Tourism - key factors to its development

This document examines the following aspects:

  • Distribution of tourist flows on a global scale;
  • Why the tourism is distributed in this way;
  • How you can organize the tourist spaces;
  • The impacts of tourism on the environment and local culture.
  • The policies put in place to prevent these adverse effects and develop tourism.

The geography produces images of the world. There are two elements that have helped to reduce gradually the social importance of geography:

  • The end of the discoveries: the contemporary world is now largely known, it has been explored and is constantly observed;
  • Geographers have lost the monopoly of the description and the production of images of the world: they were overtaken by the media and other sources such as the internet, newspapers and television.

Despite this, the discovery of the world is a process that is continually renewed for each individual. Each of us, from the first months of life, takes a personal journey of discovery of the world. Each of us is the center of a personal journey of discovery of the world of which we all need.

How does this space learning in the world happen? It happens through a mechanism composed of three basic steps:

  • Perception;
  • Spatial representations;
  • Spatial practices.

The individual, through the senses, perceives the surrounding space and organises it into images, mental representations of space.

This perception and subsequent image processing occurs in a direct way. Our perceptions and representations are built, however, even in a mediated way.

This set of direct and mediated experience is processed in the mind in a series of images, spatial representations that have different configurations and characteristics that students of geography of perception call “mental maps”.

Mind maps are subjective visions of space. They serve as the basis of orientation to act within the space of the land surface. The spaces that we build within our minds follow the logic subjective. In addition to this role of subjective experience in the construction of mental representations are the cultural mediations. They depend on the culture of the group within which they experience individuals. In our construction of the images of the world, the cultural context plays a fundamental role.

It is therefore necessary to take into account the variables that enter into the construction of mental representations of space: there are so many mind maps as there are individuals who live on Earth. There are so many subjective variables in the development of mental maps and according to the cultural context in which people act.

Our ability to move and act on the space of the Earth's surface depends on the adequacy and effectiveness of mental images which we can build.

In the past, spatial apprenticeship took place predominantly within confined spaces.

At this stage, our society is characterized by a more pronounced diversification, specialization. This makes it more difficult to process data coming from the experience of mental images.

The spatial differential is influenced by the set of experiences of individuals. They occur in more fragmented ways, in different spatial areas. For this reason they are always more difficult to control and dominate.

The geography, understood as a scientific discipline, tries to give some answers. It was equipped with tools that allow you to identify logical interpretation of the relations between the different places and among groups that inhabit the different areas that make up the Earth's surface.

The geography is concerned to highlight, interpret, identify relationships between elements of a natural and man-made elements. This includes not only tangible assets but also human elements.

It studies the relationships between these elements within the space of the earth's surface.

What distinguishes geography from other fields of study? What the gaze to the reading of the reports, the interactions between phenomena of different nature located in different points of the earth's surface.

The two main relationships are:

  • Vertical (ecological). They connect different phenomena (of different nature) and connect them to each other within the same location within the earth's surface. They are eco-friendly because they connect a particular human group to the specific characteristics that, in the place where the group is established, it takes the environment. Concern the relationship between the human group and the natural features of the environment.
  • Horizontal. They connect to each other different subjects or groups, different subjects and elements of the natural environment. This is possible through the relationships that link together different points of the earth's surface.

These relationships (vertical and horizontal) are partly materialized movements, movements of material objects, vehicles or people.

People move along canals materially well evident through infrastructure networks. So this network connection is visible. Often, however, these relationships are invisible (but basic): we can not see them because they directly translate into movement, with immaterial forms.

The New Geography

The Second World War is characterised by a strong affirmation of the last method known by geography: the paradigm of the new theoretical and quantitative geography, also called new geografy. The new geografy provides for the abandonment of the traditional empirical-inductive method and the adoption of a method of deductive character. The research, conducted in the context of geography, not the observation of empirical reality in order to identify the laws of a general nature. But it starts from general theories of reference, formulating hypotheses and undertaking them to verification.

The theoretical and quantitative geography builds many of its interpretative hypotheses, its paths of research, from an economic theory: the neo-classical theory of market equilibrium (through the free play of economic forces, without any restrictions forms of regulatory, it tends to implement in itself a form of equilibrium).

This geography build most of its interpretative models trying to translate this abstract idea of ​​market equilibrium in terms of spatial and territorial balance. It seeks to demonstrate how the market equilibrium postulated by neo-classical theory can be translated into forms of balance in the geographical distribution of the various economic activities. The link with the political economy tends to direct the bulk of geographical research to the choice of subjects and objects of study that are especially relevant in the economy , as well as new content. Until that time the geography was configured as a science that showed the space of the earth's surface as a sort of mosaic. The new geography (which is primarily concerned with research subjects that have to do with the sphere of economic activity) conceives the land space in different terms, in a more abstract way. It interprets the space as a mosaic of terrestrial regions but as a functional space: a field of action in which they develop the spatial interactions between locations with different functions.

