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The Assessment of Greenwich Town Centre: A Case of Visitor and Destination Management Plan

Executive Summary

Tourism is defined as the activity of persons moving from one place to another, naturally beyond their usual place, for the purpose relaxation, business and other purposes. Thus, a tourist can be said to be the person who moves, stays and visits a place for the purpose of deriving pleasure.

Tourism has become a diverse industry in our economy, due to the range of the economic opportunities that it provides to the society at large (Eagles et al. 2003, p. 341). The management of visitors has increasingly become an important issue in tourism destination. Greenwich, having attained a world heritage site status, has seen significant growth in the number of visitors.

This has been attributed to the diverse use of time in the society, the ability to travel at reasonable cost, and the extensive media publicity given to Greenwich as a tourist destination. The market is also reported to have matured; this has made tourists to be more discerning, and they have great expectations regarding access to such destinations. This has created pressure on the destination, prompting the need for visitor management (Flanagan 2002, p. 23).

The dilemma associated with visitor management, is the one demanding a balance of tourist interests on one hand, and the provision of education and recreational opportunities for the members of the public. On the other hand, it is important to note that visitors expose the destination, to a range of harmful risks and particularly to the artifacts.

Tourism is associated with overcrowding, congestion at specific bottlenecks, and the physical stress on sensitive parts of the site. It is therefore important to have a visitor management mechanism, which best controls the visitors, by balancing the interests of the tourists with those required for safeguarding and managing the tourist destinations (Morgan et al. 2004, p. 43).

There is need to examine the various approaches that have been applied in the management of tourism, in order to facilitate good management of the increased levels of tourist visitation. Tourism is said to be an irregular movement, and this calls for appropriate management strategies. The potential of Greenwich as a tourist destination is high, and an effective management plan has to be developed.

The development of an effective management plan demands a good documentation for the facilitation of development of the appropriate infrastructures (Eagles et al. 2003, p. 51). In addition to this, detailed policies are important. The management plans helps in the maintenance of the tourist destination and management of the visitors.

The management of visitors includes their safety as well as the accessibility of the destination by the visitors, and particularly the disabled. There is also need to manage aiding and interpretation of the tourist destination to the visitors, through the use of the tour guides, booklets that create a synopsis of the tour destination, and other information boards (Howie 2003, p. 178).

Problem Statement

Greenwich is a world heritage site and the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site Steering Group is responsible for the management of the site. The site has demonstrated effective partnership with both the public and private sectors in terms of service delivery and other management plans. The Greenwich town was established and managed on the voluntary basis, and this makes it a unique approach in regard to destination management.

The management of the Greenwich tourist site developed this management approach after the World Heritage Site Marketing Group failed to finance the management of the site, due to lack of funding. The priorities were set in terms of collaboration in the setting and developing of annual marketing schedules, between the stakeholders of the destination.

This explains the fact that the activities of the Steering Group are facilitated and co-ordinate by the council on behalf of the partners. This management feature has made Greenwich Town a unique case, and it was selected as an appropriate destination (Flanagan 2002, p. 202).

This paper seeks to identify the key organizations that are involved in the management of the Greenwich tourism. The paper also seeks to draw an analysis of the management strategies of the Greenwich town as a tourist destination. This paper will draw an analysis of Greenwich as a tourist destination, and the key features in appealing to visitors.

In addition, the paper will draw an analysis of key issues facing the destination. This will include the experience of the visitors. These issues will be developed in accordance with the SWOT/PEST principles. The appropriate recommendations will be considered as likely to promote sustainable approach to the provision of quality visitor experience (Eagles et al. 2003, p. 254).

Analysis and Evaluation

Greenwich as an Appropriate Destination

Greenwich is a World Heritage Site and also home of Greenwich Mean Time as well as the meridian time. These are famous landmarks in addition to the National maritime museum and the royal observatory. The Christopher Wren’s Old Royal Naval College is also placed within the Greenwich Town.

