Research Problem
Michele Pooley

The focus of the research problem is to investigate and compare just how influential sustainable tourism has been in guiding tourism development in Cornwall and Andalucia.  This will identify common obstacles to sustainability and will highlight
successful projects which may be transferable to other areas.  The commonalities between Cornwall and Andalucia have been noted earlier, and it is expected that much could be learned from Andalucia’s vast experience of tourism and transferred to Cornwall.  The aim of this research is to evaluate the whether tourism in these areas is becoming more sustainable.  In order to do this the tourism strategies for Cornwall and Andalucia will be assessed using a theoretical perspective which identifies three basic interpretations of sustainable tourism.  This chapter will introduce a theoretical framework which is based on Hunter’s assertion that sustainable tourism is an adaptive paradigm (1997) [references here], and this will be followed by a tourism strategy for each region.  A short comment will be made on the two tourism development plans by way of summary before they are analysed from a theoretical perspective in the next chapter.  Firstly though, a brief description of research methods will be given.

Research into sustainable tourism development in Cornwall was based on official written material (Dane, 1990).  Documents relevant to tourism development in Cornwall were obtained from Cornwall County Council and the Cornwall Tourist Board, whilst a national perspective on tourism development was provided by a substantial publication by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.  These were supplemented by a working paper on the barriers to sustainability which was obtained from Caradon District Council [Cornwall] .  Obtaining information from Andalucia was more problematic due to difficulties involving the language barrier.  Telephone enquiries to tourist offices in Spain all proved fruitless, and several e-mail requests to the Spanish National Tourist Office in London resulted in a surfeit of tourist brochures.  An extensive document was eventually received from the Centro Internacional des Turismo de Andalucia (Junta de Andalucia, undated), but once translated it became apparent that this was a catalogue of proposed conference meetings concerning the worldwide promotion and marketing of Andalucia.  Taking a different approach information was sought from the Internet, and this met with some success.  Material was obtained from the Junta de Andalucia which gives an accurate and up-to-date picture of current tourism planning and is comparable with the information obtained for Cornwall.

Theoretical Framework
The first principle of sustainable tourism is that it must be sustainable from a cultural, environmental and economic point of view.  That is, it must not dilute the culture or destroy the environment upon which it is based, and must be commercially viable. Secondly it aims to develop a tourism industry which conserves cultures and heritage, protects the environment for the enjoyment of future generations, preserves non-renewable resources from destruction, and is economically beneficial to the host community.  From this it is clear that sustainable tourism principles are based on social responsibility.  However, in practice these objectives are often impossible to achieve in combination and difficult choices must be made to adhere to the basic principles of sustainability. Compromise must be made to arrive at a tourism product that is in itself sustainable, for example profits may be foregone rather than overusing land which is environmentally sensitive.  Likewise, a trade off to prioritise the most important factors in each individual tourism destination is often necessary, particularly where sustainable tourism is likely to restrict economic development.  It is for this reason that Hunter (1997) describes sustainable tourism as an adaptive paradigm; it must adapt in relation to the type of destination, type of tourist, the attitudes of the host community, and the structure of the industry.  Nevertheless, he points out that a sustainable development paradigm would be a more holistic approach since it would also consider the potential of other sectors, such as agriculture or manufacturing, which may present more favourable options than tourism.

Robinson (1996: 404) describes three basic interpretations of sustainable tourism: ‘Shallow’ sustainable tourism, which identifies and ameliorates or minimises environmental and social impacts in mature tourism destinations by encouraging better management, tourism education for both hosts and guests, and application of new technologies to mitigate negative environmental effects.  This kind of sustainable tourism addresses management issues but does not apportion responsibility for

‘Alternative’ tourism, also called green tourism or ecotourism, focuses on cultural, sporting and rural activities, and is dependent upon attractive locations so is prominent in rural and semi-rural destinations.  It is usually small-scale, low impact and therefore price exclusive.  Consequently it is often only accessible to more affluent tourists and cannot realistically replace mass tourism.  However, it spreads the problems of tourism to new, often fragile destinations, and relies heavily on the use of the car. 

‘Deep’ sustainable tourism assesses externalities far beyond the tourism destination, and also considers the wider impact of the tourism industry (i.e. ecological damage caused by production and distribution of holiday brochures, burning of fossil fuels to take tourists to their destinations, etc.).  Whereas shallow and alternative tourism allow for continued economic growth in conjunction with sustainable development, this extreme version of sustainable tourism prioritises the preservation of the environment over all other considerations, and consequently is more prevalent in wilderness areas.

