Tourism and Development in Oceania Essay

Ateljevic, J., & Doorne, S. (2004, March). Diseconomies of scale:A study of development constraints in small tourism firms in central New Zealand. Tourism & Hospitality Research, 5(1), 5-24.

            Both authors are university lecturers with expertise in entrepreneurship and the developing tourism industry in the Pacific region.  Focusing on a diverse four-region area of  New Zealand, the Centre State Macro Region,  this study discusses issues that affect the development of small tourism firms.  The focus of study is to determine how government and financial policy making can facilitate further development in this specialized sector of the tourism industry.

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  The types of firms studied include lodging, transportation, travel agents, tour operators, and special attraction businesses that are in the start up to early growth phase.

Interviews with business owners, tourist industry representatives, government representatives, financial service providers, and business consultants were conducted to determine the factors that shape the small tourism industry.  Ateljevic and Doone conclude that government regulations, management skill development, cooperation between public initiative and private sector, and financing availability are factors that are appropriate for consideration in further public policy development that will enhance the tourism industry.

Baier, K. (Feb 17, 1986). U.S. Pacific territories offer unsurpassed tourism business development opportunities. Business America, 9, p.17(2).

             Baier discusses the opportunities and benefits of investment in the tourism industries in the American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam.  Baier details how the geography, culture, and climate of each island make them highly desirable tourist destinations for all international travelers.

The focus is on the specific benefits that the United States government makes available to U.S. based investors, developers, and entrepreneurs.  Favorable tax treatment on tourism based development projects is offered by both the U.S. and territory governments.  The article concludes that this region of is a growing tourism industry location that offers the all the benefits of foreign and domestic opportunities and should be considered by U.S. investors.

Black, R., & King, B. (2002, March). Human resource development in remote island communities: an evaluation of tour-guide training in Vanuatu. International Journal of Tourism Research, 4(2), 103-117.

             Black and King study the direct impact of skill specific training on the growing ecotourism segment of Vanuatu’s wider tourism industry.  Surveying participants in and trainers of various tour guide training programs in the Vanuatu islands, the authors found that training did have a positive immediate impact on the those employed in the tour guide industry, but provides no long term evaluation of the effects.

  Foreign investment, from Australia and New Zealand, and international aid, fro the United Nations,  were identified as the primary modes of funding for training programs.  This underscores the need for local government and public policy initiatives aimed at internal investing in the local tourist industry.  The article provides good insight in how a nation can utilize foreign investments as an opportunity to tackle a specific challenge, such as skill development, in developing their tourism industry.

Burns, P. (2004, April). The 1990 Solomon Islands tourism plan: a critical discourse analysis. Tourism & Hospitality: Planning & Development, 1(1), 57-78.

                        The process of planning, organizing, and developing a tourist industry plan is critiqued and analyzed. Burns reviews the tourism plan which was created by international aid agencies, foreign governments, and foreign consultants and concludes that the plan, while conceptually sound, failed to consider local populations and their needs.  On the surface the plan makes sense in that it covers marketing in context of cultural issues and addresses the local population.

  He also points out how social and environmental issues were overlooked that had a direct (negative) impact on actual tourism visits to the islands.  Burns demonstrates and concludes that tourism planning by outsiders does not support a sustainable tourism industry either for tourists or for the local community.  The primary level of insight to be gained from this discussion  how participants at all stages of tourism industry development can benefit from direct involvement of local people who will be the ultimate beneficiaries of tourism development on their islands.

Connell, J. (2007, March). ‘The Best Island on the Globe’: constantly constructing tourism on Niue. Australian Geographer, 38(1), 1-13.

            This paper discusses the lack of development of a tourism industry in Niue and the issues and trends that affect this underdevelopment over a 30 year period.  Connell shows how geographical isolation and lack of investment has caused Niue to fall short in its attempts to sustain and further develop it’s tourism industry.  The secondary problem he demonstrates is that because of an underdeveloped tourism industry foreign investors and tourists are even less attracted to the area.  Connell concludes that and explains why some islands, while attractive in culture and landscape, are simply too remote to sustain a large or economically significant tourism industry.

Cope, R. (Winter 2002). New Zealand. Country Reports, 4. p.NEWZ-1(19).

