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Illustrating the utility of gap analysis as a regional tourism planning tool : case study of potential… Murphy, Ann Elaine 1999

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ILLUSTRATING THE UTILITY OF GAP ANALYSIS AS A REGIONAL TOURISM PLANNING TOOL: CASE STUDY OF POTENTIAL JAPANESE AND GERMAN TRAVELLERS TO THE COWICHAN REGION by ANN ELAINE MURPHY A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS (PLANNING) in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (School of Community and Regional Planning) We accept this thesis as conforming tpjfoj required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH C O L U M B I A April 1999 © Ann Elaine Murphy, 1999 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. 1 further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Department DE-6 (2/88) Abstract Rural regions need tools for developing effective tourism and community plans. This thesis explores the potential for a simplified gap analysis to serve as a useful tourism planning tool for rural regions with limited resources. The Cowichan Region in British Columbia, Canada is the case study for this research, as it is seen to be representative of many rural areas endeavoring to diversify their waning economies with tourism. The literature review for this thesis reviews rural challenges facing ruraf areas, rural tourism impacts, rural tourism markets and gap analysis. A simplified gap analysis compares the preferences of customers (tourists) and the perceptions that the service providers (host regions) have of these customers. Minimal differences between these groups' perceptions creates quality experiences for the customers and service providers and leads to increased profits. This thesis examines the 'gaps' between potential Japanese and German rural travelers' preferences and the perceptions that Cowichan Region professionals have of these markets. Data on the preferences of these markets is drawn from research on Japanese and German pleasure travel markets to North America conducted by national tourism associations. Data on host region perceptions of these markets is drawn from questionnaire responses and interviews conducted with tourism and planning professional in the Cowichan Region. There are some notable gaps between the characteristics of potential Japanese and German 'rural' travellers and the perceptions that the Cowichan Region professionals have of these groups. However, overall these groups are well matched as potential rural travellers and host communities. These research findings suggest that rural areas can satisfy most of the needs of 'mass' and 'target' market travellers by developing core tourism products with some specialised products for sub-markets. This research indicates that a simplified gap analysis can be a practical and useful rural planning tool for rural regions that want to diversify their resource based economies with tourism. A ten step tourism planning strategy is presented as a way for rural areas to integrate a simplified gap analysis into their planning efforts and create cost-effective and holistic tourism plans. in TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract ii Table of Contents iv List of Tables ix List of Figures x Acknowledgement xi Chapter One: Overview and Summary 1 1.1. Overview 1 1.2. Research Purpose 1 1.3. Problem Statement 3 1.4. Context and Scope 5 1.5. Method Outline • 7 1.6. Organisation 8 Chapter Two: Rural Challenges and Tourism 9 2.1. Overview 9 2.2. Rural Challenges 9 2.3. Tourism as an Element of Regional Rural Developmental 13 2.3.1. Rural Tourism Resources 14 2.3.2. Benefits of Rural Tourism 18 2.3.3. Challenges of Rural Tourism 23 2.3.4. Rural Tourism Planning 27 2.4. Rural Tourism Markets 33 2.4.1. Japanese Travellers 38 2.4.2. German Travellers 40 2.5. Summary 41 Chapter Three: Gap Analysis 44 3.1. Overview 44 3.2. Assessment Challenges 44 3.2.1. Definitions 45 3.3. Gap Overview 46 3.3.1. Explanation of Gaps 1-5 49 3.4. Service Quality Determinants 50 3.5. Gap Model Applications 53 3.6. Research Focus 56 3.7. Summary 58 Chapter Four: Research Methods 59 4.1. Overview 59 4.2. Research Overview 59 4.3. International Markets Data Collection Procedures 60 4.3.1. Data Subset Procedures 61 4.4. Host Region Data Collection Procedures 62 4.5. Anticipated Limitations of The Proposed Research Approach 64 Chapter Five: Findings 67 5.1. Gap Analysis Questionnaire Responses 67 5.2. Socio-Demographic Data 67 5.2.1. Potential Japanese and German Rural Travellers' Characteristics 67 5.2.2. Cowichan Respondents' Perceptions of Japanese Rural Travellers' Socio-Demographic Characteristics Gaps 68 5.2.3. Cowichan Respondents'Perceptions of German Rural Travellers' Socio-Demographic Characteristics Gaps 70 5.3. Attitudinal Gaps 72 5.3.1. Potential Japanese and German Rural Travellers' Travel Philosophies 72 5.3.2. Cowichan Respondents' Perceptions of Japanese Rural Travellers' Travel Philosophies Gaps 72 5.3.3. Potential Japanese and German Rural Travellers' Travel Motivations 74 5.3.4. Cowichan Respondents'Perceptions of Japanese Rural Travellers' Travel Motivations Gaps 74 5.3.5. Cowichan Respondents'Perceptions of German Rural Travellers' Travel Motivations Gaps 76 5.3.6. Potential Japanese and German Rural Travellers' Perceptions of Canada 77 5.3.7. Cowichan Respondents' Perceptions of Japanese and German Rural Travellers' Perceptions of Canada Gaps 77 5.4. Behavioural Gaps 80 5.4.1. Potential Japanese and German Rural Travellers'Most Recent Trip Characteristics 80 5.4.2. Cowichan Respondents' Perceptions of Japanese Rural Travellers' Most Recent Trip Characteristics 81 5.4.3. Cowichan Respondents' Perceptions of German Rural Travellers' Most Recent vi Trip Characteristics 82 5.5. Gap Context Interview Responses 84 5.5.1. Cowichan Respondents'Perceptions of Their Regional Economy 84 5.5.2. Cowichan Respondents' Perceptions of Tourism in Their Region 85 5.5.3. Cowichan Respondents'Perceptions of Planning in Their Region 90 Chapter Six: Discussion 94 6.1. Japanese and German Sample Findings 94 6.2. Cowichan Respondents' Perceptions of Japanese and German Rural Travellers' Characteristics Gap Findings 94 6.2.1. Socio-Demographic Findings 95 6.2.2. Attitudinal Findings 97 6.2.3. Behavioural Findings 98 6.2.4. Overall Findings 99 6.3. Management Implications 100 6.4. Planning Implications 103 Chapter Seven: Recommendations and Conclusions 106 7.1. Recommendations for the Cowichan Region 10 Step Tourism Planning Strategy for the Cowichan Region 106 7.2. General Recommendations 10 Step Tourism Planning Strategy for Rural Regions 114 7.3. Conclusions 118 Bibliography 120 Appendix I: List of Interview Respondents 132 Appendix II: Interview Questions 139 Appendix III: Questionnaire 142 Appendix IV: Photographs of the Cowichan Region 149 vi LIST OF TABLES Table 1: Cowichan Respondents' Perceptions of Japanese Rural Travellers' Socio-Demographic Gaps Table 2: Cowichan Respondents' Perceptions of German Rural Travellers' Socio-Demographic Gaps Table 3: Cowichan Respondents' Perceptions of Japanese Rural Travellers' Travel Philosophy Gaps Table 4: Cowichan Respondents' Perceptions of German Rural Travellers' Travel Philosophy Gaps Table 5: Cowichan Respondents' Perceptions of Japanese Rural Travellers' General Travel Motivations Gaps Table 6: Cowichan Respondents' Perceptions of German Rural Travellers' General Travel Motivations Gaps Table 7: Cowichan Respondents' Perceptions of Japanese Rural Travellers' Perceptions of Canada's Tourism Attributes Gaps Table 8: Cowichan Respondents' Perceptions of German Rural Travellers' Perceptions of Canada's Tourism Attributes Gaps Table 9: Cowichan Respondents' Perceptions of Japanese Rural Travellers' Most Recent Trip Characteristics Gaps Table 10: Cowichan Respondents' Perceptions of German Rural Travellers' Most Recent Trip Characteristics Gaps 69 71 73 73 75 76 78 79 81 83 ix L I S T O F F I G U R E S Figure 1: Map of The Cowichan Region 2 Figure 2: Map of British Columbia Regional Districts (1991 Boundaries) 11 Figure 3: Map of Lake Cowichan 17 Figure 4: Gap Model 48 Figure 5: Service Quality Determinants 51 x Acknowledgments Numerous people have been wonderfully generous with their time and expertise during the writing of this thesis. I would like to thank Alan Artibise and Peter Williams for enabling me to work on this thesis in the Florida Keys. I would also like to thank everyone associated with tourism and planning in the Cowichan Region who assisted me with this research. Rick Lemon from Tourism B.C. deserves my thanks for thoughtfully sharing his extensive tourism knowledge with me. I would also like to thank Karim Dossa from Simon Fraser University for creating qualified subgroups of potential Japanese and German 'rural' travellers and his assistance in analysing this data. Special thanks to all of my friends and co-workers at the Monroe County Growth Management Department, especially Chad, Rob and Theressa. Finally I would like to thank my parents, Peter and Susan Murphy and my sister Margaret, for without their love and support I would not have been able to complete this thesis. xi C H A P T E R 1: I N T R O D U C T I O N 1.1. Overview The purpose of this thesis is to determine whether or not a modified gap analysis can serve as a useful tourism planning tool for rural regions. The potential for rural regions to attract travellers from Japan and Germany and the understanding that tourism and planning professionals working in the Cowichan Region have of these markets will also be explored. This introductory chapter outlines the problem statement, context, scope, method and organisation of this research paper. The second chapter discusses rural challenges, the role of tourism in rural regions and the case study area. The third chapter details the gap analysis concept and outlines why a modified gap analysis could be a beneficial tool for rural regions. The fourth chapter explains the research method and the fifth details the research findings. The sixth chapter analyses the research results and their implications. The final chapter provides recommendations and conclusions. 1.2. Research Purpose 'Gap-models' are used widely in service industries, such as health, finances and tourism, to measure customer satisfaction and service quality. These models examine discrepancies, or 'gaps,' between customers' expectations and satisfaction with service delivery. This is done under the premise that customers are more likely to patronise companies that meet or exceed their expectations. This thesis is intended to serve as a practical tool for communities interested in rural tourism and to contribute to the increasing body of research on planning for regional rural development. The study area for this paper is the Cowichan Region, a rural area in the Canadian Province of British Columbia (Figure 1). Figure 1: Map of The Cowichan Region v Courtenay m ^Jfifafox V A N C O U V E R / I S L A N D •-. #Qu<alicum Beach • Parksville - t / Horseshoe {Jay \ _ Tsawwas^en y — ''Cw/tchan Lake Ladysmith jQhemainus w C*\ Crofton • ^ .. . Lake Cowichan • ; < r ) | | n r ; i n » .Map le f ^ 'itinat Lake .'Duncan - , . » •. Cowichan Bay • \^ ry sy V ^y^% Bellingham P a a f i c R i m ^ ^ Sh'awnigan Lake * ^ s^S tdnd f V ,^ \ \ National Park " g a y >v. # „ . \ PortRffiCe^  • * Ifr : •Victor ia^-- ' } i. \ PACIFIC OCEAN Port Angeles / \ Everett Source: Cowichan Tourism Association, 1997, pp 4. The study subjects are potential Japanese and German 'rural' tourists to North America and tourism and planning professionals working in the Cowichan Region. These Japanese and German samples can be defined as potential 'rural' tourists due to their strong interest in rural experiences and their travel preferences, such as visiting small villages and towns. In this thesis, gaps between Japanese and German rural tourists' expectations and how these groups are perceived by tourism and planning professionals working in the Cowichan Region are examined in detail. If notable gaps between the expectations of potential German and Japanese rural tourists and the perceptions that these professionals have of these travellers are found, then the management implications of addressing these gaps will be explored. 1.3 Problem Statement While tourism can be defined in many ways, the following definition by Pearse succinctly describes this industry as "...the relationships and phenomena arising out of the journeys and temporary stays of people travelling primarily for leisure or recreation purposes" (1989, pp. 1). Tourism is often presented as an excellent developmental opportunity for rural areas struggling to maintain their economic, environmental and social viability (Cooper, 1982; Mathieson and Wall, 1982; Hjalager, 1994; Sems et al., 1996). Gap analysis has proven to be an effective measure of customer satisfaction and service quality in many service based industries (Fick and Ritchie, 1991; Winch et al., 1998; Frost, 1998; Prior-Magee et al., 1998). Many researchers in tourism and rural development have documented the need for tools that examine the perspectives of both hosts and guests to plan for sustainable 3 tourism (Gunn, 1988; Spotts, 1993; Oppermann, 1995). While considerable research looks at the needs and expectations of hosts and tourists, no research utilising gap analysis as a way for rural regions to balance their needs and expectations could be found. This research proposes that a modified gap analysis may be able to serve as one of these tools as it could compare residents' and tourists' attitudes in a straight forward manner producing user-friendly results. These are key attributes given the limited resources of rural regions and the benefits they could gain by understanding their communities' and travellers' tourism expectations. Prior to commencing with a modified gap analysis, a rural region could request data on promising tourism market segments from provincial and national tourism agencies. Once the region has this information, community members could be interviewed to ascertain their perceptions of these target markets. Survey results from these target markets could then be compared against those of community members to gauge the awareness level of these groups to each other. If the gaps between tourists' expectations and actual tourism offerings are small the region might be able to quickly minimise these gaps with wise investments and reap the rewards of increased customer satisfaction and visitations. If there are numerous substantial gaps between what certain tourist markets want and what the region provides, then it might be in the region's best interests to reconsider its tourism strategies. 4 1.4 Context and Scope Many rural regions like the Cowichan are struggling to diversify their economies as traditional resource extraction industries weaken. One of the largest challenges that rural regions face when trying to incorporate tourism into their economies is tourism's service sector orientation (Dernoi, 1991; Greffe, 1994). Since most rural regions still depend heavily on primary industries, such as farming and forestry, understanding and managing the impacts of service based industries can be perplexing for residents of these regions. Limited expertise in regards to the impacts and requirements of service industries, coupled with insufficient financial, technical and entrepreneurial resources, contribute to a real need for practical planning tools. Such tools could enable rural areas to assess their tourism needs, resources, potential markets, market positioning so that they can adjust their tourism and community plans accordingly. Identifying the extent to which the Cowichan Region is meeting the needs of established markets, such as potential German and Japanese 'rural' travellers, could provide this region and other rural areas with valuable information regarding their ability to meet and exceed these travellers' expectations. German and Japanese travellers are key overseas markets for BC as they have been major growth markets with high per diem expenditures over the past two decades (BC Stats, 1997). Since German and Japanese tourists are known for having very different travel patterns and preferences, comparing their profiles could provide rural areas with insights into how to attract a wide range of 'rural' tourists. The Cowichan Region and other rural areas could then use these insights to develop and refine their tourism management plans. 5 Since many rural communities have limited tourism resources, they are often unable to attract the numbers and types of tourists necessary to create arid maintain viable tourism industries. By working together as a region, rural communities can overcome many obstacles they might face if they planned and marketed their tourism products and services in isolation from each other. To ensure that this research applies to a wide range of rural communities it is important to choose a study area has similar characteristics to other rural regions. One of the main reasons the Cowichan Region functions as the study area for this research is its similarity to many other rural regions in North America seeking to diversify their resource-based economies with tourism. Additional reasons for choosing this region are its cohesiveness, location and tourism potential. The Cowichan Region encompasses a broad bi-coastal band of Vancouver Island from north of the Malahat to the southern outskirts of Nanaimo. This rural region is united by its rich history as a productive frontier hinterland and its strong ties to the cities of Victoria and Nanaimo. This region is further united by its current struggles to maintain its economic viability as its traditional resource extraction industries fall into decline. The Cowichan Region is located within hours of Vancouver, Seattle and Victoria and is easily accessible by car, rail, boat, ferry and plane. The Cowichan Region attracts local, national and international tourists. Japanese and German tourists are two strong and growing markets for the Cowichan Region. 6 1.5. Method Outline The following information on method is intended as an overview. A detailed explanation of the method utilised in this research is provided in Chapter 4. The modified gap analysis to be used in this paper will compare characteristics of potential rural tourists to the perceptions that tourism and planning professionals working in the Cowichan Region have of these travellers. Information on the expectations of potential Japanese and German rural travellers is drawn from long-haul pleasure travel market data collected by Coopers and Lybrand Consulting, for Tourism Canada, the US Travel and Tourism Administration, and the Secretaria de Turismo de Mexico. A series of filters based on the importance of rural experiences to these travellers are put on the responses in the database to create qualified sub-groups of potential Japanese and German 'rural' travellers. Information on tourism products and services available in the Cowichan Region is derived primarily from personal interviews and survey responses. Formal interviews were conducted between September 1997 and February 1998 with over 30 individuals involved with either tourism or regional development in the Cowichan Region. Interview subjects were asked to complete detailed questionnaires that were modified versions of the questionnaires completed by the potential German and Japanese rural travellers. A modified gap analysis then compares the responses of the potential German and Japanese rural travellers to the responses of those individuals involved with tourism and planning in the Cowichan Region. 7 1.6. Organisation The paper is structured in the following manner. The literature review for this thesis is contained in Chapters 2 and 3. Chapter 2 provides a context for the problem statement. Using the Cowichan Region as a focal point, this chapter details some of the challenges currently facing rural areas and provides an overview of plausible roles for tourism in rural development. Chapter 3 defines gap analysis and explains why it was developed, how it has been used, its strengths and weakness and its applicability to tourism research and planning. Chapter 4 outlines the method for this thesis. The research objectives for this study are outlined in the first portion of this chapter. This'is followed by a discussion of the research phases carried out in gathering the primary and secondary data required for the modified gap analysis. Chapter 5 details the paper's research finding. This chapter details 'gaps' between the characteristics of potential Japanese and German rural tourists and the perceptions that tourism and planning professionals in the Cowichan Region have of these travellers. Chapter 6 discusses the management implications of the research findings and provides a series of recommendations and conclusions regarding the usefulness of a modified gap analysis as a planning tool for rural regions. Chapter 7 provides recommendations and conclusions drawn from this research. Special attention is given to community involvement in the regional planning process and how to incorporate a modified gap analysis into regional rural planning. 8 C H A P T E R 2: R U R A L C H A L L E N G E S AND T O U R I S M 2.1. Overview This chapter provides background information necessary for evaluating the utility of a modified gap analysis as a rural regional planning tool. The first section of this chapter details challenges confronting rural areas, with a special focus on the Cowichan Region. The second section of this chapter examines tourism's impacts and potential in rural areas like the Cowichan Region. The chapter concludes with a description of rural tourism markets, focusing on Japanese and German long haul travellers. 2.2. Rural Challenges Central to any discussion of rural revitalisation is a clarification of what is meant by 'rurality'. Rural regions are not simply smaller scale versions of the nation or the opposites of urban areas. Characteristics traditionally associated with rural areas include: low population densities; large amounts of open space; small-scale settlements - typically under 10,000 inhabitants; land use dominated by farming, forestry and wilderness areas; traditional societies sharing a strong sense of community; and conservative local government policies (Kilkenny et al., 1994; Lane, 1994). A l l of these characteristics describe the Cowichan Region. The Cowichan Region, like many other rural regions does not have clearly defined borders due to the region's large size, dispersed populations and evolving political boundaries. The Cowichan Region as defined by the Cowichan Tourism Association (CTA) "...stretches from the Malahat in the south to Ladysmith in the north between the east and west coastlines of Vancouver Island" (CTA, 1997, pp. 1). This definition includes all of the Cowichan Valley 9 Regional District and portions of the Alberni-Clayoquot and Nanaimo Regional Districts (Figure 2). While the combined population of the Cowichan Region is 70,000 (Ibid.), most of these people live in the Cowichan Valley Regional District (Statistics Canada, 1991). The Cowichan Region is an appropriate case study area for this research for several reasons. First, this region shares many of the challenges and opportunities facing rural areas across North America. Second, this region's communities share similar legacies concerning their history, economic development and current challenges. Third, these communities border on each other, have a history of working together and are united by the Cowichan watershed that nourishes the region's rich and diverse environment. Finally, this region is large enough to provide a 'critical mass' of services and products, while not being so large as to discourage public participation and accountability in planning processes. Various factors contribute to the stress on rural regions, such as the Cowichan. Advancements in primary resource production techniques reduce the need for rural land and labour and results in downsizing of primary sectors operations (Bramwell, 1994). Falling world prices for raw materials is another major problem causing massive lay-offs in the primary industries and the closure of many small scale operations and family farms (Lack and Williams, 1997). 10 Figure 2: Regional District Map of British Columbia British Columbia Regional Districts -1991 Boundaries BC STATS 1 East Kootenay 3 Central Kootenay 5 Kootenay Boundary 7 Okanagan-Similkameen 9 Fraser-Cheam 11 Dewdnay-Aloutte 13 Central Fraser Valley 1S Greater Vancouver 17 Capital 19 Cowichan Valley 21 Nanaimo 23 Alberni-Clayoquot 25 Comox-Strathcona 27 Powell River 29 Sunshine Coast 31 Squamish-Lillooet 33 Thompson-Nicola 35 Central Okanagan 37 North Okanagan 39 Columbia-Shuswap 41 Cariboo 43 Mount Waddington 45 Central Coast 47 Skeena-Queen Charlotte 49 Kitimat-Stikine 51 Bulkley-Nechako 53 Fraser-Ft George 55 Peace River ; 57 Stikine (region) ; 59 Fort Nelson-Liard • Source: BC Stats, BC: Regional Districts - 1991 Boundaries, 1998, pp. 11. 11 As the global economy shifts from labour-intensive to knowledge-intensive industries, rural areas are left behind as most of their labour force is relatively unskilled (Kilkenny et al., 1994). Over a quarter of the Cowichan Valley's working age population lacks a high school diploma (Statistics Canada, 1991, pp. 144). Service sector development takes place primarily in urban areas. Rural areas are frequently bypassed by service industry development due to their isolation, low level of servicing, limited skilled labour force, and general lack of economic opportunities and wealth (Bramwell, 1994). Since rural areas are often highly dependent on a single industry they are acutely sensitive to structural changes (Greffe, 1994). Most rural communities were established to take advantage of natural resources, often basing their economies on a single extractive industry, such as farming, fishing or forestry. Many of these communities are still highly dependent on the extraction of a single resource, leaving them inherently unstable and vulnerable to boom-bust cycles (Hospodarsky, 1991). Opportunities for economic expansion in rural areas are also limited by their lack of appropriate servicing. High levels of unemployment and poverty in rural areas often lead to losses in population and declines in service availability and quality (Smith, 1989; Bramwell, 1994). In British Columbia, a province built on forestry, fishing and mining, employment in primary industries is declining. In 1995, 36,000 British Columbians were employed in the forestry sector (BC Stats, Direct Tourism Employment, December 1998, pp. 4). In 1996 this number had dropped to 28,000 (Ibid.). 12 Rural populations are ageing more rapidly than urban populations, as young people are drawn to the opportunities found in urban areas (Statistics Canada, 1991). Losing young people erodes rural tax bases while demands on care facilities rise rapidly, due to ageing populations in western countries. The resulting 'money crunch' can be offset by increasing taxes that deter investment and settlement, or by reducing the quality and quantity of services. Lack of funds for community services leads to collapses in rural infrastructure such as health services (Fagence, 1993). Another challenge facing rural communities is that economic revitalisation can conflict with historical and ecological preservation (Lane, 1994). British Columbia's Protected Area Strategy, which aims to set aside 12% of the provincial land mass for conservation purposes, is criticised by rural residents as unfair, since almost all of the lands being set aside are in rural regions (Province of BC, April 1996). The Cowichan Region, like many other rural areas is facing some daunting challenges. This region built its economy on primary industries that are now in decline. As economic opportunities dissipate, residents abandon traditional ways of life and leave their communities in search of work and a better quality of life. The Cowichan Region prospered by extracting natural resources. These are the very resources that could now support a more diversified and resilient economy, in which tourism plays a key role. 2.3. Tourism as an Element of Regional Rural Developmental A wide variety of initiatives are being undertaken to stabilise and strengthen rural economies. In many hinterland areas rural tourism is gaining momentum as a developmental option. This paper 13 defines 'rural tourism' as tourism activities taking place in non-urban, non-resort settings, where visitors', experiences focus on interactions with the environments and residents of these hinterland areas. While the Cowichan Region has always attracted visitors, increasingly this region is endeavouring to make tourism a mainstay of its economy. The Cowichan Region was selected as the site of BC's first eco-museum, which celebrates the natural and cultural heritage of this region as a 'museum without walls' (Cowichan and Chemainus Valleys Eco-museum Society, 1989). 