Tourism Destination

  • Post last modified:16 December 2021
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What is Tourism Destination?

A tourism destination is a physical space in which a tourist spends at least one overnight. It includes tourism products such as support services and attractions and tourist resources within one day’s return travel time. It has physical and administrative boundaries defining its management, and images and perceptions defining its market competitiveness.

Local destinations incorporate various stakeholders often including a host community and can nest and network to form larger destinations. Destinations could be on any scale, from a whole country (e.g. India), a region (such as South India) or island (Andaman), to a village, town or city, or a self-contained centre (MGM Park, Chennai).

Elements of Tourism Destination

4 major elements of tourism destination are:


These are often the focus of visitor attention and may provide the initial motivation for the tourist to visit the destination. These can be categorized as natural (e.g. beaches, mountains, parks, weather), built (e.g. iconic buildings such as the Eiffel tower, heritage monuments, religious buildings, conference and sports facilities), or cultural (e.g. museums, theatres, art galleries, cultural events).

They could be in the public realm such as a nature park, cultural or historical sites or could be community attractions and services such as culture, heritage or lifestyle. Other, less tangible factors, such as uniqueness and emotional or experiential triggers are also attracting tourists to destinations.


These are the wide range of services and facilities which support the visitors’ stay and include basic infrastructure such as utilities, public transport, and roads as well as direct services for the visitor, ‘Destination’, includes accommodation, visitor information, recreations facilities, guides, operators and catering and shopping facilities.


The destination should be accessible to a large population base via road, air passenger services, rail or cruise ships. Visitors should also be able to travel with relative ease within the destination. Visa requirements, ports of entry, and specific entry conditions should be considered as part of the accessibility of the destination.


A unique character or image is crucial in attracting visitors to the destination. It is not sufficient to have a good range of attractions and amenities if potential visitors are not aware of this. Various means can be used to promote the destinations image (e.g. marketing and branding, travel media, marketing). The image of the destination includes uniqueness, sights, scenes, environmental quality, safety, service levels, and the friendliness of people.

Tourism Destination Planning

Tourism provides a major economic development opportunity for many countries and a means of improving the livelihoods of its residents. Both the public and private sectors involved in tourism depend on planning to achieve sustainable tourism development that respects the local community, creates appropriate employment, maintains the natural environment, and delivers a quality visitor experience.

However, many tourism destinations have pursued development without proper planning and without considering the many impacts such development will bring to the community.

Importance of Tourism Destination Planning

Tourism planning is primarily economic development planning that is directed towards tourism-related objectives which differ between the public sector and the private sector. In the public sector, most planning is done by different levels of government. Public sector tourism planning includes consideration of economic and social factors, land-use policies and zoning controls, environmental concerns, infrastructure development, employment concerns, and the provision of public services.

Private sector tourism planning is usually concerned with investment objectives involving various aspects of product development, building and design, financial feasibility, marketing, management and operations.

Tourism planning is important because it provides a common vision, direction and commitment for tourism which are the result of the participation of many representatives. The process of tourism planning includes:

  • Assessing the possible impacts of development and the resource problems which will be faced.
  • Analyzing the competitive status of a destination and its ability to respond to changes in the travel market

Providing a level of stability and predictability in the progress of the overall development of tourism in a given area.

Resort as Tourist Destination

All destinations are not created equal some have more potential than others to draw visitors.

Primary Destinations influence a traveller’s decision about where to go, are often the main reason for visiting an area and are closely linked to the image of the destination as promoted in marketing campaigns. Secondary Destinations are those that enhance the tourist experience but are not part of the major destination selection process.

To become a tourist destination the location, the region has to have the factors that determine the tourist destinations. These factors are determinants in the bordering, determination of the core area destination; their development is essential by the increase of the competitiveness of the specific destinations.

  • Tourist attractions, e.g. natural factors, factors made by human being, heritage, special events, etc.;
  • Approachability, e.g. the entire traffic system, including roads, traffic means, etc.;
  • Tourist services, e.g. accommodation, host services, other tourist services, etc.;
  • Product packages;

All kinds of activities that can be run by the tourists during their stay; public-utility services, e.g. banks, telecommunication, hospitals, etc.

