Tourism Planning Environments

By Support

The Task

Prepare a discussion paper proposing the preparation of a new tourism plan or policy to address an emerging tourism issue. For example, this issue might be an emerging crisis such as the global financial crisis or the Brexit; or an outbreak of a transmittable disease such as avian flu; or a long-term issue such as climate change, coral bleaching or even a planned deviation of a major highway to bypass a tourist town.

You will have to make a number of decisions in order to narrow your focus. Remember the more focused the tourism issue you are addressing in your discussion paper, the more targeted your research will be and the easier it will be to write your assignment!

You may choose one of the following, or make up your own based on your own interests, experience or knowledge:

National tourism planning – e.g. propose a plan/policy to address issues arising for Australia from Brexit; or to address the effects of one of the six megatrends identified by CSIRO on Australian tourism (see: Future-World).

Regional/local destination tourism planning – e.g. propose plan to manage visitation to a cross-border region (e.g. Australia’s Green Cauldron National Landscape in Northern New South Wales and Southern Queensland –; or propose a response plan to manage the effects of climate change on tourism in a local government area.

Protected marine environments – e.g. propose a policy to manage the effects of a major coral bleaching event in a marine protected area.

Protected lands – e.g. propose a plan to manage commercial tourism operator access to national parks.

Labour shortage – e.g. propose the development of a plan/policy to address the labour and skills shortages affecting tourism service quality.

Indigenous tourism – e.g. propose the development of a plan/policy to address identified gaps in supply and demand issues of Indigenous tourism in Australia (See Ruhanen, L, Whitford, M and McLennan, C 2013. Demand and Supply Issues in Indigenous Tourism: A Gap Analysis. Synopsis available at: content/uploads/2013/03/20130304ResearchReport_Demand-and-Supply-Issues-in- Indigenous-Tourism-A-Gap-Analysis-Synopsis.pdf

Report Content

The report will contain the following information:

  1. position statement (approx. 300 words) – this statement clearly indicates all the assumptions you have made about who you work for, the agency’s goals and the particular goals and objectives of the policy issue or problem that your paper is addressing. This serves as the introduction
  1. background context (approx. 1000 words) – a discussion of issues that have influenced the emergence of this particular issue, ensuring that you have research and properly referenced your discussion
  1. a statement of need (approx. 1000 words) – a background statement on why the tourism plan is needed (consider the role of government, business and other stakeholders, and its possible reasons for government intervention)
  1. scope of the proposed plan (approx. 500 words) – identification of possible policy approaches and instruments that the plan or policy will consider (this helps scope or provide direction to those who might be preparing the plan/policy)
  1. proposed process (approx. 200 words) – an outline of a proposed planning process including details of consultation, implementation and review
  1. a bibliography, including at least 20 references that you have cited in the discussion No more than 7 references are to be web sources and at least 10 references must be academic references.

In preparing this discussion paper you are to demonstrate your understanding of the tourism planning environment. You are also required to demonstrate a high level of professional report writing and communication skills, and critical thinking and analytical skills. As a way of demonstrating this, in your paper you are to include the following:

clear headings and well-structured paragraphs no spelling, grammatical or typographical errors

in-text referencing and a reference list in Harvard Style

all data, information and sources are to be clearly acknowledged

all quotes are to be properly referenced including author, date and page number.

Remember the quality of your paper will help to determine whether the proposed tourism plan or policy will receive government support!

Marking criteria (equal weighting)

  • Responds directly to the task posed
  • Links clearly to unit content/theory
  • Depth of thought and critical thinking skills
  • Demonstrates evidence of relevant research
  • Adherence to good academic writing practice (e.g. grammar, spelling, clarity of expression, correct referencing).

Conduct a web-search for tourism discussion papers for a specific issue or region and you will find a plethora of very current examples.