2.3.1. Rural Tourism Resources The Cowichan Region has many characteristics that make it attractive and competitive in the global tourist market place. Several studies demonstrate strong existing and emerging markets for rural tourism products offered in regions bordering on large urban areas (Pierce, 1996; Bramwell, 1994). The Cowichan is within a few hours drive of Victoria and Nanaimo, two major urban centres on Vancouver Island. These cities have frequent ferry connections to Seattle and Vancouver, which are major entry points for international travellers to North America. Surveys indicate that potential rural tourists are seeking 'natural curiosities,' and "the type of exceptional scenery which only very few rural areas can offer" (Hummelbrunner and Miglbaur, 1994, pp. 41) and 'good value for their tourist dollars' (Coopers and Lybrand, 1995 and 1996). Ecotourists are frequently described as higher than average in the following categories: holiday expenditures, education and income levels (Backman and Potts, 1993; Liu, 1994). 14 The Cowichan Region has a range of tourist products that attract rural tourists and provide excellent value for tourist dollars. BC is the second largest group tour destination in North America, so it is well positioned to attract and service the needs of group tour markets (Lemon, 1997). Vancouver Island is consistently judged by tourists as providing good value for their vacation dollars (Tourism Victoria, 1997). While prices in the Cowichan Region are similar to those in American rural regions, since these prices are in Canadian dollars the actual costs of rural vacations in Canada are much less than those in America (Ibid.). The Cowichan Region has a mild climate, with most precipitation occurring in the winter months. The region also boasts the most sunshine on Vancouver Island, which attracts tourists and supports cottage wineries and other growing activities. Due to these favourable climatic conditions the Cowichan has one of the longest growing seasons in Canada (CVRD, 1986). The Cowichan Region is often included in circle tours, whereby visitors ferry over from Vancouver, Port Angeles or Seattle, stay a day or so in Victoria and then take the Island Highway up through the Cowichan Region. These travellers drive to Nanaimo where they take the ferry to the Sunshine Coast on the mainland as an entry point to the rest of BC and in some cases Alberta (Lemon, 1997). Group tours make up a large and growing segment of travellers visiting the Cowichan Region. This market will continue to grow as baby boomers enter their golden years since these tours are very popular with seniors (Ibid.). The region offers a rich variety of scenic landscapes, from pastoral settings, to quaint country villages, languid lakes and rushing rivers, sweeping ocean views and majestic mountain ranges. 15 These views can be experienced by boat, ferry, canoes, kayaks, automobile, bus, train and on foot. The west coast of the region is one of the more challenging areas to access and offers some truly spectacular scenery and tourism experiences. The western section of the Cowichan Region has a range of world class hiking trails and parks. The West Coast Trail, part of the Pacific Rim National Park, runs between the villages of Bamfield and Port Renfrew; attracts thousands of local and international outdoor enthusiasts each year (Quu'as West Coast Trail Group, 1997). The central portion of the Cowichan Region offers an array of beautiful scenic areas and water based activities. Nit-Nat Lake offers some of the best windsurfing in the world (CTA, 1997). Along Lake Cowichan and its tributaries canoeing, kayaking, sports fishing inner tubing are popular with tourists and residents. The Cowichan River Provincial Park, established in 1995, is already attracting large numbers of tourists and locals who are interested in hiking and camping along these waters. Throughout the central region golf courses, cultural and heritage sites and demonstration forests serve the needs of visitors and locals alike (Figure 3). A much anticipated addition to the Cowichan Region is the Trans Canada Trail that will connect Victoria to Nanimo by mid summer 1999 (Chrysler Canada Greenway, 1999). This bike and pedestrian trail follows former rail routes and will take visitors and locals through provincial and regional parks and provide access to many of the Cowichan and Chemainus Valleys' ecomuseum sites, such as Kinsol Trestle. The eastern portion of the Cowichan Region offers spectacular scenery, such as the Malahat Drive, has an array of built attractions and festivals and is easily accessible. Recently a number of fine wineries, including Cherry Point Vineyards and Vinettas, have made a name for themselves regionally and nationally (VQA, 1996). 16 Figure 3 : Map of Lake Cowichan Source Cowichan Lake District of Commerce, 1996, pp. 2. The City of Duncan is home to the Native Heritage Centre and the BC Forestry Museum, two of the region's most visited attractions, as well as the Cowichan Valley Museum, the Farmer's Market and the Freshwater Eco-Centre. The towns of Cowichan Bay, Chemainus, Maple Bay, Shawnigan and Ladysmith in the eastern portion of the Cowichan Region offer an array of tourist experiences. Chemainus is internationally renowned as being 'the little town that did'. In 1982, faced with an uncertain future due to the closure of local lumber and pulp mills, community residents rallied together to create a series of murals that they hoped would attract tourists to their town (Chemainus Festival of Murals Society, 1993). The murals were wildly successful with tourists and locals. The annual festival of murals, a series of events running from July to October, is now a mainstay of the Chemainus economy and local community life. Although most of the tourist activity in the Cowichan Region takes place between May and September, special events extend the tourist season and enrich the community. Examples of such events include the Cowichan Music Festival (March 3-13), the Cowichan Wine Festival (April 24-25), the Shawnigan Rowing Regatta (May 9-11), Ladysmith Fall Fair (September 13-14) and the Cowichan Fringe Festival (September 16-20) (CTA, 1997, pp. 30). 2.3.2. Benefits of Rural Tourism Tourism can bring a wide range of benefits to rural regions. Rural regions, in certain cases, might even have a natural advantage over urban areas in that".. .tourism by its nature, tends to distribute development away from the industrial centres towards those regions in a country that 18 have not been developed" (Peters, 1969, pp. 11). Tourism can enable areas to capitalise on existing scenic resources, such as mountainous view-scapes and enhance local amenity services, such as hiking trails and cultural centres (Mobley, 1998). Tourism is the world's largest industry and has persisted as one of the most stable growth industries since the end of World War II (Danier, 1991). Growth potential for outdoor, rural heritage and cultural tourism is very high (Eagles and Cascagnette, 1995; Wight, 1996). In the western United States, rural areas attract millions of domestic and foreign visitors each year and are experiencing a steady increase in tourist numbers (Long and Nuckolls, 1992). Tourism's role in the Cowichan Region is expanding, so that for much of the region it is second only to forestry in terms of economic impact. In certain Cowichan communities, such as Chemainus, tourism has become the main industry (Cowichan Valley Regional District, 1986, 1994, 1997). Trends fuelling the growth of rural tourism include better access to rural hinterlands, increasing demand for holidays offering relaxation and exercise opportunities and an expanding appreciation of rural and wilderness areas (Lane, 1994). A major study of the North American eco-tourism market found that 77% of respondents had already taken a vacation involving a nature, cultural, or adventure component (Wight, 1996). A 1996 study by Price Waterhouse projected that tourism revenues for BC could total $922 million in 1998 (Wilson, 1998). This study found that 60% of Canadian tourists and 84% of non-resident tourists took part in outdoor activities (Ibid). 19 There is a growing interest amongst tourists to engaging in activities associated with rural tourism, such as wildlife viewing, hiking and cycling (Greffe, 1994). As the population ages the demands for rural tourism is predicted to increase. Soft-adventure outdoor recreation activities, such as pleasure walking, bird watching and sight seeing are popular with ageing members of the population (Backman and Potts, 1993). The Cowichan Region offers numerous 'hard-adventure' experiences, such as rock climbing, and 'soft- adventure' experiences, such as guided canoe trips. Tourism, the world's largest employer, offers an array of career opportunities, many of which start at above minimum wage earnings (Cobb, 1997). Tourism has traditionally been associated with high income and employment multipliers. An economic multiplier refers to the re-spending process that occurs in a community when export expansion, such as increased sales to tourists, takes place within that community (Davis, 1993). Increased consumption of locally provided goods and services creates larger economic multipliers (Ibid). However, the circulation of tourist dollars eventually dwindles due to leakages. These leakages of funds can be in the form of taxes paid to the provincial and federal governments, savings and investments in companies located outside of the region and expenditures on goods and services that are not provided locally (Murphy, 1985). A 1991 study of tourism's contributions to Ontario's economy found that the income multiplier associated with tourism expenditures was 1.59, while the employment multiplier associated with tourism was 2.60 (Reid, 1995, pp. 24). Communities that kept tourist dollars circulating in their 20 local economies longer had much higher multipliers than those communities with high leakages of tourist dollars (Ibid,). These leakages were primarily due to communities' inability to provide locally the range of goods and products tourists demanded. While the Cowichan Region will experience leakages it has some strong local tourism suppliers so the economic and employment multipliers could be increased while the rate of leakages could be slowed. Vancouver Island has the highest concentration of artists in all of Canada. Many of these artists are Cowichan residents who derive a significant portion of their income from selling their wares and services to tourists (CTA, 1997). Tooman (1997) recently examined the impacts of tourism on development in several communities in Tennessee and North Carolina. Communities that received the most benefits from tourism were several times larger than others in the survey and had larger and more diversified economies. These advantages enabled communities to use their tourism industry to generate supplemental income and establish more linkages within their economy and create additional employment opportunities. As a region, the Cowichan offers an array of tourist offerings and has a more diversified economy than the individual communities in the area. Furthermore, since the Cowichan Region is so close to major urban areas, it is well positioned to attract visitors who want to combine quality rural and urban experiences that provide good value for money (CTA, 1997; Lemon, 1997). Tourism depends largely on entrepreneurship and small business development for employment and economic growth. A recent study found that small business accounted for close to half (47%) of tourism employment in BC (BC Stats, 1996, pp. 1). In 1997 an estimate 112,900 jobs in BC were the result of tourist activity, making this sector of the economy the fifth largest employer in the Province (BC Stats, December, 1998, pp. 2). Tourism employment is labour-intensive as it relies heavily on person to person contact. Therefore, jobs in tourism are often more stable than those in the traditional resource extraction industries that are losing jobs to automation (Reid, 1995). In BC employment growth rates in tourism have exceeded the growth rates for all industries, growing at an average of 3.8% each year since 1992, compared to 2.7% for the other industries (BC Stats, December, 1998, pp. 3). Since 1984 the number of British Columbians employed in tourism has increased by more than 50% (Ibid., pp. 4). Growth in tourism has surpassed those in all other service industries and the economy as a whole. Tourism's labour intensive character and its wide range of entry-level positions makes it an ideal long term employer of under-employed and unemployed sectors of the labour force, such as minorities, women and First Nations (Gershuny and Miles, 1983). These are the very members of society who have traditionally been shut out of better paying union and management positions in rural areas (Ibid.). Women have been shown to outnumber men three to one in tourism related jobs (Mathieson and Wall, 1982). 22 In 1997 the average worker in BC earned $164 a week (BC Stats, December 1998, pp. 6). Wages for workers in the tourist industry ranged from a low of $193 a week, for hourly paid workers in the food and beverage sectors who earn additional income in tips, up to $886 per week for salaried employees in the air transportation sector (Ibid., pp. 6-7). Conservation of cultural heritage can be greatly aided by the development of rural tourism. A wide range of rural based native tourism products and activities, such as cultural centres and powwows, are being successfully marketed to tourists in Canada (Blundell, 1993). It is estimated that over 40,000 First Nations people living on reserves are producing arts and crafts for tourist markets (Csargo, 1988). Benefits native groups receive from tourism ventures go far beyond job creation and income generation as they bring new meaning to traditional native values and practices (Grinder, 1992). Numerous national parks around the world were established to serve as both tourist attractions and preservation areas (Gunn, 1988). Parks recently created in the Cowichan Region include the Carmanah and Walbran Valley Provincial Parks, the Sooke Hills Wilderness Park, the entire watershed for the Greater Victoria Regional District, the Nit-Nat ecological reserve and the Cowichan River Provincial Park. These parks attract large numbers of tourists and locals interested in hiking and camping along the waters of the Cowichan Region. 2.3.3. Challenges.of Rural Tourism Rural regions must understand the potential benefits, costs and limitations of tourism if they want this industry to be successful and sustainable. Not every rural area can look to tourism to 23 significantly bolster, or diversify its economy. The 'boosterism mentality' that plagues the introduction of many new commercial endeavours in depressed rural areas also accompanies tourism. This approach leaves many rural areas unprepared to deal with tourism's negative impacts. Tourism can degrade, corrupt and bankrupt what were once prosperous, attractive and economically balanced destinations (Williams, 1987; Smith, 1989). Negative impacts of tourism include: congestion; environmental degradation; pollution; crime; increases in property values and taxes; tourists receiving preferential treatment over locals; locals losing control over the operation, management and image of their community and the growth of frustration, resentment and hostility (Gunn, 1988; Allen et al., 1993; Lankford, 1994). Generally the more that visitors differ from their hosts the higher the potential for problems (Lankford, 1994). As noted by Matheison and Wall, The consequences of tourism have become increasingly complex and contradictory...and [are] manifested in subtle and often unexpected ways (1982, pp. 4). The negative effects of tourism are often not felt immediately, but rather accumulate over time until they reach a breaking point. Butler (1975) identifies several factors that influence the rate of tourism induced change: volume, length of stay, ethnicity, socio-economic status and tourist activities. Butler (1980) also developed a 'Tourist Area Life Cycle Model' that shows as a destination grows and matures, impacts from tourist activity become more pronounced and adverse. Doxey's 'Index of Tourist Irritation' (1975) indicates that as tourism impacts increase, 24 a community passes through several predictable phases. These reactions start with euphoria, then degenerate to apathy and irritation and can finally result in antagonism. Traditional societies such as First Nations groups and isolated rural communities can be especially vulnerable to the demands and actions of the dominant western, urban and commercial culture. Dogan (1989) suggests that First Nations communities have developed a range of strategies to cope with tourism's impacts. These strategies are as follows: adoption, the acceptance of tourists' cultures; boundary maintenance, excluding tourists from certain cultural events; retreatism, completely closing off tourists from the community; and resistance, when resentment and aggression are directed towards tourists. Existing economic conditions, community involvement, spatial and land use characteristics, strength of the local culture and a history of stability are all factors mitigating tourism impacts on a destination. Larger, stable, accessible rural communities with well-developed economies and high levels of local involvement are the least vulnerable to tourist-related problems (Gunn, 1988; Smith, 1989). Since the Cowichan Region has these characteristics, it is well positioned to avert and mitigate tourism's negative impacts. Tourism's negative impacts fall into two categories: those that can be prevented or mitigated with planning and those that are inherent in tourism development and must be accepted as unavoidable costs (Gunn, 1988). Mitigative impacts include congestion, crime and environmental degradation. Increases in property values and general pollution, such as the 25 accumulation of solid wastes and increases in air pollution are often unavoidable. Ironically, it is often those resources that are the most ecologically and socially vulnerable that are also most attractive to visitors due to their 'exotic' and 'unspoilt' nature (Wight, 1996). Williams (1987) notes that ecosystems acutely sensitive to development, such as coastal systems, are often the areas where tourists especially want to visit. An ecological argument for supporting nature tourism close to urban centres is that this helps relieve pressures on more sensitive and remote ecological areas. Isolated wilderness areas often have severely limited resources and lack the infrastructure necessary for mitigating the negative impacts of tourism, such as increased traffic, garbage and human waste (Manning and Dougherty, 1995). Even if the costs of tourism can be mitigated, there are other obstacles to successful tourism development in rural areas. These obstacles include: limited accessibility and drawing power of the destination; dispersion and/or poor quality attractions and services; unflattering rural images; internal community conflicts; bureaucratic over-regulation; difficulties in identifying and reaching niche markets and destination life cycles (Schroeder, 1993; Oppermann, 1996). While, tourism is not a 'magic bullet' solution that will solve all of the problems besetting rural areas, there is substantial evidence that this industry can help maintain the viability of otherwise marginal rural enterprises and threatened ways of life. As noted by Murphy, Although tourism-induced development has disappointed some expectations, the fault often lies in the unrealistic nature of those expectations rather than with the 26 industry itself. It should not be forgotten that the economies of peripheral regions are often structurally weak, so any income or employment generated by development programs will result in leakages to surrounding areas, whether it is tourist related or not (1985, pp. 98). 2.3.4. Rural Tourism Planning Rural areas that partner with surrounding communities creating regional tourism organizations are in a much better position to properly manage their tourism industry than communities working in isolation. The state's role in local and regional planning should be to create an enabling environment for community economic development (Economic Council of Canada, 1990; Boothroyd and Davis, 1993). Tourism BC has three main objectives in this regard: to increase tourist revenues; to increase tourist volumes and to increase regional distribution of tourists (Lemon, 1997). The role of regional planning associations should be to provide the framework, tools and some of the funding necessary for communities to reach their developmental goals. The Cowichan Tourism Association, a local private sector tourism organisation, and Community Futures, a local public sector developmental organisation, both serve this role. These organisations work with the regional district planning districts, local businesses, community groups and the general public to create employment opportunities for residents and make the Cowichan Region a more attractive destination for tourist and a more enjoyable home for locals (CTA, 1997). Regions created from the bottom up are in a much better position to succeed, than those created using a top down approach (Boothroyd and Davis, 1993). An example of the bottom up approach to defining regions is when communities with shared histories, cultures and visions for 27 the future work together to reach their developmental goals. Once rural communities work together as a region they benefit from an aggregation and concentration of tourism resources, services, amenities expertise and capital (Fagence, 1993; Spotts, 1997). This necessary 'critical mass' for tourism can often be achieved at the regional scale where nodal points of tourist attractions, services and complementary businesses are linked by touring circuits or corridors (Gunn, 1979). A region's identity consists of its natural resources, the lifestyles and customs of its people, accessibility, support services, hospitality, prices and climate (Spotts, 1997). The Cowichan Region as defined in this paper has both the 'critical mass' of tourism resources to attract visitors and the cohesion to properly plan and manage its tourism resources. Tourism planning, along with other planing efforts, should use a cost-benefit approach. An -advantage of using this approach is that it compels rural regions to consider the potential long-term consequences of their developmental plans. Tourism planning provides a basis from which communities can evaluate tourism's costs and benefits compared to those of other industries in determining the allocation of scarce resources (Pierce, 1996). In addition to determining the financial impacts of tourism projects, rural communities also need to consider the social and environmental carrying capacities of proposed development initiatives and include these in their costs-benefits analysis. Since gap analysis looks at tourism potential from both the residents' and tourists' perspectives it could serve as a foundation for a costs benefit analysis for rural regions. Social carrying capacity for tourism has been defined as, 28 "...that point in the growth of tourism where local residents perceive on balance an unacceptable level of social disruption from tourism development" (D'amore, 1983, pp. 144). Dominant cultures should not impose upon traditional rural cultures, but rather be encouraged to share their ideas and resources (Schroeder, 1993). Less than 20% of the Cowichan Region's population are First Nations, which makes them a minority in their own land (CVRD, 1996). Increasingly, the rights of First Nations people are being recognized as others become more sensitive to their issues. While large sections of the region are legally recognized as First Nations' land, land claims cover most of this region (Medest, 1997). Environmental carrying capacity refers to "...a determination of the biophysical limits of production of various natural resources, with the idea that to harvest or use of those resources would be at or below those limits" (Manning and Dougherty, 1995, pp. 31). Tourist destinations are acutely sensitive to issues of carrying capacity because to be successful over the long term they must continue to be perceived as attractive and tourist friendly locations (Williams, 1992). Tourism needs community support as it depends on public attractions, amenities and the goodwill of residents. Areas with a reputation for being polluted, crime ridden, or hostile to tourists soon find that their tourist numbers drop dramatically (Tourism Canada, 1992). Distribution of tourism benefits must be more visible and widespread than with traditional resource extraction industries since tourism relies on a wide range of community economic, environmental and social resources (Murphy, 1985). While the negative effects of tourism's impacts are often widespread, the benefits are often kept in the hands of tourism owners and operators, who are often outsiders to the community (Tooman, 1997). 2 9 Tourism planning should encourage and support local ownership of tourism enterprises and establish means to equitably share the benefits of tourism among community members. Tourism's benefits can be redistributed directly through a community by levying special taxes or charges on tourism enterprises, or indirectly though community enhancements. Prosperity gained through tourism businesses can be invested in a host of community projects, such as community recreation centres, low cost housing, and road improvements. In many cases residents report that tourism brings the following improvements to their community: enhanced appearance; improved recreational and service facilities; a higher quality of life and an invigorated community spirit (Allen et. al., 1988; Huang and Stewart, 1996). Effective tourism planning requires identifying key stakeholders in the process and enabling them to contribute to the process in a meaningful way (Inskeep, 1991). Maximising tourism's positive impacts and preventing or mitigating its negative impacts, requires planning that is responsive to the host community's developmental objectives and the demands of its target markets (Gunn, 1988; Manning and Dougherty, 1995; Pierce, 1996). Key stakeholders in rural regional tourism development often include residents, business owners, government employees, elected officials, and target markets (Lankford, 1994). Increasingly tourism planning incorporates resident input, as residents are recognised as an essential part of the 'hospitality atmosphere' that attracts tourists (Choy, 1991; Simmons, 1994). In the 1980s as more researchers examined the impacts of tourism and its sustainability 30 indicators, the importance of community participation in tourism planning gained recognition (Spanoudis, 1982). Integrating tourism goals into overall community objectives that are expressed in local planning documents, such as Official Community Plans and Comprehensive Plans, reinforces a community's understanding and commitment to its tourism goals. Requirements for this integration are outlined below: • Goal orientated: with clear recognition of the role to be played by tourism in achieving broad societal goals; • Democratic: with full and meaningful citizen input from the community level up; • Integrative: placing tourism issues into the mainstream of planning for parks, heritage, conservation, land use and the economy; and, • • Systematic: drawing on research to provide conceptual and predictive support for planners and drawing on the evaluation of planning efforts to develop theory (Getz, cited in Simmons, 1994, pp. 99). Tourism planning, especially in rural areas, has many challenges. Research has shown that tourism initially has a high degree of acceptance and involvement from residents, since many of tourism's positive impacts, such as increased revenue, are readily apparent. However, tourism's negative impacts, such as increased pollution, are often not noticeable until much later (Doxey, 1976; Butler, 1980). Therefore, the initial impacts of tourism planning can be misleading i f tourism's negative impacts are not accounted for in planning processes. Another challenge with tourism planning is involving a wide cross section of community members in the tourism planning process. Since there are many intangibles associated with tourism various viewpoints need to be considered in these plans (LeBlanc, 1992). The need for 31 broad based community support is also fuelled by the wide ranging impacts of the industry (Murphy, 1985) and the limited tourism expertise available in rural areas (Gunn, 1988). Simmons (1994) recently completed a research programme for Huron County, Ontario to examine community participation in tourism planning. This study applied and evaluated a three-stage tourism participation program for county residents. The first stage, involved informal interviews with seventeen participants, provided a checklist of issues, a search for variables and familiarised the researcher with the area. The second stage, a postal survey to 1,200 households, tested issues raised in the interviews and literature and to provide quantitative data for analysis (pp. 101). The final stage, established small focus groups of 8-12 residents to discuss their responses to the identified issues (pp. 103). The results from Simmons' research indicate that residents throughout the region were generally supportive of additional tourism development with two thirds of the residents wanting to see their county 'attract more visitors'. Residents were able to identify potential benefits more accurately than potential costs. Their concerns related to the future direction for tourism development hinged on those who were most likely to benefit from tourism and those who would compete with tourism's industry base, such as seniors and agriculturists. Tourism planners are developing strategies to assist rural areas plan for their development. Gunn (1979) developed a five stage tourism planning model to assist communities in adapting tourism growth to existing conditions. Gunn's model takes a human ecology approach to tourism planning, as it focuses primarily on residents' needs and the ability of local environments to meet 32 these needs in a sustainable manner. The five steps in Gunn's tourism planning model are provided below: 1. Setting objectives: deciding on planning actions and information delivery; 2. Research: research physical factors (natural and cultural) and program factors (markets, info-directional, socio-economic, governmental, land finances, management and labour); 3. Synthesis-Conclusions: synthesis of primary and program data and conclusions from research; 4. Concepts: physical development concepts and program development concepts; and 5. Recommendations: physical development, program development, policy and organisation and priority action steps (1979, pp. 224-238). 