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Destination Management


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Destination Management: A Case Study of the Himalayas

For a long time the mountainous region of South Asia has captured the imagination of tourists. It is known for its breath-taking beauty and is home to some of the highest mountains in the world. It has been a closed region for a number of centuries.
Nearly 446 million which is half the world’s 969 million poor call South Asia their home and all of them live on less than US$ 1 per day. This is almost two times than the quantity of poor that live in Sub-Saharan Africa (298 million poor living under US$ 1 each day. (Ahmed et al. 2007). A complete appreciation of the poverty condition and the way that tourism can address this conditioninvolves an acceptance of the wider social forces that play a part in the socio-economic system of the mountains. It has not gone undetected that the area is going through anage of unbelievable environmental and politicalalteration, which is giving rise to socio-economic consequences.
It has been claimed that tourism is the most likely approach to these changes and can generate much desirable means for the reworking practice building upon the assets of the area. Although tourism may be the answer to these changes but the real test is to ensure that it is managed well and that its profits are shared by all. The remarkable mountainous regions of Central Asia, the Hindu Kush and the Himalayas now captivate ever-increasing amounts of international travellers enticed by the distinctive natural beauty and culture of these previously un-charted regions.
The inter-disciplinary project kindly backed by the Norwegian Government and UNESCO regular programme funds aim’s to launch associations and encourage relationship between local populations, national and international NGOs, and tour agencies in directive to include local communities fully in the employment prospects and income generating activities that tourism can bring.

Destination Management:

Destination: A place is that an individual or group of individuals travel to, and that is different from their natural place of abode (Dredge and Jenkins 2007). They further note that the limitations of destinations are tied to the physiognomies of tourism patterns. To understand the concept of a destination region (Dredge 1999) identified three characteristics. i. Tourist creating markets and destination areas are unconnected geographical entities. ii. The complex and multi-scale nature of destinations means that their conceptualisation must be a flexible hierarchical structure adapted to suit different market, scale and location characteristics. iii. Destinations can be solesites or can be a can be a set of geographically separate placeswith connected travel patterns or touring routes.
Most tourist activities take place at destinations hence destinations form a pillar in any model of the tourism system but destination marketing and management is a complex issue which requires a holistic and systematic approach.
Understanding the Driving factors of Destination Marketing and Management:

The tourism industry is not an independent or closed system. The development of this industry relies heavily on the support of other external and environmental systems such as sociocultural, economic, political, physical etc.
According to a report by KAI (Karl Albrecht International) for the Destination Marketing Association International, eight new ‘super trends’ have been identified as the new driving force behind successful destination marketing and management.
The customer environment:
Travelling customers often respond positively to a diversified set of value clusters i.e. combination of products and services that suit individual preferences.
Destinations and destination marketers must craft, design, promote and coordinate a satisfying visitor experience that maximises the economic distribution to the destination. They must also create an even richer palette of options and target their value packages more skilfully.

