The Changes in Regional Tourism Organizations
Both developed and developing organizations have a wide range of activities. However, details regarding the development of the tourism sector are not very outspoken especially in the tourism literature. Information on tourism organizations is often centered about organizational roles, structures and roles of tourism organizations.
Nonetheless, very little has been done regarding aspects such as the motivation behind power distribution and institutional structures. In Australia, various levels in government are influenced by tourism operations. Local governments are using tourism to create job opportunities and thus boosting the local economy. The government too, has a lot of interest in tourism.
This is because of the benefits that the sector has to the national political aspect as a whole. Such benefits include regional development, employment growth, multiplier effects and generation of income (Jenkins, 2000, p. 1-2).
The federal partitioning of roles has contributed to difficulties in the coordination of policies. This has affected many areas such as the urban affairs, transport and resource marketing. The tourism sector has not been left out either. Tourism has not been clearly captured in the Australian constitution.
The absence of specific governmental mandate to handle tourism has led to the duplication of the duties of the government, leading to lack of agreement between the States and the Commonwealth. The constitution of Australia does not really recognize the local government.
The local governments exist at the level of States and the local government Acts within the constitution empower them to handle development matters and particularly tourism. This is apart from being able to rate structures and control the health standards, in accordance to the frameworks of the state government. There is lack of clarity, poor coordination in the responsibilities that the local government should play in tourism.
There is some clash between the roles of local authorities and those of the State in tourism. This emanates from the nature of development and marketing in the tourism sector (Jenkins, 2000, p. 178-179). Recently, tourism featured in a Commonwealth policy in the economic development at the regional level.
When the working nation was introduced, two programs were introduced: Regional Development Organizations and Regional Development Strategy. As a ligament of these programs, the department of tourism in Commonwealth funded a tourism development program at the regional level.
Since the inception of the coalition government in 1996, there have been some changes, both economically and developmentally. Since then, the government has continued participating in tourism development programs, at the regional level.
Planning, policy making and development in tourism have been shaped by changes within the western political philosophy. The public sector has been involved in the promotion and marketing of tourism. This has been characterized by making tourism agencies and boards, both corporate and private.
On the other hand, governments have demonstrated their lack of support to the tourism industry in a couple of ways: doing away with all departments and corporations in the tourism sector and by either lowering or terminating their financial support.
What both the private and public operators are aware of is the fact that the marketing and development approaches in the tourism sector cannot be properly handled by the private operators unless there is intervention.
The local state has faced a lot of challenges emanating from the recent economic recession, dynamic global economy and the reduced financial support from the central government (Jenkins, 2000, p. 182-182). As a result, the local state has found it difficult to employ more people, draw investors and industries that can aid in income generation.
Latest issues in Tourism
Being able to implement and formulate strategic plans has been challenging in New South Wales especially with regard to the where the tourism industry is inherently diverse both physically and structurally. The case may even be more challenging due to the influx of tourism development in some areas.
Sustainable tourism and ecotourism are some of the terminologies that have not been easy to operationalize. Researchers have not been able to come to a consensus on the exact definition of sustainable tourism (Bottrill and Pearce, 1995). Nevertheless, the increasing curiosity in the area of sustainability has heightened the discussion in the integration of tourism into planning.
One of the key reasons why it has been difficult to attain sustainable tourism both locally and regionally is lack of the national vision on tourism (Page and Thorn, 1997, p. 59). Research has shown that there is need for more study to be done in tourism and also for increased investment in the sector.
New Zealand integrated sustainability into its planning program about ten years ago. It will therefore be appropriate to revisit this and check on the latest developments within this industry and evaluate the possibility of implementing sustainable tourism at the regional and local levels.
Management of tourism at the local level is the duty of both regional and local councils. However, the support from the national level that can enhance this management is not evident enough. This is happening at a time when there is an increased overflow of tourist in New Zealand and an awareness of the possibility of degradation of New Zealand’s environment.