2.4. Rural Tourism Markets Target market information helps to define the perimeters of the characteristics, preferences and experiences of the range of tourists likely to visit rural areas. While behaviours of 'mass tourists' are studied extensively, those of 'rural tourists' are only beginning to be explored. An extensive study of North American travellers finds that these travellers engage in the following 'mass tourist' behaviours. They spend 6 nights away from home; travel less than 900 miles round trip; travel by automobile/recreational vehicle and stay in a hotel or motel (Wall Street Journal, 1987, pp. 21). Vancouver Island's largest regional tourism association, Tourism Victoria, conducts visitor exit surveys at regular intervals. These survey results indicate that 'typical' tourists to the island stay in hotels, are between 35-45 years old, have post graduate degrees, and earn over $100,000 annually (Tourism Victoria, 1996; Lemon, 1997). The top three activities for these travellers are sightseeing, shopping and strolling. These findings also represent to a great extent those tourists . 33 that visit the Cowichan, since Tourism Victoria conducts its interviews at entry and exit points to the island thereby capturing many of the tourists that are visiting the Cowichan Region. The Cowichan Region's largest tourist markets are Victorians and Vancouverites who want a nature-based, inexpensive, family vacation (Ibid.). Several studies indicate that the profile of rural travellers is undergoing notable changes. A 1988 German study found that travellers most interested in rural tourism are well-educated, middle and upper socio-professional people (Grolleau cited in Greffe, 1994, pp. 24). Their reasons for choosing rural tourism are in decreasing order of importance: contact with nature, a family holiday and an inexpensive holiday (Ibid.). Research has shown that mass consumer preferences tend to move in the direction of the preferences of 'ecotourists' - those tourists interested in taking active, nature based vacations that respect the host areas' culture and environment (Reingold, 1993). Ecotourists place great importance on opportunities for walking, wildlife viewing and hiking (Backman and Potts, 1993). Ecotourists rank opportunities to enjoy scenery/nature as their prime motivation for taking their next ecotourism vacation (Wight, 1996). Certain European surveys show that rural travellers tend to be well educated, professional, older individuals and couples (Greffe, 1994). Many of these travellers have no prior links to the rural areas they visit and express a strong interest in returning to these areas (Ibid.). The stereotypical profile of'new' rural travellers stands in stark contrast to old stereotypes of rural tourists. 34 Traditionally these travellers were seen as lower income families, looking for an inexpensive holiday often in areas where they had historical or kinship ties (Ibid.). There is a growing need for communities and entrepreneurs to gain a stronger appreciation of emerging rural tourism markets (Church, 1993). Rural areas should ensure that the following elements are in place so they can attract their desired target markets. First, rural areas need to be attractive to their desired target markets. Secondly, the tourism services, products and marketing of rural areas should be of the highest quality. Finally, the tourism offerings of these areas must be developed, marketed and planned with leadership and flair (Lane and Yoshikanaya, 1994). There have been some notable failures where rural tourism products were not up to the standards of their target markets and where communities could not reach their desired target markets (Choy, 1991). Most rural areas would benefit from building and maintaining tourist database. Unfortunately, such steps are rarely taken due to either a lack of commitment to tourism planning, or a lack of funds and guidance (Church, 1993). The success of 'niche', or 'target marketing' can be attributed to the following factors: substantial increases indisposable income in the developed world since the end of World War II; increasing education levels leading to more discerning customers and media's encouragement of individuality (Lane and Yoshinaga, 1994). Identifying and customising tourism offerings to target markets is a strategy drawn from 'economies of scope' (Boothroyd and Davis, 1993) that maximises the contribution of a region's specialised products and services (Church, 1993; Pearce 3 5 et. al., 1996). This strategy enables rural areas to generate more revenue and employment than traditional staple commodities (Lane and Yoshinaga, 1994). Rural regions can diversify their customer base and tourism offerings by looking to different target markets. Diversification should be a key element of rural tourism planning as it brings stability to these areas' vulnerable to boom-bust economic cycles (Schroeder, 1993). An example of diversifying traditional industries is provided by the recent changes to April Point Lodge on Quadra Island, which is close to the Cowichan Region. The new owners of the lodge have transformed the focus of the lodge from fishing to ecotourism. "By diversifying its customers base the lodge is less vulnerable to variables in BC's sports fishing and has been a 'major hit' for its new owners" (Stonebanks, 1998). The demand and supply of various tourism products and locations are constantly in flux as new experiences are sought and offered around the world. Desirable target markets for rural areas often have the following characteristics: they appreciate rural characteristics; can afford to travel to and within these areas; spend several days at their destination regions and purchase locally produced goods and services (Lemon, 1997). These markets are part of a large, growing and prosperous population to whom travelling is a priority. The 1989 non-resident survey for BC found that the average tourist expenditure for visitors to the province was $54.90 a day (Ibid). Visiting friends and relatives was the primary trip purpose for 33% of these travellers, 26% of travellers were on a touring trip and 39% of the party-nights were spent in Vancouver (Ibid.). 36 In 1996 the tourism sector of BC's economy generated a Gross Domestic Product of 4.6 billion (BC Stats, August, 1997, pp. 3). In 1997 approximately 30,602,000 tourists spent over $8,822 million on overnight travel in British Columbia (Tourism BC, Asia, 1997, pp. 3). Over 18,656,000 of these tourists were British Columbians, who contributed $3,004 million to the province's economy (Ibid.). The second largest market of traveller to BC were travellers from Alberta and the Prairie provinces (3,706,000), who spent approximately $1,596 million in the province (Tourism BC, Asia, 1997, pp. 3). The third largest market were travellers from the North Western US (3,615,000), who spent $895 million in the province (Ibid.). During this same year 828,000 travellers from the Asia Pacific Region visited BC and spent $817 million (Ibid.), while 535,000 visitors from Europe spent an estimated $519 million (Ibid.). Two promising target markets for the Cowichan Region and other rural regions to examine are potential Japanese and German rural travellers. These groups can be seen as representing polar opposites of what rural travellers want and expect. The Germans are noted for travelling in small groups, enjoying challenging wilderness experiences, rustic accommodations and minimal traveller services (Tourism Canada, West Germany, 1987; Ritchie et al, vol. 3, 1992). The Japanese on the other hand are renowned for travelling in large groups, enjoying soft-adventure experiences, such as scenic driving and walking, five star accommodations and lavish traveller services (Tourism Canada, Japan, 1987; Ritchie et al, vol. 2, 1992). 37 Another benefit of studying potential German and Japanese rural tourists are the similarities they have with other large tourist markets. German tourists share similar travel preferences to those of young rural tourists, while the travel preferences of Japanese tourists parallel closely with those of older rural tourists (Tourism Canada, Japan 1987 and West Germany, 1987; Ritchie, vol. 1 and 3, 1992). Studying German tourist markets can provide valuable insights into the characteristics and expectations of'young and wilderness adventure' markets, while studying Japanese tourist market can provide further insights into 'older and soft adventure' markets (Ibid.). This information could be useful to rural regions as they create and update their tourism plans. 2.4.1. Japanese Travellers Japanese travellers, many of who show a strong affinity for visiting rural areas, are a large and growing market for Canadian and world wide destinations (JTB, 1994; CTC, 1995;.Canadian Embassy, 1996). Over 355,00 travellers from Japan visited BC in 1996, spending more than $314 million in the province (Tourism BC, Asia, 1997, pp. 3.). Japanese tourists are also the highest per diem spenders in the world (Tourism Canada, 1992). During visits to Canada Japanese visitors typically outspend all other visitors by 60-90% (Tourism Canada, 1992, pp. 11). In 1995 Japanese travellers spent $190 per person night in BC, more than twice the average spending amount for international visitors. However, trips by Japanese to the province were only half as long as the average (5.9 nights) (BC Stats, Tourism with APEC Economies, 1997, pp. 4). A recent Japanese Travel Bureau survey (1994) found the third favourite purpose of travel for Japanese overseas tourists is to experience 'nature and scenery'. The preferred travel destination for over half of these survey respondents was 'nature (lakes and mountains)' (Ibid., pp. 53-55). Major trends for Japanese tourists to Canada include: increases in shoulder and off-season travel; 38 growth in 'stay put travel' involving activity orientated trips out of their urban/resort base and growth in travel to less well known places (Tourism Canada, West Germany, 1987; Tourism Canada, 1992). Until recently, in BC the Japanese market has been growing exponentially, increasing by 10% in 1993/1994 and by 27% in 1994/1995 (Tourism BC, 1997, pp. 5). Recent economic uncertainty in Japan, capacity problems in the province's hotels and the availability of inexpensive flights from Japan to other destinations, such as Australia, Africa and the Mediterranean, all contributed to a 2% decline in Japanese visits to BC in 1997. Further declines are anticipated if the Asian economy continues to decline (Ibid.). The introduction of the 'satisfaction guarantee' in Japan makes tour companies more cautious regarding the tourist destinations, services and products they offer to Japanese travellers (Tourism BC, 1997, pp. 5). This marketing commitment substantially impacts on the types of destinations Japanese tour companies are willing to promote. This guarantee, legally requires Japanese tour companies to refund any portion of a trip that fails to live up to their marketing claims (Tourism BC, 1997). The 'satisfaction guarantee' legislation could be deterring Japanese tour companies from promoting lesser known tourist destinations, products and services in BC, especially in non-urban areas where quality control is often more difficult to sustain and monitor than in urban centres (Tourism Canada, Japan, 1987). 39 / 2.4.2. German Travellers German travellers, many of whom show a strong affinity for visiting rural areas, are also a large and growing market for Canadian and world wide destinations (Coopers and Lybrand Consulting, 1996; Tourism BC, 1997). Germany is the world's largest outbound market in terms of tourism arrivals and it is the second largest in terms of tourism expenditures (Coopers and Lybrand Consulting, 1996). A recent Delphi study suggests that the German long-haul travel market will increase yearly by approximately 4% until the year 2005 (Canadian Consulate, 1997, pp. 4). Another study funded in part by Tourism Canada found that approximately 4 million Germans are interested in visiting Canada (Ibid.). Germans have a strong desire to visit unique areas with spectacular scenery and an array of opportunities for outdoor wilderness adventures (Tourism Canada, West Germany, 1987; Canadian Consulate, 1997). Germans view Canada as a highly attractive travel destination due to its wide open spaces, spectacular natural scenery, extensive range of outdoor recreation opportunities and environmental quality and safety (Ibid.). Major trends for German tourists to Canada include increases in the following: travel to exotic and exciting places; environmentally sensitive holidays; special interest holidays, such as nature and heritage trips and packaged holidays combining cultural components with nature focused activities, such as bike trips (Ritchie, 1992; Canadian Consulate, 1997). Germans are attracted to BC's rugged landscapes, wide-open spaces, and wilderness adventure opportunities (Lemon, 1997). German travellers have a keen interest in wilderness adventure actives, such as hiking, and have a long history of visiting the Cowichan Region. Many of these early travellers to the region were families who came to visits friends and families living in the area (Ibid.). Surveys . demonstrate that German visitors to western Canada tend to travel in small groups, rent cars or 40 Recreational Vehicles in either Calgary or Vancouver and do a circle route of the province (Tourism Victoria, 1996; Tourism BC, 1997). These circle trips often include the Victoria to Nanaimo a portion of Vancouver Island (Ib id.). Since the German market to BC is still relatively small statistics for German travellers are often grouped together with those of Swiss and Austrians to provide an adequate sample size. In 1996 approximately 201,000 German, Swiss and Austrians visited BC, generating approximately $224 million in tourist revenues (Tourism BC, Europe, 1997, pp. 3). German tourist numbers to BC declined in 1997 by approximately 14.7 % (Ibid.). This decline can attributed to the following factors: the declining value of the deutch mark and unsettled economic conditions in Germany; a reduction in direct flights from Germany to BC and capacity problems created by Canadian Airlines withdrawing its services between Frankfurt and Canada (Lemon, 1997). 2.5. Summary This chapter provided the context for evaluating the value of utilising a modified gap analysis as a rural regional planning tool. The first section of this chapter outlined many of the challenges confronting rural areas. These challenges include economic uncertainty, that is due to declines in traditional resource extraction industries and limited opportunities to diversify their economies with other industries (Edgell and Cartwright, 1991; Greffe, 1994). The Cowichan Region is endeavouring to balance its economic, social and environmental priorities, as its traditional industries of forestry, fishing and farming falter. 41 Tourism, which has long played a role in rural economies, has the potential to play a much greater role in many of these areas. The Cowichan Region has long served as a recreational and tourist destination for local travellers and increasingly has been attracting international tourists. Long-haul German and Japanese travellers are large and growing tourism markets (Coopers and Lybrand, 1995 and 1996). Rural areas have many characteristics that are attractive to these markets (Wight, 1996; Lemon, 1997). German and Japanese travellers have many characteristics, such as length of trips and per diem spending patterns, that make them very attractive to rural regions (Tourism Canada, 1987; Tourism BC, 1997). While the characteristics of Japanese and German overseas travellers engaging in mass-market tourism have been well-documented (Tourism Canada, Japan, 1987 and West Germany, 1987; JTB, 1994; CTC, 1995 and 1996; Canadian Embassy 1996), little research has been done on the characteristics of Japanese and German tourists interested in rural areas. Identifying key characteristics of these travellers could help rural areas determine their attractiveness and suitability for these tourists and adjust their community plans accordingly. Currently, many observers view all Japanese travellers as requiring facilities and services, such as large capacity five star hotels, that are far beyond what most rural areas offer. At the same time it is generally believed that most German tourists have only minimal tourism service and accommodation requirements. If Japanese rural tourists have a strong appreciation for rural characteristics and do not expect tourism products and services exceeding what rural areas can provide, these areas might be in a relatively strong position to attract and satisfy the needs of this market. If German rural tourists want basic accommodation and minimal tourism servicing, rural areas might only need to make minor adjustments to attract and satisfy this promising market. 42 The Cowichan Region is endeavoring to expand its tourism industry to diversify its economy and provide more stability for its communities. Proper tourism planning depends upon access to the 'right' planning tools. The next chapter outlines the 'gap analysis' concept, explains how it is used in this research and the criteria against which its potential as a useful tool with be judged. 43 CHAPTER 3: GAP ANALYSIS 3.1. Overview This chapter explores the potential of 'a modified gap analysis' to serve as an effective and practical planning tool for rural regions. A thorough explanation of how and in what situations gap analysis has been utilised is provided in this chapter. Particular attention is given to the strength and limitations of using gap analysis as a planning tool. The last portion of this chapter explains how gap analysis will be utilised in this research and outlined the evaluation criteria for assessing this technique's potential as a useful planning tool for rural regions. 3.2. Assessment Challenges Developing and sustaining a robust tourism industry depends upon long-term planning strategies that address the needs and resources of visitors and host communities. Several factors make planning for tourism in rural areas more challenging than planning for other more traditional industries, such as forestry. Since tourism is a service-based industry whose end products can often only be described in qualitative terms, monitoring and assessing this industry can be especially challenging (Lane, 1994). The quantity and variety of services used by tourists is a strength of the tourist industry, since they make this industry more diversified and stable. However, these attributes can serve as an obstacle to accurately measuring tourism's impacts (BC Stats, Tourism, December, 1998). Traditional industries, such as manufacturing and farming, produce tangible end products that can be examined using scientific methods to test their quality, durability and life span. 44 The end products of service industries, tend to be 'experiences' which are difficult to quantify (Parasuraman et al., 1985; Gummesson, 1991). Service companies controlling the attitude and behaviour of contact personal is seen by some researchers to be equivalent to quality control measures for products (Hostage cited in LeBlanc, 1992). 3.2.1. Definitions As the role of service industries expands, more researchers develop and test methods for monitoring and assessing the performance of these industries. Due to the inherent intangibles associated with measuring service performance developing and adhering to comprehensive definitions relating to service performance are invaluable. Some of the most commonly used terms in researching services, such as 'service quality,' 'gap analysis' and 'customer satisfaction' are defined and measured in a myriad of different ways. Service quality is a desirable, yet somewhat mysterious concept. While quality is invariably defined with positive adjectives, such as 'goodness' and 'luxury', these definitions are imprecise and fail to grasp the full concept (Crosby, 1979; Takeuchi and Quelch, 1983). Characteristics often associated with service quality include the following: inseparability of production and consumption, intangibility, perishability and heterogeneity (Berry, 1980). Service quality is a perceived judgement, resulting from customers' evaluation processes whereby they compare their expectations with the service they perceive to have received (Gronoss, 1984; Parasuraman et al. 1985). Quality of service can be described as a company's ability to meet customer expectations (LeBlanc, 1992). Research shows that quality increases market share and return on investment (Philips et al., 1983), lowers manufacturing costs and improves productivity (Gavin, 1983). There is also evidence of a relationship between service quality and increased profits, although the exact nature of this relationship is not always clear (Zahorik and Rust, 1992; Greising, 1994). High 45 quality tourism experiences sell for a premium above their production cost, which in turn motivates tourist regions to maintain their reputation as quality destinations (Augustyn and Ho, 1998). Therefore, creating and sustaining quality in a region's tourism products and services enables the region to build and maintain a reputation of quality (Keane, 1996). Service quality is strongly tied to customer satisfaction for customers who are satisfied over time perceive quality in the service provided (LeBlanc, 1992). Different clients expect different things from their service encounters. Companies can efficiently build and maintain high levels of customer satisfaction if they "...master the art of an optimum level of performance that ensures that expectations are consistently met" (Augustyn and Ho, 1998, pp. 72.). Service firms cater to three types of customers: external customers, those experiencing the companies' services; potential customers, those companies wants to attract and internal customer/employees, those depending on internal services to provided services required by other customers (Berry and Parasuraman, 1997). Customers' expectations are stable over time and can be measured with some degree of certainty (Clow and Vorhis, 1993). Rural regions could benefit from examining the expectations of their visitors and residents (Haywood, 1988). 3.3. Gap Overview Service quality and customer satisfaction play key roles in gap analysis. Smith and Houston (1982) found that satisfaction with services received is related to the confirmation, or dis-confirmation of services received. The basis of gap analysis is that service quality is a perceived judgement arising from an evaluation process in which customers compare their expectations with the services they feel they have received (Gronroos, 1984). Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry (1985) refined this concept to create the 'gap analysis model'. This model is a way of assessing service quality based on customers' 'expected services minus perceived service gap' and defined according to a 'perceptions minus expectations framework' (P-E). Gap analysis can 46 be used as a basic quantitative tool that compares the needs and expectations of customers and service providers. Gap analysis is used in this thesis to examine differences between the characteristics of travellers from Germany and Japan and the perceptions that tourism and planning professionals working in the Cowichan Region have of these travellers. In Lovelocks' 1983 study, fourteen executives drawn from nationally recognised American companies were asked a series of questions relating to key characteristics of service quality, the role of the customer in determining service quality and how their companies monitored service quality. Following the interviews, twelve customer focus group discussions were conducted. These discussions centred on general customer perceptions and experiences of services received and descriptions of ideal service providers. Distinctively consistent patterns emerged from this research relating to service quality, as summarised below: Key discrepancies, or gaps exists regarding executive perceptions of service quality and the tasks associated with service delivery to customers. These gaps can be major hurdles in attempting to deliver a service which customers would perceive as being of high quality (Parasuraman, et. al, 1985, pp. 44). Therefore, large gaps between the perceptions that a host region has of rural tourists and the expectations, of these tourists could lead to perceptions of poor service quality. Rural tourism gaps could arise in various situations, such as over-promising what an area has to offer, not reaching desired target markets and making inappropriate tourism investments. Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry (1985) developed gap analysis as a conceptual model of service quality. They drew on service quality literature, in-depth interviews with service sector executives and customers focus group to develop this model. These executives included in the study represented an industry cross-section based on the key dimensions for categorising services identified by Lovelock (1983) Parasuraman Zeithaml and Berry used the results of this research to create a five stage gap model (Figure 4). 47 Figure 4: Gap Model CUSTOMER Word-of-Mouth Communications Personal Needs Past Experience PROVIDER Gap 1 Expected Service Gap 5 j ± Perceived Service i Service Delivery Gap 3 i JL Gap 4 External Communications to Customers Service Quality Specifications Gap 2 J I I Management Perceptions of Customer Expectations Source: Zeithaml, Leonard and Parasuaman, 1990, pp. 46. 3.3.1. Explanation of Gaps 1 - 5 Gap 1: Customer Expectation - Management Perception Gap While many of the executives' 'perceptions of customers' service expectations were accurate, there were some notable discrepancies between their perceptions of customers' expectations and the customers' actual expectations. These service firms did not always understand which service characteristics were most indicative of 'high quality' to their customers. There were also misunderstandings relating to essential service features for meeting customer needs and levels of performance necessary to meet those needs. This gap could be very useful for rural regions that want to conduct a basic gap analysis comparing the perceptions of tourism planning decision makers with those of the tourists that they want to attract. Gap 2: Management Perception - Service Quality Specifications Gap Many of the executives commented on their difficulties with matching or exceeding customers' expectations. Although resource and marketing limitations were initially presented as the main constraining factors in this regard, it soon became evident that an absence of'total management commitment to service quality' also played a large role in this gap. It was not enough for companies to say they were committed to service quality, they also needed the resources and corporate strategies (service quality specifications) to deliver on these promises. Gap 3: Service Quality Specifications - Service Delivery Gap Creating service quality specifications is not enough to ensure that these services are delivered as intended. Employees of a service firm greatly influence customers' service quality perceptions. However, the performance of service employees does not lend itself easily to standardisation. Every interaction between customers and service providers has powerful implications for the perceived quality of service. Yet, due to the complicated and multi-textual context of human interactions, it is very'difficult to controfthese interactions. 49 Gap 4: Service Delivery - External Communications Gap Advertising and other public relations activities can profoundly affect customer expectations. The importance of not promising more than what could be provided was highlighted in the interview and focus group discussions. The end result of misleading advertising and promises was that initial customer expectations were raised at the expense of lower perceptions of quality when the services provided fell short of their heightened expectations. Gap 5: Expected Services - Perceived Services Gap The focus group fully supported the notion that good service quality is a function of meeting, or exceeding customers' service expectations. Testimonials from focus group participants revealed that when service providers provided more than expected, such as charging less for a service, or taking extra time to explain their services, this greatly enhanced their perceptions of service quality. Therefore, the quality that a customer perceives in a service is seen to be a function of the magnitude and direction of the gap that exists between expected services and services received. 