The Competitor environment:
As the travel market continues to evolve it brings with it greater fluidity, complexity, disintermediation and reinter mediation and the visitors along with the businesses that sell services to them are faced with a bewildering set of information choices. Free online content especially creates an intense noise level which makes it difficult for destinations to make themselves the preferred information providers.
Destination marketers must become the most popular source of information for visitors and the businesses that sell services to them and that will require becoming more visible in all media especially capturing and significant share of the World Wide Web traffic that involves travel decisions.
The Economic Environment:
The current economic environment is very volatile and uncertain which makes it necessary to plan flexibly with various economic contingencies in mind.
Destinations must form their strategic plans and development agendas around alternative economic scenarios and must have contingencies for responding to unthinkable economic upheavals.
The Technological Environment:
The World Wide Web is increasingly becoming the battle ground for visitors and their money. Website designs are becoming more sophisticated and are advanced in functionality and intelligence which is resulting in destination marketers becoming less visible to customers and if they fail to keep pace by developing competing websites that teach, inform, entertain, advise, support and assist visitors then they will lose the battle
Destination marketers must build and maintain state-of-the-art Web based resources that visitors can rely on for their decisions. This includes implementing social networking and web community building. They mustalso keep their attention on search engine optimization and must carefully analyse the website traffic patterns.
The Social Environment:
Human relationships and communities are becoming increasingly delocalized, transient, atomized and a growing multitude of information experiences and channels connect people to one another. Modern cultures are increasingly defined in terms of proliferating number of relationships of a more shallow and transient nature. Social networking has become an increasingly significant method of reaching customers by creating specialized communities of interest.
These trends in technology and interaction offer opportunities. Destinations must promote the travel and the related benefits in personal enrichment and mutual appreciation of culture which will in turn reduce political tension through a sense of connectedness and community. At the same time, they must make their message viable within the media that engulfs the prospective customers they hope to attract.
The Political Environment:
Destination marketers always face confusion and doubt from local government officials, stakeholders and partners regarding the roles they play and the values they can offer. The number of contenders seeking a higher portion of local taxes and municipal forms for funding for non-tourism related purposes is always increasing. In popular tourist destinations leaders of the political process often question the need to market the destination and citizens may view tourists and intrusions rather than contributors. With all this in mind destination marketers risk being left out of important strategic conversations.
They must proactively lead and catalyse local strategic conversation with regard to the role and importance of visitor commerce in the development of the destination.
The Legal Environment:
Governments often at a variety of level impose taxes and other restriction upon tourism related commerce as part of their agendas. Some of these legislations can be of great advantage to a destination but some can b disastourous. In some cases at various levels these policies and legislations may conflict with each other and may even reflect conflicting policy theories within certain governments.
Destination managers and marketers should advocate shared solutions that balance economic, ecological, social and political benefits that involve all and on top of that they should vigorously oppose any unilateral government actions that threaten to balkanize the tourism sector.
The Geophysical Environment:
There is an intesifying focus on climate change and related ecological concerns will create pressure at many levels in society and government to be ‘seen as green’ i.e. to appear to take the issue seriously and act upon it. During this hype phase, common sense is normally in short supply and strong leadership will be needed to focus the green conversation along a rational pathway.
Destination managers must advocate a real balance in the ‘green’ conversation by promoting intelligent trade-offs and solutions sustainable economic development with a rewarding travel experience.All of the above mentioned trends pose various potential threats and oppurtunities. It depends on the destinations as how to view them. Creative thinking can pay off big time in each of these sectors and create new oppurtunities, strategies and new ways to package and offer value to visitors.
Pro-Poor value chain:

It is obvious that growth in tourism can significantly reduce poverty in the region but only if the measures which find orientation in the poor are taken up and they are to be given importance. This can be completed through pro-poor sustainable tourism project facilitation (Kruk et Al 2007a and 2007b) and also through pro-poor tourism value chain development. The latter has recently been achievingimportance as mentioned earlier.
This increasing significance is mostly due to the widespread need to scale up impact on poverty beyond just a limited high-input local tourism expansiondevelopments. Even though this use of value chain analysis is fairly new, preliminary projects and reports have so far suggested that it can be an effective tool to develop the link between tourism markets and local communities.
Supportive Mountain Tourism Policy:

Helpful mountain tourism planning and policy framework is required in order for this to be a success. This will require a change in policy making and prevailing policy perceptions which are generaly made to suit the interests of urban elites rather than the people concerned with the policies. Old-fashionedmoney-making tourism procedures, still practiced in the Himalaya, formstrategies to safeguard state and private tourismentities based in city and non-mountain sites, grasp tourism profits by necessitatinglicensesand subscriptionscharged centrally, group formation and pre-payment of expenditures, urban supply procurement,and global marketing networks (Campbell 2008).
All these tools and policies dismiss local community operators and also do not offer a share for indigenouspopulations which would inspire them to safeguard the rich cultural and natural environement that entices tourists. Substitute policies which firmly address and are based on precise mountain environments and focus on launchingprofits for the underprivileged are critical. Case studies have revealed that where strategies and preparation have been announced to support indigenouspopulations, such as in the Annapurna Conservation Area in Nepal, or the Yuksum area in Sikkim, India, tourism welfares for the poor have improvedessentially (Chettri et al 2005; Campbell 2008).
There is irrefutable scope to intensify income retention in the mountainous regions of central asia and himalayas by facilitating links between local product system and tourism. Tourism project assistance, propoor value chain development, or other involvementrepresentations, deep-rooted in multi-stakeholder partnership – explicitly with the private sector -, and reinforced by comprehensive policy agendaspropseopportunities to materialize this relationship. An acceptanceof the alteringdynamics of the mountain region is paramount for the selection of most rewarding livlihood oppurtunities and identifying the most promising vunerability reducing contributions can be used to exploit on these openings. New study on these relations between tourism, global change and poverty is therefore vital.

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