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Tourism in Western Europe: A Collection of Case Histories
Richard Voase provides an interesting collection of case studies related to the development of tourism in Western Europe. The case studies are well organized into three thematic areas based on the political, economic and socio-cultural context. The collection of stories conveys changes in tourism development and practice and reflects how tourism development requires new ways of thinking about tourism. Voase concludes that tourism experiences, on the part of travelers, show signs of active decision-making alongside passive consumption. This leads the reader to think that tourists choose “canned” experiences that are creatively constructed but accessed through extensive information searching and decision making.
The case studies are by a variety of authors with strong local ties to the place they write about, providing a remarkable insight into the issues facing the tourism industry in Europe and North America (although North America is not the focus of this book). This book can be used within a tourism development course to help students identify current issues in tourism (eg environmental challenges, sustainability, conservation approaches) and build on definitions and theoretical models in tourism.
In his introduction, Voase conveys that the analysis or interpretation of cases is based on the political, economic, socio-cultural and technological environment. The analysis includes the multidimensionality of the tourist product and cultural and social factors related to current ideologies, which influence the development of tourism. Such ideologies refer to prevailing postmodernist approaches that seem to influence consumer behaviors, which include experiential consumption rather than product or service production processes.
The book consists of eleven chapters. The first four chapters are approached through the prism of the analysis of the political context. The first chapter, by Meetan, presents the role of tourism marketing and public policy in the counties of Devon and Cornwall, England. Meethan concludes that for these two counties “marketing was one of the aspects of a broader integrated policy aimed at more fully incorporating tourism into the regional economy” and that these programs would not have been possible without European Union (EU) funding. “The cases of Devon and Cornwall also show how new organizational forms are emerging in response to wider structural change.”
Chapter 2, by Morpeth, focuses on the role of leisure and tourism as policy instruments in Britain during the 1980s. Central and local governments used leisure and recreation policy as an extension of urban policy to counterbalance the negative effects of unemployment and structural problems evident in England in the 1980s. Morpeth discusses the case of Middlesbrough town and the role of Thatcherism policies in the town, which focused on creating town centers and using tourism as a tool for regeneration.
Chapter 3, by Voase, discusses the impact of political, economic and social change in a mature tourist destination; the Isle of Thanet in southeast England. Voase concludes that the process of policy, planning and tourism development in a mature destination is not always simple. Antagonistic politics among stakeholders involved in tourism development has led to inconsistencies in destination development. Chapter 4, by Robledo and Butle, focuses on Mallorca as a case study for tourism redevelopment for a mature destination using Butler’s (1980) concept of the product life cycle. As a mature destination, Majorca needs a sustainable development strategy to survive in the future. This recognition led the Ministry of Tourism of the Balearic Government to establish a supply-side regulation in tourism to protect the environment. This plan, however, as identified by Robledo and Bade, is an interesting case of a struggle between different groups (ie government, environmental groups, councils, hoteliers, construction industry) defending their interests in tourism development. Voase identifies these first four chapters as having three common factors: the role and interaction of local levels of government in policy formulation and implementation, the role of politics as a means of promoting and managing economic interests, and the powerful influence of social-cultural factors. Although these common factors are not directly evident in the case studies presented, Voase fills the gap in his writings. These common factors can encourage further discussion about the role of politics in tourism and how politics can influence researchers and practitioners in the field.
The second part of the book focuses on the economic context of tourism and its use as a tool for regeneration and wealth creation. Chapter 5, written by Lewis, focuses on two agri-environmental schemes, Tir Cymen and Tir Gofal, and how they have affected recreational access in rural Wales. This chapter presents how these schemes brought about many changes in agricultural practices in Wales. These changes have had a positive impact on recreational opportunities in the agricultural landscape of Wale and have changed the relationship between “rural and urban and new requirements for rural access, which now reflect the interdependence of environmental health, local social and economic needs and access to recreational land”.
