It is now recognized that tourism must be developed and managed in a controlled, integrated and sustainable manner, based on sound planning. With this approach, tourism can generate substantial economic benefits to an area, without creating any serious environmental or social problems. Tourism's resources will be conserved for continuous use in the future. There are numerous examples in the world where tourism has not been well planned and managed. These uncontrolled developments may have brought some short-term economic benefits. Over the longer term, however, they have resulted in environmental and social problems and poor quality tourist destinations. This has been detrimental to the area's residents, and tourist markets have been lost to better planned destinations elsewhere. Many of these places are now undergoing redevelopment. It is obviously better to plan for controlled development initially, and prevent problems from arising in the first place.
Tourism planning is carried out at all levels of development - international, national, regional and for specific areas and sites. This publication introduces concepts of national and regional planning, and the basic approaches; techniques and principles applied to this level. It is designed to be complementary to the recent WTO publication, Sustainable Tourism Development Guide for Local Planners. That guide covers the issues, approaches, techniques and principles for tourism planning at the local level of planning.
This national and regional tourism planning publication also complements two other~ recent WTO publications - An Integrated Approach to Resort Development Six Case Studies and Guidelines: Development of National Parks and Protected Areas for Tourism (published in cooperation with UNEP). As is emphasized in those documents, resorts and parks must be planned and developed within their national and regional contexts.
The importance of planning tourism
Planning tourism at all levels is essential for achieving successful tourism development and management. The experience of many tourism areas in the world has demonstrated that, on a long-term basis, the planned approach to developing tourism can bring benefits without significant problems, and maintain satisfied tourist markets. Places that have allowed tourism to develop without the benefit of planning are often suffering from environmental and social problems.Tourism is a rather complicated activity that overlaps several different sectors of the society and economy. Without planning, it may create unexpected and unwanted impacts. Tourism is also still a relatively new type of activity in many countries. Some governments and often the private sector have little or no experience in how to develop tourism properly. For countries that do not yet have much tourism, planning can provide the necessary guidance for its development. For those places that already have some tourism, planning is often needed to revitalize this sector and maintain its future viability. First, tourism should be planned at the national and regional levels. At these levels, planning is concerned with tourism development policies, structure plans, facility standards, institutional factors and all the other elements necessary to develop and manage tourism. Then, within the framework of national and regional planning, more detailed plans for tourist attractions, resorts, urban, rural and other forms of tourism development can be prepared. There are several important specific benefits of undertaking national and regional tourism planning. These advantages include:
● Establishing the overall tourism development objectives and policies - what is tourism aiming to accomplish and how can these aims be achieved.
4 National and Regional Tourism Planning
● Developing tourism so that its natural and cultural resources are indefinitely maintained and conserved for future, as well as...