There are also other attraction features which make Greenwich a suitable destination for many. There is a park which allows tourists to walk and experience the hospitality of the place. There are restaurants, shops that are excellent, quite and independent. There are also friendly staffs that enhance the hospitality industry in Greenwich. A lot of information is provided to the tourists and this helps tourists in keeping them abreast with events at the events which are either sporting events or entertainment events (Eagles et al. 2003, p. 89).

Greenwich town is about 20 minutes from London and is accessible through the Docklands Light Railway, rail, tube, river boat or bus. The tourists have access to the map and this helps them to find their way around the various attraction sites, accommodation facilities and other social facilities.

Greenwich is an appropriate destination that has various strengths; the fact that it is a World Heritage Site makes it an appropriate destination for tourists. Many people around the globe appreciate a lot of history that is related to artifacts that are available within the Greenwich Town (Howie 2003, p. 178).

The fact that Greenwich is a UNESCO World Heritage Site means that it is an endangered tourist destination and this could mean that the future prospect of its development is at a threat. There is limited development that should be done to the facilities that are available in the World Heritage site to retain the historical value of these facilities.

This is because such facility should not be modified or developed because this would change their value. This makes them vulnerable to due to exposure to tourism and environment changes. The fact that the destination has the status of a World Heritage Site makes it popular among tourists, this creates a lot of pressure on the resources and it is a challenge to manage the tourist population (Flanagan 2002, p. 77).

There are various opportunities that are associated with the Greenwich Town. This means that a lot of economic gains are made from the many tourists who visit this destination. There are direct gains to the management of the site as a result of the revenues that are realized from the fees that tourists pay.

It also facilitates the existence of a sound investment environment, the members of the community benefit through direct and indirect investment that is facilitated by the tourism sector. There are threats associated with the management of Greenwich and particularly the management of tourist, irregular visits and this means that the tourists’ number may be high during certain seasons. This demands good management strategies that ensure that the tourists get the benefit of visiting the destination.

There is the challenge of providing security measures that ensures that tourists are safe and secure. There is need to provide enough tour guides who provide assistance to the tourists. Tourists also cause a threat to the artifacts at the heritage site. There is need to ensure that the historical value of the tourist destination is maintained.

The management of the Greenwich Town is under the council and the steering group. The marketing plan is run by the organizations, this exposes it to political controls and this brings in the issue of political factor (Laws 1995, p. 48).

The payment of taxes to the government, laws regarding the employment of staffs, environmental regulations that are associated with its management, there are also other trade restrictions that are applied by the government regarding the issues of human traffic and the political stability of the country and this has greatly been affected by the development of terrorism.

The world is also experiencing challenges that are economical in nature and Greenwich is not spared. The issue of growth of certain economies, variation of interest rates and the exchange rates that has been attributed to inflation.

The influence of the British Empire makes many common law states to identify with the Greenwich, tourist across the globe wish to identify with the many features that are found in Greenwich. There are challenges that are associated with this issue, health concerns, the population of tourists is overwhelming and this challenges the safety of the town and owing to the fact that different tourists have their own attitude which may not be easily pointed out.

There is a lot of technological development in the world. Greenwich is a well automated tourist destination and this makes it accessible. The marketing of tourism in Greenwich has also been changed through advertising and online marketing. There are also legal issues that are involved in the management of Greenwich as a tourist destination. These includes health laws, consumer related laws, traffic laws among others (Flanagan 2002, p. 142).

The Identification of Key Organizations Involved in the Management of Greenwich as a Tourist Destination and their influence in it

The Steering Group and the World Heritage Site Marketing Group are responsible for the management of Greenwich. The World Heritage Site Marketing is reported to have developed the annual marketing plan which is shared between the stakeholders (Elper 2002, p. 71). The group’s activities are managed and coordinated by the council on the account of the partners. This is done with the objective of ensuring that Greenwich remains a sustainable economic and a cultural destination of the international repute.

These groups work towards value addition through marketing efforts which are either long-term or short term. They also work towards the promotional projects that are designed to place Greenwich close to the marketing segments.

The groups generate economies of scale for the individual organizations by means of corporation in marketing strategies. They also work towards the creation of sustainable image and identity of Greenwich as a leisure and business destination. This is only possible through the adoption of strategic approaches in planning.