3.4. Service Quality Determinants The focus group believed that customers used basically the same criteria to evaluate the quality of services. These criteria were seen to fit into 10 key categories, which were referred to as 'service quality determinants'. These determinants are as follows: reliability, responsiveness, competence, access, courtesy, communication, credibility, security, understanding/knowing the customer and tangibles (Figure 5). The interviews conducted with tourism and planning professionals working in the Cowichan Region asked these professionals to rank their operations on these service quality measures. The questionaire used in this thesis research also asked the Cowichan sample how they monitor their business' service quality performance. 50 Figure 5: Service Quality Determinants RELIABILITY i n v o l v e s c o n s i s t e n c y o f p e r f o r m a n c e a n d d e p e n d a b i l i t y . It m e a n s t h a t t h e f i r m p e r f o r m s t h e s e r v i c e r i g h t t h e f i rs t t i m e . It a lso m e a n s t h a t t h e f i r m h o n o r s its p r o m i s e s . S p e c i f i c a l l y , it i n v o l v e s : — a c c u r a c y i n b i l l i n g ; — k e e p i n g r e c o r d s c o r r e c t l y ; — p e r f o r m i n g t h e s e r v i c e at t h e d e s i g n a t e d t i m e . RESPONSIVENESS c o n c e r n s t h e w i l l i n g n e s s o r r e a d i n e s s o f e m p l o y e e s t o p r o v i d e s e r v i c e . It i n v o l v e s t i m e l i n e s s o f ser -v i ce : — m a i l i n g a t r a n s a c t i o n s l i p i m m e d i a t e l y ; — c a l l i n g t h e c u s t o m e r back q u i c k l y ; — g i v i n g p r o m p t s e r v i c e (e .g . , s e t t i n g u p a p p o i n t m e n t s q u i c k l y ) . COMPETENCE m e a n s p o s s e s s i o n o f t h e r e q u i r e d sk i l ls a n d k n o w l e d g e t o p e r f o r m t h e s e r v i c e . It i n v o l v e s : — k n o w l e d g e a n d sk i l l o f t h e c o n t a c t p e r s o n n e l ; — k n o w l e d g e a n d sk i l l o f o p e r a t i o n a l s u p p o r t p e r s o n n e l ; — r e s e a r c h c a p a b i l i t y o f t h e o r g a n i z a t i o n , e .g. , s e c u r i t i e s b r o k e r a g e f i r m . ACCESS i n v o l v e s a p p r o a c h a b i l i t y a n d ease o f c o n t a c t . It m e a n s : — t h e s e r v i c e is e a s i l y access ib le b y t e l e p h o n e ( l ines are n o t b u s y a n d t h e y d o n ' t p u t y o u o n h o l d ) ; — w a i t i n g t i m e t o r e c e i v e se rv i ce (e .g . , at a b a n k ) is n o t e x t e n s i v e ; — c o n v e n i e n t h o u r s o f o p e r a t i o n ; — c o n v e n i e n t l o c a t i o n o f se rv i ce fac i l i t y . COURTESY i n v o l v e s p o l i t e n e s s , respec t , c o n s i d e r a t i o n , a n d f r i e n d l i n e s s o f c o n t a c t p e r s o n n e l ( i n c l u d i n g r e c e p t i o n i s t s , t e l e p h o n e o p e r a t o r s , e tc . ) . It i n c l u d e s : — c o n s i d e r a t i o n f o r t h e c o n s u m e r ' s p r o p e r t y (e .g . , n o m u d d y s h o e s o n t h e c a r p e t ) ; — c l e a n a n d n e a t a p p e a r a n c e o f p u b l i c c o n t a c t p e r s o n n e l . COMMUNICATION m e a n s k e e p i n g c u s t o m e r s i n f o r m e d i n l a n g u a g e t h e y c a n u n d e r s t a n d a n d l i s t e n i n g t o t h e m . It m a y m e a n t h a t t h e c o m p a n y h a s t o a d j u s t i ts l a n g u a g e f o r d i f f e r e n t c o n s u m e r s — i n c r e a s i n g t h e l e v e l o f s o p h i s t i c a t i o n w i t h a w e l l - e d u c a t e d c u s t o m e r a n d s p e a k i n g s i m p l y a n d p l a i n l y w i t h a n o v i c e . It i n v o l v e s : — e x p l a i n i n g t h e s e r v i c e i tse l f ; — e x p l a i n i n g h o w m u c h t h e se rv i ce w i l l c o s t ; — e x p l a i n i n g t h e t r a d e - o f f s b e t w e e n s e r v i c e a n d c o s t ; — a s s u r i n g t h e c o n s u m e r t h a t a p r o b l e m w i l l be h a n d l e d . CREDIBILITY i n v o l v e s t r u s t w o r t h i n e s s , b e l i e v a b i l i t y , h o n e s t y . It i n v o l v e s h a v i n g t h e c u s t o m e r ' s b e s t i n t e r e s t s a t h e a r t . C o n t r i b u t i n g t o c r e d i b i l i t y a re : — c o m p a n y n a m e ; — c o m p a n y r e p u t a t i o n ; — p e r s o n a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s o f the c o n t a c t p e r s o n n e l ; — t h e d e g r e e o f h a r d sel l i n v o l v e d in i n t e r a c t i o n s w i t h t h e c u s t o m e r . SECURITY is t h e f r e e d o m f r o m d a n g e r , r isk, o r d o u b t . It i n v o l v e s : — p h y s i c a l s a f e t y ( W i l l I ge t m u g g e d at t h e a u t o m a t i c t e l l e r m a c h i n e ? ) ; — f i n a n c i a l s e c u r i t y ( D o e s t h e c o m p a n y k n o w w h e r e m y s t o c k c e r t i f i c a t e i s ? ) ; — c o n f i d e n t i a l i t y ( A r e m y d e a l i n g s w i t h t h e c o m p a n y p r i v a t e ? ) . UNDERSTANDING/KNOWING THE CUSTOMER i n v o l v e s m a k i n g t h e e f f o r t t o u n d e r s t a n d t h e c u s t o m e r ' s n e e d s . It i n v o l v e s : — l e a r n i n g t h e c u s t o m e r ' s spec i f i c r e q u i r e m e n t s ; — p r o v i d i n g i n d i v i d u a l i z e d a t t e n t i o n ; — r e c o g n i z i n g t h e r e g u l a r c u s t o m e r . TANGIBLES i n c l u d e t h e p h y s i c a l e v i d e n c e of t h e s e r v i c e : — p h y s i c a l f a c i l i t i e s ; — a p p e a r a n c e o f p e r s o n n e l ; — t o o l s o r e q u i p m e n t u s e d to p r o v i d e t h e s e r v i c e ; — p h y s i c a l r e p r e s e n t a t i o n s of t he s e r v i c e , s u c h as a p las t i c c r e d i t c a r d o r a b a n k s t a t e m e n t ; — o t h e r c u s t o m e r s in t h e se rv i ce fac i l i t y . Source: Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry, 1985, pp. 47. 51 Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry later developed a scale to precisely measure gaps between customer expectations and the services they receive (1988). The ' S E R V Q U A L ' scale was designed to provide an exacting measurement device for assessing the magnitude and direction of each gap. This scale was intended as a means to compare customers' expectations and their perceptions of actual performance relating to specific long-term attitudes at specific points in time. This scale was expanded and later refined to measure the following service dimensions: reliability, responsiveness, assurance, empathy and tangibles (Ibid., 1991). The use of the S E R V Q U A L scale represents the difference between two seven point, strongly agree to strongly disagree (SA/SD) Likert scales. One of the pair of scale questions measures the customers' expectations about sectoral service companies in general, while the other measures customers' perceptions about.the company. In total there are 22-pair statements to measure expectations and perceptions of service performance across the five generic service quality dimensions identified by Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry (1991). An example of one of the pair statements used in this scale is as follows: (1) Expectations (E): "Their physical facilities should be visually appealing" Perception (P): "XTZ's physical facilities are visually appealing" The differences between these two batteries of statements are seen by Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry to represent a precise measure of perceived service quality. The higher the perception minus expectation score the higher the level of perceived service quality. 52 3.5. Gap Model Applications Gap analysis is one of the most widely used technique for monitoring service quality in the US (Parasuraman et al., 1988; Iacobucci et al., 1994). Gap analysis utilising SERVQUAL-style questionnaires has been used widely in the assessment of hospitality services (Knutson el. al., 1991; Stevens, 1995). Gap analysis is used extensively by academics and practising managers throughout North America (Carman, 1990; Fick and Ritchie, 1991; Babakus and Boiler, 1992), Europe (Oberoi and Hales, 1990; Saleh and Ryan, 1991; Winch et al., 1998; Augustyn and Ho, 1998) and Asia (Samson and Parker, 1994; Lam, 1995). Several researchers have used gap analysis to measure service quality in tourism industries. Although most of these studies focus on travel agencies (LeBlanc, 1992; Augustyn and Ho, 1998), some of these studies have taken a multi-sectoral approach (Fick and Ritchie, 1991). While gap analysis has proven to be an effective and efficient measure of customer satisfaction and service quality in many service based industries, research that directly applies this method as a regional tourism planning tool could not be found. One study that indirectly addresses the potential benefits of using gap analysis techniques for rural tourism planning was recently conducted by in Germany. This study by Oppermann (1995) examined the differences between German hosts' perceptions of the German tourists staying at their farm based bed and breakfast establishments (B&Bs). Oppermann sent detailed questionnaires to accommodation operators and recent guests of these establishments, that resulted in 257 useable questionnaire responses (Ibid., pp. 35). This study 53 focused on excursion activities and destinations, travel motives and the importance of tourism resources. Study results showed a 'great coherence' between the perceptions of the hosts and guest relating to how the guest rated all of these variables except for preferred activities. Oppermann concluded that the high level of understanding between the host and guest samples could be largely attributed to the shared culture, language and activities of these two groups. LeBlanc (1992) used a gap analysis application to examine the service perceptions of travel agency customers in Canada's Atlantic provinces. The questionnaire for this study was developed based on interviews with the travel agency directors and a literature review. These questionnaires were then distributed to 600 regular customers of the travel agencies. Examination of the 277 responses showed that nine factors accounted for 63.4% of the variance when the 50 factors measuring perceived quality were factor analysed (pp. 12). These factors were as follows: physical evidence, competence, corporate image, timeliness, courtesy, competitiveness, responsiveness, confidentiality, and accessibility. This survey demonstrated a significant relationship between perceived quality and corporate image. The author concluded that travel agency managers should ensure that their front line staff is involved in setting goals and quality standards, since they play a pivotal role in providing service quality to customers. Fick and Ritchie (1991) utilised the SERVQUAL model to measure the perceived service quality of a range of tourism services. The tourism companies included in this study consisted of airline, hotels, restaurants and ski areas. Fick and Ritchie examined the utility of the SERVQUAL scale and its management implications for these tourism sectors. They found the S E R V Q U A L scale 54 was instrumental in multi-segment comparisons and could serve as a beneficial tool for organisations responsible for managing an entire tourism system. This conclusion from Fick and Ritchie suggests that gap analysis could show potential as a regional tourism planning tool. The most significant shortcoming of gap analysis is that is not a precise tool for providing detailed, in-depth explanations of specific customer behaviours. The S E R V Q U A L scale and questionnaire that were designed by Parasuraman and associates to provide sophisticated quantitative data on the size and importance of'gaps' to customers have several weaknesses. Most significantly the SERVQUAL scale has been shown by various researchers to have serious problems with consistency and validity (Teas, 1993; Grapentine, 1994; Lam and Woo, 1997). The SERVQUAL scale has shown itself to be a complicated measurement device that transforms the 'gap analysis' from a simple tool into a complex process whose real word applicability has been routinely criticised (Carman, 1990; Babakus and Boiler, 1992; Cronin and Taylor, 1992; Teas, 1994). A l l of these shortcoming can be overcome as long as gap analysis is used to provide a basic quantitative results relating to the service expectations and perceptions of customers and service providers. Numerous researchers in tourism and rural development have documented the need for tools that examine the perspectives of both tourism hosts and guests to plan for successful tourism industries (Gunn, 1988; Spotts, 1997). 55 3.6. Research Focus This research proposes that a modified gap analysis may serve as a useful regional tourism planning tool. To determine whether a gap analysis is a useful planning tool for rural regions it should be effective, inexpensive, easy to execute and capable of producing user-friendly results. These are all key attributes given the limited resources of rural regions and the benefits they could gain by understanding community and travellers expectations relating to tourism experiences (Gunn, 1988; Oppermann, 1996). The proposed gap analysis will be modified due to the following alterations of the standard 'gap analysis' promoted by Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry: 1. The SERVQUAL scale will not be used 2. Basic quantitative analysis will be used to compare sample responses; and 3. Only a Gap 1 analysis will be used. There are several reasons why this modified approach is justified. There is no evidence to support that the perceptions and actions of this Cowichan sample directly affect the actions and perceptions of these German and Japanese samples. Since there is not a direct relationship amongst these samples using statistical methods to demonstrate a correlation could be misleading. A basic quantitative approach that compares percentage and rank data would likely produce more user-friendly results than more complex statistical approaches. This proposed 'modified gap analysis' could be an effective and efficient tool for assessing a rural area's tourism potential in relation to key target markets. 56 Prior to commencing with a gap analysis, a rural region could gather existing data on promising tourism market segments from local and national tourism agencies. The region could then interview a variety of community members to ascertain their perceptions of these target markets. Survey results from these target market studies could then be compared against those of community members to gauge the awareness level of these groups to each other. If the gaps between tourists' expectations and service and product delivery are small, the region might be able to minimise these gaps with some well-founded investments and reap the rewards of increased customer satisfaction and visitations. If, on the other hand, there are some substantial gaps between what certain tourist markets want and what the region provides, then it might be in the region's best interests to reconsider its tourism marketing and investment strategies. Once it is known what key markets are looking for, a modified gap analysis can be conducted to establish the differences between what is offered by rural communities and what international visitors expect. It is essential that regional tourism plans be developed with an understanding of the needs and expectations of residents and tourists. As noted by Oppermann: One interesting but often neglected facet of tourism is the analysis of the perspectives of both hosts and guests or managers and visitors. Differences in expectations and values can lead to serious conflicts and planning and management mistakes (1995, pp. 6). A modified gap analysis could be undertaken using existing data sources, such as internationally funded studies of the characteristics and expectations of specific target markets. Therefore, by working in conjunction with government agencies and universities with access to these data bases, rural areas can have access to target market data, with minimal outlays of money and time. 57 The proposed modified gap analysis could provide results in a simple, easily understandable form that is highly accessible and practical for rural residents. 3.7. Summary Gap analysis is one of the most widely used technique for monitoring service quality in the world (Carman, 1990; Fick and Ritchie, 1991; Babakus and Boiler, 1992; Samson and Parker, 1994; Lam, 1995; Winch et al., 1998). Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry (1985) created a 'gap analysis model' to measure service quality. This model assesses service quality based on customers' 'expected services minus perceived service gap.' The shortcomings of the gap analysis lie primarily with it being used as a precise rather than a general tool. Most significantly the SERVQUAL scale developed by Parasuraman and associates has serious problems with consistency and validity (Teas, 1993; Grapentine, 1994; Lam and Woo, 1997). The proposed research approach could particular promise as a regional planning tool due to its anticipated simplicity, efficiency and cost effectiveness. Understanding and minimising gaps between the Cowichan Region's tourism resources and the expectations of potential Japanese and German rural tourists could help create responsive, viable, long term regional tourism and community strategies. Given the limited financial, technical and business resources of many rural communities, it is important that their planning tools are relatively inexpensive, easy to use, and produce results that can be readily comprehended and evaluated by the community as a whole. 58 C H A P T E R 4: R E S E A R C H M E T H O D S 4.1. Overview The primary research hypothesis for this paper is that a modified gap analysis can be a useful tool for rural regions with limited resources that want to attract more tourists. The supporting/ secondary hypothesis is that while a strong long-haul pleasure market for rural tourism experiences exists in Japan and Germany; tourism and planning professionals working in the Cowichan Region do not have a good understanding of these markets. Evidence of this lack of understanding would be found in large and numerous gaps between perceptions of potential Japanese and German rural tourists and the perceptions that the Cowichan professionals have of these markets. 4.2. Research Overview The research conducted for this thesis will have two distinct components. One component of this research will examine key characteristics of international travel markets with a high propensity to visit rural areas in North America. Long-haul pleasure travellers from Japan and Germany are the focus markets in this research. These market are of considerable interest and importance to North American destinations as they are large and growing markets with considerable per-diem spending (Tourism Canada, 1996; CTA, 1997). The other component of this research will examine perceptions that a rural region has of these international travellers. The third sample group for this research is comprised of tourism and planning professionals working in the Cowichan Region. 59 4.3. International Markets Data Collection Procedures Information on the characteristics of Japanese and German travellers is derived from interviews conducted by an international consulting firm. Long-haul pleasure travel market data was collected by Coopers and Lybrand Consulting for Tourism Canada, the US Travel and Tourism Administration, and the Secretaria de Turismo de Mexico. These organisations jointly funded several country-specific international travel market research initiatives. The 1995 Pleasure Travel Markets to North America: Japan Final Report and the 1996 Pleasure Travel Markets to North America: Germany Final Report, are two of the reports funded by these organisations and produced by Coopers and Lybrand Consulting. These reports provide data and analysis on the following characteristics of the potential long-haul pleasure travel market from Japan and Germany: size; travel motivations; travel characteristics, expenditures, attitudes and awareness; awareness and perceptions of North American travel destinations and products and demographic and vacation styles. Data for these international studies was collected by the data collection team via personal in-home interviews with 1,200 respondents selected randomly from major cities in Japan and 1,200 respondents selected randomly from major cities in Germany (Coopers and Lybrand, 1995 and 1996, pp. 2). Respondents were 18 years of age or older, who had taken a long-haul pleasure vacation of four nights or more outside of their country in the preceding three years, or were planning one in the following two years. Every effort was made to ensure that these samples were representative of the long-haul pleasure market population. 60 4.3.1. Data-subset Procedures The databases created from these international marketing surveys results was shared with major universities across Canada, including Simon Fraser University (SFU). For the purposes of this study Karim Dossa at SFU's Centre for Tourism Policy and Research put three filters on the German (1,200) and Japanese (1,200) databases to create two qualified rural sub-groups. One of these sub-groups was potential Japanese rural travellers (200). The other sub-group was potential German rural travellers (257). Qualified rural respondents were Japanese and German long-haul travellers who expressed a strong interest in all of the following: • Interesting rural countryside - rated as very important; • Interesting small towns and villages - rated as very important; and, • Interesting and friendly people - rated as somewhat, or very important. Potential Japanese rural travellers make up just under 17% of the total sample of potential Japanese long-haul travellers. Potential German rural travellers make up just over 21% of the total sample of potential German long-haul travellers. The profiles for this thesis research contain the following characteristics of these travellers: socio-demographic - detailing who they are; attitudinal - detailing what they like and behavioural - detailing what they do. The intent of these international surveys was to provide practical and strategic marketing information relating to the mass Japanese and German long haul travel markets. Therefore, these international surveys lacked in-depth questions specifically designed to focus on demographic, attitudinal and behavioural characteristics of potential 'rural' travellers. 61 4.4. Host Region Data Collection Procedures Information on the perceptions that tourism and planning professionals working in the Cowichan Region have of potential Japanese and German rural travelers is derived from interviews and questionnaires administered by the researcher. Prior to administering the questionnaire and interviews to the Cowichan sample, these assessment tools were reviewed by a university professor, an upper level tourism professional and a graduate student. These three pre-test subjects evaluated these measures on ease of use, level of comprehension and completion time so that these measures could be fine tuned. Thirty useable questionnaire and interview responses were gathered from tourism and planning professionals working throughout the Cowichan Region. Five interview subjects were chosen from each of the following 6 categories: tour operators, attractions, hotel and motel accommodations, alternative accommodations, public sector developmental organisations and private sector governmental organisations (Appendix I). An overall sample size of 30 with 6 subgroups were seen to be appropriate since these numbers are large enough to gather a cross-section of opinions from tourism and planning professionals, yet small enough to be manageable. Tourism and planning professionals working in the Cowichan Region were also asked a range of open-ended questions relating to the region's economy, the role of tourism in the area and the impacts of planning on the local tourism industry. The intent of these formal interviews was to provide additional planning context to the questionnaire. The interview was designed to promote open-ended responses, while the questionnaire provided responses that are more easily compared against each other in the gap analysis process. 62 The interview questions are divided into three sections. The first section had questions on interviewees' roles in tourism planning and the importance of service quality to their organisation. The second section had questions on challenges facing the region and the role of tourism in the region. The final section had questions on these tourism and planning professionals' perceptions of potential Japanese and German rural tourists (Appendix II). The questionnaire administered to planning and tourism professionals working in the Cowichan Region was structured on the questionnaires completed by the German and Japanese participants in the Coopers and Lybrand surveys (Appendix III). The first section of the questionnaire had questions relating to the perceived socio-demographic characteristics of potential Japanese and German rural tourists. The second section had questions relating to the perceived attitudinal characteristics of these tourists. The last section had questions relating to the perceived behavioural characteristics of potential Japanese and German rural tourists. The questionnaire was designed to document the perceptions that tourism and planning professionals have of Japanese and German tourists interested in rural areas. The perceptions of planning and tourism professionals working in the Cowichan Region are then compared to the characteristics of potential Japanese and German rural tourists. This comparison should enable the Cowichan Region to make informed decisions as to where it should invest its limited financial, technical and entrepreneurial resources. Comparing percentage and rank responses from these German, Japanese and Cowichan samples is a straightforward way of assessing the similarities and differences between markets and community members, while statistical analysis of the relationship between these groups would be more complicated. Since accuracy, 63 simplicity, expediency and efficiency are key components in determining if a gap analysis could be a useful planning tool for rural regions it was very important that the proposed tool would be user-friendly. Gaps of 20% or greater between the Cowichan group and target market questionnaire responses are seen to represent 'notable' gaps. The 20% 'gap criteria' was chosen for the following reasons. In a study that examined the usefulness of gap analysis in a rural tourism context, (Oppermann, 1995) the only 'major difference' cited between the perceptions of the host and guest samples was 'greater than 25%'. Since Oppermann made special mention of this one finding this signifies that differences of around 20% could be considered notable for this type of research. In statistical analysis it is common for up to 10% of differences in variables to be attributed to chance (Mc Grew et. al., 1993). Therefore, by doubling this percentage to 20% one could assume that most of the differences between variables are not due to chance. If gaps between tourists' expectations and service and product delivery are small the region could minimise these gaps and maximize its tourism returns with some well founded. If, on the other hand, there are numerous large gaps, between what certain tourist markets want and what the region provides, it might be in the region's best interests to reconsider its tourism marketing and investment strategies. 4.5. Anticipated Limitations of The Proposed Research Approach A weakness of using the proposed modified gap analysis as a tourism planning tool for rural regions is the heavy reliance on secondary data. The Coopers and Lybrand data used in this 64 research to describe characteristics of Japanese and German rural tourists was collected for market research on long-haul pleasure travellers. This data was not collected with the intent of focusing on rural tourists and how their travel expectations compare to those of the communities they visit. Since the international surveys, which serve as the secondary data source for this research, were not focused specifically on 'rural' tourists and 'rural' activities, the depth of information from these surveys relating to rural tourism is limited. Due to the reliance on secondary data for this study, difficulties in comparing this data to the primary data collected at the host region were expected. To compensate for this weakness several adjustments were made. First, a detailed literature review was conducted on rural issues (challenges, tourism and planning), the Cowichan Region (history, economy, resources and future opportunities) and gap analysis (definitions, research findings and areas for further research). Second, extensive interviews were conducted with planning and tourism professionals working iii the Cowichan Regions to provide a meaningful context for comparing the responses of the international travellers and host region sample groups. Finally it was determined that it would be inappropriate to use complex statistical methods, such as Spearman's Correlation, to compare the international data results from the Coopers and Lybrand study to the Cowichan study. The inherent difficulties in merging primary and secondary data would highlight discrepancies between sampling procedures, data collection and compilation for these different samples. Therefore, these data sets will be compared using rank and percentage responses. 