In studying these networks of relationships you will notice how certain relationships between places, characterized by different functions, tend to recur on a regular basis over time, reappearing according to the same forms of organization in different areas of the earth surface.

Geography of tourism

This area of ​​study is developed within the field of economic geography. Considerable space is devoted to pictures.

Space tourism:

  • Beach, sea, islands, towns, mountains, lakes, skiing facilities, parks, cruises, campsites, hotels, cottages, spas, fairs, museums, swimming pools, resorts, amusement parks, sports centers.

There's a strong idea in space tourism: it is necessary to make tourism an artificial space, organized and standardized.

The space tourism, space before being objective and concrete, is a representation, a mental image that tourists have created in their mind as a foretaste of what awaits them in the experience of travel.

The tourist images are artfully produced and circulated by the industry for promotional purposes. The images that we have in our minds and what we expect to find are determined largely by the circulation of those images that are created by tour operators.

The pictures of the tourist areas are also produced by those who live there, and these mental representations are often very different from those that are conveyed by the channel of tourism promotion.

The tourist image is produced by different parties with different purposes and includes two components:

  • A individualized and subjective part;
  • A stereotyped character.

Subjective component: it derives from the experience of individual tourists (it is different according to the people who have made it). It stems from the past (what the tourist has in mind before he make the trip) mixed with the experience of the journey itself. When it comes to image, this doesn't only means the visual connotation: they are mental representation derived from elements captured by their senses and emotion very important in the construction of the tourist experience.

Stereotyped component: the tourist images tend to be modelled in order to reproduce the recurring patterns and shared in order to have a collective nature. This is due to the fact that the tourist images cannot be built solely on the basis of individual experience but also through the sharing of images that are produced by tour operators, images that circulate in our culture, used in building our imaginary geography.

If we analyze the tourist images, they can be grouped in three major categories:

  • Global image;
  • Traditional tourist image;
  • New tourist image.

Global image

It is possible, even in the infinite variety of components of our tourist images, recognize the presence of certain traits that are global. They are global because they are recurring characters in which all the images of tourist spaces are due, regardless of the specific place to which they refer. They are characters that we find in tourist images at a global level (whichever is the spatial reference). What is due to the presence of elements such recurring? Action mechanisms of psychological acting on all the subjects in much thesame way.

The characters that feeds the global image are:

  • The search for symmetry, order, harmony of aesthetics;
  • The need to light: heliotropism (for the sun), enhance the brightness of the spaces;
  • The need of disorientation, of exoticism.

The spaces of tourism are often associated with other forms of representation that accentuate the diversity of spaces other than the place of the daily routine. The need to escape, of estrangement is always accompanied by a last character:

  • The need for security. The diversity, the disorientation should be but must be kept within acceptable limits so as not to create a sense of fear and insecurity. The spaces of tourism are different from the usual ones but not too different, in which diversity is not likely to generate misunderstanding; they are spaces where the visitor needs to find reference points in order to give him a feeling of control. It is therefore a limited and controlled exoticism, in which the tourist is always master of the situation.

Traditional tourist image

These are characters that do not recur in a comprehensive and independent of the geographical context in which the image refers. They are characters that leverage the specificity (regional differentiation of the Earth's surface), on the specific characters, distinctive, traditional spaces which they refer.

They are images produced by tourists, tour operators, by the inhabitants of places in order to identify and emphasize local identities, traditional features and distinctive space. They are images that highlight the difference, the specificities of the territory.

The use of these tourist images relies on their thickness of cultural history, the nostalgic pleasure that is related to the evocation of the memory of the past. They are images that are conveyed and circulated in our culture through the promotion of tourism and its various channels.

Let's make a comparison between the richness of the traditional images related to the spaces of the European western world and poverty of the images of the southern hemisphere. The pictures of the tourist areas of the western world are not more real than those relating to the southern hemisphere. However, they have a reference value and represent an icon of collective symbols. The process of schematization, reduction in stereotype, becomes strong in the case of third world countries due to the component of ethnocentrism. On the one hand you can produce very varied and diverse images for the countries of Europe and North America. When analyzing the images that relate to the countries of the southern hemisphere, we note that these are reduced to a few images attributable to large continental sets (Africa, South America, Asia) or inter-tropical areas.

New tourist image

It is an image linked to the success of tourism as a mass phenomenon and the emergence of forms of organization of tourist practices and spaces in which they are carried out with a highly standardised level.

From the second half of the 900 the range of possible space tourism experiences have been extended to a global scale. The travelling to local spaces are within the reach of a great multitude of people, not just a small elite of people as before. This spatial expansion of the horizon, which can be explored through tourism experiences, it means that all spaces can be sold for tourism.