Tourism Planning Environments


     The topic of this report overtly highlights its essence.  It seeks to give a comprehensive discussion of the development of a contemporary tourism policy meant to remarkably address the problem of labour and skills shortage impacting the quality of tourism service delivery in Australia.  It demystifies the various aspects of the booming tourism sector particularly the labour aspects.  The report is structured in five sections, namely:

  • Position statement
  • Background context
  • Statement of need
  • Scope of the proposed plan/policy
  • Proposed plan/policy

Section One: Position statement

Who I work for and the agency`s level

   I work for G Adventures agency.  It is a global travel agency that provides diverse styles of trips to meet different tastes alongside offering a wide array of departure dates and destinations (G-Adventures, 2013).   However, the agency operates in the country at a national level (Australia, 2012).  Our operations cover Victoria, particularly Melbourne City, and port Campbell. 

  My chief role in the agency is to process the bookings for our clients.  The bookings are largely done online.  I receive the booking requests, go through them keenly, and then approve them by processing them.  All these are done in several minutes or hours, depending on the traffic in the system.

The agency roles, values, and internal and external influences

  It provides a wide range of tourism services.  Such services include; adventure sports, tours to dazzling cities, beaches, animal parks, mountain climbing, hiking, and caving (Tours, 2011).  Additionally, it offers a broad selection of small group tours of up to nine people, expeditions, and safaris.

  The agency’s values are remarkable.  They include love, lead, embrace, create, and do (Tours, 2011).  These are evidently the core values on which the agency is anchored.  Essentially, it seeks to change the lives of people and visitors.

  There are several internal and external influences in the agency.  The chief internal ones are the agency`s culture, employees, management, and owners (Travel, 2014).  These factors work for the benefit of the agency.  Similarly, external influences include competitors, clients, regulations, partners, and political, economic, and sociocultural dimensions (Travel, 2014).

Specific goals, objectives, and the how

  The policy goals include:

  • To enhance the functionality of the tourism labour force
  • Increasing the number of professionally trained tourism personnel
  • Enhancing the match between the job seekers and the employers
  • Improve the remuneration and working conditions of tourism employees

   The objectives are:

  • To enhance the polishing of relevant tourism skills
  • Alluring a remarkable number of skilled personnel into the sector

   The policy will address the issue in several ways.  It will bring on board all the relevant stakeholders.  The policy will advocate for the establishment of more tourism training institutions (Centre, 2015).  Also, it will provide for proper remuneration.

Part Two: Background Context

Tourism sector opportunities, issues, and challenges

  Low-cost airlines present suitable opportunities for the sector (Francis et al., 2006).  This is because the number of tourists visiting the country is bulging immensely.  This is attributed to the increase in preference for traveling by low-cost carrier flights (Francis et al., 2006).  According to them, there has been an upsurge of such flights from 54% in 2014 to 56.51% currently.

  Another opportunity is the increase in international tourist influx.  This implies that the number of foreign tourists visiting the country is immense.  Evidently, this provides a potential to tap the lucrative market opportunity for the tours and travel entities, G Adventures inclusive.

  An upsurge in participation in outdoor recreational activities is also evident.  This means there has been an increase in the number of local and foreign tourists embracing outdoor leisure activities.  As such, this translates into more market openings for the entities in this booming sector.  Recently, there has been a high growth in adventure tourism, with huge numbers of travelers seeking novel, exciting, and challenging adventure experiences while on holiday (Tribe, 2015).

   Protecting the environment is a paramount issue.  Most of the adventures and tourism activities greatly involve the natural surroundings (Tribe, 2015).  This implies that such activities occur within the natural settings of the environment.  For instance, camping, caving, and hiking, just to mention a few, mainly involve the natural environment.  This is because they occur in game parks and forests, among others.  Safeguarding such an environment is a major issue in the tourism sector.

  Tourist safety is also a chief issue (Tribe, 2015).  This is because many of the tourist and adventure activities revolve around dangerous aspects.  For instance, hiking, animal parks, adventure sports and caving.  Such activities present quite some dangers to the participants.  Consequently, prior and prudent safety measures need to be considered.