65 Another limitation of the research is that it utilises cluster sampling as opposed to sampling a broad cross section of residents from the Cowichan Region. Only the opinions of tourism and planning professionals working in the Cowichan Region were gathered and compared to the results of the international studies. A more comprehensive gap analysis would involve interviewing a broader cross section of Cowichan residents and comparing these results to numerous target market data bases. " There are two main reasons why a wider range of participants were not surveyed for this research. First, its is important to get as much information on the regions' tourism and planning impacts as possible given limited financial and time restraints resources. By only interviewing 'tourism and planning professionals' this provided detailed information on these impacts in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Second, since this research required a substantial time commitment from interviewees, professionals already working in planning and tourism were more willing to participating in this process than residents who were not as connected to these fields. A third limitation with this research is that Japanese and German travellers are relatively minor markets to the Cowichan Region. While these groups are highly visable they both account for less than 10% of visitors to the Cowichan Region (Lemon, 1997). Most of the visitors to the Cowichan Region are from residents of British Columbia and neighbouring states and provinces (Tourism Victoria, 1996). The German and Japanese samples were choosen because of the available data and since they represent of the extremes of what 'rural' tourists want, identifying their needs could help rural areas establish the parameters of their tourism expenditures. 66 C H A P T E R 5: FINDINGS 5.1. Gap Analysis: Questionnaire Responses This chapter compares the questionnaire responses of the potential Japanese and German rural traveller samples with those of the tourism and planning professionals working in the Cowichan Region. Of the 33 tourism and planning professionals interviewed for this study, 30 useable questionnaires and interview responses were collected. The other 3 interview and questionnaire responses were not used because they were incomplete. This gap analysis focuses on the first of the five gaps identified by Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry - perceived differences between the expectations of customers (visitor) and management (tourism and planning professionals in the Cowichan Region). This modified gap analysis will compare the percentage responses of the target market groups to the local sample. While both differences and similarities between these groups can be expected the text will focus on major differences between these groups. These will be identified as those where there is more than a 20% difference in compared responses. 5.2. Socio-Demographic Data 5.2.1. Potential Japanese and German Rural Travellers' Characteristics The international survey results show that there are some substantial differences between the potential Japanese and German rural tourists. As a group, potential Japanese rural travellers tend to be women in their upper-thirties, who are married, well educated and not currently working. 67 They are either unemployed, non-working housewives, or retired. As a group, potential German rural travellers tend to be women in their mid-forties, who are married, have limited formal education and are white collar workers (Tables 1 and 2). 5.2.2. Cowichan Respondents' Perceptions of Japanese Rural Travellers' Socio-Demographic Characteristics Gaps There are several notable gaps (greater than 20% difference and shaded) between the potential Japanese and Cowichan samples relating to socio-demographic measures and expectations respectively (Table 1). The Cowichan group is quite accurate regarding the male/female ratio of these visitors; however, they overestimate the age of the Japanese sample group. While most of the Japanese sample members are in their late thirties, the Cowichan group sees these travellers as being much older. Other than underestimating the number of Japanese respondents whose highest level of education is 'some high school', the Cowichan group is quite accurate in their estimations of the educational levels of the potential Japanese rural travellers group. The Cowichan sample understanding of the occupational structure of the Japanese travellers is particularly low. The Cowichan group overestimates the number of white-collar workers and administrator/managers, and underestimates the number of unemployed/non-working housewife/retired portions in the study group. The Cowichan respondents also overestimate the number of Japanese travellers who are in the middle income category and underestimate those in the upper middle income category (Table 1). 68 Table 1: Cowichan Respondents' Perceptions of Japanese Rural Travellers' Socio-Demographic Charact teristics Gaps R e s p o n s e % o f R e s p o n d e n t s P e r c e n t a g e D i f f e r e n c e ^ / - ) 1 J a p a n e s e S a m p l e C o w i c h a n S a m p l e G e n d e r - F e m a l e 59.3 60 0.07 A g e 2 scale value = 5 scale value = 7 scale difference = 2 E d u c a t i o n Some high school 27.3 0 27.3 High school graduate (grade 12) 7.5 3 4.5 Technical/trade school 11.8 27 15.2 Some college or university 15.6 20 4.4 Graduated from college or university 38.7 50 12.3 O c c u p a t i o n University/college student 13.8 17 3.2 White-collar worker 17.8 50 32.2 Blue-collar worker 4.0 3 1 Administrator/manager 5.9 30 24.1 Specialist/freelancer 13.1 0 13.1 Self-employed 5.5 0 5.5 Part-timer 9.6 0 9.6 Unemployed/non-working 27.4 0 27.4 housewife/retired Other 2.9 0 2.9 A n n u a l H o u s e h o l d I n c o m e ( C a n $ ) 3 under $40,000 (lower income) 6.8 10 3.2 $40,000-$ 100,000 (medium income) 33.1 87 53.9 over $100,000 (upper income) 60.1 3 57.1 N e e d f o r m a t e r i a l s i n o w n l a n g u a g e Reading 78 70-80 2-8 'In those cases where the differences are scale differences the findings are italicized. JThe age scores are based on the following scale: 1 (18-19), 2 (20-24), 3 (25-29), 4 (30-34), 5 (35-39), 6 (40-49), 7 (50-59), 8 (60-64), and 9 (65+)! 3These income figures are approximations based on conversions of the Japanese Yen using the 12/21/98 exchange rate. Source: Coopers and Lybrand Consulting, 1995 and Cowichan Survey 1997 - 1998. 69 5 5.2.3. Cowichan Respondents' Perceptions of German Rural Travellers' Socio-Demographic Characteristics Gaps 1 There are several notable gaps (greater than 20% difference and shaded) between the potential German rural travellers and the Cowichan respondents relating to socio-demographic measures (Table 2). The Cowichan group is quite accurate with the male/female ratio and the age of the German sample group. The Cowichan group perceives the German group as having a much higher level of education than they actually do. The Cowichan respondents greatly underestimate the number of German respondents whose highest level of education is either 'some high school' or 'high school graduate'. The Cowichan respondents overestimate the number of German respondents who either graduated from 'trade/technical school', or 'college or university.' The Cowichan respondents are quite accurate in their predictions of occupations of the German travellers group. The only occupational area where the Cowichan group's responses differ markedly from the German group is that the Cowichan group overestimates the number of Germans who are 'administrators/managers'. The Cowichan group underestimates the percentage of German rural travellers who can be classified as low income. The Cowichan respondents also underestimate the number of German travellers who require written materials in their own language, as only 59% of the German respondents feel their English proficiency is 'quite well or very well' (Table 2). 70 Table 2: Cowichan Respondents' Perceptions of German Rural Travellers' Socio-Demographic Characl teristics Gaps Response % of Respondents Percentage Difference(+/-)' German Sample Cowichan Sample Gender - Female 54.5 50 4.5 Age 2 scale value = 6 scale value = 7 scale difference — / Education Some high school 30.4 38 30.4 High school graduate (grade 12) 20.4 25 20.4 Trade/technical 12.1 15 20.9 Graduated from college or university 17.5 22 48.5 Other 19.6 N/A N/A Occupation University/college student 7.9 3 4.9 White-collar worker 32.2 43 10.8 Blue-collar worker 6.5 17 10.5 Administrator/manager 7.2 33 25.8 Specialist/freelancer 6.0 -> 3 Self-employed 7.6 0 7.6 Part-timer 2.2 0 2.2 Unemployed/non-working 17.4 0 17.4 housewife/retired Other 13 N/A N/A Approximate Annual Household Income (in Canadian Ss based on the exchange rate 12/98) 3 under $36,000 (lower income)4 30 6 24 $36,000- $>48,000 (moderate medium 23 37 14 income) over $48,000 (upper medium - upper 47 57 10 income) Need for materials in own language Reading 41 10 31 ' in those cases where the differences are scale differences the findings are italicized. 2The age scores are based on the following scale: I (18-19), 2 (20-24), 3 (25-29), 4 (30-34), 5 (35-39), 6 (40-49), 7 (50-59), 8 (60-64), and 9 (65+). 'These income figures are approximations based on conversions of the German Mark using the 12/21/98 exchange rate. 4 Data was is available for Germans making less than $3680 a year and those making $368 or over which only accounts for 53% of the sample. Source: Coopers and Lybrand Consulting, 1996.and Cowichan Survey, 1997- 1998. 71 5.3. Attitudinal Gaps 5.3.1. Potential Japanese and German Rural Travellers' Travel Philosophies Although the potential Japanese and German rural tourists share many of the same travel philosophies, they express different priorities in rankings them. 'Inexpensive travel to the destination country' and 'getting value for [their] holiday dollar' are the first and second priority for the Japanese group. 'Getting value for [their] holiday dollar' and the belief that 'money spent on overseas travel is well spent' are the first and second priorities for the German group. The desire to be flexible in their travel arrangements is the third priority for both groups. Potential 'rural' Japanese travellers clearly differ from their German counterparts in that they give higher rankings for all of the travel philosophies. 5.3.2. Cowichan Respondents' Perception's of Japanese and German Rural Travellers' Travel Philosophy Gaps While there are several notable gaps (greater than 20% difference and shaded) between the Japanese and Cowichan respondents relating to travel philosophies, there are no notable gaps between the German and Cowichan groups on these measures. The Cowichan group greatly overestimates the prominence of package holidays and escorted tours and underestimates the importance of flexibility to these Japanese travellers (Table 3). The Cowichan group is remarkably accurate in their evaluations of the importance of these philosophies to the German group, as no between the two groups are found for this category (Table 4). 72 Tables 3-8: Attitudinal Characteristics Table 3: Cowichan Respondents' Perceptions of Japanese Rural Travellers' Travel Philosophy Gaps Mean Responses1 Travel Philosophy Japanese Sample Cowichan Sample Difference (+/-)2 For me, money spent on overseas travel is well spent 3.19 3.60 0.41 1 take holidays overseas whenever I have the means 3.02 3.20 0.18 I usually travel on all-inclusive package holidays 2.14 3.70 1.56 1 prefer to go on escorted tours when holidaying overseas 2.34 3.83 1.49 1 like to be flexible on my overseas holiday 3.55 2.30 1.25 I enjoy making my own arrangements for my holidays 2.97 2.87 0.10 Inexpensive travel to the destination country is important 3.78 3.70 0.09 Getting value for my holiday money is important to me 3.76 3.40 0.36 Based on a scale where 1 = strongly disagree, 2 = somewhat disagree, 3 = somewhat agree and 4 = strongly agree 2 Scale variations of 0.8 or greater are viewed as critical values (20% difference). Source: Coopers and Lybrand Consulting, 1995 and Cowichan Study, 1997 - 1998. Table 4: Cowichan Respondents' Perceptions of German Rural Travellers' Travel Philosophy Gaps Mean Responses1 Travel Philosophy German Sample Cowichan Sample Difference (+/-)2 For me, money spent on overseas travel is well spent (3) 3.13 3.73 0.6 I usually travel on all-inclusive package holidays (5) 2.15 2.43 0.28 I prefer to go on escorted tours when holidaying overseas 2.06 2.27 0.21 I like to be flexible on my overseas holiday (2) 3.19 3.10 0.09 1 enjoy making my own arrangements for my holidays (4) 2.66 2.97 0.31 Inexpensive travel to the destination country is important (1) 2.91 2.60 0.31 Getting value for holiday money is very important to me (1) 3.40 3.50 0.1 1 Based on a scale where 1 = strongly disagree, 2 = somewhat disagree, 3 = somewhat agree and 4 = strongly agree 2 Scale variations of 0.8 or greater are viewed as critical values (20% difference). Source: Coopers and Lybrand Consulting, 1996 and Cowichan Study, 1997 - 1998. 73 5.3.3. Potential Japanese and German Rural Travellers Travel Motivations The top three general/overseas travel motivations of potential Japanese rural travellers are in decreasing order: 'outstanding scenery'; 'interesting rural countryside, small towns and villages' and 'a variety of things to see and do.' The German group has similar motivations, but they prioritise them differently. Their top three motivations are in decreasing order: 'interesting small towns, villages and rural countryside;' 'a variety of things to see and do' and 'outstanding scenery' tied with 'interesting and friendly local people' for the third spot. 5.3.4. Cowichan Respondents' Perceptions of Japanese Rural Travellers' Travel Motivations Gaps There are several notable general travel motivation gaps (greater than 20% difference and shaded) between the Cowichan and Japanese groups. In some instances motivation responses are combined because the questions were asked differently in the two market surveys conducted by Coopers and Lybrand. These comparative challenges are another difficulty with comparing secondary data to primary data. The Cowichan respondents underestimate the importance that the Japanese group place on the following travel motivations; 'interesting rural countryside'; 'opportunity to increase one's knowledge' and 'doing nothing at all.' The largest gaps relate to underestimating the importance this group places on learning opportunities, such as visiting 'interesting rural countryside, small towns and villages' and 'increasing their knowledge.' The Cowichan group also underestimates the Japanese groups' interest in budget accommodation (Table 5). 74 T a b l e 5: C o w i c h a n R e s p o n d e n t s ' P e r c e p t i o n s o f J a p a n e s e R u r a l T r a v e l l e r s ' G e n e r a l T r a v e l M o t i v a t i o n G a p s M e a n R e s p o n s e 1 M o t i v a t i o n J a p a n e s e C o w i c h a n Sca le S a m p l e S a m p l e D i f f e r e n c e 2 ( + / - ) Going places I have not visited before 3.57 3.30 0.27 Outstanding scenery 3.95 3.50 0.45 First class hotels 2.46 3.20 0.74 Budget accommodation 3.18 2.00 1.18 Shopping 3.41 3.50 0.09 Doing nothing at all 3.35 1.30 2.05 Opportunity to increase one's knowledge 3.75 2.90 0.85 Opportunity for outdoor sports such as hiking 2.76 2.27 0.49 See/experience people from a # of ethnic background/ 2.56 2.63 0.07 Unique/different native groups (Eskimos and Indians)3 Wilderness adventures 2.97 2.30 0.67 Variety of things to see and do 3.78 3.27 0.51 Having fun, being entertained 3.67 3.30 0.37 Destinations that provide value for my holiday money 3.71 3.33 0.3.8 Availability of packaged trips and all inclusive holidays 2.56 3.53 0.03 Wilderness and undisturbed nature/National Parks4 3.35 3.07 0.28 Interesting rural countryside, small towns and villages5 3.89 2.97 0.92 Interesting and friendly local people 3.50 3.20 0.30 Clean and safe6 3.64 3.90 0.26 'Based on a scale where 1 = not important at all, 2 = not very important, 3 = somewhat important & 4 = very important " Scale variations of 0.8 or greater are viewed as critical values (20% difference). 3The Japanese response is a composite score of the following: see/experience people from a # of ethnic backgrounds (2.81) and unique/different native groups Eskimos and Indians (2.31). 4The Japanese response is a composite score of the following: wilderness and undisturbed nature (3.38) and national parks and forests (3.32)... , 5The Japanese response is a composite score of the following: interesting small towns and villages (4.00) and interesting rural i countryside (3.78). 6The Japanese response is a composite score of the following: environmental quality of air, water and soil (3.72), standards of hygiene and cleanliness (3.62) and personal safely even when traveling alone (3.59). The Cowichan response for this item comes from their answer in the travel philosophy section of the questionnaire. Source: Coopers and Lybrand Consulting, 1995 and Cowichan Study, 1997 - 1998. 75 5.3.5. Cowichan Respondents' Perceptions of German Rural Travellers' Travel Motivations Gaps There are several notable gaps (greater than 20% difference and shaded) between the Cowichan and German groups with regards to travel motivations. The Cowichan group overestimates the importance of'outstanding scenery' and 'wilderness adventure' - characteristics often associated with rural areas - to the German group. The Cowichan group underestimates the importance of 'doing nothing at all, ' 'a variety of things to see and do' and 'interesting small towns, villages and rural countryside' to the Germans group (Table 6) T a b l e 6: C o w i c h a n R e s p o n d e n t s ' P e r c e p t i o n s o f G e r m a n R u r a l T r a v e l l e r s ' G e n e r a l T r a v e l M o t i v a t i o n G a p s M o t i v a t i o n G e r m a n S a m p l e M e a n R e s p o n s e 1 C o w i c h a n S a m p l e D i f f e r e n c e 2 ( + / - ) Outstanding scenery 3.76 3.87 0.11 First Class Hotels 2.11 2.50 0.39 Budget accommodation 3.09 2.63 0.46 Shopping 2.94 2.70 0.24 Doing nothing at all 2.42 1.43 0.99 Opportunity to increase one's knowledge 3.83 3.23 0.60 Opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking 2.51 3.23 0.72 See/experience people from a # of ethnic backgrounds (native groups)J 3.41 3.20 0.21 Wilderness Adventure 2.59 3.60 1.04 Variety of things to see and do •'. 3.79 3.23 0.86 Having fun, being entertained 3.39 2.90 0.49 Best deal they could get/Inexpensive travel within the county 3.39 2.73 0.66 Destinations that provide value for my holiday money 3.64 3.40 0.24 Availability of packaged trips and all inclusive holidays Wilderness and undisturbed nature/National Parks4 2.79 2.60 0.16 3.34 3.67 0.33 Interesting small towns, villages and rural countryside 4.00 2.56 1.44 Interesting and friendly local people Clean and safe5 3.76 3.30 0.46 3.56 3.50 0.06 'Based on a scale where 1 = not important at all, 2 = not very important, 3 = somewhat important & 4 = very important 2 Scale variations of 0.8 or greater are viewed as critical values (20% difference). 3The German response is a composite score of the following: see/experience people from a # of ethnic backgrounds (3.37) and unique/different native groups Eskimos and Indians (3.45). 4The German response is a composite score of visits to natural ecological sites (3.54) and national parks and forests (3.14). sThe German response is a composite score of the following: environmental quality of air, water and soil (3.61), standards of hygiene and cleanliness (3.32) and personal safety even when traveling alone (3.74). The Cowichan response for this item comes from their answer in the travel philosophy section of the questionnaire. Source: Coopers and Lybrand Consulting, 1996 and Cowichan Study, 1997 - 1998. 76 5.3.6. Potential Japanese and German Rural Travellers' Perceptions of Canada The Japanese and German groups have remarkably similar rankings of Canada's tourism attributes with both groups giving Canada the same high ranking overall. Furthermore both groups share the same top two perceptions of Canada - 'outstanding scenery' and 'national parks/wilderness/forests'. The third strongest impression of Canada's tourism products for the German group is 'opportunities to increase one's knowledge,' while for the Japanese it is 'wilderness adventure'. Both groups also give Canada a high ranking for being clean and safe. 5.3.7. Cowichan Respondents' Perceptions of Japanese and German Rural Travellers' Perceptions of Canada Gaps The Cowichan group is exceedingly accurate with its determinations of the Japanese and German groups' perceptions of Canada's tourism product attributes. There are no notable gaps between the Cowichan and German group in this regard. The one notable gap (greater than 20% difference and shaded) for perceptions of Canada is that the Cowichan group underestimates the importance to the Japanese group of 'having fun, being entertained' (Tables 7 and 8). 77 Table 7: Cowichan Respondents' Perceptions of Japanese Rural Travellers' Perceptions of Canada's Tourism Product Attributes Gaps Mean Response1 Attribute/Activity Japanese Sample Cowichan Sample Scale Differences2 (+/-) Outstanding scenery 3.95 3.78 0.17 First class hotels and fine restaurants^  3.02 2.92 0.1 Budget accommodation and low cost food4 3.16 2.97 0.19 Shopping 3.17 2.73 0.44 Opportunity to increase one's knowledge 3.36 2.94 0.42 Opportunities for outdoor activities, such as hiking 3.51 3.31 0.2 See/experience people from a# of ethnic backgrounds 2.74 2.53 0.21 (native groups)5 Wilderness adventures 3.71 3.38 0.33 Variety of things to see and do 3.50 3.09 0.41 Having fun, being entertained 3.49 2.67 0.82 ' Destination providing value for my holiday dollar 3.54 3.26 0.28 Availability of packaged trips and all inclusive holidays 3.11 3.01 0.1 National parks, wilderness and nature6 3.85 3.54 0.31 Interesting rural countryside, small towns & 3.60 3.03 0.57 villages7 Interesting and friendly local people 2.98 2.62 0.36 Clean and safe8 3.54 2.86 0.68 Overall rating of Canada 3.40 9 'Based on a scale where I = not important at all, 2 = not very important, 3 = somewhat important & 4 = very important 2Scale variations of 0.8 or greater are viewed as critical values (20% difference). 'The Japanese response is a composite score of the following: first class hotels (3.02) and high quality restaurants (3.02). 4The Japanese response is a composite score of the following: budget accommodation (3.16) and inexpensive food (3.28). 5The Japanese response is a composite score of the following: see/experience people from a # of ethnic backgrounds (2.88) and unique/different native groups Eskimos and Indians (2.60). 6The Japanese response is a composite score of the following: wilderness and undisturbed nature (3.84) and national parks and forests (3.86). 7The Japanese response is a composite score of the following: interesting small towns and villages (3.59) and interesting rural countryside (3.60). 8The Japanese response is a composite score of the following: environmental quality of air, water and soil (3.80), standards of hygiene and cleanliness (3.60) and personal safely even when traveling alone (3.22). The Cowichan response for this item comes from their answer in the travel philosophy section of the questionnaire. 9The dashed lines are used when a question was not asked of one of the sample groups. Source: Coopers and Lybrand Consulting, 1995 and Cowichan Study, 1997 - 1998. 78 Table 8: Cowichan Respondents' Perceptions of German Rural Travellers' Perceptions of Canada's Tourism Product Attributes Gaps Mean Response' Attribute/Activity German Sample Cowichan Sample Scale Differences 2 (+/-) Outstanding scenery 3.83 3.90 0.07 First class hotels and fine restaurants3 3.09 2.93 0.16 Budget accommodation4 2.82 2.87 0.05 Shopping 3.04 2.61 0.11 Opportunity to increase one's knowledge 3.69 3.33 0.36 Opportunity for outdoor activities, such as hiking 3.41 3.47 0.06 See/experience people from a # of ethnic 2.99 3.53 0.54 backgrounds (native groups e.g. Indians)5 Wilderness adventures- 3.67 3.73 0.06 Variety of things to see and do 3.63 3.27 0.36 Having fun, being entertained 3.30 3.07 0.23 Destination providing value for my holiday dollar 3.39 3.27 0.12 Availability of packaged trips and all inclusive holidays 3.39 3.00 0.39 ^National park/visits to appreciate forests 3.70 3.87 0.17 Interesting small towns & villages/ rural countryside 336 3.47 0.11 Interesting and friendly local people Clean and safe7 3.35 3.50 0.15 3.28 3.67 0.39 Overall rating of Canada 3.40 8 'Based on a scale where 1 = not important at all, 2 = not very important, 3 = somewhat important & 4 = very important • 2Scale variations of 0.8 or greater are viewed as critical values (20% difference). 3The German response is a composite score of the following: first class hotels (3.08) and high quality restaurants (3.09). 4The German response is a composite score of the following: budget accommodation (2.66) and inexpensive food (2.97). 5The German response is a composite score of the following: see/experience people from a # of ethnic backgrounds (2.89) and unique/different native group, such as Eskimos and Indians (3.09). 6The German response is a composite score of the following: visits to appreciate natural ecological sites, such as forests (3.77) and national parks and forests (3.62). 7The German response is a composite score of the following: environmental quality of air, water and soil (3.44), standards of hygiene and cleanliness (3.40) and personal safely even when traveling alone (2.99). The Cowichan response for this item comes from their answer in the travel philosophy section of the questionnaire. 8The dashed lines are used when a question was not asked of one of the sample groups. Source: Coopers and Lybrand Consulting, 1996 and Cowichan Survey, 1997 - 1998. 79 5.4. Behavioural Gaps 5.4.1. Potential Japanese and German Rural Travellers' Most Recent Trip Characteristics Overall potential German rural tourists are more adventuresome, nature focused and willing to 'rough it' than their Japanese counterparts. Members of the German group are much more likely than the Japanese group to engage in the following activities: 'visiting small towns and villages,' 'experiencing native groups' and 'visiting national parks and forests'. The German group is also more interested in 'driving to scenic places,' 'sampling local food,' 'outdoor activities' and staying at alternative accommodations (i.e. B & Bs) than the Japanese group. Despite these notable differences in their most recent trip characteristics, the activities engaged in most frequently, such as 'picture taking' and 'sightseeing in cites', are comparable for both groups. While both groups used packaged tours extensively, the potential Japanese rural tourists took significantly more packaged trips than their German counterparts. Some of the most striking differences between the two groups relate to visiting wilderness areas and experiencing native groups. Almost twice as many potential rural German travellers participated in these activities during their most recent trip compared to the Japanese group. 80 5.4.2. Cowichan Respondents' Perceptions of Japanese Rural Travellers' Most Recent Trip Characteristics Gaps The Cowichan group accurately details the top five activities of the Japanese group. There are three notable gaps (greater than 20% difference and shaded) between the Japanese group's most recent activities and the perceptions the Cowichan group has of their activities. The Cowichan group underestimates the Japanese participation levels in 'shopping' and staying in 'mid-priced hotels,' while they overestimate the Japanese groups' 'trips to scenic landmarks' (Table 9). Table 9: Cowichan Respondents ' Perceptions of Japanese Rural Travellers' Most Recent Trip Characteristics Gaps Most Recent Trip Characteristics % of Respondents Japanese Group Cowichan Group Percentage/Scale Difference /^-)1 Package Usage: Yes 71.2 90 18.8 Accommodation Usage (at least 1 night during trip): Mid price hotel (e.g. Holiday Inn or Ramada) 53.4 33 20.4 Resort (that provides all facilities and activities) 8.0 2 Tourist home/bed & breakfast 5.6 Other 8.8 Backpackers/youth hostel 2.8 Budget accommodation (e.g. Best Western) 12.3 7 5.3 Luxury hotel (e.g. Hilton or Sheraton) 44.4 60 16 Top Five Activities: Sightseeing in cities 89.0 (#1) #1 0 Shopping 88.5(#2) #4 2 Taking pictures or filming 84.3 (#3) #2 1 Informal/casual dining with table service 82.4 (#4) #5 1 Visiting scenic landmarks 77.6 (#5) #3 2 See/experience people from different ethnic backgrounds (native 35.0 groups)3 Visiting scenic landmarks/museums/galleries 55.8 Visiting national parks or forests 33.9 Visiting friends or relatives 21.0 Visiting small towns and villages 51.7 Outdoors activities such as hiking, 10.2 Visiting wilderness areas/protected land/ecological sites4 14.8 'Scale differences are italisized and based on a five-point scale in which a difference of 1 or greater is noted as a critical value. 2Dashed lines are used when an item did not score in the top five Japanese activities as perceived by the Cowichan group. 