Assessment of Potential of Tourism destination for Resorts

The term “tourism potential” is widely used in the tourism literature, but attempts for its precise scientific definition are scarce. Generally, tourism potential can be defined as the ability of an area (territory) to form a complete tourism product (“a complex of material and nonmaterial elements to provide the satisfaction of needs and benefits to the tourist, offered for consumption” – Krippendorf, 1980) and develop economically vital tourism. It is not necessary for this ability to be displayed or realized at the present moment but it must exist, according to the knowledge of contemporary tourism.

This ability depends on many factors. Above all, a territory must be attractive, it must interest potential visitors. This has to do, above all, with tourist resources (or resource potential), which are defined as the original (basic) sites and phenomena that attract tourist flows to a given destination.

Through the resources, a psycho-physical regeneration and enhancement of the erudition of tourists – directly or indirectly, is implemented, through the services offered at their basis.

The resources alone, however, are not enough to prove that territory has tourism potential or the ability of forming a tourism product. A tourist must be able to reach it comparatively easy (i.e. the position and accessibility of the territory are elements of the potential) and to get at least elementary services needed for his staying (which requires servicing installations such as food and accommodation facilities etc.). The functioning of such facilities requires the existence of adequate infrastructure, workforce etc.

These factors are reflected as a whole as “areas with tourism development potential”. which are expected to have attractions (things to see and do), local communities (settlements) to provide services, goods, facilities and attractions, as well as transportation to secure access to the area and in it. As was noted already, it is not necessary for all elements to be available to say that territory has tourism potential.

Attributes Relating to Assessment of Tourism Potential

It is important to state that practically every territory has certain tourism potential. Practically every site or phenomenon can be a tourism resource in a specific situation. This is because there are many different types of tourism and each one of them is based on different resources or attractions, i.e. different territories have different potential for different types of tourism.

Besides, this peculiarity is due to the heterogeneous tourism demand – different segments of the tourism market look for different conditions and attractions which also affect the tourism potential of the territory.

It is necessary to stress the fact that not all areas can develop economically vital tourism, i.e. tourism that has considerable economic, social and other benefits and justify the investments needed. Having in mind these conceptions of the nature of the tourism potential, the following definition for the places (areas) having such potential can be given.

The places having tourism potential must:

  • have tourism resources (attractions) allowing the attraction of considerable amounts of tourist flows, securing a short term or medium term economically effective. development of tourism; and
  • To be situated relatively close to important centers of forming and distributing tourism demand

Sustaining tourism for Resorts

  • Tourism sustainability is the key in the search of a more productive and harmonic relation between three basic elements: the tourist-guest, the host society and the environment. This relation is a dynamic one.

    The achievement of this desirable harmony depends upon the ability of the host region to accept the absorption and adapt changes that come as a result of tourism development and may be predictable or not or they can differ in intense and extent. Those differences are inter-correlated with the characteristics and the special features of each destination.

  • Many destinations are now pursuing strategies that aim to ensure a sensitive approach when dealing with tourism. Many of these strategies are based on a formal expression of principles for sustainable tourism.

  • Planners and others can use these principles as basic guidelines when attempting to incorporate the broad vision of sustainability into local policies and practices. The list of principles provided below are important for destinations and organizations that wish to be guided by the ethic of sustainable and responsible tourism.

  • Residents of a community must maintain control of tourism development by being involved in setting a community tourism vision, identifying the resources to be maintained and enhanced, and developing goals and strategies for tourism development and management.

    Equally important, community residents must participate in the implementation of strategies as well as the operation of the tourism infrastructure, services, and facilities.

  • A tourism initiative should be developed with the help of broad-based stakeholder input. Tourism development must provide quality employment. The provision of fulfilling jobs has to be seen as an integral part of any tourism development.

    Part of the process of achieving quality employment is to ensure that, as much as possible, the tourism infrastructure (hotels, restaurants, shops, etc.) is developed and managed by local people. Experience has demonstrated that the provision of education and training for local residents and access to financing for local businesses and entrepreneurs are central to this type of policy.