In this context, the tourist demand is increasingly stimulated, guided by specific selection of tools (advertising, marketing, guides and tourist enterprises), which channel the flow of tourists to a destination rather than to another.

The connection between tourism demand and supply of the various receptors is mediated by the industry (source that produces representations of tourist spaces and stends to steer demand towards the choice of certain areas rather than others).

Operators can channel the demand towards some destinations, but they can not ignore the expectations of tourists.

We must not overlook the weight of new technologies to allow you to skip the mediation of tour operators (direct connection between tourist demand and local supply via the internet).

In this circuit will produce new tourist images but are much more unstable and variable (but they are also susceptible to changes in the patterns of the tourism market and to fluctuations in supply and demand) compared to the two previous types.

It is difficult to capture the distinctive elements, the constant components of these new and lasting images.

However, it is possible to identify three main features:

  • Emphasis on group life. The tourist experience is experienced not as a group experience and collective but as a journey of personal discovery (the model is less elitist, aristocratic);
  • A playful tourist experience. Tourism and the spaces in which it wears are connected to the sphere of the game (space where there are no rules); regression to childhood;
  • Exaltation of freedom. Space tourism is a space of freedom where the individual can express their desires and passions without being subject to rules which characterize his life in everyday experience.

The combination of these three conditions is the space hyper-artificial holiday villages, in order to give full realization of freedom in the touristic experience, an artificial microcosms totally separate from the surrounding environment.

In the most recent times (last decades) we have assisted also to the re-emergence of other types of images, the traditional ones. On the tourist market there is a request much more different (with many different sectors) which is demanding for the affirmation of forms of niche tourism. It is regaining importance the traditional images that feed forms of cultural tourism (rural, food and wine, eco-tourism) which insists on the authenticity, genuineness of elements with traditional character.

Ancient and modern tourism

One of the problems inherent the definition of tourism is given by the mobility of the historical characters that distinguish this phenomenon. Tourism, in fact, has undergone profound changes over time of qualitative and quantitative factors. As an evolving phenomenon, it is difficult to make it fit within a single definition and apply it to all its manifestations. If we analyze it from the perspective of character you can detect a progressive expansion of the field of use of the term tourism. This enlargement of the meaning that can be attributed to the term tourism goes hand in hand with its historical transformation from being a practice of elite to a mass phenomenon.

Tourism, in the strict sense, is an activity that is born in the contemporary age; tourism in the modern sense of the term, can be found between the end of '700 and the start of '800. It's a phenomenon that characterizes the contemporary world, started with a small part of the world, inside a narrow social elite. It was born in Europe and then spread gradually to other contexts. It still mostly affects the populations of the countries with advanced economies (European area, North American, Asia).

Before this stage, you may recognise: phenomena of geographical mobility (movement of people in space) which, although not classified as tourism (before the '700 it did not exist this term), may partly recall some aspect and characteristic of what is now the modern tourism.

These antecedents can be identified in some practices related to geographic mobility that characterised such sport in the world of ancient Greece, or forms of geographical mobility associated with a ritual or curative-health treatment: moving to shrines or to places of cure and relax (spa).

Other practices prior to the phenomenon of tourism were the medieval pilgrimages (trips to important places from the religious point of view), or resort, which is stated as a practice of the wealthy classes in Roman times.

Another phenomenon that reappears as a pre-tourism practice in the modern age, is that of moving for cures. Hydrotherapy, after a period of great development in old age, saw a quite marked restriction in the Middle Ages but it was then rediscovered and widely used as a therapeutic and curative activity during the modern age.

The antecedent practice to the modern tourism is that of the Grand Tour (end of '600, beginning of '700): training trip made the sons of noble and bourgeois families accompanied by a tutor; they were forced to live outside their place of residence: an experience that brought them in contact with the major European capitals. It could last 2 or 3 years.

Only with the modern age (late '700, beginning of '800) tourism states in its forms. In this first phase, it is stated as an elite phenomenon: on the mobility of a few people, small groups of rich people living annuity and having much free time (members of the nobility or the rich bourgeoisie in Northern Europe). They perform the movements of a few months or weeks a year with different purposes. The predominant motivation that lies at the origin of tourism, in the modern sense, is the research of fun and relaxation, away from everyday life.

These shifts, in an initial phase, involved inhabitants of Northern Europe which move within the continent or country of origin to the varied types of attractions.

We then summarize the early stages of development of tourism in the following activities:

  • Winter holiday resort on the northern shores of the Mediterranean. The wealthy aristocrats were moving to areas from warmer climates but always in the winter months.
  • Hot springs. It knows a revival in the early decades of the '800 and '900. It becomes a fashion phenomenon. The original curative component, joins the tourism component in the strict sense that the search for a diversion.
  • The traditional pilgrimages, of a spiritual nature, are transformed and associated with tourist flows in the strict sense: the religious motivation joins the research of profane entertainment.
  • The Grand Tours; these destinations are the cities of Europe and especially the Italian ones, which attracted many young aristocrats for the reach presence of artistic and monumental cities (such as Florence, Rome), combined important archaeological sites (discovery of Pompeii in 1748).