The organizations also take the responsibility of breaking down the funding as per the agreement in the marketing objectives. This naturally depends on the size of the organizations as well as the level of funds availability. These organizations have also developed alliances with other key organizations for strategic contribution and this makes the promotion and management of Greenwich Maritime which includes the Greenwich Town Centre Traders Association and The Greenwich Royal Pack.

The plan is locally administered through the World Heritage Site Steering Group and each of the representatives from the delegated group is assigned responsibility. The Greenwich Council administers the budgets on the account of the World Heritage Site subject to any administration voluntary partnership.

The Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site Steering Group undertakes the responsibility of managing the plan for the site. This demonstrates the effectiveness of the Public – Private Sector partnership that is used in the achievement of sustainable destination promotion and management approach (Elper 2002, p. 63).

The strengths of this approach are that there is an extended visitor numbers. It also establishes sustainable destination management systems through the recognized public – private partnership that attracts funding. There is also the opportunity that rises through such marketing approach and particularly the effective use of limited financial and human resources that are collected through such approaches.

The effect of the world Heritage Site marketing strategy activity is that there is an overall effect of visitor spending and this means more income. The only weakness that rises out of this sustainable approach is that the contribution and participation by group members is not compulsory and this can be a potential threat to the development of long term project. The interest of these groups could change thus compromising the very existence of these sustainable visitor management and promotion.

The interest of the groups is subject to political influence and controls. The most common political factors that may affect these plans include the laws that regulate the employment, taxation policies, environmental regulations, political stability which cannot be termed as a threat at the moment because the country is not known for political instabilities (Elper 2002, p. 50).

There are economic factors, in this case group members contribute depending on their willingness and ability as well as the economic growth, the interests in the market is not stable and this may have great impact on the implementation of long terms goals and objectives. The issue of economic inflation that is being experienced in the European Economic Zone may also affect the tourism industry because many visitors will not be willing to spend on leisure activities.

The social factors with the society and the world at large, there issues of health which are highly associated with the movement of the tourists. There is need to enhance the control mechanisms in a way that will effectively manage the high number of tourists without harming the Heritage Site. There is emerging technological development, the group should move towards using technology in advancing the development of good approaches that will facilitate the appropriate approach.

The Analysis of Greenwich as Tourist Destination

Greenwich as a tourist destination has peer review programs that regulate the implementation of the World Heritage Site Marketing plan. This involves the checking and review programs that advance the standards of delivery through constant improvements. The approach is designed to collect resources through the Marketing Group. This is achieved through collective bargaining of various supplies such as advertising and designing of well recognized institutions.

It ensures that the Greenwich Town is preserved, maintained and promoted in accordance with the principles of sustainable development. The Greenwich Marketing Plan ensures key objective of the heritage site Marketing Plan broadens the appeal to a wide audience of visitors.

This is illustrated by the Civic Trust Award of 2004 where it was categorized as the most accessible tourist destination. In addition the coherent approach to the destination analysis has demonstrated that the process in Greenwich is appreciated as a great visitor’s destination.

Another factor is that the management has successfully secured funding for the delivery of Greenwich Counsel’s Public Service Agreement. This focuses on the increasing Dockland due to good service delivery to the visitors. It is a strength which makes it appealing to visitors.

There is a limitation of how to handle the challenges that are associated with the high number of visitors and other developing challenges. The issue of service delivery has been well dealt with in the meaning of the hospitality industry making it a popular destination for many.

The plan has also managed to balance the needs of the local communities and those of the tourism sector. This is a wise way of striking a balance and it doubles the gains for the visitors who benefit from the members of the community through service delivery like tour guides among others (Barney 2001, p. 143).

This is a positive way of ensuring that the visitors appreciate the services. The community hosts the visitors who buy thus sustaining promotions, physical development, and commerce consultation services to the visitors, engagement and the regeneration of the site. This is a fundamental plank in the empowerment of the local communities and it also facilitates the management and development of tourism at the grassroots level through research, analysis and other forms of engagements.

The Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site partnership is appreciated by the office of the Deputy Prime Minister for facilitating the achievement of the beacon council through sustainable tourism. This is regarded as the best tourism Initiative and more so after the foundation of the Best Tourism Initiative in the Visit London Awards 2004 (Elper 2002, p. 96).

It makes this planning strategy a strong approach that is appealing to the visitors. The visitors are given value for their money through service delivery. There is less limitation to this approach and this make it more popular to those who seek its services.

The awards accredited to the institution are great opportunities because they inspire the visitors with a degree of satisfaction. There are less or no threats in regard to the needs of the visitors. This is a show of satisfaction to aspiring tourists who intent to visit the heritage site, they are assured of what kind of services to get.

The analysis of Greenwich as tourist destination (key features and appeals to visitors) while examined under the PLEST tool of strategic management. The evaluation of the project planning process is that there are political factors that may influence choice of Greenwich as a tourist destination. The laws of the place are well legislated and this encourages the tourist chances of making it their destination of choice (Yeoman 1999, p. 40).

Although there are other laws that influence the chances of a tourist making Greenwich their travel destination, the involved parties should mobilize the legislation of laws that encourage the visitation. This may include that adoption of new tax policies that favor people who visit this historical site.

The strategic plans should also be compliant with the tax policies, employment laws. The fact that it is a heritage site should be taken seriously through compliance with the relevant environmental regulations, the available trade restrictions (Barney 2001, p. 127).

There is also need to consider the relevant economic factors. This may be established through the assessment of how much the visitors are willing to spend and the specific mode of spending. This will help overcome speculation which is a rather inaccurate way of establishing the visitor’s behaviors and practices.

The fact that most of the visited areas could be part of the market that is undergoing recession and this may mean a reduction in the level of visitation, there may need to encourage the visitation during financial crises through offers and waivers that would encourage tourism all year round.

Culture should be well addressed to encourage the visitors find a sense of identity whenever they visit Greenwich. This will be an effective way of encouraging tourism. The increase in population is also anticipated and this can be managed through planning for expansions of social structures to ensure needs of visitors are met.

It will also help to manage the population of visitors (Morgan et al. 2004, p. 53). Technology is a big ideal in the implementation of any plans. This means that there is need to exploit the existing innovation for the purpose of effective realization. Social media may be used for the purpose of effectively marketing the destination and getting the needs and expectations of the visitors (Elper 2002, p. 88).

Analysis of Key Features Facing the Destination

There is a world heritage site that is surrounded by buildings and a landscape setting. The Royal Park creates an architectural symbol of the English artistic, the scientific as well as other institutional endeavor. The most notable is the era of the 17th Century to the 19th Century.

The Queen’s house as the first Palladian building in the English empire while the old Royal Naval College, which was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and Hawks Moor and it gives nothing but the English Baroque. The landscape and the ensemble of the buildings at Greenwich Town give a potent architecture (Barney 2001, p. 87).

The Greenwich Park has also been re-planned with a historical attribute to Andre Le Notre dating back to the 1660s. It surrounds Royal Observatory, a scientific designed building which has served as a research centre for over 250 years. It has also been used for the purpose of time keeping and other forms of taxonomy. This led to the navigational and temporal Greenwich Meridian dating back in the 1884. The Royal Hospital for the seamen was established in the 1696-1869.

These institutions create many historical features that are part of the Greenwich. They entail what is regarded as the early modern history of the British Empire which is attributed to British maritime power, scientific development, educational development and the British culture. This gives a historical account to the very existence of the modern day role of these historical institutions (Gibson 2005, p. 34; Papatheoderou 2006).

The World Heritage site status indicates the significance of the site to the world. The management plan is reported to be reviewed after every five years with the objective of preserving the character of the Greenwich. It promotes cultural and educational resources. This makes it very important for the welfare of the society. The set guidelines help in the conservation and also ensure that the sites maintain its interpretation to the posterity.

