Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Response to aj76's blog

This is a response to one of my classmates blogs located at http://aj76.blogspot.com/. The title of his blog is "measuring tourism impacts" posted Wednesday, November 29, 2006 at 4:58 pm. I think he really hit the nail on the head about measuring tourism impacts. Basically what he is saying is that methods can be developed quite easily, but actually quantifying some of the measures in these methods is a matter of much debate. He also talks specifically about surveys, and how the results can vary quite a bit depending on how the survey is administered. Basically measuring any form of social science is next to impossible to do so that everybody agrees on how it was measured. This is why I personally like physical sciences over social sciences. In physical science there is agreement between just about anybody for how things are measured. They might be different units, but they represent the same things. In contrast social sciences, including all tourism, cannot be measured perfectly and without controversy. I am glad I am an Engineer.

Carrying Capacity

For the last of the module readings for my online class (Module 3c), which is the purpose of this entire blog, I will be expressing my thoughts towards the topic of carrying capacity. This module is all about measuring and managing the impacts of tourism. This topic is very similar to a blog I just posted earlier today, which talked about ecotourism. Ecotourism is a way of attempting to manage the impacts of tourism, but this is not what I am talking about here. Carrying capacity is basically what a system can handle to stay in a type of equilibrium. It is not a topic specific to tourism in any means. For example, rabbits mate and multiply very rapidly and as such there needs to be enough predators in the area to keep the population in check. If the population is able to grow unabated then the rabbits will become overpopulated, run out of food, and die, thus destabilizing the ecosystem. For tourism this concept is more about how many people can visit an area before their visit begins to severely affect the area, or ecosystem. Obviously there is some debate over what is acceptable for deterioration of an area from tourism, but this is a reason why carrying capacity is a concept, and not law. In addition this concept also relates to how many people an area can actually support.
Overall I find this a very interesting way to attempt to constrain the impact of tourism, by setting a limit based on scientific research and sticking to it.

Ecoturism

In yet another module reading of my online class (module 3b) it talks about what is known as ecotourism. Before this class I had never heard of the exact term. It is basically tourism that attempts to leave areas how they originally are and reduce the human impact on the area. Obviously this form of tourism is aimed more towards nature type viewing, but can extend to any form of tourism, trying to minimize economic impacts. A type of standard has been made by the International Tourism Society (http://www.ecotourism.org/). They give all of the following as characteristics that all ecotourism has in common:
Environmentally responsible travel Visits to relatively undisturbed natural areas enjoying and appreciating nature Promoting conservation Low negative visitor impact Beneficial for the local society and economy

According to this reading module Southeast Asia is one of the regions that has really adopted the use of ecotourism. I am sure there are many reasons for this. Southeast Asia is one of the regions that I have recently been studying in this class. There are many places in this region where ecotourism is applicable, including the Himalayas. Another reason is the shear population of this region. In order to keep things as they are, or at least close to it, human impact must be minimized. Overall I believe ecotourism is a great thing, and I also believe that more and more things will become more economically friendly as the world population increases.

Local Attitudes to Tourism

In this section of my online class (module 3a) there is a section that talks about attitudes towards tourism, wither it is looked upon as positive or negative. There is a case study that talks about New South Wales, Australia that talks about a specific instance of this where surveys were handed out and taken by the locals. One of the regions that I have also recently read about informed me that New South Wales is also known as Sidney. They received both positive and negative feedback. Among the positive things were the following:

Expansion of new businesses and services More infrastructure and community facilities Restoration of historic Broome architecture Better health system

The negative impacts the locals felt towards tourism were the following.
Marginalization of Aboriginal and minority populations Too much power in vested interests High local prices Less friendly/more local conflicts High accommodation costs/shortage

In many ways I believe that the good outweighs the bad. Increased infrastructure and new job opportunities is what I believe every community needs to be successful and grow. Obviously increasing the entire health system is also a plus. One thing that is not mentioned here, but I have learned in this class is that even if something is designed to be a tourist attraction, the locals can use it for recreation as well, increasing the things for the locals to do. At the same time I can understand that some feel negatively towards tourism with increasing conflicts and higher costs.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