3The Japanese response is a composite score of the following: see/experience people from a # of ethnic backgrounds (32.3); unique/different native group, such as Eskimos and Indians (9.3); and enjoying ethnic culture/events (63.6). 4The Japanese response is a composite score of visits to natural ecological sites (15.5); and those to protected areas (14.1). Source: Coopers and Lybrand Consulting, 1995 and Cowichan Study, 1997 - 1998. 81 5.4.3. Cowichan Respondents' Perceptions of German Rural Travellers' Most Recent Trip Characteristics Gaps The Cowichan group is largely inaccurate in their perceptions of the top most recent trip characteristics of the German sample. In regards to the condensed list of most recently engaged in travel activities, the Cowichan group names only one of the top five activities of the German group. There are a wide range of notable gaps (greater than 20% difference and shaded) between the German groups' activities and those perceived by the Cowichan group. The Cowichan group substantially overestimates the Germans' participation in the following activities: 'staying at mid-priced hotels,' 'visits to appreciate natural ecological sites,' 'experiencing unique or different aboriginal/indigenous peoples,' 'visiting national parks and wilderness areas,' 'hiking," 'experiencing native groups' and 'staying at alternative accommodations'. The Cowichan group greatly underestimates the participation of the German group in the following activities: 'taking pictures', 'shopping,' 'informal dining with table service' and 'sightseeing in cities' (Table 10). 82 Table 10 : Cowichan Respondents' Perceptions of German Rural Travellers' Most Recent Trip Characteristics Gaps Most Recent Trip Characteristics % of Respondents Percentage & Scale Difference^/-)1 German Sample Cowichan Sample Package Usage: Yes 47.1 50 2.9 Accommodation Usage (at least 1 night during trip): Mid price hotel (e.g. Holiday Inn or Ramada) 33.5 70 36.5 Resort (that provides all facilities and activities) 4.2 Tourist home/bed & breakfast/home of friends or relatives 22.2 Other 2.8 Backpackers/youth hostel/camping 4.5 13 8.5 Budget hotel (e.g. Best Western) 16.8 10 6.8 Luxury hotel (e.g. Hilton or Sheraton) 13 7 6 Top Five Activities2 Taking pictures or filming (2) 91.2 (#1) 6+3 5+ Shopping (3) 88.5 (#2) #5 3+ Informal/casual dining with table service (5) 82.4 (#3) 6+ 2+ Sightseeing in cities 65.5 (#4) 6+ 1 + Visiting small towns and villages 64.43 (#5) 6+ 1 + See/experience people from different ethnic backgrounds 63.65 #2 3+ (native groups) Visiting national parks or forests 5.9.3 #1 4+ Visiting wilderness areas protected land/areas 62.2 #3 2+ Outdoors activities, such as climbing, 32.3 #4(tie) 1 + Visiting scenic landmarks . 54.2 #4(tie) 1 + 'These differences are based on a live-point scale in which a difference of 1 or greater is viewed as a critical value. 2Those items that appeared more than once on the German top 5 list are disregarded. Top 5 items from the Cowichan group that do not correspond with any of the top 5 German responses are subtracted from 5 (i.e. an item ranked #3 by the Cowichan group that did not score in the top 5 for the German group has a score of 2+). 3 6+ is used when an item did not score in the top five German groups' activities as perceived by the Cowichan group. Source: Coopers and Lybrand Consulting, 1996 and Cowichan Study, 1997 - 1998. 5.5. Gap Context: Interview Responses The following section compares the questionnaire responses of the potential Japanese and German rural traveller samples with the interview responses of the tourism and planning professionals working in the Cowichan Region. The questions asked in the formal interviews are intended to provide a historic, environmental, economic, social and emotional context the tourism potential of the Cowichan Region (Appendix IV). This context is essential for accurately analysing the results and developing tourism planning strategies as it provides an additional opportunity to bring community sentiments, beliefs, concerns and aspirations into the gap analysis process. 5.5.1. Cowichan Respondents' Perceptions of Their Regional Economy Traditionally forestry, fishing and farming were the foundations of the Cowichan Region's economy. For over a decade the traditional resource extraction industries have been in decline and the area is struggling to diversify its economy. A l l of the 30 interview subjects list layoffs in the primary industries as one of the largest challenges facing the Cowichan Region. Many of the respondents comment on the strike at the local pulp mill underway at the time of the interviews. These strikes are an example of the strains put on the community as the forestry industry declines. Mike Osbourne, the manger of the British Columbia Forest Museum in Duncan, feels that more jobs are being lost due to technological advances, than preservation initiatives. He notes during a single work shift one, or two workers and a machine can now harvest the same number of trees that less than ten years ago would have taken twenty workers two shits to complete. He also 84 claims that the number of IWA union members in the Cowichan has fallen from around 12,000 in 1987 to less than 2,000 in 1997 (Osbourne, 1997). Several Cowichan interview respondents feel that up until this last decade the area's economy relied almost exclusively on forestry and fishing. While many of these respondents show a strong desire to diversify their economies, they are also skeptical of their communities' abilities to attract and sustain a wider range of economic activities. Frustration with the provincial and federal governments is evident in that these governing bodies are not seen to be offering much needed economic assistance to the Cowichan Region, while they continue to take stumpage fees for harvested timber and taxes from these communities. 5.5.2. Cowichan Respondents' Perceptions of Tourism in Their Region Although tourism has long played a role in the Cowichan's economy, traditionally its impacts on the community were minor. Interview respondents feel the number of tourists coming to their region is increasing each year and that the tourist season is expanding beyond the summer season to include the spring and fall. They also believe the Cowichan Region offers a wide range of speciality products and services for tourists, such as products from local vineyards, farms and orchards, as well as locally produced arts and crafts that appeal to a wide cross-section of tourists. Cowichan interview respondents rank the quality of their tourism products and services and those of the region very highly. On a scale of one to seven, with one being poor and seven being excellent, two thirds of the respondents rank the service quality of their tourism operation as six 85 or higher. However, few resources are devoted to monitoring service quality, which calls into question the validity of these rankings. Less than 10% of the tourism businesses survey their customers in a quantifiable and consistent manner. The surveyed businesses committed to service monitoring tend to be the larger operations, such as the Native Heritage Centre, and those run by managers with a background in business administration. While the quality of the natural resources in the Cowichan is exceptional, insufficient quality monitoring combined with limited financial resources and the need for more industry experts equate to a situation where great strides could be made in improving the Cowichan's service quality. As the role of tourism in the Cowichan Region's economy grows, so do its impacts. Interview subjects from the Cowichan have mixed feelings regarding the extent to which locals understand and support the tourism industry. Many of the respondents indicated that while locals appreciate additional employment and economic opportunities tourism brings to their community, they also see tourism as having a range of limitations and negative impacts. Some of the largest perceived limitations of the tourism industry are employment stability, wages and career advancement opportunities. Cowichan residents perceive community resistance to large scale tourist operations that are not locally owned and operated. Although tourism professionals in Chemainus have been working to establish a hotel in Chemainus for several years, to secure this village as a destination, rather 86 than just a brief stop, the community still lacks such a facility. A recent proposal to build a mid-sized chain-hotel in Chemainus was unpopular with local residents who perceived it as an intrusion on their community and felt it would compete with their local B&Bs (Freer, 1997). Interview respondents feel that one of the main reasons their communities support the tourism industry, despite it shortcomings is that most of the tourism enterprises are are locally owned and operated. Access is limited to certain resources in the Cowichan to preserve these resources for locals and tourists. The West Coast Trail, on the western fringe of the region became so popular that by the late 1980s it was crowded and degraded. This led to the establishment of restrictive quotas and substantial usage fees, currently $100 per person, to preserve the wilderness values intrinsic to the West Coast Trail (Blair, 1997). The Juan de Fuca Trail was opened in the summer of 1995 to help offset some of the pressures on the West Coast Trail and provide additional wilderness resources for residents. This trail, which runs between China and Botanical Beach, is only a one hour drive from Victoria and unlike the West Coast Trail, is open year round (Benning, 1997). i The Juan de Fuca Trail has no quotas on the number of people who cans use it and there are no usage fees, except for $6 per night charge for campsites (Ibid.). The Juan de Fuca Trail has greatly bolstered the economies of the communities bordering the trail, due to the high number of day users and users who combine hiking trips with other outdoor experiences of the region (Lemon, 1997). 87 Women are well represented in the Cowichan's tourism industry. This fact is reflected in the selection of interview respondents, over a third of whom are women in management positions. Tourism in the Cowichan Region offers many opportunities for women 'given their skills in personal interactions and their willingness to take lower paying jobs than many of the men in the community who have grown accustomed to high paying fishing and forestry jobs' (Osbourne, 1997). First Nations people receive numerous benefits from the growth of tourism in the Cowichan Region. The Native Heritage Centre operates as an educational facility for First Nations people to learn traditional First Nations arts, crafts and rituals, as well as business and employment skills. The General Manager for the Cowichan Tribes Association notes that the establishment of the Native Heritage Centre employs over 35 First Nations People directly and assists many more in terms of providing a market for their skills and products (Medest, 1997). The Native Heritage Centre's benefits to the First Nations community go even further by providing a living tribute to Cowichan tribes' history, while instilling a sense of pride in the community and helping to build a better future (Ibid.; Parker, 1998). The Cowichan sample sees a marked increase in young and educated 'ecotourists' and international travelers visiting the region. These survey participants also claim that up until the last ten years they hardly had any Asian visitors. Over the last decade visitors from Asia, especially Japan, are seen to be growing significantly and have promising growth potential. Most of those surveyed estimate that between 4-6% of their customers are Japanese travellers, while 8-10 % are German travellers. Despite these long term growth trends, the respondents are 88 observing recent declines in the number of German and Japanese tourists, which they equate to economic uncertainties in these countries. One way that the Cowichan Region is reaching out to Japanese travellers is through twinning programs. In 1987 the Village of Lake Cowichan became the first village in Canada to twin with a village in Japan (Brown, 1997). This twinning process is very successful and has led to numerous exchanges between the two communities, as well as special events associated with welcoming these Japanese visitors, such as banquets and street festivals. Cowichan interview respondents feel Japanese travellers prefer larger and more established tourism operators and mid-size hotels - facilities that are largely lacking in the region. The interviewees believe that Japanese travellers' have little interest in more remote and rustic tourist offerings, such as wilderness hiking trials and alternative accommodations. The interview respondents are doubtful as to whether their tourism offerings are well suited to Japanese tourists. Several respondents note that 'bus loads of Japanese tourists' rarely stop in the community long enough to get to know the region and its people. Coach tours of Japanese tourists are seen to curtail the amount of tourist dollars flowing into the community, especially since the bus tours tend to spend most of their time at larger tourist facilities located outside of the Cowichan, such as those in Victoria and Vancouver. Several of the interview respondents note that Japanese tourists, who represent one of the largest and most conspicuous groups of travellers to Chemainus, carry with them more negative impacts than other groups such as Germans, who travel in smaller groups and blend in more with the locals. 8 9 German travellers are seen to have a keen interest in wilderness adventure activities and to appreciate basic accommodations, such as camping and basic Bed and Breakfasts. German travellers have a long history of visiting the Cowichan Region. Many of the early travellers consisted of families who came to visits friends and families living in the region. Many Cowichan residents still trace their ancestry to Germany (Osbourne, 1997; Parker, 1998). Cowichan respondents feel that over the past ten years the number of Germans who visit the Cowichan for the sole purpose of enjoying the wilderness experiences has increased. Cowichan survey respondents see German travellers as couples, or as groups of four to six who drive great distances over the course of their vacation. The potential for attracting more German tourists is seen to be excellent due to their keen interest in wilderness experiences, small party size and flexibility in accommodation usage. 5.5.3. Cowichan Respondents' Perceptions of Planning in Their Region The Cowichan Region does not have a long and detailed planning history. Traditionally this region's development was largely controlled by the Ministry of Forests and major forestry companies. Jim Mc Mannus, an area planner in the region, notes that "...there is a strong impetus towards filling gaps in the community's economic and social foundations with tourism sector employment...tourism is presented to the people as a panacea and obviously it is not." "Comparing a full time union forestry job that pays well over $20 dollars an hour to a part-time tourist job, such as flipping burgers, or cleaning rooms is like comparing apples to oranges," warns Mc Mannus (1997). " A forestry job does not equal a job in the tourist sector and to pretend that these jobs are interchangeable is totally unrealistic" according to Osbourne (1997). 90 These comments speak to the need to better understand the future prospects of primary industries in the Cowichan and the role that tourism could potentially play in the local economy. Community Futures is a federally funded developmental agency that assists Cowichan residents in their job search efforts. While Community Futures is aware that 'a forestry job is not the same as a tourism job' they recognise that unlike forestry, tourism is a growing industry in the region with some excellent long term employment opportunities. Therefore, Community Futures works with Cowichan residents in identifying and creating jobs that meet the needs of job seekers and local businesses. Many of the interview respondents expressed admiration for Community Futures employment programs and developmental initiatives, thus indicating that this organisation has wide-spread community support. Internal community conflicts and bureaucratic over-regulation relating to planning persist as problems at the local and provincial level. Although all the Cowichan interview respondents were asked to consider the entire Cowichan Region in their responses, they consistently revert to an 'us against them' perspective in relation to other communities in the region. There are also concerns over conflicts between 'loggers and environmentalists,' 'those who directly benefit from tourism and those who do not,' 'newcomers and old-timers' and 'natives and non-natives.' Difficulties in balancing economic and environmental needs are challenges most commonly cited by the Cowichan interview respondents. Many of the interviewees are frustrated with 'upper-level bureaucrats in Victoria' who make decisions that severely impacted on the Cowichan, such as removing large tracts of land from timber production, in an attempt to 'win city votes.' 91 Lack of comprehensive planning for tourism can lead to mismanagement resources and missed opportunities. Cowichan interview respondents have mixed feelings on the failed Pacific Rim Artists Village in Chemainus. While this project had a lot of community support, it did not speak to the interests of the region's target markets in a way that made the project feasible. Several interview respondents note that this project's legacy amounts to some glossy promotional material and an ornate gateway leading to a semi-cleared lot. The Cowichan Region is committed to comprehensive planning as reflected in the Official Community Plans (OCPs) that have been prepared for this region's communities. Currently most of these OCPs only have a single section on tourism lasting several pages in their plans and do not adequately incorporate tourism into their broader planning schemes (CVRD, 1986, 1994, 1997). Since the OCP process is built on community participation, if tourism had a larger profile in these plans, community input on tourism planning initiatives could be increased. The Cowichan interviewees feel that more members of the community should participate in tourism planning to increase community understanding of tourism's potential positive and negative impacts and to develop realistic tourism goals. It is essential to integrate tourism into community plans given the wide ranging impacts tourism has on the areas resources and infrastructure, as well as the impacts that other land use decisions can have on tourism. The impacts of tourism growth on sewage treatment are a real concern in the Cowichan Region. Apart from the Cowichan Region's more urbanized centres, such as Duncan and Ladysmith, approximately 90% of individual households and businesses depend on septic systems for their sewage treatment and disposal (Wirsz, 1997). As this region promotes 92 tourism development to offset declines in its primary resources it needs to create mitigation strategies to off-set the tremendous pressure such development will have on the area's ability to accommodate septic systems. The lack of paved road access to western portion Cowichan affects the economic health of the region in many ways, including limiting the flow of tourists into and throughout the region. Most of the interview respondents want a paved road system to improve access to the western portion of the region. This system would enable tourists to take a circle route originating in Victoria proceeding up one coast of the region, through the centre and back down the other coast. Creating paved road access to unite the western portion of the Cowichan with the rest of the region would have many benefits for the community. These benefits include lower costs for goods and services in the western portion of the region. Improved access could also attract more tourists to the region and encourage them to stay in the area longer as it would be easier for them to explore the entire region. Currently it takes several hours of driving on rough logging roads to go from either Victoria, Duncan, Port Alberni or Nanimo to the wilderness areas in the western portion of the region, such as the West Coast Trial, and Carmanah Provincial Park. Improving road access to the western fringes of the Cowichan Region also raises objections. The negative environmental and social impacts of increased access of pristine wilderness were raised by several of the Cowichan survey respondents. Placing tolls on the newly paved roads, limiting the numbers of visitors allowed into these wilderness areas and re-investing some the funds generated from tourists back into the community could mitigate these impacts. 93 CHAPTER 6: DISCUSSION 6.1. Japanese and German Sample Findings Despite the many notable gaps in demographic and attitudinal differences between the Japanese and German samples, in terms of behaviours the differences between these two groups are much less pronounced. The extensive participation of both groups in main stream tourism activities, such as shopping and taking packaged vacations, may be a reflection of tastes and preferences cultivated in largely urban environments. Another factor in the extensive participation of the Japanese group in main stream tourism activities could be a general lack of experience and confidence in overseas travel. Unlike Germans, who have a long history of travelling overseas, Japanese only began travelling overseas 'en mass' in the last two decades. 6.2. Cowichan Respondents' Perceptions of Japanese and German Rural Travellers' Characteristics Gap Findings The modified gap analysis used in this research reveals notable gaps between characteristics of the Japanese and German sample groups and the perceptions Cowichan tourism and planning professionals have of these travellers. Gathering the data used in this research was both inexpensive and expedient as it combined existing data sources, the international travellers studies, community planning documents (Official Community Plans), with additional data from community members who were willing and able to devote over an hour of their time to participating in this process. Despite the widely held belief that Japanese and German travellers represent opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of their needs, preferences and behaviours (Lemon, 1997), this study found many similarities between the two groups. Although the differences between the Japanese and 94 German groups were not as dramatic as the Cowichan group expected, certain characteristics and behaviours that distinguished the two group from each other. These similarities and differences are broken down into the categories of socio-demographic characteristics, attitudinal characteristics and behavioural characteristics. 6.2.1. Socio-Demographic Findings Potential Japanese rural travellers are primarily well educated women who are from upper income households, flexibly employed, value conscious and travel in small groups. Analysis of the 20 socio-demographic questions shows that there are 7 notable socio-demographic gaps between the Cowichan and Japanese samples. The Cowichan group is accurate with its perceptions of age and ratio of male to female travellers of the Japanese sample. The Cowichan group underestimates the importance of 'value for money' and the number of Japanese rural travellers who are not gainfully employed. Many of the tourism offerings of the Cowichan Region require some time to truly appreciate them, such as walks in the wilderness, or participating in First Nations feasts. These rewarding, yet time consuming, activities are the types of activities in which flexibly employed and non-working travellers, such as Japanese rural tourists can more readily participate. Since the Cowichan group greatly underestimated the number of Japanese rural travellers in the upper income groups, there could be additional economic benefits that Japanese rural travellers could bring to rural areas. 95 Potential German travellers also tend to be women from middle income households who are employed in a variety of professions and tend to travel in small groups. Analysis of the 20 socio-demographic questions shows that there are 7 notable socio-demographic gaps between the Cowichan and German samples. Some of the more prominent gaps between the two groups relate to education and occupation. A likely explanation for why the Cowichan group overestimated the educational level of German rural travellers is that many Germans enter into the work force through apprenticeship programs that exist outside of the formal educational system (Parker, 1998). Therefore, low levels of'formal' educational should not automatically be associated with low levels of income or blue-collar occupations. The Cowichan sample overestimates the percentage of German rural travellers from upper income households and underestimated the number from lower income households. These findings suggest that Germans travellers to the Cowichan Region could be more value conscious and willing to rough it than Japanese travellers. Another possibility for this misconception is that the Germans are observed taking long vacations- a travel behaviour that North Americans often associated with wealthy individuals (Lemon, 1997). Although not as many Germans are 'flexibly employed' as the Japanese group, this does not necessarily mean they would have less time to spend vacationing in rural areas, than the Japanese. The standard vacation time for Germans is a month, or longer, compared to the few weeks or days available to most Japanese workers. German travellers could spend just as long if not longer in the Cowichan Region than their Japanese counterparts. 6.2.2. Attitudinal Findings Analysis of the 45 attitudinal questions shows that there are 8 notable attitudinal gaps between the Cowichan and Japanese samples. The Cowichan group greatly overestimates the importance of packaged trips to the Japanese group. This gap result suggests that the Cowichan could be more attractive to the Japanese market than the Cowichan group thought. While the Cowichan Region lacks facilities to accommodate large groups, it offers a wide range of tourism products and services ideal for individual, or small group participation, such as fishing and hiking. Market research indicates that increasingly Japanese tourists are venturing out on their own during their overseas vacations (Lemon, 1997). Analysis of the 43 attitudinal questions shows that there are 4 notable attitudinal gaps between the Cowichan and German samples. Since most of potential German and Japanese rural travellers prefer to travel either independently or in small groups, the Cowichan Region is well situated to meet these rural traveller's needs. Both the German and Japanese group place a much higher importance on 'interesting rural countryside, small towns and villages' than the Cowichan group expects. While this finding bodes well for rural areas, the reader should be reminded that the international data bases used in this research were sorted on the importance rankings of 'rural' characteristics to overseas Japanese and German travellers. Therefore, the data is somewhat skewed in this regards and should be interpreted accordingly. Both the German and Japanese group place a high importance on 'budget accommodation' and 'destinations that provide value for [their] holiday dollar'. The Cowichan Region's tourism products and services are competitively priced, due to the weak Canadian dollar and the lower 97 costs of doing business in areas located far enough away from urban centres to avoid 'city prices', yet close enough to avoid excessive transportation and servicing costs. 6.2.3. Behavioural Findings Analysis of the 20 behavioural questions shows that there are 3 notable behavioural gaps between the Cowichan and Japanese samples. Analysis of the 18 behavioural questions shows that there are 7 notable behavioural gaps between the Cowichan and German samples. The German and Japanese rural travellers engaged in remarkably similar behaviours during their most recent trip. These activities centred on picture taking, shopping, dining and sightseeing in cities. The German sample engaged in more 'adventurous' activities than the Japanese sample who favoured more 'passive' activities. Compared to the Japanese sample, the Germans were almost twice as likely to have experienced different ethnic groups and visited a national park during their most recent trip. Nearly as many Japanese as German rural travellers visited small towns, villages and scenic landmarks during their most recent vacation. The Cowichan Region has a wide range of wilderness and cultural activities that meet the needs of these German and Japanese samples. The Cowichan group is adept with their perceptions of most recent trip characteristics for Japanese rural travellers, yet the opposite is true for the German group. The largest behavioural gaps between the Cowichan and German samples respondents relate to underestimating the importance of shopping and overestimating visits to scenic landmarks. 98 The Cowichan group also greatly underestimates the importance of picture taking and shopping to the German group. These gaps suggest the Cowichan sample is preoccupied with visions German travellers engaging in wilderness activities, which are still considered fringe vacation activities. By focusing on perceived differences between Germans and other tourists, the Cowichan sample loses site of the less exciting, standard tourist behaviours that make up the mainstay of most vacations. 