During the '800, a new type of attraction of natural character came to the attention of Europeans: the discovery of the mountain alpine tourism.

For centuries it was a repulsive space: since 1760 it was not a subject of interest to travellers on the Grand Tour. It became object of interest of naturalists and students.

The conquest of the '700 with climbing Mont Blanc, in the wake of these early pioneers of European countries, moved gradually larger and larger groups of fans to make the alpine mountain the destination for their trips.

During the '800, the discoveries in the Alps was stimulated and organized by a number of organizations: the so-called Alpine Clubs.

The Alps were used not only for the practice of mountaineering but also to a summer resort, alng with an increased use of the mountain as a theatre of sport par excellence: alpine skiing. This practice was born in Scandinavia, during the '800, tends to spread even outside of the northern countries before becoming, in the '900, one of the main factors of tourist attraction exerted by the Alps.

In order to spread the tourist activity, it required the concomitant action of other factors that made possible the geographic mobility in space (easy to move). Reference is made to the development of organizational factors that support and enable mobility:

  • The development of means of transportation had a main role in developing tourism. The '800 knows a first major transport revolution with the development of railroads and the shipping sector. The creation and diffusion on a continental scale of the first rail transport networks will greatly reduce travel time.
  • The development of the modern type of accommodation. Up to that time (by the ancient Romans to the protagonists of the Grand Tour) the opportunities for tourism hospitality were to possess the appropriate residences, or residences offers hospitality organizations (inns) that offered hospitality and spartan short.

The development of tourism in its modern form requires forms of receptivity of a new type that allow the organization of long periods of living in such conditions as to enable leisure and resting levels in keeping with the standards of living of these early tourists.

Over the '800, the tourism sector saw the development of the first hotels in the most popular places, and also the development of forms of organization of this activity. There are the first associations that coordinate the international hotel accommodations and set quality standards.

It is only in the first part of the '900 (between the two world wars) that it arises a more stable foundation for the expansion of tourism, which so far was remained strongly a elitist activity.

In order to expand the number of customers, the tourism sector needed to be implemented on these features:

  • A reduction of working hours, and therefore an increase in leisure time (you get weekly rest and paid leave during the year). Thanks to these achievements, a growing portion of society has access to the tourist, having a share of time free from work within which they can explore the cities.
  • Forms of social tourism. On the one hand, while there was a widening of the free time, the incomes were still quite low. At this stage, many business associations, class or political parties, organized forms of tourism related to school activity or sport for people who do not have the income to access the real tourism.

These trends, which are asserted between the '800 and the first part of the '900, tend to strengthen and consolidatevafter the Second World War, with the full affirmation of mass tourism. From the second half of the '900 there are made conditions to enable the transformation of the tourism as a mass activity rather then a elitist one. This happens within geographical areas with economic privileges, or in countries with advanced economies.

In most European countries there is a broadening of the holiday period (1 month per year) with a distribution of this period in a few moments: holidays were usually concentrate (especially in summer).

A different trend is one that marks the evolution of the free time in the United States. Here there is a greater presence of free time during the week (more days off per week) and a lower concentration of the long holiday periods during the year. The result is more shorter and more distributed holidays, fragmented,with less seasonal concentration.

In Japan the expansion of the free time starts much later than Europe and the United States. The japanese tourism boom as international tourism outbound is recorded from the late '80s, thanks to a series of policies aimed at the reduction of working hours and to stimulate tourism by providing for a mandatory week off during the year.

Tourism is a phenomenon of great importance and continually growing, not only in terms of the number of people involved, but also in economic terms for the huge number and variety of economic activities related to it. The importance of tourism in economic value is measured both in terms of the development of economic activities (jobs) and on the production of income.

Since the early 90's it was estimated that tourism is the 1st field of activity for the production of income on a global scale. This growing importance , in quantity and economically, of the phenomenon of tourism has led to an expansion of the meaning attributed today to the concept of tourism.

In science one tries to establish a precise definition of tourism and to understand all the complex events related both to individual experience while on the move, the motivation behind it. The economic activities set in motion becomes always more complex. Transport was not relevant when tourism was an elite phenomenon, as the moving of a few people did not have an impact that would create economic activity. While the tourism becomes a mass phenomenon, the economic impact of transport becomes increasingly important, leading to the creation of new activities.

From the scientific definitions we understand that we can speak of tourist activity if the following conditions exist:

  • Geographic mobility, because we are talking about tourism there must be a shift in space, someone who travels and who goes out of his place of residence and usual work.
  • Duration of move. In order to talk about tourism there must be at least one night, a night out. The international statistical definition, however, sets an upper limit, because we can talk about tourism, traveling time shall not exceed one year.
  • Motivation. The journey made the purposes of tourism has always been a motivation for leisure and pleasure which is flanked by other reasons (business, health reasons, family reasons).