            This report provides an excellent tool for analysis and forecasting tourism trends and activities in New Zealand.  Cope provides an extensive description of the history of New Zealand as a tourist center.  He comments extensively on the unique attractions across several popular regions in New Zealand and the five sub-types of tourism markets that are most common to New Zealand.

The most compelling information in this report is found in the tables that follow the text: top 10 tourist activities by number of participants over three years, total visitors from various countries by year, dollar amount spent by tourists from various countries by year, number of tourists who visited other countries in Oceania, total nights stayed in New Zealand, purpose of visit (business or leisure) by year, purpose of visit (family visit or vacation) from various countries, tourist package vs.  independent traveler, type and location of accommodations, and five year tourist visit forecasts.  The text in Cope’s reports give potential tourists information to select travel destinations from.  The tables provided allow tourism industry professionals and potential investors to evaluate the profitability of New Zealand as a growing tourist business opportunity.

Douglas, N., & Douglas, N. (2004, July). Cruise ship passenger spending patterns in Pacific island ports. International Journal of Tourism Research, 6(4), 251-261.

            The authors surveyed the passengers of two separate Pacific Sky cruises in the Pacific islands to determine spending patterns of those going ashore as tourists.  The study concluded that activities purchased in port, which includes organized group and individual tours, were a significant part of tourist spending patterns in areas such as New Caledonia, Vanuatu, and Fiji.  Countries that are managing a developing tourist industry can gain insight from this study on how to expand their economies with cruise ship activity.  Tourism businesses, large and small, can gain insight on how to increase sales and services by target marketing to cruise based tourists.

ECOTOURISM IN NEW CALEDONIA. (Sept 2001). Parks & Recreation, 36, 9. p.120.

            This essay covers two subjects: ecotourism as a developing form of tourism and New Caledonia as a developing provider for the ecotourism market.  Ecotourism is defined an alternative form of tourism based on the observation and study of cultural manifestations within a context of indigenous natural manifestations.  New Caledonia is presented in context of it’s well preserved indigenous culture, wealth of natural resources and attractions, and isolation from traditional forms of mass tourism.  The essay describes the features that make ecotourism a sustainable industry for New Caledonia.  It also presents the challenges and opportunities that New Caledonians will face in developing a full fledged ecotourism industry and tourism business opportunities on the island.

Orams, Mark B., (2001). From Whale Hunting to Whale Watching in Tonga: A sustainable future? Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 9:2, 128-146.

            Orams studies the attitudes toward whaling as a commercial activity and whale watching as a tourist activity in the islands of Vava’u in Northern Tonga.  Whale watching is a sustainable tourist industry in Tonga because of the benevolent attitude of tourists toward humpback whale preservation and because of the Tongan government’s direct intervention against the whaling industry.  The study included self reply questionnaires completed by tourists and information from the Tongan Visitor’s Bureau to determine if and how resuming whaling activities would affect whale watching tourism activities.

Orams demonstrates that strong tourist attitude and government action against the whaling industry has opened up economic opportunities for whale watching industry in Tonga and has increased revenues from water and air traveling tourist who come for the humpback whale watching opportunities.  Orams concludes that Tonga and the Vava’u islands cannot sustain both a whale watching tourism industry and support a commercial whaling industry.

Prideaux, B. & Crosswell, M. (2006). The value of visitor surveys: The case of Norfolk Island. Journal of Vacation Marketing, 12(4), 359-370.

            Prideaux and Crosswell identify a surprising and inaccurate form of marketing research among tourist businesses on Norfolk Island – assumption.  Tourist industry professionals were interviewed and the authors found that many tourism businesses developed marketing strategies based solely on assumption and perception about the island’s visitors.  Given that Norfolk is economically dependant on tourism, the study demonstrates the importance of organized market research in sustaining Norfolk’s tourism industry.

Government policy makers, potential investors, and local tourism business owners can use this study to learn the importance of marketing research and the simplicity that visitor surveys provide in creating accurate research.  The study demonstrates that, while Norfolk has characteristics that sustain it’s appeal as a tourist destination, aside from a clearly defined and well understood market, the industry and economy cannot expect to continue to grow.

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