Tourism Destination Development
Coastal tourism
Is sensitive planning vital to coastal tourism economic success? By Bruce Dickson (TDS), 20 June 2012 Excessive development and its impact on the ‘unspoiled’ qualities visitors & locals value Some market research findings* from credible studies, researching the important area of geotourism-based visitor values, are starting to now confirm what many of us may have long suspected, or already guessed. And that is that ‘excessive’ levels of coastal development (and its related ocean-side urban and suburban development) will increasingly influence ‘choice of destination’ by prospective visitors with geotourism  leaning values. And more likely for the worse. KEY FINDING: When seeking to relax and rejuvenate in natural surroundings, these visitors are becoming more & more discerning and now value unspoiled areas (but usually with good services and facilities available), where they exist. EXCESSIVE? Defining ‘excessive’ can become a challenging & subjective exercise. But in this research context, adverse  developmental levels strongly relate to cumulative development outcomes that are perceived by visitors (and frequently local residents too) to be highly at odds with the natural and ‘special’ qualities of an area.  Effectively everything contributing - in ways big and small - to its natural distinctiveness, ‘sense of place’, and ultimately lost or retained local identity and character. (Ongoing judicious enhancements, by contrast, can play a positive role here.)  Unchecked and unchallenged losses over time, of previously harmonious relationships to local natural habitat, form an important part of this equation.  And ironically, it is often the special combinations of all those desired ‘special’ environmental qualities that had attracted so many people to be there in the first place!   INSIGHT: A key economic development (visitor revenue) implication is that those coastal & regional destinations consistently engaging in more caring, mindful, temperate & sensitive planning practices ... that actively & consistently recognize, protect and enhance ‘local character’ assets and respect their unspoiled natural environments ... will retain more appeal than those that don’t. [* Tourism NSW/Colmar Brunton geotourism & coastal choice study - Sydney.]
“T hose coastal & regional destinations that actively & consistently recognize, protect and enhance ‘local character’ assets and respect their natural environments ... will retain more appeal than those that don’t. (When frequent traveling and high spending visitors, with geotourism-based values that prefer ‘unspoiled areas’ are comparing and making coastal destination choices.)
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