A strategic market plan is a written, long-term marketing plan covering three or more years into the future. A marketing plan is a written, short-term (tactical) marketing plan, for a period of two or fewer years into the future (Morrison, 2003). Customer's perceptions of hospitality and travel services can also be easily influenced. According to Morrison, customers use perceptual screens or filters, also known as selective exposure, to screen out the majority of the stimuli to which they are exposed. Only small portions of information from messages are retained. Customers twist information based on their perceptual biases to match their own pictures of the world. Finally, customers, through selective retention, hold on longer to information that supports their predispositions, beliefs, and attitudes.
Tourism planning combines many different elements, such as making sure that vacation and travel destinations are sustainable and attractive. According to one agency, too often tourism planning looks at a narrow range of factors when it is evident that all aspects of municipal and regional planning influence the overall success sustainability of the destination (Unescap.org, 2005). Unlike the decades of the past, current travelers have more concerns to worry about when traveling, such as personal safety and security. As indicated by the disappearance over the summer of a high school girl, safety risks can affect a nation's tourism for the worst. News that a country is not safe for travelers can lead to a noticeable decline in tourism. After acts of terrorism, increased security measures as recently established at airports and borders can assist in making travelers feel safe. In recent years, tourist satisfaction has depended largely on safety and security issues, as foreigners will not travel to places in which they have heard negative reports about.
Tourism planning also includes the development of training and continuing education programs in order to enhance business and professional skills. There are also several tourism planning trends that will continue to change, changing the role of tourism on an international level. For example, cultural and natural environments continue to attract growing numbers of visitors as mass tourism continues to increase. Additionally, technological advances in many areas including transportation, information systems and communications are revolutionizing business practices. As the number of wealthy tourists increases, so does the number of elderly tourists that have retired. Other possible trends may include new vacation spots, and new locales for spring and winter breaks. Finally, places of historical significance will remain as family and educational-based places of traveling interest.
Tourism also has several other economic and social impacts; one discussed at length is the relationship between poverty and tourism. This is the result of a unanimous belief that tourism can be effectively used to address the problems of poverty. In poor countries, tourism can contribute to economic growth, and can also have social, environmental, and cultural benefits and costs. It can provide employment opportunities by diversifying and increasing income, thereby reducing the vulnerability of the poor. An important advantage of tourism in a poor community is that it depends not only on financial, productive and human capital but also on national and cultural capital which are often assets possessed by the poor. Additionally, tourism thrives on diversity, drawing from a large resource base which increases the scope for wider participation (Unescap.org, 2005).
For example, the WTO has made a commitment to contribute to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals through a new initiative to develop sustainable tourism as a force for poverty elimination. Implemented in 2003, this program encourages sustainable tourism with a view to alleviating poverty.
Other economic and social benefits of tourism is that it can create profit and collective income from locally-owned enterprises, and it unlocks opportunities for pro-poor economic growth by providing formal and informal employment. Socially, tourism in poor areas can facilitate social development by increasing access to infrastructure, providing local people with the opportunity to access local tourism infrastructure (Unescap.org, 2005). However, along with these positive aspects, there are also negative ways that tourism can affect poor nations. For example, tourism can impose additional non-economic costs on the poor, such as a loss of access to resources, and displacement from land formerly used for agriculture and housing. Because of negative effects on the poor, it is widely recognized that tourism can be an effective method of reducing poverty only if it is strategically managed. Mandatory legislation in this area can serve as a guideline for this type of tourism implementation and planning.
Tourism policy formulations and recommendations can assist all types of nations in successfully maintaining tourism and annual visitors. For example, encouragement in tourism investment businesses could serve to assist in meeting national social and economic goals. The majority of what professionals in this area know about tourism is based on quantitative and qualitative research on tourism. Qualitative research provides numeric data that is more conclusive in nature. This kind of research can be produced through experimental research, which involves tests of various kinds to determine the likely reactions of customers to new services or products. Another means of qualitative research is observational research, which utilizes the use of mechanical or electronic devices, often to count the number of customers or customer vehicles. Survey research, or the use of structured questionnaires to gather information from customers or others on specific topics is also useful. Finally, professionals can use computers to simulate marketing situations and to derive results through the application of mathematical or other models.
The tourism environment and hospitality marketing industry will always remain a strong factor in globalization, even in light of disasters that can negatively influence vacation and travel. There are several steps that tourism professionals can take to maintain customer satisfaction and market control. Marketing control represents the steps that an organization takes to ensure that its marketing plans are successful. This includes setting standards, measuring performance against standards, and correcting deviations from standards and plans. This environment will also benefit from implementing evaluations, the results of which will no doubt assist tourism professionals in their future decisions. Marketing evaluation comprises the techniques used after the marketing plan period to analyze success in achieving individual marketing objectives and to more broadly assess the entire organization's marketing efforts. Additional research, and the implementation of such meaningful evaluations can only ensure that the future of the tourism industry remains bright.
Baum, T. & Mudambi, R. Economic and Management Methods for Tourism and Hospitality Research. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Co., 1999.
Morrison. Hospitality and Travel Marketing. 2nd edition ISBN#: 0-827306620-5.
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Unescap.org (United Nations). "Poverty Alleviation through Sustainable Tourism