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Tourism System

Kindly write a critical literature review on Tourist Area Life Cycle, Destination Marketing and Sustainable Tourism taking Thailand as the example together with their National Tourism Development Plan.

For Tourist Area Life Cycle, please conclude at which stage Thailand is now, which i supposed is at the rejuvenating stage due to the recent military coup situation.

Tourism System

Tourism system is an open and interdependent system characterized by complexity and variety in all aspect of tourism. Leiper’s tourism system model involves five interrelated elements namely: tourists (human element), geographic element (traveler- generating regions, TGR), transit routes (TR), an industrial/organizational element (tourist industry), and tourist destination regions (Leiper, 1990).
Human element (tourist) is the first component of Leiper (1979) tourism system. Tourists are defined as people who leave their homes and travel away to another destination on temporary duration of at least one night. Their main driving force includes to an extent searching for leisure experiences from interactions with features or characteristics of the place they choose to visit (Ritchie & Goeldner, 1994). For example, a Thai domestic tourist from the southern Thailand, he spends his leisure in Bangkok and visit Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha. The two places can be defined as a tourist attraction.
Tourism industry operates with physical, political, economical, social, technological environment. Tourism industry refers to businesses and other type of tourism organizations offering complementary products and services. Hotels, airlines, travel agencies, restaurants, and attractions combine their efforts and offer visitors a satisfying business trip or vacation (Leipers, 1990).

Geographic elements (traveler-generating region (TGR) represents the area tourists are breed and acts as the force hat motivate or set off travel. It is at TGR where tourist seeks travel information, make reservations and departure. The demand aspect of tourism and travel originate from these TGR regions.
Tourist destination region (TDR) can be defined as the “raison d’ entre” for tourism because it is the sharp end of tourism. TDR has a pull force that activates the entire tourism system and is buoyed by demand for travel in TGR regions. The utmost impact of tourism is felt at the destination; tourism management strategies and planning are implemented at TDR region. For instance, both the Emerald Buddha and Grand palace are resources that pull a lot of tourists every year. Transit route (TR) refers to the in-between area where a tourist may visit while traveling and the session of travel to reach at the destination. TR is the interval in a trip when a tourist feels they are not in their dwelling but they have not yet arrived.

The Leiper (1979) Tourism system has provided insight into the nature of tourist destination in Thailand especially the Emerald Buddha and the Grand Palace. The insight gained by applying this kind of framework has considerable potential in tourism management. It is also possible to manage tourism system model and help it meet its goal if stakeholders understand a travel destination functions within Leiper’s model.

Tourist Area Life Cycle

Tourism Area life Cycle is the most-widely mentioned theoretical framework for understanding the dynamics of tourism destinations. The model was first proposed by R.W Butler when he characterized tourism industry evolution by the lifecycle product concept (Butler, 2006). Butler’s tourism destination model is a simple one and is based on the product life cycle concept that economics and marketers have been using for a long time to describe the behavior of markets in purchasing of goods such as cars. The lifecycle of a tourism destination follows a number of stages which include the exploration, development, stagnation, rejuvenation, and decline. Butler’s model has intuitive appeal that is familiar to people who have travelled or participated in tourism market studies; it exhibit some life cycle dynamic across a broad array of destination (Weaver, 2000).

All tourism areas had a humble beginning with only a few locals visiting the area occasionally. Later, the area is frequented by people from outside the locality; this is an exploration stage that may be discovered by investors who realize its potential as a tourist destination. Once investors or government realize the existence of tourism potential in the area, the development stage set in. The government starts putting the required physical infrastructure, more and more tourists visit the area; the investors flock the area and setup hotels and other tourism facilities (Lagiewski, 2006).

A tourist destination may reach a stage where it grows to saturation due to degradation, for instance, Wat Sai floating market in Thailand. At these stage tourists, arrival stagnates due to mismanagement and lack of conservation. The tourism area can be rejuvenated if the government and other stakeholders expand the current infrastructure and engage in promotion activities such as destination marketing. Whoever, the tourist area may start declining forcing investors to close down their businesses and eventually the tourism destination come to an end (Butler, 1980).

Thailand tourism sector is currently at rejuvenation stage after suffering a setback during the military coup and the subsequent street protests. Understanding the destination life cycle theories is important because it bring out crucial functions such as prolonging its life cycle, forecasting potential development trend, and providing intuitive to administrators to establish marketing strategies (Baum, 1998). The model is an important tool to Thailand Touring Planning in managing tourism and planning for infrastructural development in order to prolong Thai destinations Lifecycle (Butler, 2004).

Destination Marketing

Destination marketing involves the process of communicating with potential visitors with the aim of influencing their destination preference and intention to travel. It is a major part of the implementation process since it entails the articulation and communication of the vision, values and competitive features of the destination (Morrison, 2013). Successive destination marketing involves: developing a strategic marketing plan; understanding visitors preferences in their travel planning process; identifying appropriate visitor market that fit the destination attraction; and engaging stakeholder. Thailand and Bangkok in particular is an international tourist destination which attracts tourists from all corners of the world. Thailand has a rich heritage which has borrowed much from influential Indian culture which is appreciated all over the world. Thailand comparative advantages include natural resources such as a long coastline, service-oriented culture, quality labor, good infrastructure, and tourist spots. Achieving competitive advantage is crucial for tourism destinations, and it requires marketing and make them part of tourist travel option (Pike, 2007).

