic, relevant to overall strengths of the area and is differentiated from other areas,
- Providing accessible and reliable transport,
- Providing excellence in service,
- Providing appropriate accommodation,
- Offering a welcoming host community; educating the community on the benefits of tourism, so that interaction between visitors and locals can add to the holiday experience.
The major processes in developing a Tourism Plan should be:
- Establish commitment: a commitment by local government; issues that need to be addressed; what will be covered in the strategy; what partnerships need to be developed,
- Situation analysis: current industry structure; institutional arrangements; governance structures; tourism product audit; key competitive strengths; current research; existing target markets; existing funding and investment in the industry; social, cultural, economic and political influences. When planning for tourism on a local level, it is important to take into consideration other tourism plans for the region and state, as well as existing research.
- Tourism vision and image setting: the desired image and vision for the area based on agreed competitive strengths, preparation of primary goals and objectives, consultation with stakeholder groups and the residential community,
- Strategy development: development of strategies to support identified objectives,
- Action plan: development of actions emanating from the identified strategies, that include objective, tasks, responsibilities, budgets, funding sources, timing and performance measures,
- Implementation: adoption by Council and acceptance by local community and tourism industry; assign responsibilities and identify performance measures,
- Evaluation: Review performance targets on a regular basis. The goals should be SMART: Simple. Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.
In summary, a well-researched and prepared Tourism Development Plan is about being able to adjust to change and should provide answers to the following questions:
- What has our region (or local area) got to offer ?
- Who is attracted to our area and what do they do ?
- What are we doing at this point in time ?
- Where do we want to be in 3-5 years time ?
- How do we get there ?
- What needs to be done ?
- Who will do it ?
- How will we know if our efforts are successful ?
Click here (199 kb) to view a case study outlining the process undertaken for the Melbourne Tourism Plan