UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Policies to mitigate the social problems caused by the tourist industry : application to Penticton Anderson, David Brian


Tourism has excellent potential for further development in the provincial, national and world economies. However, tourist activity also has the potential to be a socially disruptive force. The purpose of this study is to find workable policies which planners can employ to mitigate the social problems caused by tourism in small cities. Such policies will allow growth to take place in the tourism sector of the economy while reducing resident intolerance or hostility. Before policies can be developed, it must be established that such problems exist and may become critical. This thesis examines the tourist industry and its benefits and costs. The literature makes it clear that there are social costs involved in tourism and also social limits to tourism development. A guideline for evaluating the social performance of tourism development is used. "Saturation" is defined as the level of tourism activity at which the residents in general feel that any further increase in tourist numbers and tourist-related development would be undesirable. The social saturation level is the point at which the number of tourists causes residents to become intolerant to tourists. Since the measurements of saturation found in the literature are unsatisfactory, vague, and not operationally defined, this study uses indicators that suggest capacity is being approached. These indicators are based on questions for evaluating the social performance of tourism development found in the literature, in particular the specific areas of concern which Young (1973) thought led to "psychological saturation" of residents. Chapter 4 discusses the literature on policies for mitigating the adverse social effects of tourism. These effects result from inadequate facilities and services, undesirable environmental characteristics, low levels of public acceptance of tourism, and little planning to attract or expand tourism. Once these general strategies have been listed, they are applied to Penticton, British Columbia. Penticton has had a lengthy history as a tourist destination and today the tourist industry is the mainstay of the local economy. According to D'Amore (1980), the major prospect for future economic development in Penticton is the further expansion of a year-round tourist trade. Yet, by examining the factors listed by Young (1973) leading to saturation, and reviewing the question list from Chapter 2, it would appear Penticton is approaching saturation. Chapter 6 applies the strategies developed in Chapter 4 to the situation in Penticton. The policies for Penticton include: - the addition of extra services and facilities to service a much larger population during tourist seasons; - improvement of beach areas; - separation of tourist areas and development from the mainstream of the city; - better aesthetic standards in building architecture; - public relations programs to convince residents that tourism is beneficial to them and their city; - more public input at all planning stages for tourism policy and development; - special projects funded by tourism revenue; - greater expansion of the tourist season into the fall, winter, and spring months to better utilize existing facilities and gain wider acceptance of the industry as a year-round job producer. There has been an implicit assumption that the ends of tourists and investors are more important than public welfare. Recently, various forces have been acting to place increasing importance on environmental goals instead of strictly economic goals. If future tourism development is to be both economically and socially viable, It must be intentionally planned. Considering the vital nature of the industry to cities like Penticton and the equally vital need to prevent the development of negative resident-visitor interactions, methods have been investigated to maintain a balance between the impacts of tourism and the ability of locals to deal with these impacts. In conclusion it was decided that plans should be consistent with the existing situation in terms of traveller facilities (supply), of the market (demand), and of social attitudes. Plans should have some regard to saturation levels beyond which the realization of economic, social or environmental objectives would be jeopardized. Further work needs to be done in several areas: - finding ways of funding tourist industry research; - organizing tourist industry offices in tourist areas to centralize all aspects of development, promotion and planning; - designing a resident survey to accurately appraise resident attitudes; - improving methodology to increase local participation in the planning process of all aspects of the tourist industry. Planning for tourism can be done by private entrepreneurs by means of facility development and promotion; by government planning, such as land use controls, public developments, and overall promotion of a destination; or by a combination of government agencies and private enterprise.

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