The main functions of destination-management organizations DMO include choosing and marketing destinations. DMO operates with modest resources a situation that makes it necessary for government to intervene through the ministry of tourism provision and provide funds for promoting destination marketing. However, DMOs can mobilize resources among the stakeholders and come up with integrated destination marketing. Integrated destination marketing brings together a mix of stakeholders of a different kind (Elbe et al., 2009).

Thailand destination marketing has divided the country into five distinct geographical regions. Each geographical region contains unique history and culture; and natural attraction such as exotic hills, plateau, central plains, beaches and islands. Thailand tourism attractions that are promoted by destination market include accommodation, regional festivals, tourist attraction facilities, activities such bathing with elephants and unique shopping products. Thai government has partnered with the tourism stakeholders in an effort of wooing visitors from all corners of the world. The government has scaled up infrastructural development in tourism areas in order to open up all tourism destinations in an effort of making the country a destination of choice for all visitors (Wattanacharoensil $ Schuckert, 2014).

Sustainable Tourism
Sustained tourism development stated as guidelines and management practices which were formulated by the World Tourism Organization. Its main focus included all types of tourism in all destinations and encompassed environmental, economic and social-cultural aspects of development (Ritchie & Crouch, 2003). Currently, there is mounting concern for the protection of the environment and the implementation of business policies that will allow natural resources to be sustained. Residents in mass tourism destinations depend on tourism for their standard of living (Leksakundilok, 2006). Tourism development involves a tradeoff between economic benefits and environmental costs; therefore, residents should cope by downplaying the negative impacts based and emphasizing the economic gains to maintain satisfaction with their communities. Residents who gain most are the most supportive of the tourism industry in their area. Residents who are involved and have a voice in tourism planning have a positive attitude towards tourism. Negative impact on the environment may emanate from infrastructural development in tourism areas as investors put new facilities to accommodate more and more visitors (Leiper, 2004). There are many ways of making tourism sustainable, but tools for evaluating sustainable tourism framework are few. Limiting tourism growth such as carrying capacity has been used as used to make tourism development sustainable (DÄ ZDAREVÄ C, 2010).

Thailand destinations can remain competitive and build a sustainable character using sustainable tourism model. Sustainable tourism will enable the country to avoid negative impacts that can have a long lasting effect on the environment and local culture (Dodds & Graci, 2012). It also integrates local community needs and wider social development issues. Thailand local governments are relying on capacity building in order to adapt with the problem of climate change that affects sustainable tourism management. An example of nature-based tourism area that has adopted sustainable tourism is Koh Chang area that is usually affected by changes in environmental conditions (Green, 2005). Adopting a sustainable tourism model will give Thailand tourism destinations a competitive advantage; DMO can market it as an important ecotourism destination (Edgell, 2006).

Baum, T. 1998. Taking the exit route: Extending the tourism area life cycle model. Current Issues in Tourism, 1(2), 167-175.
Butler, R. (Ed.). 2006. The tourism area life cycle: Conceptual and theoretical issues (Vol. 2). Channel view publications.
Butler, R. 2004. The tourism area life cycle in the twenty-first century. A companion to tourism, 5, 159.
Butler, R.W., 1980. ‘The concept of a tourist area cycle of evolution: Implications for management of resource ‘Canadian Geographer’. 24 (1), pp. 5-12.
DÄ°ZDAREVÄ°C, L. 2010. Key Practices and Approaches to Sustainable Tourism Development.
Dodds, R., & Graci, S. 2012. Sustainable tourism in island destinations. Routledge.
Edgell, D. L. 2006. Managing sustainable tourism. A Legacy for the Future.
Elbe, J., Hallén, L., & Axelsson, B. 2009. The destination‐management organization and the integrative destination‐marketing process. International journal of tourism research, 11(3), 283-296.
Green, R. 2005. Community perceptions of environmental and social change and tourism development on the island of Koh Samui, Thailand. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 25(1), 37-56.
Lagiewski, R. M. 2006. The application of the TALC model: A literature survey. The tourism area life cycle, 1, 27-50.
Leiper, N. 1990. Tourist attraction systems. Annals of tourism research, 17(3), 367-384.
Leiper, N. 2004. Tourism Management. 3rd ed. French Forest NSW: Pearson Education Australia.
Leksakundilok, A. (2006). Community participation in ecotourism development in Thailand.
Morrison, A. M. 2013. Marketing and managing tourism destinations. Routledge.
Pike, S. 2007. Destination marketing organizations. Routledge.
Ritchie, J. B., & Crouch, G. I. 2003. The competitive destination: A sustainable tourism perspective. Cabi.
Ritchie, J. B., & Goeldner, C. R. (1994). Travel, tourism, and hospitality research: a handbook for managers and researchers (No. Ed. 2). John Wiley and Sons.
Wattanacharoensil, W., & Schuckert, M. 2014. Reviewing Thailand’s master plans and policies: implications for creative tourism?. Current Issues in Tourism, (ahead-of-print), 1-26.
Weaver,B,D., 2000. The Exploratory War-distorted Destination Life Cycle. International journal of tourism research. 2, pp.151-161.

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