6.2.4. Overall Findings Review of all the gaps reveals some interesting patterns. One surprising result of this research is that there are more than twice as many notable behavioural gaps between the Cowichan and German samples than the Cowichan and Japanese samples. Of the 20 questions relating to Japanese rural travellers' most recent trip characteristics, notable behavioural gaps are found for 15% of the responses. Of the 18 questions relating to German rural travellers' most recent trip characteristics, notable behavioural gaps are found for 39% of the responses. Behavioural gaps are among the most important gaps for rural regions to address, since past behaviours are often more indicative of future behaviours than attitudes (Masters et. al., 1987). The fact that there are more notable behavioural gaps between the Cowichan and German samples is even more interesting given that the Cowichan respondents repeatedly stated that they had a much better understanding of German travellers than Japanese travellers. Cowichan respondents also indicates the number of German traveller to the Cowichan was nearly twice that of the Japanese. The Cowichan group also expresses more feelings of kinship with the German 99 group, and feels that they are better able to communicate with Germans tourists than Asian tourists. Perhaps one of the main reasons the Cowichan group was more accurate with its descriptions of Japanese rural traveller's most recent trip characteristics is that this group is often seen to engage in stereotypical tourist behaviours, while German travellers are seen to engage in fringe activities, such as extreme wilderness adventures. Stereotypical tourist behaviours include madly taking pictures, shopping with wild abandon and rushing to as many scenic landmarks as possible.. While these descriptions are exaggerations tinged with prejudice, they do have foundation in the behaviours of the vast majority of international travellers. This finding highlight the importance of recognising that while markets can be segmented along many variables, such as ethnicity and age, travellers share many of the same human experiences, needs, desires and limitations. A common vacation strategy for most tourists is to 'get the most' out of a vacation. This strategy often leads to visiting numerous destinations, such as rural and urban areas, and engaging in as many multiple activities, such as sightseeing and shopping, as possible given, budgetary, time and energy constraints (Murphy, 1984, Lemon, 1997). 6.3. Management Implications Although there are some notable differences between the survey responses of the German and Japanese samples, these two groups express remarkably similar preferences and engage in similar activities. Comparing the Japanese and German samples to studies of mass market 100 tourists groups reveals many similarities, such as the strong desire to 'get value for their holiday dollar' and the prominence of'shopping', 'picture taking' and 'visiting cities' as vacation activities. This research highlights the importance of asking behavioural questions, along with attitudinal and socio-demographic questions when conducting a gap analysis. While the Japanese and German group appear to be much more adventuresome and unpredictable in their attitudinal responses, their most recent trip characteristics show that they participate heavily in routine 'mass' tourist behaviours, such as shopping and picture taking. The research findings from this modified gap analysis suggest that by developing core tourism products and services, rural regions can satisfy most of the needs and expectations of both 'mass' tourist markets and 'rural' tourist markets. In addition to these core tourism offerings, more specialised products and services can be developed for sub-markets. The characteristics of the international travel groups support a sub-categorisation of potential Japanese rural travellers as more passive 'soft-adventure' travellers, while potential German rural travellers are active and 'hard-adventure' travellers. The responses from the Cowichan group support these descriptions of Japanese and German rural travellers. The characteristics of these Japanese rural travellers closely corresponded with those of older and more 'moderate activity' focused tourists. The characteristics of these German rural travellers closely corresponded with those of younger and more 'wilderness challenge' focused tourists. 101 Rural areas, such as the Cowichan Region could improve their appeal to German and Japanese travellers while customising products and services to meet the needs of young and old tourists by providing hard and soft adventure packaged tours. This strategy can reduce the expense of developing and promoting different tourism offerings, while still offering products customised to meet the needs of strong market segments. The vast majority of German and Japanese rural travellers visited a city on their most recent trip - typical tourist behaviours. This gap analysis shows that while the Cowichan group anticipates this behaviour for the Japanese group, they do not expect this from the Germans. Most rural vacations originate in, or pass through urban areas. Therefore, almost all international tourists pass through major cities, which serve as 'gateways' to other destinations. Furthermore, flying is usually being less expensive than flying directly to rural destinations. The behavioural gaps between the Cowichan and German samples relating to importance of urban areas and activities to German rural tourists could be lessened by creating and marketing tours that have urban and rural components. The components of these tours could be adjusted so that they appeal primarily to 'mass' tourists while still meeting the needs of desirable target markets, such as 'extreme adventures'. German travellers are already creating their own rural/urban tours with their circle tours of the province. If the Cowichan Region could more aggressively market itself to German tourists it could become a more central component of German circle tour itineraries, thus ensuring that these tourists spend more time and money in this region. 102 Logistically and economically it makes sense for rural areas to partner with urban tourism providers in creating and marketing packaged trips. Since these rural travellers samples have a strong interest in urban areas and packaged trips, there could be a great deal of potential for combining rural and urban travel experience packages for these Japanese and German travellers. Rural regions should view their neighbouring cities as potential partners not competitors for attracting tourists. In an increasingly competitive global market destinations offering a wide range of high quality urban and rural experiences will be well positioned to attract mass tourists as well as target markets, such as German and Japanese rural tourists. Cleanliness and safety are two tourism product attributes that figure highly in the psyche of the Japanese and rural travellers. Interestingly, the Cowichan group underestimates the importance of these factors to both groups. The region could do well to stress its clean and safe environment to all potential travellers, especially Japanese and German rural travellers. As environmental degradation and political unrest increase in the rest of the world the unspoilt nature and serenity of the Cowichan Region will be appreciated even more and the region will be able to offer its tourism experiences at a premium to visitors. 6.4. Planning Implications The ideal lead agency for conducting a gap analysis in a rural region is one with the funds, expertise and community support necessary for creating and implement plans based on the results of this research. In the Cowichan Region, if the Cowichan Tourism Association and Community Futures pooled their resources they could effectively function as the driving force 103 behind conduction a gap analysis and creating tourism plans utilising this research. Some of the planning issues that these agencies could address are outlined in the following paragraphs. The longer tourists stay in a region the more time they have to spend their money in that area. At the same time the longer tourists stay in an area the greater the potential for cumulative negative impacts on the local environment, infrastructure and community way of life. The gap findings suggest that the Cowichan could do more to keep Japanese and German tourists in the region for longer periods of time. If these travellers stay in the Cowichan Region for longer periods of time the Cowichan will need to be devote additional resources to mitigate negative on the residents and the environment, such as restrictions in access to trails and road improvements. Funds raised through tourist impact fees can be used for infrastructure improvements, such as upgrading health care facilities and extending sewage lines to areas still relying on septic systems. Over one third of the travellers from the Japanese and German samples were from high to very high income households. The potential economic multiplier from tourists in these income categories makes these tourists very attractive to rural areas. Tourists with high incomes are able to pay more for the tourism products and services, than those with limited incomes. Rural communities can benefit directly from rural tourists' expenditures, via 'tourist taxes', such ashed taxes and usage fees. The Cowichan Region can also increase tourism's indirect benefits by minimising leakages of tourist dollars from the local communities. Tourism's full range of economic benefits can only be achieved if communities respond to resident's and tourist's needs. 104 Conducting a gap analysis and creating a comprehensive regional tourism planning strategy entails a financial commitment. Traditionally many rural communities in Canada and elsewhere in the world have looked to state, federal and international government agencies to provide financial backing for their developmental efforts. Rural areas need to be more organised and persuasive in their efforts to gain funding for their projects. Rural communities, such as the Cowichan Region, whose tourism management plans are fiscally responsible, well researched and grounded in community support are in a much better position to receive public sector funding, than those communities who ask for funding without demonstrating that this money will be wisely used. 105 CHAPTER 7: RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS Recommendations and conclusions for the Cowichan Region and rural regions in general are provided in this chapter. A ten step model for rural regional planning based upon Gunn's five step tourism planning model (1979), the research of various tourism planners and practitioners (Murphy, 1985; Parasuraman et al., 1985; Williams, 1987; Inskeep, 1991; Ritchie et. al., 1992; Teas, 1993) and the results of this research is presented as a way for rural regions to utilise gap analysis to reach their tourism goals in an effective and cost efficient manner. While Gunn's model only makes passing reference to market research in Step 2, this model addresses supply and demand factors at every step. The intent of this model is to create a more complete tourism strategy, that incorporates social, economic and environmental factors within a dual focus on residents'and tourists'needs. 7.1. 10 Step Tourism Planning Strategy for the Cowichan Region 1. Support and unite regional rural and tourism planning organisations in the Cowichan Region The Cowichan Region with its scenic resources, proximity to urban centres and wide range of wilderness activities is well positioned to attract rural tourists. There are several excellent tourism and planning organisations in the Cowichan Region. These include the Cowichan Tourism Association, the Cowichan Watershed. Council, Community Futures, and the Cowichan Valley Regional District. These organisations are working to meet the needs of residents in terms of job creation and enhancing resources, as well as the needs of tourists by providing comprehensive destination information publications, such as the Cowichan: The Warm Lands magazine. 106 As more citizens support these organisations and work with them, this will lead to the creation of more representative, comprehensive and effective plans. At the same time these organisations have a responsibility to their community members to work together in a comprehensive and efficient manner. Most of the Cowichan interview respondents expressed concerns that these organisations did not seem to be working together as well as they could, which limited their effectiveness and eroded their support in the community. The Cowichan Tourism Association and Community Futures could become the lead agencies in the gap analysis process as together they will have the funding, expertise and community support necessary for addressing all relavent regional challenges and implementing regional developmental strategies. 2. Devote resources to the Cowichan Region's ten step tourism planning process Once the tourism developmental organisations of the Cowichan Region are united and have the support of the community (Step 1), they can pool their resources and pursue new funding opportunities for their planning efforts. While Tourism BC can hire renowned consulting firms and draw from its staff of tourism experts to conduct research and prepare tourism strategies for the province, the resources of the Cowichan Region are more limited. The Cowichan Region could address this challenge by hiring a community planning intern from the University of British Columbia (UBC) or a tourism management Co-op student from Simon Fraser University (SFU), the University of Victoria (UVIC), or Malaspina University College (MUC) to conduct much of the preliminary research. These students should have the expertise necessary for conducting community workshops, gathering and analysing data on the needs of residents and tourists and preparing tourism planning reports. 107 The recommended ten step planning process could be conducted in an initial eight month period (two Co-op/intern terms), followed by an annual review conducted over a four month period (one Co-op/intern term). Universities and colleges are an excellent source of information for rural regions. The federal government makes large data bases, such as the results of Coopers and Lybrand surveys utilised in this research, available to universities for research purposes. By living in the Cowichan Region as they work on this tourism planning strategy, these students would gain valuable 'local' information that they could incorporate into the planning process. The local tourism and planning organisations from the Cowichan Region and faculty advisors could also direct and monitor the students' progress in facilitating the ten step process. 3. Identify and tank the tourism goals, objectives and target markets for the Cowichan Region as a whole, and for each community within the region Building on Steps 1 and 2, the Cowichan Region should identify its tourism goals and objectives within the context of environmental considerations as well as the needs of its tourists and residents. Resident sentiments relating to tourism, economic development, social goals and environmental impacts can be drawn from the Official Community Plans for the Cowichan Region's municipalities. OCPs are also an excellent source of quantitative data relating to local social, economic and environmental issues. Data for the region and its individual communities can then be supplemented with information gatherd via resident interviews, focus group discussions and town hall meetings. The Cowichan Region could also utilise data from various sources including local Chambers of Commerce, Tourism Vancouver Island (TAVI), Tourism Victoria, Tourism BC, Canadian 108 Tourism Commission and international data sources to obtain current data on target markets. Simon Fraser University has extensive databases relating to characteristics of international travel markets that the Cowichan Region could utilise in researching target markets. If the Cowichan Region hires a student with ties to SFU, this could facilitate greater access to these databases. 4. Inventory the Cowichan Region's tourism resources and detail the current and potential role for tourism in meeting the region's tourism objectives After completing Steps 1, 2, and 3 the Cowichan Region can inventory its tourism resources and their appeal to various target markets. Other potential data sources include resident interviews, focus group discussions and town hall meetings. Data on the needs and preferences of target markets gathered in Step 3 can then be compared against the region's inventory of resources. Once this data is gathered and analysed, it can be entered into a central data base accessible to community members. A tourist and resident survey database could be updated and maintained by local community members, the planning department, consultants, or university students, depending on budgetary constraints and the complexity of the system. In addition to hiring outside assistance and utilising community planners, the Cowichan Region could work with other community members to assist with implementing this ten step planning process. Community Futures, which is a federally funded agency, could train unemployed and underemployed Cowichan residents to assist with these local data gathering efforts. 109 5. Conduct a modified gap analysis for major target markets and integrate these results into the Cowichan Region tourism and community plans Steps 1 through 4 provide the information and structure necessary for conducting a Gap 1 Analysis for the Cowichan Region. A regional planner could carry out the modified gap analysis with assistance from a university student, or by a consulting firm. This gap analysis would compare percentage responses of tourists and residents and treat differences of greater than 20% as notable gaps. The simplicity of this approach will provide useful information in an expedient and cost effective manner. While emerging markets, such as potential German and Japanese rural travellers are strong target markets for rural areas, additional research should focus on how the Cowichan Region can best meet the needs of its largest markets. These markets include travellers from Vancouver Island, mainland BC, Washington State and Oregon. These markets are the backbone of tourists to the Cowichan, so understanding and exceeding their expectations should form the foundation of a planning strategy for the region. The Cowichan Region could integrate from this thesis research with gap findings that it gathers for its major markets. 6. Create a responsive and comprehensive tourism planing strategy for the Cowichan Region Steps 1 through 5 provide the information and structure necessary for conducting a modified gap analysis. The results from this analysis can then be used to create a regional tourism plan for the Cowichan Region. This plan must be responsive to a wide range of social, economic and environmental elements. The tourism concerns and aspirations of residents need to be addressed to ensure that community members support implementation of the plan and create a welcoming environment for visitors. Land use initiatives, such as potential growth corridors and no-growth areas also need to be recognised and incorporated into the plan. As visitors to Vancouver Island and the Cowichan Region are primarily attracted to the impressive natural resources of the region, such as spectacular scenery, it is essential that the region's tourism plans also include mitigative measures to protect the area's environment. Economic projections are another key element in long term planning since changes in economic conditions can profoundly affect the success of implementing planning initiatives. 7. Promote the regional tourism planning strategy throughout the Cowichan Region and pursue partnering opportunities Upon the completion of a tourism planning strategy for the Cowichan Region (Steps 1-6), this strategy should be promoted throughout the region and the province. This strategy can be promoted in the media and at community festivals^ local workshops and larger trade shows and conventions. Promoting the tourism strategy locally educates residents as to tourism's benefits, increases support for tourism planning initiatives and creates local partnering opportunities. Tourism BC is prepared to help those regions that 'help themselves' in terms of showing financial feasibility and community support for tourism planning proposals (Lemon, 1997). The Cowichan Region would be better positioned to gain project funding from Tourism BC if it demonstrates that these investments will be used to implement well researched tourism plans that have broad based community support. The federal government also has funding available for rural regions that show initiative in re-vitalising their economies. I l l 8. Modify and promote tourism offerings so that they better correspond with the expectations of the target markets and residents (lessen the gap between what is desired and what is offered) Upon assessment and review of these findings (Steps 1-7), the Cowichan Region should consider modifying its tourism offerings to meet the needs residents and tourists. Japanese and German rural tourists were shown to share many of the same behavioural characteristics of'mass' tourist markets on their vacations, so the necessary adjustments to existing products to meet these target market's needs will be minor. The gaps that the Cowichan Region should focus on are those that also exist between the Cowichan Region and the bulk of its tourists. Since this research paper only directly addresses Step 4 of the 10 step strategy the following are only preliminary recommendations: 1. Create a paved road system that connects the isolated western portion of the Cowichan Region with the rest of the region and Victoria; 2. Establish a mid-priced hotel in Chemainus; 3. Promote and facilitate circle tours, that include stops in Victoria, Vancouver and the Cowichan Region, thus providing city and rural experiences for travellers with limited time; and 4. Erect 'gateways' for the Cowichan Region (place informational kiosks at the main entrances to the Cowichan Region). The Cowichan Region has a wide range of resources that it can sell directly to rural travellers. This region should provide high quality locally produced tourism products and services and encourage residents and tourists to 'buy locally' to maximise its return on tourists' spending. This strategy will enable the Cowichan Region to increase the multiplier effects of tourist dollars 112 and minimise leakages these dollars. The Cowichan Region could consider charging higher user fees or introducing tourist fees for community resources, such as regional parks, and then use these fees to upgrade facilities enjoyed by locals and tourists. 9. Monitor the quality of tourist offerings and the levels of tourists' and residents' satisfaction with the region's tourism offerings During and after completing Steps 1-8, continual and diligent monitoring is needed to ensure that the strategy continues to fulfill the region's goals and objectives. Local conditions, such as the number of community based tourism ventures, business failures, population changes and vacancy rates are some of the factors that could be stored and monitored in the database. Planners, consultants, or students could update the database on an annual basis. 10. Make adjustments to the tourism strategy as identified by steps 1-9 and ensure that a feedback loop between all of these steps is maintained This modified gap analysis is only one step in the proposed ten step process for creating a planning strategy for the Cowichan Region. Conducting regular resident surveys will assist the Cowichan Region in monitoring residents' satisfaction with the areas' tourism developments and their perceptions of tourists' expectations. Effective planning strategies need to be responsive, cost effective and flexible so that it can assist Cowichan residents in meeting their long term developmental goals and objectives. 113 7.2 General Recommendations: 10 Step Tourism Planning Strategy for Rural Regions /. Define the tourism development region and direct existing planning organisations within the region to work together Rural regions need to define their boundaries before moving forward with their planning efforts. Regions that are formed from the bottom up, tend to be more stable than those that are created from the top down. Therefore, defining a region should involve community input and be responsive to traditional alliances and shared legacies throughout the planning area. Most rural regions will already have a range of established tourism associations and planning agencies. To make the planning process as efficient and effective as possible these existing agencies should be encouraged to work together in a co-operative effort to address their shared tourism goals. 2. Devote resources to the rural regions' ten step tourism planning process Once rural regions are defined and tourism planning agencies are aligned, these organisations can pool their resources and pursue new funding.opportunities for their planning efforts. Since rural regions tend to have limited resources, hiring a community planning intern from a local university or college could be an economical way to staff these planning efforts. Students with backgrounds in.planning and tourism management have the expertise necessary for conducting community workshops, gathering and analysing data and preparing tourism planning reports. This ten step strategy could be conducted in an initial eight month period followed by an annual review conducted over a four month period. Since many federal governments makes available large data bases to universities for research purposes, accessing this information and incorporating it into regional planning efforts should be relatively easy and inexpensive. 3. Identify and rank the tourism goals, objectives and target markets for the region as a whole, and for each community within the regions Building on Steps 1 and 2, rural regions can then identify theirs tourism goals and objectives within the context of environmental considerations and the needs of tourists and residents. Rural regions should draw upon existing data sources, such as community planning documents, wherever possible to save time and money. Existing data for theses region can then be supplemented with information gather via resident interviews, focus group discussions and town hall meetings. 4. Create an inventory of rural regions' tourism resources and detail the current and potential role for tourism in meeting the regions' tourism objectives After completing Steps 1 through 3 rural regions can inventory their tourism resources based upon their appeal to different tourist markets. Target market data gathered in Step 3 can then be compared against the region's inventory of resources. Once this data is gathered and analysed it can be entered into a regularly updated central data base accessible to community members. 5. Integrate results from the modified gap analysis into rural regions' tourism and community plans Steps 1 through 4 provide the information and structure necessary for conducting a Gap Analysis for rural regions. A regional planner could carry out the modified gap analysis with assistance from a university student, or by a consulting firm. The gap analysis should compare percentage responses of tourists and residents and treat differences of greater than 20% as notable gaps. This approach should provide useful information in an expedient and cost effective manner. The scope of research should be as large as resources will allow in terms of the range of residents (from tourism professionals to retired forestry workers) and tourists (from the existing to emerging target markets) surveyed. 115 While emerging markets, such as potential German and Japanese rural travellers are strong target markets for rural areas, additional research should focus on how rural regions can best meet the needs of their largest markets. Strong existing markets are the foundation of rural tourism industries , so understanding and exceeding the expectations of these existing markets should be the primary focus of a planning strategies for rural regions. 6. Create responsive and comprehensive tourism planing strategies for rural regions Steps 1 through 5 provide the information and structure necessary for conducting a modified analysis for rural regions. The results from this analysis can then be used to create a regional tourism plans. These plans must be responsive to a wide range of social, environmental and economic elements. The tourism concerns and aspirations of residents need to be addressed to ensure that they support implementation of these plans and create welcoming environments for visitors. Land use initiatives, environmental changes, economic and population projections and tourist trends are also key elements in sustainable long term planning. 