This framework will be used in Chapter Four to analyse the tourism strategies for Cornwall and Andalucia, which are detailed below.

Tourism Strategy for Cornwall
Documents produced by the Cornwall Tourist Board (1999) and the West Country Tourist Board (1999) outline tourism strategies for Cornwall and the South West region over the next two decades.  The documents were drawn up by focus groups made up of interested parties from both the public and private sectors, but no pressure groups.  This could be seen as a weakness as it effectively ignores the opinions of an influential group of people who often represent the grass roots thinking within a community.  It has been stressed earlier that sustainable tourism should have the input of local communities, but here emphasis is on industry, the local authorities and the environment agencies working together to manage inevitable change, and to promote a more sustainable form of tourism in Cornwall.

The consensus of both strategies was that tourism activities should respect the scale, nature and character of every location.  The aim being to achieve a balance between the well-being of the community, the protection of the environment, and the enjoyment of the visitor.  The documents recognise the potential of the tourism sector for economic development and employment, but also note the difficulties of achieving a unified direction in a sector which is made up of diverse and fragmented businesses, many of which are small businesses with narrow profit margins that do not allow for extensive re-investment.  They call for new infrastructure and new planning and development policies to meet the demands of tourism in the 21st century.

More specifically, the ‘Outline Framework for a Tourism Strategy for Cornwall’ produced by the Cornwall Tourist Board (1999) is a consultative document which aims to fit the requirements of Cornwall’s tourism industry within a developing economic strategy that is being formulated for the county as part of a framework for a Regional Economic Development Strategy.  From an economic perspective, the key issue is to ensure that funds available as a result of Objective One status are utilised to their best advantage to enable the area to benefit from tourism growth and yet retain important regional distinctiveness.  The pertinent questions posed in this document is how should public money be used to improve the tourist product in Cornwall, and in particular should it be made available through grants or loans to the private sector.  It also asks whether eligibility should be decided geographically or by some other criteria, and to what extent.  This document was sent to various tourism associations and organisations, tourism development focus groups and other interested parties in the industry throughout the county.

At a national level an extensive document produced by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (1999) presents a detailed plan. The focus is to create a new public and private partnership which will raise standards and devise an effective strategy to ensure growth in ‘ways which are economically, socially and environmentally beneficial’ (Dept. for Culture, Media & Sport, 1999: 3).  A Tourism Forum made up of interested public and private bodies, together with a ‘new national tourism body for England’ (1999: 66, 69) will submit an annual report to government Ministers in order to monitor progress and agree on future action at regular Tourism Summits.  They aim to increase market share and for British tourism to exceed the rate of global growth by 2010.  This is to be achieved by raising awareness of sustainable tourism planning, promoting quality and better practice in the industry, encouraging investment in information and training, and by creating an economic climate for enterprise which will assist the development of new niche markets.  Funding for the British Tourist Authority (BTA) will increase in order to promote Britain overseas, whilst domestic tourism will be boosted by promoting access to tourism for the disabled, elderly, and disadvantaged.  National museums and the Countryside Agency will receive public monies in a bid to widen access to culture, heritage and countryside, and funds will be available from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Arts Council of England to assist tourism development.  A recent White Paper also sets out government plans to develop an integrated transport policy.

Central government intends to take action to address ‘market failure’ (Dept. for Culture, Media & Sport, 1999: 14) where changing tourism markets inhibit growth.  This will be achieved through the establishment of Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) which will develop various initiatives and build partnerships designed to benefit the many small businesses which make up a large part of the tourism industry.  Agenda 21 will be implemented locally to emphasise sustainable development in partnership with bodies such as the Countryside Agency, English Nature, English Heritage and the National Trust (1999: 51). 

Tourism Strategy for Andalucia
Following the serious decline in tourism at the end of the 1980s there were urgent calls for action.  The ‘Plan de Desarrollo Integral del Turismo en Andalucia (Integrated Development Plan for Tourism in Andalusia, or Plan DIA)’ was devised in 1993 by government and business leaders (Pearce, 1996: 129), and was accepted by the trade unions as a plan for modernising, diversifying and upgrading the tourist product within a broader economic development framework for Andalucia.  A 1990 White Paper had discussed rural tourism from an environmental perspective (Newton, 1996), and part of the national plan was to develop tourism in the interior in order to spread the impact of tourism in space and time.  The material received from the Junta de Andalucia is a decree drawn up in response to this and constitutes a detailed Rural Development Plan for Andalucia (Decreto, 1995).