Chapter 6, by Lindroth and Soisalon-Soinimen, discusses how a historical tourism product was developed in Loviisa, Finland. The goal of tourism development was to create the image of Loviisa as a historical tourist destination and to create new products in accordance with the historical theme. Lindroth and Soisalon-Soinimen determined that without the support of the tourist office, as well as the National Board of Antiquities, the development would not have progressed significantly. Also, European Union funding helped with training and professional assistance. The professionals and project managers involved in the process shaped the project through their enthusiastic actions, which are detailed in the case study.
Chapter 7, by Bohn and Elba, tells the story of one man and how his vision for the municipality of Alvdalen in Sweden turned the town into a tourist destination. The most important element in this story is that this man created a destination without being an expert in the field of tourism development. He used the current notion of relationship marketing to achieve successful growth without knowing its full value as a marketing tool. This chapter also highlights the importance of cooperation between stakeholders involved in tourism. Voase identifies factors that these three cases share: the role of the individual entrepreneur in product development, the consumption of natural resources, and tourism that focuses on past heritage.
The third part of the book focuses on the sociocultural context of tourism in four case studies. Chapter 8, written by Finn, discusses the change of European football from a fan sport to a spectator sport. Finn identifies current sports marketing approaches, which construct a product or experience where the fan’s identity does not fit into current “civilized” consumption processes, and instead, the spectator’s identity corresponds to those images and procedures promoted by sports marketers inside and outside of football. stadiums.
Chapter 9, by Baron-Yelles, focuses on tourism and the politics of nature-based tourism and how the ‘Grand Site National at La Point du Raz’ has undergone changes in tourism services and infrastructure to meet the needs of tourists. In this chapter, the reader can see the trade-offs between natural resources and the provision of tourism experiences. This case study also shows how the destination has responded to stakeholders’ views on coastal conservation, public access and permitted visitation levels.
Chapter 10, by Lohmann and Mundt, focuses on the maturing market for cultural tourism in Germany. The chapter discusses how tourism shapes culture through the exchange of experiences between travelers and residents of the destination. Travel and tourism are spoken of as components of culture. Lohmann and Mundt conclude that travel has become an important part of people’s lives and in turn they are exposed to other cultures, which can influence their own.
Chapter 11, by East and Luger, focuses on youth culture and tourism development in the Austrian mountains. East and Luger share interesting insights into young people’s reactions and behavioral adjustments towards tourists. They state that young people involved in tourism through family businesses tend to respect tourists more. Youth in rural mountain areas were found to be interested in urban experiences.
Voase concludes that these four final cases have three underlying themes. The first theme is that the experience of consumption is staged or produced. This theme is reminiscent of MacCannell’s (1976) notion of front and back reality. The front stage represents the presentation of the destination to visitors, while the back stage represents the real or truer nature of the destination. Another theme is that commercialization and commodification are not synonymous. The third theme is that the environment is often manipulated to influence people. Voase explains how sports environments have changed and so have spectators.
Overall, this book is useful to practitioners and academics as it provides case studies offered by people closely associated with the tourism industry, thus providing an insider’s view. Voase, as a resort tourism marketing practitioner and academic, effectively brings together case studies focusing on Western European tourism and communicates concepts that move the “old” principles of tourism into the “new”. His presentation of each collection of cases (ie economic, political and socio-cultural) is insightful. Voase, however, does not talk about the introduction of the euro in January 2002. This is an important change in the economic structure of all EU member states and their socio-cultural development. The interconnectedness of EU countries through a common currency could create a sense of wider community, potentially influencing tourism across cultural, social, political and economic EU member states.
Finally, Voase’s concluding section is insightful. Its conclusions identify demographic, environmental and consumer trends that will affect tourism in Western Europe during the 21st century. He concludes that population aging, global warming and active and passive consumer segments are elements of the ‘new’ tourism. All three trends will potentially influence future research in the field of tourism development and marketing. Both academics and practitioners should be aware of these trends. Voase as a practitioner and academic makes a significant contribution through these thematic case studies and the identification of the main themes and trends of tourism in Western Europe.
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