  The major specific labour shortage areas in the industry include:

  • Food and beverage
  • Accommodation and housekeeping
  • Tour guides who have multiple foreign languages speaking prowess.

  One of the crucial impacts of these aspects on the industry is that they halt the productivity of the industry.  This means that the sector`s production levels are slowed down quite significantly.  Sadly, this translates into adverse effects on the country`s economy, partly dependent on tourism.  Similarly, the growth prospects of the lucrative sector are discouraged.  This implies that the future development plans of the industry by investors, both local and foreign, are quite dampened.  As such, the industry`s growth rate is slowed, which is detrimental. 

   The increasing popularity of glamping and RVs is a major challenge to the sector (Buhalis & Darcy, 2011).  According to them, glamping depicts a glamorous way of camping that does not need one to pitch tents, no unrolling of sleeping bags, and no lengthy journeys to find a bathroom.  It is a way of experiencing immense outdoors devoid of sacrificing luxury.  As such, this has posed a significant problem to the adventure agencies.  This is because the tourist will not need such items, which the travel and adventure agencies provide.  On the other hand, RVs describe towable trailers meant for leisure activities like vacations and camping and are found in parks (Buhalis & Darcy, 2011).  Resultantly, the travel agencies do not benefit.

  The global economic crisis is another challenge (Buhalis & Darcy, 2011).  This implies that the regular and unpredictable fluctuations in the worldwide economy are a threat to the sector.  This normally involves changes in the exchange rates and other economic-related disasters.  As a result, this hits the tourism sector adversely whenever it occurs.

Visitor numbers, income, and employment issues, and issue drivers

   Visitor numbers are essential in the tourism industry (Tribe, 2015).  This means that visitor turn-up is indispensable for the operation of the tourism sector.  Higher visitor numbers are the desire of every tourism enterprise.  This is because increased visitor numbers usually translate into high revenues.  The opposite is vividly true.

  Nearly even visitor income distribution is relevant to the sector (Tribe, 2015).  This is because it means more revenue from the visitors.  Similarly, high-income visitors enhance the sector`s overall revenue and vice versa.

  Full-time employees tend to spend quite more relative to their part-time counterparts.  This means that the part-time workers spend sparingly.  This is because they have to save for other activities considering they possibly earn less than the full-time employee.

  Monetary policy is a chief economic driver (Dredge et al., 2013).  This means that such a policy should be favorable to the tourism sector.  This is to ensure the proper functionality and performance of the indispensable sector in the economy.

  Exchange rates are equally paramount drivers (Dredge et al., 2013).  Constant and predictable foreign exchange rates are necessary for this diverse sector’s smooth running and productivity.  This is because such stable exchange rates enable appropriate planning and more.

  Local and overseas political trends are key drivers (Dredge et al., 2013).   This is because such trends influence visitor numbers in the country.  As such, stable politics are highly suitable for the frictionless functioning of the country`s tourism sector.  Vice versa is evidently true.

  Demographic aspects are part of the drivers too.  For instance, they include aspects such as lower birth rates, increases in ethnic diversity, and the inflow of young people into the cities.  These adjustments cause different patterns in the consumption of recreation and leisure time (Dredge et al., 2013).  For example, older retired people can have many years of time to participate in recreation.  However, their physical capacities diminish as they age.  Additionally, people have children at a later age and hence can spend more time on holidays.

 The Internet, especially smartphones, is another driver.  According to (Dredge et al., 2013), people can make plans for their recreation and leisure time more quickly at any time of the day.  This promotes convenience.

  Environmental drivers are also evident.  In rural areas, landscapes are increasingly being abandoned since farming has become less profitable.  This may have beneficial effects on the environment since pollution is lowered and natural habitats upsurge (Dredge et al., 2013).  This results in attractive recreation places.

Examples and why the problem needs a new policy

   Some of the examples drawn from the research include the use of online booking systems and inflation, among others (Dredge et al., 2013).  These are among the key driver elements in the sector.

