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4. Other Issues


This section is derived from the ETRIP Tourism Terms Working Group research and is concerned with the public sector issues of destination management and public realm that are outside the scope of ‘tourism industries’ as defined and covered in section 3.

4.1 Destination Management

'Although a term now widely used throughout the UK, Destination Management and the associated organizations responsible for it are relatively recent and loosely used concepts still in the process establishing formal definitions.

In terms of the definition of visitor destinations it follows logically that effective management increasingly requires a formal planning and development process for the visitor economy as part of an overall local authority Development Framework or the Local Plans expected to be a requirement of Government (England) by 2012.

To be effective, modern destination management organizations, Destination Management Organisations (DMOs), have to be underpinned by the local planning and development process and must engage (directly or indirectly) with the following five processes. These processes are recommended as the criteria for any official recognition of bodies adopting the title of DMO:

  • planning and development strategy for the destination (relevant to managing supply and demand) – reflecting local community consultation

  • directly or indirectly, the processes designed to manage all categories of visitors at the destination

  • maintaining and developing the quality of the destination experience for residents and visitors (public realm)

  • operation of a systematic means of tourism research and intelligence and measuring visitor activities (demand) and the supply of services provided for them

  • formal collaboration with local businesses and other bodies engaged in providing services at the destination

Traditionally interpreted in the UK as a local authority role with support from local tourism businesses to undertake promotion, 21st C destination management requires a designated collaborative partnership with all relevant partners engaged in the five main processes noted above.

The destination partners are local authorities working with LEPs and other relevant public sector organizations, and local businesses supplying tourism services (tourism industries)' (ETRIP Tourism Terms paper, 2011).

4.2 Public Realm

'Public realm is the accepted and widely used term in England for the services that relate primarily to the usage of spaces available for the public (residents and visitors).

These spaces are the direct responsibility of local authorities funded by Government, local business rates, Council taxes on residents and an Authority’s own revenue-earning activities.

Aspects of public space provision are often also partly vested in other public sector agencies working with local authorities.

Public Realm covers access to destinations and amenity spaces such as city/ town/village centres, squares, parks and gardens, pedestrian areas, paths, and river/cana/seaside promenades.

It covers local roads, car parking and services such as cleansing and litter services associated with public spaces.

It embraces lighting, pavement and road surfaces and signage.

It includes services to sustain heritage architecture and monuments.

The concept of public realm is also used to cover public services such as toilets and information provision.

It also covers responsibility for licensing and regulating suppliers of visitor services.

Where local authorities provide, manage or subsidise theatres, museums, piers and similar cultural provision available to the public, these are also aspects of the public realm.

In a visitor sense, public realm is the stage on which the overall quality of the experiences received at destinations is delivered. It is what makes places attractive or unattractive to visitors.

It is not the direct responsibility of local businesses although they may be involved as in the BID projects in operation since 2005 and in planning gain decisions.

In the wider context, public realm is always part of the local quality of life for residents; what defines the specialness and attractiveness of places, and influences inward investment generally.

Some parts of the duties involved in public real provision are a statutory requirement for local authorities, most obviously environmental, highways and cultural services. Other parts are not statutory in 2011' (ETRIP Tourism Terms paper, 2011).

4.3  Responsible Tourism

'Also known as ‘wise’ or ‘sustainable’ tourism, responsible tourism has been defined by UNWTO as

“tourism that meets the needs of present [visitors] and host regions while protecting and enhancing opportunity for the future.”

(UNWTO, 2004: Indicators for Sustainable Tourism: A Guidebook)

Achieving responsible tourism at a destination obviously has economic and socio-cultural as well as environmental implications.

Effective implementation requires an designated management organization (DMO), a formal management plan with stated objectives for more sustainable forms of tourism and an agreed process for targeting and – as far as it is possible - encouraging and/or discouraging forms of tourism demand and supply according to their relative contributions' (ETRIP Tourism Terms paper, 2011).


United Nations World Tourism Organisation, Statistical Office of the European Communities, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (2008),International Recommendations on Tourism Statistics (IRTS, 2008), New York, Luxembourg, Paris, Madrid

United Nations World Tourism Organisation (2010) The System of Tourism Statistics: Basic References. Madrid, 2010

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