The consideration of the tourism phenomenon, however, can not be limited to the observation of those who move but must take into account all economic activities that are related to tourism. The international tourism statistics provide a comprehensive set of categories.

Forms of tourism

Taking into account the category of tourists in the strict sense, we can distinguish various forms of tourism:

  • Domestic tourism: it involves all those who make their movement while remaining within the borders of their country.
  • International tourism: it is represented by all those who fulfill their tourist experience moving to countries different from that of their habitual residence.

This last category can be divided in two:

  • Inbound tourism (or incoming): it includes all the foreign visitors who enter a given country to make their journey.
  • Outbound tourism (or outgoing): it concerns the outflows, it is made up of people who are habitually resident in one state and who make their tourist experience crossing national borders, visiting other countries.

Analysis of tourist flow

If you want to know the extent of the phenomenon of tourism operating on a local scale, the data provided by the direct statistical sources are often very limited. The research of the local tourism must frequently resort to indirect sources, documents that do not have tourism as their primary object, and they provide data that are not directly related to tourism but to other phenomena in which tourism is closely related. They therefore represent indirect indicators of the extent of the phenomenon of tourism in the area. Much more frequent and widespread is the use of statistical sources that offer a direct data on tourism, sources that offer quantitative numerical data directly related to the various aspects of the tourism phenomenon.

Often the data recorded on tourism comes from a sample of all the tourists: the data collected in this way are partial data.

What kind of data can be found in sources of statistics on tourism? The more common are related to tourist movements, the number of visitors recorded at the time of their passage to the border (inbound tourism), or registered in the reception of the hotel in a particular country. Another important fact to measure the extent of the flows of tourism is that of nights. Data arrivals are different from the number of overnight stays. Another data readily available is related to the economic impact of tourism. All statistics on the national and international tourism through sample surveys or sources of banking type, provide guidance on tourist revenue. Another fact is noted mainly from sample surveys: interviewing the tourists to know how much they spend for tourism. Data available at the national or local describe the facilities and they say, for individual countries, as these structures are present and what type they are, typically they have distinct data structures, divided according to the type of structure. This type of data is not always present, not in all countries is recorded.

A final type of information is difficult to obtain, it is detailed survey: the identification, within a generic quantity, of specific elements, divided into subcategories according to the origin:

  • Where are the tourists,
  • Their destination,
  • The period of their stay,
  • The type of means of transport used for moving.

This data defines the character of tourist demand, but they are hard to find. they are so valuable becausecthey are the result of surveys carried out in a targeted manner.

Whatever the data and the sources that you use, it is always necessary to evaluate the sources, and to read the data they provide through critical warnings. The fact that a given data which is expressed in quantitative form, it is never a guarantee of objectivity. The relevance of a given survey from time to time can be determined through careful critical analysis of the sources from which revenue data and the ways in which these data were collected. It would be wrong to make uncritical use of quantitative data. The aspects to be taken into account are:

  • The choice of the source. You have to be selective and critical, since the selection of sources that need to be authoritative and reliable, you should try to go back to the source that produced the data. You should give priority to institutions that have official status. It is also necessary to select the most appropriate sources to the object of investigation.
  • Be aware of the limitations and constraints of the sources that you are using. You need to have accurate data.
  • Difficulty in data comparability. Individual countries collect data on tourism in different ways, so they are not always directly comparable; it is important to reach the standardisation of procedures, aiming to reduce the differences.
  • State of updating data. In the field of tourism, the data from 3-4 years ago are old because tourism is a phenomenon in constant movement and expansion. We should be wary of sources that do not specify a date when the data were collected.

Classification of tourist spaces

We can classify the tourist spaces according to the following criteria:

  • Multi-purpose and open space tourist.
    • Coastal areas: in these spaces tourism develops in coexistence with other types of functions. These are located along sea coasts or along the shores of internal lakes and coincide with the urban centers of variable size.

Tourist residences in its various forms (hotels, second homes …) are distributed and dispersed within the city limits: they are not all concentrated in a few points, but tend to affect different areas within the city. IThey are centers in which there are a number of things to do. This multipolarity is explained by the fact that these centres have experienced an early tourist development This has settled, within these spaces, a variety of attractions related to the alternation of different modes of tourist use. These spaces are often born by hosting the first forms of elite tourism. They are normally placed in the mild climate regions of the northern shores of the Mediterranean. There are areas to which historically have poured the first tourism flows from Northern Europe. This has a seasonal tourism which prefers the winter months and is linked to the mode of use of the coastal environment very differently: it does not use the beaches but it is tourism that determines, in these spaces, the ' emergence of the kind of attractions related to the ways of life of these early tourists. In this first step, therefore, they settle locally the attractions related to the aristocratic classes. Only in a more recent phase, alongside these traditional types of attraction, there were brought new pull factors related to the change in the tourist use. It targets the exploitation of the sea and the beach, the seasonal changes, tourism covers a wider span of months (it prefers the summer months) and takes advantage of other kinds of attractions. It is this process of historical sedimentation that sees alternating different ways of tourist use. It means that these spaces are multipolar, which persist in the traditional attractions and next to these the modern ones.