At a period when the conservation of New Zealand’s environment is critical, it is ironical that the department in charge of conservation was invited a few months after initiation of the task. There are rising concerns from lack of communication especially between the tourism marketing department and tourism management. These concerns ought to be dealt with urgently.
Scholars have made comments of the effects of tourism growth and the possibility of severe environmental effects within diverse areas (PCE, 1997). Study also reveals that local authorities understand their duties with respect to tourism at the local level. There have been conflicts with respect to both other users and urban growth. These conflicts have attracted a lot of concerns from several councils.
Research reveals that those districts in which tourism activities were environmentally – based are the ones that identified tourism similar (Page and Thorn, 2002, p. 233; Dymond, 1997). Districts that did not encounter any tourism – based impact were either those that were rural based or those that were basically provincial regions within the urban setting.
New Zealand is marketed by the government, mainly through National Tourism Organization. This makes the country to continue receiving more tourists. On the other hand, after the arrival of the visitors, it is the local council that assesses their needs (Page and Thorn, 2002, p. 233).
Tourism and governance
For a long time, scholars have been interested in the role played by the government in tourism. However, recently, the shift tends towards the relationship between tourism and governance rather than the government (Beaumont and Dredge, 2010; Greenwood, 1993; Hall, 1999). “Government is the act of governing” (Hall, 2011, p. 439).
It has become very significant as researchers attempt to find out what the state can do in addressing political, economic, social and environmental aspects of tourism. Focus on the role of governance in tourism – related matters is a reflection of the increasing development and growth in the field of policy sciences.
There is increasing study with regard to the role played by supranational organizations within the governance of tourism. Examples of such organizations include the International Monetary Fund, The World Bank and the United Nations Environmental Programme, among others (Hall, 2011, p. 439).
It is important to understand the institutional structures in governance. This sheds light on how the state participates in the tourism policy thus pointing towards the parameters that can be utilized in attaining policy goals.
Most discussions with regard to the policy tools in tourism center mainly around the effects instead of the governance that led to the selection of such tools. There is limited information with respect to the association between diverse tourism policy processes and why specific instruments are selected.
Typologies are important in that they help in placing the policies into categories such that there is a clear understanding in the connection between the substance and the process. There is an influential paper by Lowi that shows the interrelationship between policies and politics. Different frames of governance can be understood using a number of elements.
These are: over arching concept, the matrix, and column and row variables. Besides, some frameworks can be utilized for concept formation in political science. These include semantic field, data containers and the hierarchical structure in concepts (Hall, 2011, p. 440 – 450).
Beaumont, N., & Dredge, D. (2010). Local tourism governance: A comparison of three Network approaches. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 18, 7–28.
Bottrill, C.G. and Pearce, D.G. (1995). Ecotourism: Towards a key elements approach to operationalize the concept. Journal of Sustainable Tourism 3 (1), 45–54.
Dymond, S. (1997) Indicators of sustainable tourism in New Zealand: At local government perspective. Journal of Sustainable Tourism 5 (4), 279–93.
Greenwood, J. (1993). Business interest groups in tourism governance. Tourism Management, 14,335–348.
Hall, C.M. (1999). Rethinking collaboration and partnership: A public policy perspective. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 7, 274–289.
Hall, C.M. (2011). Journal of sustainable tourism: A typology of governance and its implications for tourism policy analysis. London: Routledge.
Jenkins, J., (2000). The dynamics of regional tourism organizations in New South Wales, Australia: History, Structures and operations.
Page, S.J. and Thorn, K. (1997). Towards sustainable tourism planning in New Zealand: Public sector planning responses. Journal of Sustainable Tourism 5 (1), 59–77.
Page, S.J. and Thorn, K. (2002). Towards Sustainable Tourism Development and Planning in New Zealand: The Public Sector Response Revisited.
Parliamentary Commission for the Environment (1997). Management of the environmental effects associated with the tourism sector. Web.