7. Promote the regional tourism planning strategy throughout the Cowichan Region and pursue partnering opportunities After completing Steps 1 through 6, rural regions should promoted their tourism plans throughout the region and at the state level. Promoting regional tourism strategies locally educates residents as to tourism's benefits and gain community support for tourism planning initiatives and creates local partnering opportunities. Rural regions will be better positioned to gain project funding from state and federal funding agencies if they demonstrate that these investments will be used to implement well researched tourism plans that have broad based community support. 116 8. Modify and promote tourism offerings so that they better correspond with the expectations of the target markets and residents (lessen the gap between what is desired and what is offered) After completing Steps 1 through 7, rural region should consider modifying their tourism offerings in response residents' and tourists' needs. Japanese and German rural tourists were shown to share many of the same behavioural characteristics of'mass' tourist markets on their vacations, so the necessary adjustments to existing rural regions products to meet these target market's needs should be minor. Rural regions should consider promoting and facilitating packaged tours originating in urban areas. Rural region should also provide locally produced high quality tourism products and services and encourage residents and tourists to 'buy locally' to maximise the multiplier effects of tourist spending and minimise leakages. 9. Monitor the quality of tourist offerings and the levels of tourists' and residents' satisfaction with the region's tourism offerings Once Steps 1 through 8 have been completed continual and diligent monitoring is needed to ensure that these strategies continues to meet residents' and tourists' needs. The number tourism ventures in the regions, business failures, changes in population and vacancy rates are some of factors to include in these regional databases. Planners, consultants, or students could then update these'databases on an annual basis. 10. Make all of the necessary adjustments to the tourism strategy as identified by steps 1-9 and ensure that a feedback loop between all of these steps is maintained This modified gap analysis is only one step in the proposed ten step process for creating a planning strategy for the rural regions. Conducting regular resident surveys will assist rural regions in monitoring residents' satisfaction with local tourism developments. 117 7.3. Conclusions The diversification of rural economies to include service based industries is very challenging, given their generally limited financial, technical and business resources. Tourism is widely promoted as a way to assist rural regions, such as the Cowichan region, in meeting their developmental and sustainability goals. However, rural areas need appropriate tools for assessing and monitoring tourism's potential and impacts to properly guide the development of their tourism industries. Community Futures and the Cowichan Tourism Association could work together in the Cowichan Region to conduct a gap analysis of strong tourist markets for the region and then incorporate this information into local planning initiatives. Promoting tourism as a way for rural communities to diversify their economies, without providing useful tools for assessing and managing tourism's impacts is short-sighted. Rural regions lacking these tools risk squandering their limited financial, technical and entrepreneurial resources. While a number of notable gaps were found between the characteristics of potential Japanese and German rural tourists and the perceptions that tourism and planning professionals working in the Cowichan Region have of these markets, generally these professionals showed a good understanding of these markets. On the whole, there were more notable gaps between the Cowichan - Japanese samples than the Cowichan - German samples. Despite these gaps the overall research findings suggest that both Japanese and German potential rural travellers share many characteristics. Therefore, both of these markets could be well served by the same core tourism offerings with options for additional 'soft' and 'hard' adventure activities. 118 This research indicates that opportunities for rural regions to attract potential Japanese and German rural travellers are quite promising, especially if the gaps between potential rural tourists and regions can be reduced. Potential Japanese and German rural travellers, many of whom are from high to very high income households, have a strong appreciation for rural attributes, such as spectacular scenery and interesting small towns. Furthermore they prefer to travel in a style conducive to what rural areas have to offer, such as staying at mid-priced hotels and travelling in small groups. 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"The Behavioral Consequences of Service Quality." Journal of Marketing. 60 (2): 31-51. Appendix I: List of Interview Respondents List of Interview Subjects T O U R O P E R A T O R S C o n t a c t P e r s o n O r g a n i s a t i o n C o n t a c t N u m b e r s C o m m e n t s 1. Larry Peck Owner/ Operator & Nicky Great Northwestern Adventure Co. P.O. Box 57 Cowichan Bay, B.C. Canada VOR 1N0 1-800-665-7374 (250) 748-7374 (250) 748-6525 (fx) (250) 480-7245 (Vic) Grand Circle Tour links tourism products in Victoria with those of the Cowichan Valley via rail and sail tours 2. Lance Helmstead Owner/Operator Eco-tours Inc. 3198 Ilona Place Victoria, B.C. Canada V9B 5C8 1-800-665-7463 (250) 474-7463 (250) 474-47'13 (fx) (250) 474-4453(hm) http://oceanside.com/oceanside/ecotours E-mail: ecotours@oceanside.com Upscale, full service ecological tours for groups of 8-16 3. Glen Mulberry Coastal Connections Victoria, B.C. 1-800-840-4453 Environmental and educational tours 4. Pat Hatchman Owner/Operator First Island Tours 5060 Cordova Road Victoria, B.C. Canada V8Y 2K.4 (604) 276-0300 (604) 276-2272 (fx) hatchman@islandnet.com travellers Environmental and educational tours (wine and native heritage) S.Todd Williams Assistant Manager JAC Travel Canada Suite 1400-1500. West Georgia Street Vancouver, B.C. Canada V6E 3C9 (604) 687-5999 (604)687-4154 (fx) Major tour operator for inbound German travellers 133 List of Interview Subjects A T T R A C T I O N S Contact Person Organisation Contact Numbers Comments 1. Mike Osborn Manager British Columbia Forest Museum R.R. # 4 2892 Drinkwater Rd. Duncan, B.C. Canada V9L3W8 (250) 715-1113 (ext. 24) (250)715-1170 (fx) (250) 246-5716 (eel) www.bc.tbreslmuseum.com e-mail: bcfm@islandnet.com Showcase for the history and potential Futures of forestry in the Cowichan region and the Province 2. Dyan Freer Director & Erin Kellogg Information Officer Chemainus Info Centre Arts and Business Council of Chemainus Box 1311 Chemainus, B.C. Canada V0R IKO (250) 246-4701 (250) 246-3251 (fx) Home to the world renowned Chemainus Murals 3 . Lisa Chapman Marketing Analyst & John Parker Director CNV Cowichan Native Village (CNV) 200 Cowichan Way Duncan, B.C. Canada V9L 4T8 (250) 662-8002 (250) 688-4767 (fx) Legends & lifestyles of the Pacific Coasts First Nations people 4. Helena Ulrich Owner/Operator Cherry Point Vineyards 840 Cherry Point Rd. Cobble Hill, B.C. Canada V6E 3C9 (250) 743-1272 (250) 743-1059 Award winning farm winery & Member of the Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) 5. Rod Blair Manager Long Beach Unit National Parks Canada Uculet, B.C. Canada (250) 726-4708 (250) 748-7374 The Pacific Rim National Park, which includes the West Coast Trail is world renowned 134 List of Interview Subjects HOTEL/MOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS Contact Person Organisat ion Contact Numbers Comments 1. Nicholas Pyrch President Best Western Cowichan Valley Inn 6474 Trans Canada Highway Duncan, B.C. Canada V9L3W8 1-800-528-1234 (250) 748-2722 (250) 748-2207 (fx) Full service hotel that specialises in meeting the needs of business travellers 2. Harold Kern Inn at the Water 1 -800-663-7898 Beach Resort and Manager . P.O. Box 39 (250)748-6222 Conference Centre 1681 Cowichan Bay Rd. (250) 748-7122 (fx) Cowichan Bay, B.C. Canada V0R 1N0 3. Dave Carrier Deer Lodge 1-800-668-5011 Family style hotel Manager 2525 Trans Canada (250) 743-2424 large German clientele Highway (250) 743-2424 (fx) Mill Bay, B.C. Canada V09 2P0 4. Steve Wylie Owner/Operator The South Shore Motor Inn 266 South Shore Rd. Lake Cowichan, B.C V0R 2G0 (250) 749-6482 E-mail:ss wylie@island.net Moderately priced accommodation in the heart of the Cowichan 'Gateway to the Carmanah' S.Markus Griesser The Aeire Hotel & (250)743-7115 Exclusive, award wining General Manager Restaurant (250) 743-4766 hotel and restaurant Cobble Hill, B.C. E-mail:aerie@ralaischateux.fr Canada 135 List of Interview Subjects A L T E R N A T I V E A C C O M M O D A T I O N S C o n t a c t P e r s o n O r g a n i s a t i o n C o n t a c t N u m b e r s C o m m e n t s 1. Dave Hignell Owner/Operator Sahtlam Lodge & Cabins 5720 Riverbottom Rd. Rural Route #2 Duncan Cowichan Valley, B.C. Canada V9L 1N9 (250) 748-7738 Rustic cabin (250) 748-7738 (fx) accommodation next to E-mail: sahtlam@islandnet.com Cowichan River Provincial Park 2. Tom Schmuck Owner/Operator Chemainus Hostel P.O. Box 645 9694 Chemainus Rd. Chemainus, B.C. Canada VOR 1K0 (250) 246-2809 Budget accommodation for Backpackers 3. Crista Stegemann Owner/Operator Sea-Breeze Tourist Home P.O. Box 1362 2912 Esplanade Street Chemainus, B.C. Canada VOR 1K0 (250) 246-4593 Village based B&B accommodation 4. Anthea Archer Fairburn Farm (250) 746-4637 Farm based B&B Owner/Operator Country Manor (250) 746-4637 (fx) accommodation 3310 Jackson Rd. R.R. # 7 Duncan, B.C. Canada V9L4W4 S.Joe Benning Provincial Parks (250)715-1586 Provincial campgrounds Area Supervisor in the Cowichan (250) 715-1587 (fx) throughout the Cowichan B.C. Parks jbenning@galaxy.gov.bc.ca Mailing Address 2930 Trans Canada Hyw Victoria, B.C. Canada V9E1K3 136 List of Interview Subjects P U B L I C S E C T O R D E V E L O P M E N T A L O R G A N I S A T I O N S C o n t a c t P e r s o n O r g a n i s a t i o n C o n t a c t N u m b e r s C o m m e n t s 1. Joanna Rotherham Executive Director Community Futures Development Centre Cowichan Region 750B Jubilee Street Duncan, B.C. Canada V9L 1X8 (250) 746-1004 (250) 746-8819 (fx) E-mail: cfdc@cowichan.com Federally funded organisation committed to assisting residents of the Cowichan meet their developmental goals 2. Maggi Rochon Program Coordinator Cowichan Watershed Council 750B Jubilee Street Duncan, B.C. Canada V9L 1X8 (250) 746-1004 (250) 746-8819 (fx) E-mail: cfdc@cowichan.com Umbrella organisation that coordinates and facilitates projects in the Cowichan Watershed to ensure that they are environmentally sustainable 3. Jean Brown Major & Ed Gilman Clerk/Administrator Town of Lake Cowichan (250) 749-6681 P.O. Box 860 (250) 749-3900 (fx) 39 South Shore Rd. Lake Cowichan, B.C, Canada V9L 4W4 Local government office committed to helping the community fulfil its growth and Ljveability objectives 4. Jim Mc Mannus Area Planner Alberni Regional District Office 3008 5th Ave. (Above Credit Union Bid) Port Alberni, B.C (250) 720-2700 Local government planner 5. Cheryl Wirsz Area Planner Cowichan Region District Office 255 Ingram St. Duncan, B.C. V9L 3X4 (250) 746-2500 (250) (fx) Regional government planner 137 List of Interview Subjects PRIVATE SECTOR DEVELOPMENTAL ORGANISATIONS C o n t a c t P e r s o n O r g a n i s a t i o n C o n t a c t N u m b e r s C o m m e n t s X.John Parker Chairperson Cowichan Tourism Association 750B Jubilee Street Duncan, B.C. Canada V9L 1X8 (250) 746-1004 (250) 746-8819 (fx) E-mail: cfdc@cowichan.com Umbrella tourism organisation for the Cowichan I.Mitch Manager Bamfield's Chamber of Commerce Bamfield Trails Motel Bamfield, B.C. Canada (250)728-3231 Organisation that represents local business people in Bamfield 3. Pat Foster President 1995-96 Lake Cowichan's Chamber of Commerce (250) 749-3730 (hm) Organisation that represents local business people in Cowichan Lake 4. Dianne Medest General Manager Cowichan Tribes P.O. Box Duncan, B.C. Canada V0R 1K0 (250) 748-3196 Organisation that represents First Nations in the Cowichan 5. Dale Latero former president Cowichan & Chemainus (250) 746-1611 Eco-museum society (250) 746-6446 (fx) Private sector organization that promotes the cultural and natural heritage of the Cowichan and Chemainus valleys 138 Appendix II: Interview Questions Interview Questions Overview 1. Please describe your organisation's tourism product/services offerings, or its connection with tourism? 2. On a scale of one to seven, how would you rate your organisation on the following measures of service quality: tangibles (appearance and calibre of facilities), reliability, responsiveness and empathy? 3. How does your organisation monitor service quality? Rural Development and Tourism 4. What are the primary economic, environmental and social challenges facing the Cowichan Region? 5. a Does the region have an strategic economic development plan to address these challenges? b Is tourism an intrinsic part of overall planning and management of regional resources and services? 6. What are the benefits and costs that tourism bring to local communities and the Cowichan region? 7. Does the general public has a good understanding of the impacts of tourism on this region and are they supportive of tourism in the Cowichan? 8. Is tourism integrated into settled areas, is it at an appropriate scale and does it utilise local resources? 9. Does the public has a good understanding of the impacts of tourism on the region and are they generally supportive or opposed to the changes that tourism is bringing to this area? 140 Japanese and German Tourists 10a Do Japanese tourists have a significant impact, in terms of their numbers and per diem spending, on your organisation? What are the impacts of the German tourists on your orgainisation? b What are the impacts of Japanese tourists on this region and what are the impacts of German tourists? 11. What does the Cowichan have that might particularly appeal to Japanese and/or German tourists? 12. How do Japanese and German tourists differ in terms of their needs and expectations from each other and from other tourist markets that visit the Cowichan?. 13. Does your organisation take any specific actions to meet the special needs and expectations of Japanese tourists? How about for German tourists? 14. Have you seen a change in the number and type of Japanese tourists visiting the region and your operation over the years, and if so could you please describe some of these changes? Have you seen any changes in the German visitors and if so, could you also describe these changes? 15. Which destinations are major competitors of the Cowichan for attracting additional Japanese tourists, what do they offer and what can we learn from them? Which destinations are competing with the Cowichan for German tourists? 16. What is stopping your business and this region from attracting more Japanese and German tourists? 141 Appendix III: Questionnaire P e r c e i v e d C h a r a c t e r i s t i c s a n d E x p e c t a t i o n s o f Japanese a n d G e r m a n T o u r i s t s Questionnaire on Personal Perceptions of The Needs and Preferences of Potential Japanese and German "Rural" Tourists The information gathered through the interview and this questionnaire will be used for my master's thesis. Assessing the Gaps Between Tourist Expectations and Rural Tourism Offerings: Case Study of Potential Japanese and German Tourists to the Cowichan Region. Confidentiality will be respected in that your name and your organisation's name will not be attributed to specific answers. Your responses will be combined with other to produce aggregate results. Please circle what you feel is the appropriate answer for each question. This questionnaire should take around between twenty minutes to half an hour to complete. Thank-you for your assistance D e m o g r a p h i c I n f o r m a t i o n o f Po t en t i a l J apanese a n d G e r m a n " R u r a l " T o u r i s t s 1. a In your opinion, what is the likely male to female ratio of potential Japanese tourists to North America? 2Q-80 30/40 40/60 50/50 60/40 70/30 80/20 b. In your opinion, what is die likely male to female ratio of potential German tourists to North America? 20/80 30/40 40/60 50/50 60/40 70/30 80/20 2. a. In your opinion, what is the typical or die average age of a these Japanese tourists? 18-19 20-24 25-29 30-34 35-39 40-49 50-59 60-64 65+ other b. In your opinion, what is the typical or the average age of a these German tourists? 18-19 20-24 25-29 30-34 35-39 40-49 50-59 60-64 65+ other 3. a In your opinion, what is the highest level of education that most of these Japanese tourists have obtained? some high school high school technical school some university graduated from college/university b In your opinion, what the highest level of education that most of these German tourists have obtained? some high school high school technical school some university graduated from college/university 4 a In your opinion, what is the most likely occupation of these Japanese tourists? uni/college student white-collar blue collar administrator/manager specialist/freelancer self-employed part-timer unemployed/non working housewife b In your opinion, what is die most likely occupation of these German tourists? uni/college student white-collar blue collar administrator/manager specialist/freelancer self-employed part-timer unemployed/non working housewife 143 Perceived Characteristics and Expectations of Japanese and German Tourists 5. a In your opinion, what is the l ikely total household annual income pre taxes (Can $'s) o f most o f these Japanese tourists? > $20,000 $20-<40,000 S40-<$60,000 S60-<$80,000 $80-<$100,000 $< 100,000 b In your opinion, what is the l ikely total household annual income pre taxes (Can $'s) o f most o f these German tourists? > $20,000 $20-<40,000 $40-<$60,000 $60-<$80.000 $80-<$100.000 $<I00,000 6. a In your opinion, what percentage of Japanese tourists are l ikely to require site informat ion brochures/signs) i n their own language? >10 I0<20 20<30 30<40 40<50 50<60 60< 70 70<80 80<90 90< .b In your opinion, what percentage of German tourists are l ikely to require site information (brochures/signs) in their own language? >10 10<20 20<30 30<40 40<50 50<60 60< 70 70<80 80<90 90< Psychographic Characteristics of Potential Japanese and German "Rural " Tourists to Canada 7. In *your opinion, how important are the fol lowing for overseas trip motivations o f these Japanese and German tourists? Ra t ings range: 4 (always important) to 3 (often important) to 2 (somewhat important) to 1 (never important). Please circle the importance rating for these Japanese and German tourists for each choice. Japanese Choices German 4 3 2 1 Gnina nlnrps thpv hnvc nnt hfpn hpfnrp 4 ? 7 1 4 3 2 1 Outstanding Scenery 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 First class hotels & fine restaurants 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 Budget Accommodation & low cost food 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 Shopping 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 Doing nothing at all 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 Opportunity to increase their knowledge 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 Opportunities for sports & recreation 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 Opportunity to see, or experience native groups 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 Wilderness Adventure 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 Variety of things to see and do 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 Having fun, being entertained 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 The best deal they could get 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 I Destinations that provide value for their holiday 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 Availability of package trips/group tours 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 National parks, wilderness, & undisturbed nature 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 I Interesting rural countryside, small towns & villages 4 3 2 I 4 2 2 1 Interesting and friendlv people 4 3 2 1 144 Perceived Characteristics and Expectations of Japanese and German Tourists 8. In *your opinion, how do these Japanese and German tourists rate Canada on the following characteristics? Scale range: 4 (excellent) to 3 (very good) to 2 (fair) to 1 (poor) * Please circle the importance rating for these Japanese and German tourists for each choice. Japanese Choices German 4 3 2 1 Gninc nlnrps thpv hrtvp nrit hppn hpfnrp 4 ? 7 1 4 3 2 1 Outstanding Scenery 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 First class hotels & fine restaurants 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 Budget Accommodation & low cost food 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 Shopping 4 3 2 I 4 3 2 1 Doing nothing at all 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 Opportunity to increase their knowledge 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 Opportunities for sports & recreation 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 Opportunity to see, or experience native groups 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 Wilderness Adventure 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 Variety of things to see and do 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 Having fun, being entertained 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 The best deal they could get 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 Destinations that provide value for their holiday 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 Availability of package trips/group tours 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 National parks, wilderness, & undisturbed nature 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 Interesting rural countryside, small towns & villages 4 3 2 1 4 3 z I Interesting and friendly neovle 4 3 2 I 9. In *your opinion, how wel l would these Japanese and German tourists rate the Cowichan region on the fo l lowing characteristics? Scale range: 4 (excellent) to 3 (very good) to 2 (fair) to 1 (poor) Please circle the importance rating for these Japanese and German tourists for each choice. Japanese Choices German 4 3 2 1 Gnincr nlnrps thpv hrrvp nnt hppn hpfnrp 4 ? 2 1 4 3 2 I Outstanding Scenery 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 First class hotels & fine restaurants 4 3 2 I 4 3 2 1 Budget Accommodation & low cost food 4 3 2 I 4 3 2 1 Shopping 4 3 2 I 4 3 2 I Doing nothing at all 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 Opportunity to increase their knowledge 4 3 2 I 4 3 2 1 Opportunities for sports & recreation 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 I Opportunity to see, or experience native groups 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 Wilderness Adventure 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 Variety of things to see and do 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 Having fun, being entertained 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 The best deal they could get 4 3 2 I 4 3 2 1 Destinations that provide value for their holiday 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 I Availability of package trips/group tours 4 3 2 I 4 3 2 I National parks, wilderness, & undisturbed nature 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 Interesting rural countryside, small towns & villages 4 3 2 I 4 3 2 I Interesting and triendlv neoole 4 3 2 I 145 Perceived Characteristics and Expectations of Japanese and German Tourists 10. To what ""extent do these Japanese and German tourists hold the following travel philosophies regarding overseas travel? Scale rating: 4 (strongly agree) to 3 (somewhat agree) to 2 (somewhat disagree) to 1 (strongly disagree) * Please circle the level of agreement rating for these Japanese and German tourists for each choice. Japanese Choice German 4 3 2 1 Fnr thpm X snpnt nn nvprspnt trnvpl is WPII xnpnt J 1 7 1 4 3 2 1 They like to travel to destinations that are clean and safe 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 They take holidays whenever they have the means 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 They usually travel on all inclusive package holidays 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 They prefer to go on escorted tours when holidaying overseas 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 They like to be flexible on their overseas holidays 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 Inexpensive travel to the destination country is important to them 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 They like to have all of their travel arrangements made before they go on holiday 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 Getting value for holiday money is important to them 4 3 2 1 Behavioural Characteristics of Potential Japanese and German "Rural" Tourists to Canada 11. a In your opinion, what is the main trip type of these Japanese tourists? * Visiting Friends & Relatives * VFR outdoors resort touring(urban/rural) touring (rural) sports cultural/heritage .b In your opinion, what is the main trip type of these German tourists? "VFR outdoors resort touring(urban/rural) touring (rural) sports cultural/heritage 12. a Inyour opinion, what would be the main purpose of these Japanese tourists' trips to Canada? VFR pleasure & business pleasure honeymoon company vacation studies cultural exchange .b In your opinion, what would be the main purpose of these German tourists' trips to Canada? VFR pleasure & business pleasure honeymoon company vacation studies cultural exchange 13. a In your opinion, what would be the typical party size for these Japanese tourists' trips to Canada? 1 2 3 4 5 small group (6-12) large group (12 <) .b In your opinion, what would be the typical party size for these German tourists' trips to Canada? 1 2 3 4 5 small group (6-12) large group (12 <) 14.a In your opinion, how many total nights away from home would these Japanese tourists spend on their vacation in Canada? 1-3 4-7 10-14 15-18 20-<] mth. l-<2 mth. 2-<3 mth. 4 mth< .b In your opinion, how many total nights away from home would these German tourists spend on their vacation in Canada? > 1-3 4-7 10-14 15-18 20-<l mth. l-<2 mth. 2-<3 mth. 4 mth< Perceived Characteristics and Expectations of Japanese and German Tourists 15. a In your opinion , what would be the most important source of information that these Japanese tourists would use i n planning a trip to Canada? travel agent brochures/pamphlets airline word of mouth advertising government tourism board .b In your opinion, what would be the most important source o f information that these German tourists would use in planning a trip to Canada? travel agent brochures/pamphlets airline word of mouth advertising government tourism board 16. a Inyour opinion, what percentage of these Japanese tourists had a package t r ip for their most recent trip? 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% b In your opinion, what percentage of these German tourists had a package t r ip for their most recent trip? 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 17. a In your opinion, what sort o f accommodation do you think these Japanese tourists prefer? high end accommodation mid-priced accommodation budget accommodation camping .b In your opinion, what sort o f accommodation do you think these German tourists prefer? high end accommodation mid-priced accommodation budget accommodation camping 18. I nyou r opinion, what are the *top 5 activities that Japanese and German tourists participated i n during their most recent trip? * Please list your top five choices for both Japanese and German tourists. Japanese Top Five 1. 2. _ 3. 4 _ 5. German Top Five 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. a. Camping d_ V i s i t i n g national parks g . Picture taking/f i lming j . Sightseeing i n cities b. Experiencing native groups e. V i s i t i ng friends & relatives h. Outdoor sports k. Informal d in ing wi th table service c. V i s i t i n g scenic landmarks f. V i s i t i n g small towns/villages i . V i s i t i ng wilderness areas 1. Shopping 147 Perceived Characteristics and Expectations of Japanese and German Tourists '.a In your opinion, how does the per d iem spending of these Japanese tourists compare to that o f Nor th A m e r i c a n tourists? m u c h lower slightly lower same as slightly higher much higher .b In your opinion, how do the per d iem spending of these German tourists compare to that o f Nor th A m e r i c a n tourists? much lower slightly lower same as slightly higher much higher In your opinion, what are the *top five expenditures of these Japanese and German tourists at their travel destination? * PJease list your top five choices for both Japanese and German tourists. Japanese Top F i v e 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. G e r m a n Top Five 1. 2. 3 . 4. 5. a. Shopping for gifts d . Food and beverage g . Entertainment b. Accommodation e. Shopping for souvenirs h. Admiss ion fees c. Ca r rental f. Side trips i . Miscellaneous expenses End of Questionnaire 148 Appendix IV: Photographs of the Cowichan Region 149 150 Figure 3: Tourists A t A Lookout On The Malahat Figure 4: Finlayson Inlet ( V i e w From The Malahat) 152 Figure 7: Cherry Point Vineyard 154 155 

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