Tourism in the UK

The history of tourism in the UK provides an example – or model – of how a tourist industry might develop in any particular nation. The UK’s national parks give a good case study for this topic.

Models of tourist development

Butler developed a model which shows how any tourist resort may grow. A resort may start off from being a small, low key, destination. He suggests that all resorts go through the same sort of process.

The seven stages of tourist development

A graph of Butler’s resort life cycle modelA graph of Butler’s resort life cycle model

 

  1. Exploration – a small number of tourists visit the area. The area is unspoilt and few tourist facilities exist.
  2. Involvement – local people start to provide some facilities for tourists. There starts to become a recognised tourist season.
  3. Development – the host country starts to develop and advertise the area. The area becomes recognised as a tourist destination.
  4. Consolidation – the area continues to attract tourists. The growth in tourist numbers may not be a fast as before. Some tensions develop between the host and the tourists.
  5. Stagnation – the facilities for the tourists may decline as they become old and run down. The numbers of tourists may decline too.
  6. Rejuvenation – investment and modernisation may occur which leads to improvements and visitor numbers may increase again.
  7. Decline – if the resort is not rejuvenated (stage 6) then it will go into decline. People lose their jobs related to tourism. The image of the area suffers.

The Butler model is a generalisation, and so not all resorts will follow this process.

Towards sustainable tourism

If tourism is to be sustainable then the impacts on local people, the economy and the environment need to be balanced. To achieve this there needs to be cooperation between different interest groups. In The Lake District, the parties involved include:

  • Lake District National Park Authority
  • National Trust (who own a proportion of the land)
  • other land owners
  • hotel and leisure industry
  • conservation groups, eg RSPB
  • local people and businesses
  • tourists

Possible strategies to achieve sustainable tourism could be:

  • Restricting the number of cars and visitors – although this would have an impact on income from tourism.
  • Fundraising to repair damage done to the natural environment and footpaths – but who should pay?
  • Education of local people and tourists about sustainable tourism – but who will pay for this?

Underpinning any sustainable strategy is the successful involvement of the local people. With their cooperation, positive outcomes are far more likely.

 

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