Urban Tourism - Amsterdam

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6. With reference to one example, examine and evaluate a range of visitor management techniques that have been used by destination managers to control or disperse tourism demand and its negative impacts.

Visitor management techniques have been developed in order to deal with a constantly increasing demand in tourism industry worldwide. Negative impacts had to be addressed and minimized. As a result, in 1995 the Centre for Tourism Visitor Management was set up at Nottingham Business Centre (Shackley, 2003). The main purpose was to provide a focus for the study of visitors and tourism, involving significant impacts on natural resources. At present, visitor management also deals with the reality of visitors reaching the attraction/destination, followed by impacts on natural environment, local governments, local businesses and residents (Richardson, Flucker, 2004). Working in partnerships, strategic planning and managing stakeholders can be applied at site or destination level. Numerous organizations, including World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) collaborate with industry representatives to achieve common objectives – making profits and decreasing negative impacts within exploit areas. Firstly, this work presents and evaluates several visitor management techniques. The second part consists of a critical evaluation of relevant techniques based on case study on city Amsterdam. Destination managers need to confront several challenges such us; traffic congestion, lack of diverse public transport, lack of large public spaces, clutter and litter, queues at main sites or profiteering. Before making any decisions, they need to identify their goals. These goals can be associated with; local residents (maintaining positive attitudes between hosting community and tourists)( Lopez, 1996), the improvement of visitor experience, or applying sustainable tourism principles while taking long-term view. Although, that every destination is different and therefore, has to be run / managed individually, there are some similarities in approaches being taken (Page, 2009). According to Middleton & Hawkins (1998), visitor management tactics are the action programs and strategies used to influence and control tourism supply and demand to achieve defined policy goals. They can be further divided into: (1) people management and (2)site management (Fyall, 2008). Furthermore, the implementation of strategies can be listed in two categories - soft and hard. Soft techniques are persuasive and aim at influencing user behaviour. Explanation, education and interpretation are main objectives. They may be implemented by marketing, incentives or directional signage (Newsome, 2004). Hard techniques on the other hand, include physical restrictions such us; requirements for permits, ‘no-go’ zones, closure at certain times, selective parking or financial restriction (entrance fees, parking fees, visa fees) (Flucker, 2004). It seems that more favourable is first approach, where tourists are encouraged to cooperate and very often will willingly follow the rules (it is very possible, that once educated at one site/destination, tourist will apply appropriate behaviour somewhere else in the future), however implementing hard technique is crucial. Some areas need to be restricted if they are to remain undamaged. Moreover, destination managers must be familiar with visitor saturation. Visitor saturation relates to the ability of absorbing tourism comfortably (Richards, 2000) and is connected to infrastructure, public spaces and car parkings. Confronting the issue related to overcrowding, visitor management investigates the limits of acceptable change (LAC)(Stankey, 1985) and evaluates them. Once the limits are identified, the action is taken, followed by permanent monitoring. Another way to optimize the usage of certain attractions/facilities/destination is to work out and restrict tourism carrying capacity. Tourism carrying capacity (TCC) according to...
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