The UK economy earns over £80 billion every year from tourism and leisure. Around 27.7 million overseas visitors spend over £13 billion of this sum.
“Britain has been a key tourist destiantion for many years – one of the most popular in the world. Almost 26 million people arrive here every year to see what Britain is about. London is one the world’s favourite cities.
But the challenge facing us now is to create a competitive, world-class tourism industry in Britain. We must have a tourism industry which provides affordable quality, which is open to all and which makes the best use of Britain’s resources. And a tourism industry which concentrates on our key resource – people.”
UK Prime Minister Tony Balir, speaking in 1999.
Butler developed a model to show how a tourist resort might develop. A resort might start as off as low key, small-scale then grow to become an established resort. He suggested that all tourist resorts follow this pattern.
1. Exploration: small number of visitors are attracted by something particular e.g. good beaches, attractive landscape, historical or cultural features. Local people have not yet developed many tourist services.
2. Involvement: the local population sees the opportunities and starts to provide accommodation, food, transport, guides and other services for visitors.
3. Development: large companies build hotels and leisure complexes and advertise package holidays. Numbers of tourists rise dramatically. Job opportunities for local people grow rapidly, but this brings both advantages and disadvantages.
4. Consolidation: tourism is now a major part of the local economy, but perhaps at the expense of other types of development. Numbers of visitors are steady making employment more secure. However, some hotels and other facilities are becoming older and unattractive, so the type of customers attracted goes downmarket. Rowdiness becomes a problem.
5. Stagnation: the resort becomes unfashionable and number of visitors start to decline. Businesses change hands and often fail.
6. Decline: visitors prefer other resorts. Day trippers and weekenders become the main source of income.
7. Rejuvenation: attempts are made to modernise the resort and attract different people to enjoy new activities.
Blackpool is a good example of a resort that is reinventing itself. Day trippers and weekenders now bring in most of the income, although websites and brochures make a huge effort to attract people for longer periods.