  The issue needs a contemporary policy.  This is because the present labour shortage is adversely impacting the general tourism sector (Whitford & Ruhanen, 2010).  The impact is manifested in the poor quality of customer service delivered.  As such, this requires immediate mitigation.

Part Three: Statement of Need

The need for the plan and the government’s role

     A plan or policy is indispensable when the need arises to satisfactorily and conclusively address a regional, national, or international problem (Liu & Wall, 2006).  This means that either of the two is usually better placed to sort out any emergent problem that involves a significantly huge number of people, particularly a sector or industry.  The chief reasons for the need for the plan are mentioned below.

  • To adequately boost and sustain the tourism industry. This implies that the policy will steer the ailing sector, particularly its labour aspect, towards enhanced service delivery and consequently sustainable remarkable performance.
  • To benefit the local people and increase their quality of life. This will be attained through increased employment and better pay
  • To significantly mitigate unemployment in the country. The policy is partly anchored on the need to reduce unemployment levels among the country`s population.
  • To identify training and education gaps and consequently address them. The policy will address the need to establish more education and training centers and institutions to adequately equip the existing and entry-level employees with refined and competitive tourism skills.
  • The need to maximize productivity and efficacy in the tourism sector.
  • To improve recruitment and sustainability for the sector.  The policy is necessary to ensure that the hiring and retention process in the industry is transparent, accountable, reliable, and efficacious.  Similarly, staff retention needs to be based on merit, incentives, and other relevant motivations.
  • To promote workforce mobility and expand the existing workforce. This implies that there exists a need to facilitate the smooth movement of the workforce within the industry.  Additionally, the expansion of the current tourism workforce is highly necessary to meet the increasing needs of the high number of tourists visiting the various destinations in the country.
  • To enhance the quality of tourism service countrywide.

  The role of government forms a paramount and sophisticated aspect of tourism (Airey & Ruhanen, 2014).  This means that the government plays a key role in the efficient running of the tourism sector in any given country.  It does this under the ministry of Tourism.  As such, it is important to note that the government is central in managing the tourism industry.

  One of the top government roles includes the protection of the environment and conservation (Airey & Ruhanen, 2014).  This implies that the government is responsible for ensuring that the environment particularly the tourism surroundings, is well protected and conserved.  It can do this through relevant legislation and other government environment regulatory agencies.

  The government is also tasked with the development of tourism resources (Airey & Ruhanen, 2014).  As such, it has to mobilize the enhancement of resources in the tourism sector.  For instance, the development of tourism infrastructure is essential.

  According to (Airey & Ruhanen, 2014), training and education facilitation is another notable government role.  This means that the government is expected to equip the interested people in the sector with the necessary and up-to-date skills.  This is via setting up training institutions across the country.  This will, in turn, translate into adequate and efficient service delivery in the sector.

Stakeholders and the Key Trends

   There are various stakeholders in the tourism industry (Presenza & Cipollina, 2010).  According to them, they include:

  • The national government, via the Ministry of Tourism
  • The local governments
  • Tourism enterprises and establishments
  • Tourism consultants and professionals
  • Trade unions of tourism workers
  • Tourism training and education centers

  The Australian tourism sector employs about one million people (Davidson & Wang, 2011).  They add that this translates into 8% of the country`s total employment.  Nevertheless, there are presently 38,000 unfilled vacancies within the industry, and hence tourism enterprises are facing immense hiring and retention hardships as well as skills deficiencies.  This is one of the major problems, and it is attributed to various trends in the country.

   There are several such impacting trends.  They include increased migration, particularly from the rural areas to the cities, an aging population, and the lack of smooth facilitation of transition from tourism education and training centers in the country (Davidson & Wang, 2011).  As such, the movement of young people from the peripheral and rural areas of the nation to the urban areas causes an influx of people in those places.  Sadly, a majority of them lack the necessary tourism skills hence the acute labour shortage.