McDisneyization

Another concept in this class, as well as another geography class I am taking is that of McDisneyization, also known as McDisneyfication. Up until today I just thought that this was kind of a made up word for this class, but I have made an online discovery!!! I typed McDisneyization and McDisneyfication in a yahoo search, and was surprised to get over 100 hits. I am sure that if I use some other search engine that I will get some different sites as well. Sharon Zukin in 1996 uses this term in her book "The Cultures of Cities," and the term was even more popularized in a 2004 book by Alan Bryman "The Disneyization of Society." So these terms have actually been around for quite awhile. Wikipedia has some information on this subject at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disneyfication if you want further reading, or just type it into a search engine and see some other sites for yourself. This geography class was actually one of this hits that I got during my internet search.
The internet is a great place to at least get a general idea of what something is. Of course, anybody can publish anything online, so you shouldn't trust everything you read. But there are enough hits for this subject to make me believe that it really is a term. It is obviously still not a very widely used term, but it does appear to be an acceptable term that describes a specific approach to creating tourist attractions.

Tourist Attractions

Tourist attractions are of course key to tourism, and is yet another topic that has been covered in this class that I am taking. Tourist attractions come in many forms, and are closely related to a topic that I have previously bloged about, which is supply and demand. Tourist attractions are the supply side of supply and demand, because they supply tourists with places to visit. A good example of a tourist attraction is the rainforests in Africa. Africa is a region that we have learned about in the class that I am taking. The rainforest, while a tourist attraction itself, actually has many tourist attractions contained in it. For example the rainforests contain a vast number of animals that are not seen anywhere else in the world. This makes for a very unique attraction, as it is the only place on the planet that specific things can be seen, and studied. For something to be an attraction it is said that it should have at least one of the following attributes:
An exploitable “resource” A marketable “product” and “image” A place “attribute” or “feature”
The animals in the rainforest example I have given actually covers all of these. The resource is the landscape and environment that allows certain animals to thrive. The rainforest has a widely known image. And the attribute could be the animals themselves.
There are, of course, many other examples of tourist attractions and this is just one.

Barriers to Travel

I feel compelled to talk about barriers to travel, which is something else that has been discussed in this class this semester. There are numerous things that keep people from traveling abroad. A few big reasons are time and money concerns. But there are also concerns about personal safety that keep people from traveling. The U.S. Department of State maintains a website that keeps up to date concerns for countries around the world. Looking around their site I found a news article that I though pertained to this subject. It is titled "Media Note: International Travel Safety Information for Students" and can be found in here in this link http://www.travel.state.gov/news/info/press/press_2833.html. It just basically talks about some warnings to students traveling abroad. Something interesting is that it says over 2500 American citizens are arrested each and every year. Most of this is due to not knowing of the laws of the country they are in. This section is not entirely related to barriers to travel, but later in the article it does talk about some things to be aware of that could cause some people to turn away from traveling. One such thing is the varying security in countries. In the US we have police officers that patrol the streets, but in other countries law enforcement can be scarce, which is a major safety issue, which is most defiantly a barrier to traveling. A lot of what this article boils down to is that you can get arrested for things in other countries that you would get arrested for here, so if you have to stop and think "is this legal?" you should probably just assume that it is.

Supply and Demand

When I think of the term supply and demand normally tourism does not come directly into mind. One thing that I have found in taking this class from Northern Arizona University online is that supply and demand also pertains to tourism. Most people have at least heard of this concept, and looking at the definition of supply and demand it makes since that supply and demand defiantly relates to tourism. For those people that may not have heard of supply and demand Wikipedia has everything you would want to know about it, here is a direct link for your convenience http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supply_and_demand.
For an example of supply and demand let us look at the pyramids in North Africa in Egypt. There are people in the world that love to tour ancient societies, for example, this forms a demand for ancient civilizations. The pyramids supply this demand by way of a link to the ancient Egyptian civilization.
I myself have had personal experiences with supply and demand as they relate to tourism and recreation. I personally love the outdoors, sports, and snow. You can probably determine that I love to ski or snowboard. Luckily for me there are many attractions around where I live (in Boise Idaho) that supply this demand. As I have mentioned, I go to school at NAU, which is in Arizona. The here the demand for snow sports such as skiing is quite high, but there are only a few places in Arizona where this demand is met with supply. As such the ski resort in Flagstaff can charge much more for a lift pass than in Idaho where I live.
I personally do not like a lot of what supply and demand does. like I said, I love to ski but it just so happens that I am also quite cheap when it comes to spending money, so the supply and demand concept makes it so I won't go, and I am sure that other people are the same way. It happens that this is how the world works, and I just have to deal with it.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

New Blog

Hello people. I have created this blog for use in my World Geography and Tourism class at Northern Arizona University. All posts I make on this site will be related to this class.