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Geographical Perspective in Planning of Coastal Resorts Essay

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Updated: Nov 25th, 2021

Introduction

The future implications of mass tourism for the development and management of coastal resorts is as diverse as the destination environments. Resort management has been neglected in the past in terms of academic interest therefore; research in to the subject is largely missing relative to other forms of tourism. The available literature shows only their failure and decline. Resorts originated from Britain in the 18th century when sea-bathing in England became an organized and fashionable leisure time event. It was something for the royalty and the wealthy (Sheila & Shaw 2007).

From England it spread to Continental Europe the North America and by the 1920s to the rest of the world. By the end of the second half of the 19th century and early 20th Century, resorts changed to mass holiday centers. This was due to improved access through rail, emergence of organized and structured pleasure modes, and more development in social access to leisure time and recognition of investment opportunities in coastal resorts. These also attracted other facilities such as theatres, opera houses, pier shows, beach entertainment which attracted more people.

What had started as holiday centers for domestic market attracted international tourists in 1960s and 1970s. The world affluent started to travel to the French Riviera pleasure ports. The 1990s up to date is known as the mature phase which witnessed movement from mass tourism centers to more flexible tourism products to cater for the changing demand. This signified above average rise in long-haul destinations, rise in specialty market segments offering luxury comprehensive resorts with some offering weddings and honeymoon packages (Sheila & Shaw 2007).

These changes saw the development of resorts as a worldwide product due to growth in tourism which in turn, had serious impacts their development and environments (Hall & Page 2002).

Linkage to geographical perspectives

Tourism is the largest global industry which interconnects people from all over the world and therefore geographical knowledge is imperative. According to Alexander Murphy, President Association of American Geographers ‘who we are is shaped in part by where we are. Human interactions with each other and the environment are rooted in geographical understandings, as well as the opportunities and constraints of geographical circumstances’ (Hall & Page 2006, p. 2). This means that geographical approaches and techniques give a perspective into issues in resort management and planning such as decisions on land-use for their development and the impacts they have on the local and regional physical environment. Geographical informatics has also produced figures on the size, distribution and significance of tourism at regional, local and international levels. The World Trade Organisation in 2003 recorded that Asia and the Pacific experienced 9% drop in tourist arrivals due SARS epidemic. World Travel and Tourism Council in 2000 measured that directly and indirectly, contributes 11% of global GDP, that is, US$ 3575 billion and provides 200 million jobs per year (Mason 2008, p.37). The same report also projects that by 2010 the earnings from the same sector will grow to 11.6% of global GDP providing 250 million jobs. These figures are important to management and development of resort.

Concepts from Geographic perspective

Space

This means the surface of the earth and the uses it is put to by people (Cartier & Lew 2005, p. 6). Activities associated with leisure, sport and tourism all require space and are therefore ‘users of space’. Such spaces vary in terms of scale and also according to the type of activity they are put to. Tourists are always on the look out of place or space where their encounter in space, with people, meet their expectations and desire and brings ‘seductive’ and unforgettable experiences. In resorts planning and management space becomes very important because it determines the type of activities and opportunities it provides for its visitors. Space for golf courses, tennis courts, beach shows, surfing and skiing, sight seeing, sites among other activities are important (Cartier & Lew 2005).

Place

Place in geography is about the uniqueness & distinctiveness of different parts of the earth’s surface. With leisure, place is significant in that, it can affect what people do in their free time. Factors such as climate & culture influence participation patterns in leisure and Tourism activities. Tourists frequent places which will guarantee particular aspects of attraction, desire and possibilities for liminal experiences depending on the age, gender and sexualities. The most visited tourist landscapes are the cities, both by residents and foreigners. Tourist places also take regional forms such as ‘the orient’ meaning the multicultured region of West Asia, the Caribbean islands associated with their extensive sandy beaches and favourable climate and the Mediterranean climate of the French Riviera pleasure ports among others (Hall & Page 2006).

Environment

Environment in geography can be defined as an aggregate of our surroundings which comprises of five components: political; social; economic; cultural; and physical (Mason 2008, p. 38). All these factors interact together in a tourist environment. It has a two-way focus in geography; it looks at the impact of the natural world on human activities and the reciprocal impact of people on that world.

The natural environment offers resources and opportunities for leisure and tourism, yet activities associated with them can impact natural environments including biodiversity, erosion & physical damage, pollution, depletion of natural resources and visual impacts. Planners and managers of resorts should look at this relationship and strike a balance between them which calls for sustainable development (Sheila & Shaw 2007).

Scale

This is the geographical levels at which a phenomena occurs. Tourism and leisure involves movement and circulation of people in space and can be analysed at local, regional, national or global scale and the interactions of processes and change at each level (Hall & Page, 2002. p 7).

Conclusion

The development of resorts to a worldwide product due to growth in tourism ushered in serious impacts their development and environments. Tourism is the largest global industry which interconnects people from all over the world and therefore geographical knowledge is imperative. Geographical approaches and techniques give a perspective into issues in resort management and planning such as decisions on land-use for their development and the impacts they have on the local and regional environment. Resort management and planning can be looked at from different geographical perspectives, that is, space, place, environment and scale.

References

Cartier, C & Lew, A.A 2005, Seduction of place: geographical perspectives on globalization and touristed landscapes, Routlrdge.

Hall, C & Page, S 2002, The geography of tourism and recreation: environment, place and space, 2nd edn, Routledge.

Hall, C & Page S 2006, The geography of tourism and Recreation: environment, place and space, 6th edn, Routledge.

Mason, P 2008, Tourism impacts, planning and management, Elsevier Ltd.

Sheila, A & Shaw, G 2007, Managing coastal resorts: A global perspective, Channel View Publications.

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