The plan identifies tourism as a strategic means of combating uneven development, unlocking potential for social and economic development in isolated and disadvantaged rural areas and achieving balanced economic growth.  In areas that are experiencing a decline in traditional economic activities diversification into tourism is necessary as a source of complementary income, to be developed alongside traditional activities.  Rural tourism is seen as a potentially vigorous growth sector, so measures are being taken now to create a business network , assist integration of products, direct promotional advertising, improve trade and direct access to basic markets, and create a brand name.  A regulatory body has been set up to maintain high quality products, guarantee consumer satisfaction, and control the environment to ensure acceptable sustainable development.

From a national perspective the Plan Futures initiative of 1992 attempted to unite the focus of regional and local authorities with that of TURESPANA, (the national institute for the promotion of tourism) and develop a common tourist policy.  This was followed in 1994 by another strategic plan, the General Agreement for the Promotion of Cultural Tourism which was developed by the Ministry of Commerce and Tourism and the Ministry of Culture to exploit cultural resources (Maiztegui-Onate & Areitio Bertolin, 1996: 270).  These initiatives aim to encourage diversification into rural and cultural tourism in the interior, and to increase domestic tourism (Stabler, 1997).

Since joining the EC in 1986 Spain has benefited from various EU development policies and Andalucia has received economic support from the European Structural Funds as a result of it’s Objective 1 status. The Plan DIA, in conjunction with Plan Futures was a way of including tourism in regional EU structural aid programmes (Pearce, 1996), and EU funding has been crucial to the development of rural tourism in Andalucia because, as in most rural areas, there is often a lack of investment capital available.

The EU is instrumental in encouraging the development and growth of rural tourism because it ‘identifies tourism as a vital element in the process of regenerating rural areas’ (Commission of the EC, 1988 quoted in Robinson, 1996: 411).  The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) has provided grants for roads and airports to make access easier, the LEADER initiative (Links between Measures for the Development of the Rural Economy) was set up to promote rural development by funding local initiatives, and the European Agricultural Guidance Guarantee Fund (EAGGF) helped improve the infrastructure and promote ‘agrotourism’.  In addition to this assistance has also been available from the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Community Support Framework (Robinson, 1996; Davidson, 1998); the Cohesion Fund has financed transport and environment projects in Spain, Portugal, Greece and Ireland, and the Community Action Plan to Assist Tourism offers assistance in planning, development and management of tourism in coastal and alpine areas. 

In summary, regional strategies to promote a more sustainable form of tourism in Cornwall follow the national tourism plan.  Strategies are drawn up by tourism professionals from the public and private sectors who are working together to manage
inevitable change.  The documents they have produced express a keen awareness of the potential for the tourism sector to stimulate economic development, and of the problems faced in trying to achieve a unified direction in such a diverse and fragmented industry. 

Their main objective is to expand marketing and product development through mutual cooperation, and this is to be done through resource management, transport policy, community involvement, and education of hosts and guests.  It is disappointing to note that no representatives of tourism employees nor advocates of the community are present on the advisory boards for tourism development in the UK.

In Spain, the Plan DIA was also drawn up by government and business leaders, but with the cooperation of the trade unions.  Here, as in the UK, pressure groups and interest groups again appear to have been ignored.  Spain attempted to introduce a coherent and integrated plan to unify and direct tourism planning through Plan Futures in 1992 and the 1994 Strategic Plan for Tourism.  It seems that this has been quite successful despite being complicated by the fact that Spain is divided up into seventeen autonomous regions.  However, it must be noted that autonomy has certain advantages in that Andalucia is able to direct public funds to tourism development in the region independently of central government.  The national planning which began in the early 1990s has enabled EU funding to play an extensive role in the development of tourism in Andalucia, and has encouraged the development of rural tourism by drawing tourists into the interior. 

The tourism strategies for Cornwall and Andalucia are similar, but the crisis in tourism in Spain over a decade ago prompted a response which involved the early development of an integrated plan for tourism.  This has been the key to facilitate control over the financing and direction of tourism development in Spain, and is the reason that Andalucia is ahead of Cornwall who are yet to devise effective ways of accessing and utilising public monies to direct the private sector towards a more sustainable tourism product.  The strategies for each region will be assessed in more detail in the next chapter.

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