  • Minor Coastal Spaces : due to the reduced population tends to concentrate in 1 or 2 cores tourist residences of the place. They knew tourism development between late '700 and early '800.

They develop for tourism due to their location, allowing it to attract tourists of two different types:

  • Tourist flows caused by the fact they are close proximity to major urban centers;
  • They are able to exercise an attraction on a larger scale.

Urban spaces are of smaller size (small towns) in which the presence and impact of tourism is very sensitive, both from the point of view of the landscape and from the one of the forms of organization and structuring of the territory. These spatial structures are simpler than those of the major centres. If you look at the distribution of receptivevhouseholds, these spaces have a structure of mononuclear type or, in some cases spaces riviera lake, binuclear. Mononuclearity refers to a simpler spatial structure, composed of small towns on the lake and the smaller towns seafarers. All tourist residences tend to concentrate in a single nucleus, close to the beach. With the word binuclearity indicates the splitting of the structure of space tourism. The tourist settlements tend to fall into two distinct groups, at different points.

  • Urban areas: the city is the main source of attraction for tourists due to the presence of deposits of historical and cultural heritages. They are cities that have a rich historical and cultural heritage in terms of monuments and museums.

This particular characterization tends to feed the tourists who can be very substantial and which have particular characteristics, different from the streams that feed the development of coastal towns.

  • Difference from the chronological point of view: a distribution throughout the year of tourist flows. The flows that are turning towards the urban areas (cities, major European capitals) are present all year round, not just seasonal.
  • Length of stay. When comparing the average number of nights spent by tourists who come to this type of destinations with the average number of overnight stays in the spaces of seaside tourism or winter, you can see that they are shorter stays.
  • Green tourism, eco-tourism. They are places where green spaces are the main destination or attraction. It was initially a niche phenomenon, now booming.

The cash comes from the rich cities, for reasons that change over time:

  • In the post-war return to rural roots for a population of recent urbanization;
  • In the '70s, thanks to an increase of adherence to environmental and ecologist movements; there is even an increase in seeking contact with nature.

Tourists often have a stereotyped image: they perceive rural and natural areas that in fact have been actually shaped by man. In other cases, the nostalgic feeling of the past leads to this type of tourism. In the farm, tourism is integrated with agricultural activity, which is present in the form marginal and oldest one (not modern, commercial).

  • Spaces specialised for tourist,relatively open. We can identify these kind of spaces:
    • Specialised seaside accommodation;
    • Specialised spa;
    • Specialised centres and cultural sites;
    • Winter sports resorts.

In the mono-functional space predominates so strong a single type of function (tourist), activities and land use.

There may also be other activities that are present because they are necessary for the conduct of tourism itself (business, service), necessary for the sustenance of the resident population which is used in tourism employment. Although they are not born in the function of tourism, these are spaces within which the phenomenon of tourism has become a burden so strong, imprint upon the entire territorial organization of these areas and in such a way as to leave very strong impacts on the environment of host area.

The specialisation of a certain space to the tourist function tends to lay the groundwork for some closure. In more extreme cases, they are spaces that are built within the host, with respect to which they are expressions of the forms of closure, and with whom there is no integration.

The specialised spaces may be more or less open or more or less closed. Within the general category, it is possible to recognise an internal structure that is based on integrated consideration of a number of criteria. This breakdown is based on the type of host environment within which the tourist activity lies, it varies according to the degree of opening or closing. Within the various subcategories that are taken into account there are the criteria of polarity and nuclearities.

In the relatively open spaces specialised tour you maintain a certain degree of openness in relation to its host, there are no rigid forms of closure, boundary access and mobility, but there are forms of interaction between tourism and the hosting space.

  • Spaces specialised on seaside accommodation.

Outstanding among these, there are the seaside resorts of luxury that arise for tourism, in which the space is completely structured in function of tourism. They have a spatial structure that typically presents a regular town planning schemes, often with grid pattern. Within these centres, tourism has gradually conquered space with a process of expansion of housing and accommodation. The urban development has sought to preserve a balance between built-up areas and green spaces, trying to maintain the architectural character with respect of traditional building types, trying to avoid excessive overbuilding on the sea front.

These stations have a specialised type of spatial structure which is that of multipolarity (process of gradual conquest of space tourism), there is not a single nucleus, where are all of the settlement structures are, but there is a loss in space.