This has had significant impact on the Greenwich as it was demonstrated with the opening-up of the Old Royal Naval College to the public. The Queen’s house, Greenwich is one of the great features of the Greenwich gives a detailed account of the historical development of the British Empire. The Queen’s house creates a history and thus serves as a learning institution for many who visit it (Flanagan 2002, p. 60).

The Alfege Anglican Parish which lies at the centre of the Greenwich is more than one thousand years old and brings the memory of Archbishop Alfege who was the Archbishop of Canterbury. It forms part of the long British history. The Trafalgar Tavern is also a feature that forms part of the Greenwich making it a symbolic figure in the history of the British Empire. The National Maritime Museum gives a detailed history of the British Empire with collection of exploration collections.

It gives a detailed history of the rise of the British Empire. The Royal River which creates beautiful scenery is also one of the great features within Greenwich. Any visitor would not resist visiting all this destinations and this informs the need for an effective management policy that would ensure that all stakeholders benefits (Mearns 2011, p. 63).

Analysis of Issues Involved in Destination Visitor Experience

There is need to understand the behavioral trends of the visitors, consumer experience is an issue of concern in the development of an effective plan. The understanding of the consumer’s behaviors regarding the artistic, entertainment, sporting activities is an important issue for the purpose of information processing.

There is need to identify the leisure experience of the visitors for the emotional perspective. This is important for the purpose of understanding the appropriate destination management (Barney 2001, p. 67; Shackley 1998).

There is need to change from the rational to the emotional perspective which the visitor use in decision making. This is an effective approach because it evaluates the exact expectations of the visitor. This mode eliminates the traditional assumption which assumes that people come with vague expectations. It helps assemble the actual feelings that are associated with the experience of the visitor.

This is an efficient mode of evaluating the level of satisfaction of the visitor and it informs the development of effective strategies that are designed to meet the actual expectations of the visitors. This can be termed as a checklist on the discrete of an actual experience of a visitor. This is a move that can be regarded as strength in strategic planning as it eliminates the weaknesses that are attributed with the overall assumption that a visitor is satisfied without actually verifying the same (Gibson 2005, p. 34; Shackley 2003).

The plan is effective because it indicates an effective change from assuming the expectations to satisfying the actual interests. It is clear that a consumer will settle on a destination that they are congruent with or one that enhances his or her ideals. It is important to understand that a visitor would naturally settle for one convention beyond the daily hustles. The challenges and pleasures of the visitor should not be physical. This is because experience offer intellectual stimulus for learning and growth (Gibson 2005, p. 79; UNCSD 2001).

There is need to have an understanding of the role of the visitor as the active participant. This is because tourist could have experimental experience that is formed by their motivation. This approach has its limitation, it would be difficult to access all the visitors and establish their true experience.

There is also the issue of ideological difference that could be attributed to test and preferences. The test of one visitor could vary with that of another. There is also the issue of cultural experience. There are also other reasons that could be used to verify the validity of such a plan. Technology may be used to evaluate the experience of the visitor through the social media (Barney 2001, p. 46).

Recommendation for a Sustainable Approach to Provide a Quality Visitor Experience

There is need for positive changes that would facilitate the full realization of the potential of the promotion of a sustainable approach in the provisions of a quality visitor experience. The following areas have been recommended as deserving more enhancements (World Tourism Organization 2007, p. 58).

In order to provide quality services to the visitors, there is need for the review of the implementation of the World Heritage Marketing Plan. More efforts should be placed on the quality service delivery. It is recommended that the improvement be realized through constant improvements.

It is recommended that more focus be placed on the changing consumer expectations. This would provide quality accommodation and more visitors would appreciate the value and attention they get. This may be realized through encouraging the stakeholders to be more innovative. This can be achieved through working together as the social agents of change that would facilitate effective realization of effective plans for the visitors.

The achievement of quality tourism services can only be attained through close engagement of all the stakeholders. It has been observed that the local authority has a critical role in the management of the destinations and have a role in supporting the delivery of services by the partners.

The technology is a big ideal in the implementation of any plans. This means that there is need to capitalize on the existing innovation for the purpose of effective realization. The social media may be used for the purpose of effectively marketing the destinations and getting the views on the needs and expectations of the visitors.


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