The wide-reaching and fragmented nature of the tourism sector means that good strategic planning is an essential prerequisite for a destination - generally a country or region - to ensure delivery of key objectives and sustainable long-term growth. Drawing on first-hand experience in emerging markets around the world, this chapter illustrates the value of a comprehensive master plan in drawing together the many strings, and delivering economic growth, job creation, and the sustainable exploitation of natural and cultural assets. The wide range of areas needing to be covered by a master plan is outlined, from policy, regulation and governance to marketing, product development, access, hospitality services, investment, skills training and various niche interests. The paper describes the process of drafting the plan, starting with desk and field research, interviewing stakeholders, organising consultation workshops, and ending with the drafting and revision of the final report, and presentation of the final draft to government officials and stakeholder committees. Furthermore, it touches on some of the pitfalls and impediments that need to be faced in designing the optimal plan and some common hindrances, often political or budgetary, that may impede its successful implementation. The chapter also identifies the keys to ensuring adoption of the master plan by the client - usually a government - notably the crucial importance of consultation and achieving consensus among a wide range of stakeholders. Finally it lists some of the principal sources of funding and expertise for tourism master plans, including international organisations, banks, development agencies and professional associations.
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