Centres are characterized by multipolarity then inside them are things of different nature. The stations of more recent development (second half of the '900) will address a less selective public, not necessarily wealthy.

In the contexts in which the development of seaside tourism as a mass phenomenon has greatly changed the space, the tourist phenomenon has produced substantial footprint in the modeling of these spaces.

The forms of spatial organization, compared to earlier, are marked by a greater tendency to the closure, for example with the privatization of the beach.

The need to organize a tourist flow to a much greater scale has produced these forms of closure: not all this spaces are freely accessible and usable by tourists.

On the landscape plan, the impact is very strong with high-rise condominiums, hotels that occupy the sea front. In terms of the spatial structure, this type of station is based on polinuclearity. The urban development is spontaneous and very extensive. It produces a dispersion of tourist residences in the area.

  • Spaces for spas.

Hydrotherapy is an ancient phenomenon. It was already practiced in classical antiquity. It continues to be practiced in the Middle Ages. In the modern age is seen essentially as a part of curative activities. By the second half of the '800 it starts to become a real form of tourism, with the union of curative aspects, associated with leisure and relaxation (characteristic of tourism in the modern sense).

The great spas, in this period, become an important pole of attraction worldly.

The period of greatest development of spa tourism is placed between the years '10 and '20 of the '900, when these centres begin to spread.

After the 1st World War, we are witnessing a regression and decline of spa tourism: there is a crisis leading to a selection of spas that had been established in the previous period. Some resist the crisis, but the smaller towns tend to fail in overcoming this moment.

The stations that have more fortune continued to exist. Actually, this was not simply the result of accidental factors, but mainly because they have implemented a strategy of diversification of their attractions. Stations that survived, alongside the spa tourism, had developed other forms of attractions (sports, conferences). Today the special compartments of spa tourism have a spatial structure of polynuclear type and are centres of multipolar character.

  • Specialised cultural sites.

These are spaces that are formed on the presence of relevant asset type resources, like history and culture, concentrated within a single site or group of sites. They are totally shaped by the needs of the tourist exploitation but, nevertheless, are weakly equipped in terms of facilities. The tourist accommodation is primarily expressed in the form of the catering facilities and the presence of huge parking lots. They are sites to which the main presence is a transit tourism, so they are weakly equipped for the stay of tourists.

Their spatial structure is characteristic: they are sites where you do not recognize the presence of tourist settlement.

They tend to be unipolar because their tourist attractiveness is based on a single type of attractiveness. If there are multiple resources of historical-cultural, we can talk about multipolarity.

  • Stations of winter sports.

The resorts fate for the practice of winter sports, are all classified within the space of specialized type. The stations of the latest generation tend to better respect the environment. They have the following characteristics:

  • The tourist activities are grafted onto existing settlements (starting from a series of traditional rural villages).
  • Accommodations are created, according to a different organizational model and construction (chalets), with a maximum threshold of beds.
  • It maintains and enhances the original settlement structure.
  • The starting points of the ski resorts are located on the outskirts of the village, favoring localization of the slopes at high altitude in order to reduce the large deforestation.
  • It promotes networking of ski centres and network between neighboring villages.

These centres maintain active their traditional productive activities (agriculture, pasture). They are clearly multi-purpose spaces, where tourism is not the predominant function but it is an economic activity statements, able to support traditional activities.

  • Spaces for enclosed seaside accommodation.

They are born as they are. These centres are not an evolution over time. They are totally artificial spaces that involve very massive interventions, remodelling the local environment. They are spaces normally created in coastal or maritime areas, created to meet the needs of mass tourism. They are highly specialised, designed to meet the needs of a diverse public, like in the case the broad masses of tourists.

They are usually consortia that combine public and private businessmen. They provide strong interventions in remodeling of the coastal environment: we assist to the creation of marinas, artificial beaches; the area is divided in areas used for residential placements. If you look at how they have developed these places from the point of view of their spatial structure, we see the presence of repeating patterns, recurring patterns of spatial organisation. Some common characteristic are:

  • The presence of bodies of water, often artificial, with a marina equipped onto which the accommodation facilities catering to types of customers rather varied: hotels, residences, second homes, campsites.
  • The forecast within the initial project of the outlying areas are kept free as a reserve for possible future expansion.
  • Closed spaces: inside them can enter only paying customers. These exclusive areas are created with high investment real estate transactions: they are aimed at an elite of customers and are luxurious.

These spaces are planned to be totally artificial, based on the initiative of individual lenders and private developers.

We can identify three types of enclosed spaces:

  • Exclusive tourist areas resulting from the combination of two elements:
    • A marina equipped with all the various activities of water sports. These are tourist port facilities created for tourists staying in accommodation facilities of these places or transiting tourists.
    • A residential complex of services and residences in limited capacity (less than 4000-5000 units).

The nature of these structures is something special: it does not appear in the formula for hospitality but rather the solution that is favored is that of residency. Family residences are connected to service facilities. They are often concentrated near the marina. They are totally in enclosed structures.