  Similarly, an aging population is a contributing factor.  This is it leads to a reduced number of young and energetic people who can be productive in this industry. Also, the disharmonious transition from tourism training institutions to the job market is an overt trend.

Challenges and agency response, likely reasons for government intervention, and the likely desirable effects of the policy

     According to (Cameron, 2011), the following are the present challenges namely:

  • Few career development opportunities
  • Poor remuneration and work environments
  • Unplanned recruitment, considering employees as cost instead of assets, and inadequate training and education institutions, just to mention a few

Suitable responses to these challenges are as follows.

  • Providing adequate career development openings
  • Advocating for enhanced remuneration and job conditions
  • Diligently planning recruitment, adequate training, and education provision

  According to (Bramwel, 2011), the possible reasons for government intervention include:

  • To promote the general performance of the tourism sector
  • To resolve the unemployment issue in the country
  • To ensure its functionality for increased revenue into the country`s economy

The likely desirable effects resulting from the implementation of the policy are outlined below.

  • Improved quality of services in the paramount sector
  • Reduction of unemployment levels
  • Motivating more people to take up jobs in the significantly growing sector.

Part Four: Scope of the proposed plan

Possible policy approaches and appropriate instruments

  The two relevant approaches are rational and incremental (Anderson, 2014).  They add that the rational approach involves comprehensive decision-making.  This means that it encompasses intensive consultations that are inclusive and democratic.  This approach will be suitable since the proposed policy touches on quite some crucial stakeholders who need to be consulted and adequately involved.  Additionally, this approach considers all the possible alternatives considering the relevant social, political, and economic aspects (Howlett, 2010)

  The incremental approach involves the continuation of the previous policy with small adjustments (Anderson, 2014).  This implies that the existing elements of the present policy are polished and enhanced to adequately address the current issue, in this case, the shortage of labour and skills in the Australian tourism sector.

  Policy instruments are tools that may be employed to overcome challenges and attain objectives (Bramwell, 2012).  According to him, the most relevant instruments to this policy include the following:

  • Monetary and fiscal instruments
  • Incentives for training more people in the tourism sector
  • Tax cuts

Effective use of several instruments and the resources required

   It is possible to employ several instruments in the policy (Ferro et al., 2013).  Such instruments include money (monetary) and advocacy.  This is because the two complement each other in a unique way.  That is, to successfully advocate for the policy elements, monetary aspects must be used.

 The relevant resources required are:

  • Finance
  • Human resource( consultants, professionals, and experts)
  • Time

The advantages and direction of the policy

   According to (Hall, 2011), the following merits of the policy exist.

  • It is inclusive
  • It will establish long-term solutions to the problem
  • It is sustainable
  • Directly and positively impacts the country`s economy

   The policy will provide the relevant frameworks within which all the recruitment and retention of employees in the sector will be based.

Part Five: Proposed Process

The planning process and the way it will be done

     The planning process will be precise (Castellani & Sala, 2010).  As such, the process will follow the following outlined steps:

  • Identify the need for the policy
  • Establish the policy content
  • Get stakeholder backing
  • Implement
  • Monitor and redesign the policy

   All these will be executed by fully engaging all the relevant policy actors and stakeholders.  This will ensure that the process is democratic and inclusive.  As such, there will be less, if any, resistance to its implementation.

Who to consult, implement, its review, and the determination of its success or failure

    According to (Liu et al., 2012), the relevant parties to consult include:

  • The government
  • Tourism agencies and enterprises
  • Tourism training institutions
  • Tourism trade unions

The implementation of the policy will follow the following steps namely (Dredge & Jamal, 2015):

  • Publishing the policy
  • Initiating the interventions in the policy
  • Monitoring and evaluating its performance

 Its review will involve the assessment of its performance at regular intervals, for instance, annually.

  Its success or failure will be done in the following two ways:

  • Surveying the number of employees absorbed annually
  • Assessing the quality of services delivered


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