    • Broad-based distribution of the benefits of tourism must occur at the tourism destination. Local linkages and resident participation in the planning, development, and operation of tourism resources and services will help to ensure that a more equitable distribution of benefits will occur among residents, visitors, and other service providers.

    • Sustainable tourism development has to provide for intergenerational equity. Equitable distribution of the costs and benefits of tourism development must take place among present and future generations.

      To be fair to future generations of tourists and the travel industry, society should strive to leave a resource base no less than the one we have inherited. Sustainable tourism development must, therefore, avoid resource allocation actions that are irreversible.

  • Tourism strategies and plans must be linked with a broader set of initiatives and economic development plans.

  • A need exists for more coordination at both policy and action levels among the various agencies involved and among different levels of government. This is particularly relevant to tourism and environmental policies. Service provisions such as transportation, parking, and water and sewer capacities must also be considered in conjunction with tourism plans and developments.

  • Cooperation among attractions, businesses, and tourism operators is essential given that one business or operation can be directly affected by the performance or quality of another. The tourism process must also ensure that heritage and natural resources are maintained and enhanced using internationally acceptable criteria and standards.

Cultural, Social and Enviornmental consideration for Developing Resort Tourism

Tourism is also still a relatively new type of activity in many countries. Some governments and often the private sector have little or no experience in how to develop tourism properly. For countries that do not yet have much tourism, planning can provide the necessary guidance for its development.

For those places that already have some tourism, planning is often needed to revitalize this sector and maintain its future viability. Tourism planning efforts are most popularly directed toward improving the economy – more jobs, income and taxes generated.

Some of the goals and principles that should be considered in tourism planning are:

Socio-cultural consideration

Tourism involves contact between residents and visitors and consequently may result in considerable socio-cultural impacts. Those impacts can be particularly problematic in developing areas, where traditional cultural patterns may differ appreciably from those of the tourists and where substantial socioeconomic differences exist between tourists and residents; but they also occur in more developed countries.

Although most nations and regions develop tourism primarily for its economic benefits, tourism can nonetheless generate some economic problems or at least not bring maximum benefits.

Significant types of cultural tourist attractions include historic and archaeological sites, museums and cultural centres, traditions of dress, music, drama, ceremonies and festivals, fine arts, handicrafts, architectural styles, customs, and ways of life. Some areas in danger of losing their cultural heritage due to the general development process can revitalize some of their traditions through tourism.

Therefore, it is very much essential that the tourism planner must understand the various types of socio-cultural impacts and principles that can reinforce positive impacts on the area and mitigate negative ones

Environmental Considerations

Properly planned and controlled tourism can help achieve environmental conservation but, on the other hand, tourism can cause environmental deterioration. Tourism planners need to be aware of two related environmental concerns. One is the conservation of important environmental features and maintenance of the overall environmental quality of the area. The other is prevention, or at least minimization, of environmental problems that can result from tourism.

Tourist facilities should make maximum use of energy conservation techniques, especially in energy-deficient areas. Maintaining high environmental health and safety standards is essential to control diseases and accidents.

The government should require appropriate design and construction standards in areas prone to earthquakes, high winds, and heavy rainfall; and must apply environmental impact assessment procedures to tourism development projects. There should be continuous and systematic monitoring of environmental impacts, with remedial actions where necessary.

The rapid growth of tourism over the past 20 years has, together with industrial pollution, given rise to development constraints in an attempt to preserve the quality of the environment. Fortunately, protection of environmental quality is widely recognized as essential for the long-term health of the travel industry, since much tourism development depends on scenic attractions.

Tourism also exposes large numbers of individuals to environmental issues, promoting greater public awareness of needs and bringing about a climate of opinion in favour of environmental protection. The community of tourists is a body of opinion large enough to carry weight when conservation issues are being debated.

Basic Demands of Resort Tourists

Scenic Beauty

  • Since the day when tourism became a mass market due to a number of people starting to enjoy travel, tourism has been defined as a “landscape industry”, and regarded as fully integrated with destinations’ environment. Tourists, especially those in holiday mood, would like to enjoy their destinations’ natural views and beautiful scenery. That natural vistas and appealing landscapes have always been key attributes in determining the tourism attractiveness of a destination.