  • Holiday Villages. Tourist spaces of a hotel or apart-hotel. They combine two types of tourist features: the use of the beaches and activities related to animation. They are bipolar structures: the beach and the centre of animation. The customers are quite wealthy. It is normally maintained a limited threshold load (2000 units).
  • Large hotel complexes. They are developed through the work of the big multinational chains and lie in the range of the inter-tropical countries placed in the developing world. They have high thresholds load: tens of thousands of jobs.

Compared to the previous types, they have stronger presence in the area because of environmental impacts, including large transformation, interventions and possible damage to the environment: heavy pollution and hyper exploitation of water resources.

  • Parks and nature reserves.

The creation of protected natural areas has an ancient history. The first initiatives for the creation of large national parks are dated back to the '60s of the '800, the first is to Yellowstone (United States), founded in 1862. This conservation tool is spreading to Europe in the early '900 (Italian: Parco del Gran Paradiso founded the '20s). In France and Italy, in the '60s and '70s, are set up regional parks that are developed to conserve nature and to support the economic development of local populations.

From the beginning, it is recognisable the interweaving of a relationship between nature conservation and tourism. The philosophy behind the major national parks is that of the public enjoyment: organised and collective enjoyment of the natural beauty. There is a strong aesthetic factor in this kind of tourism. Nature must be preserved because it is a collective good, it must be offered for the enjoyment of the community. This has laid the foundation for a tourist exploitation of these areas that are open to visitors; inside them, though, you have to face the problems of load management and organisation of tourist public use in forms compatible with the environment.


Tourism is a phenomenon that has implications for a variety of aspects and therefore it can not be analyzed only from a strictly economic perspective. This is also true with regard to the impacts of tourism which, as well as in economic terms, can also be analyzed in the socio-cultural environment. Tourism has important implications on the forms of social organization and cultural events of the resident populations in which they develop tourist activities. This is because the phenomenon of tourism, as a phenomenon of mobility of populations in space, contact the people who are the bearers of cultural patterns of behavior and often very different. This becomes a significant problem in the case where the connection between tourism puts in their populations that present forms of culture very different. Mass tourism can be interpreted as one of the forces that support the process of cultural globalization favoring a sort of cultural homogenization on a global scale. The tourists who are mainly from the countries of the Western world with an advanced economy, conceives the tourist experience as a search for diversity, tourism seen as an experience of estrangement, experimentation with different cultural patterns and life. This need for diversity is always tempered by the need for security and control of this experience. The tourist wants to experience different things, but always in a controlled diversity, diversity due to standards, to cultural patterns, that are the ones that tourists brings with it. The tourist experience the diversity, but closed inside a bubble comforting linked to its life models. While mass tourism can be seen as one of the forces that work towards the approval of cultural models, on the other hand, it enhances the traditional images favoring a strengthening of local cultural identities. It puts in motion of opposing forces: the standardisation of tourism and the emergence of differences. In fact, it tends to favor the rediscovery of traditions and cultural identities that were threatened. Where, however, the cultural differences between tourists and the resident population is very strong, it can trigger the phenomena of strong conflict and rejection: the local populations are closed in a sort of defense identity: they reject the advent of the tourists because they see them as a threat to their cultural identity.

Tourism can put at risk the same resources from which it initially drew food: it is likely to engage a downward spiral that leads to the destruction of the very resources that have activated the flow of tourists. The relationship between historical and cultural heritage, as well as environmental tourism, is highly ambiguous. The heritage is a major pull factor for tourism development but the indiscriminate exploitation by tourism threatens to destroy this resource:

  • On the material level with the consumption of space and alteration of the landscape. When the area, which has among its basic elements the landscape itself, it is colonized by tourism (with the creation of residences), you have a first modification of the it.
  • On ecosystems, the natural environment. In areas where tourism is more concentrated, there is a major contribution to the increase in levels of pollution of water, air, noise. This problem is exacerbated where tourism is highly seasonal as there is a dramatic increase of the population. This is because, for residents present in a stable way, it adds a significant amount that is represented by the tourist population, which produces waste and pollution.

The creation of tourist spaces involves a series of actions that cause a profound remodeling of the local characteristics of the ecosystem. Tourism produces not only pollution but also conditions of high stress for the plant and animal species of ecosystems. Evaluate these impacts on the environment is not simple: the tourism does not act alone in determining these impacts, it is often one of the factors within a set of other factors that cause strong environmental impacts. What kind of tools are used in the formulation of public policy?

  • Legislative activity. Enactment of general principles. Enactment of laws and regulations.
  • Create constraints or incentives for certain activities, for certain types of action that is right to promote.
  • Direct intervention of public bodies, acting directly to the creation of infrastructure, public works needed, creating the territory of the equipment that enables the economic and social development of tourism activities.


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