  • The attribute – landscape, was found to be the most important even before price considerations. In a study of measuring the importance of destination attributes, they concluded that natural beauty and climate were of universal importance in defining destinations attractiveness. Thus, nature-based beautiful scenery could be deemed as a meaningful attribute for a destination to attract more visitors.

Pleasant Weather and Climate

Weather can be defined as “the state of the atmosphere in a given place at a given time and can be described by one particular weather station or for a specific area of the earth’s surface. By contrast, the climate is the prevailing condition of the atmosphere deduced from long periods of observation”.

Both climate and weather can significantly influence tourists’ activities and behavior, just as they affect people’s routine lives as well. Climate and weather could become attractions in their own right and play a decisive role in tourists’ decisions on destination selection.

  • When tourists are thinking about buying a tourism product, they weigh up its different attributes, such as services, entertainment and price. The climate and weather are also evaluated in this process, as they could be deemed as the natural resources that usually form a part of the product.

    In the study of “the pull of tourism destinations”, found that the ‘warm climate’ appear to be a significant pull attribute, especially for those tourists who were interested in relaxing and getting a suntan. Climate acquires greater importance than the other attributes and is valued so positively when tourists decide to buy a tourism product.

  • Although climate and weather can be deemed as an important attribute associated with a destination, tourism planners and marketers can do nothing to affect them. However, the understanding of how tourists perceive a destination’s climate and weather would be helpful for tourism planners and marketers to better arrange their tourism resources and activities


Accessibility can be defined as the “relative ease or difficulty with which customers can reach the destination of their choice”. Tourists’ destination choice is often influenced by convenience. Given a choice between similar destinations, a tourist will tend to choose the more convenient one.

Thus, destinations, which are more proximate, would be more likely to be accepted over destinations offering similar products that are less proximate. The accessibility of a destination is governed by a wide variety of influences, many of which may depend on much broader economic, social, or political concerns, such as regulation of the airline industry, entry visas and permits, route connections, hubs, landing slots, airport capacities, and competition among carriers.

From this point of view, it is difficult to evaluate the accessibility of a destination, based on supply side. Suggested that accessibility could be measured by the relative difference in the time, cost, distance, or effort required to access different destinations, based on the demand-side. Accessibility might be an attractive attribute for a certain destination.


Although there are many attributes associated with a destination, safety is the major concern for tourists to make a decision on destination selection. Safety, tranquillity and peace are necessary conditions for prosperous tourism, most tourists will not spend their hard-earned money to go to a destination where their safety and well-being may be in jeopardy. It has been generally accepted that safety and security at a destination are critical determinants of its competitiveness.

Elements of safety and security include political instability/unrest, probability of terrorism, crime rates, a record of transportation safety, corruption of police/administrative services, quality of sanitation, the prevalence of outbreak of disease, and quality/unreliability of medical services.


The services of a destination are important in tourists’ destination choice. In the eyes of many tourists, destinations function more effectively, when their services are in abundance. Thus, the prosperity of a destination’s tourism is highly related to its provision of numerous ancillary services. In fact, tourism, by itself, can be deemed as a service industry.

Services exist in the whole processes of a tourist’s visitation, such as in transportation, shopping, diet, accommodation, and administration. The provision of reliable and responsive visitor services can significantly enhance a destination’s competitive advantage. Research shows that the range of services is the main attribute in the growth or decline of most destinations.

Generally speaking, the services of a destination can be evaluated by their quality, especially the quality perceived by tourists. The perceived quality of services is vital for a destination because it can significantly impact on tourists’ satisfaction with the destination. If a tourist receives low-quality services at a destination and will be dissatisfied with the trip, the future re-visitation to the destination might be in doubt.

On the other hand, good quality of services received by a tourist may increase the perception of ‘trip-value’, and in turn, increase the tourists’ likelihood to visit the destination again and recommend the destination to other people. Thus, service is an important attribute for a destination to attract more tourists.

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