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CRITICAL REVIEW OF TOURISM STRATEGY PLANS

Critical Review of Tourism Strategy Plans

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19, 09, 2011

Introduction

The tourism industry is a major player in the Australian economy. It also plays a big role in setting the global trends of both domestic and international tourism. To ensure a competitive edge over other tourist’s destinations, the Australian tourism sector has employed various strategic plans that are centred on boosting the Australia Capital Territory (ACT). The major purpose of enhancing the ACT activities is to ensure that the Australian tourism industry attains growth that is sustainable and thus contribute towards national revenue generation. This is also important for the creation of tourism related benefits such as employment, market for local goods, infrastructure and tourism related industries such as the banking sector, agriculture and horticulture sector (Australian Capital Tourism 2011c).

This write-up is going to dwell on the critical analysis of three strategic plans namely: ACT and Region Tourism Strategic Plan of 2006 and beyond, Australia Capital Tourism Strategic Plan of 2009 to 2013 and the Floriade Strategic Plan of 2009 to 2013. Areas that will be tackled include the compatibility and discrepancies of the plans, suitability of the vision, mission and objectives of the plans (Weaver 2007).

Compatibility of the strategic plans

While comparing the three documents, it was apparent that the three strategic plans main goals were in line with the Canberra plan that was developed in order to help the Australian tourism industry, through the Australian Capital Tourism Organisation, achieve a sustainable niche for the Australian tourism industry. Further, the three plans address some of the issues that were included in the Canberra plan such as the need to utilise the tourism industry as a major force towards ensuring economic growth. The three strategic plans are also designed to ensure that Australia capitalises on innovating new tourism products that are centred on improving the tourism experience and as such, making the Australian tourism experience different and superior to other tourism destinations (Australian Capital Tourism 2011b).

Another similarity that makes the three strategic plans compatible revolves around the fact that the three plans have played a lot of emphasis on the value of the tourism sector. This has been achieved through rigorous analysis of the previous tourism trends of Australia and particularly Canberra and the Floriade experience in the Floriade Strategic plan. Further, the three plans have been able to identify their major competitors and the origin of their international tourists. This is a very important aspect in any tourism strategic plan as it helps the host to identify areas that need moderate or vigorous marketing in order to maintain their original clients and make major strides by way of attracting new tourists.

In addition, the three strategic plans are compatible on the basis that they recognise the new emerging trend of the global economic crisis that impacts on the ability of their clients to visit their tourism destinations. In view of such stringent economic times, the three strategic plans can be termed as realistic in the sense that they are able to recognise the environments under which they are operating and thus they are at a better position of setting rational goals that can be achieved despite the global challenging economic situation.

The three strategic plans have almost the same ideas behind their strategic plans. For example, the ACT Strategic Plan has four strategic pillars. Among the pillars include the leadership strategy that strives to ensure that they attract competent, creative and committed leaders within the industry. As compared to Floriade Strategic Plan which has three strategic priorities, ACT strategy is compatible with Floriade’s because Floriade identifies leadership as one of its goals under the people development strategy. On the other hand, the ACT and Region Tourism Strategic Plan address the leadership question by striving to ensure that skills and workers shortages are dealt with (Australian Capital Tourism 2011c).

The three plans are also compatible on the basis that all the strategic plans strive to ensure that there is collaboration and cooperation among the industry players and other stakeholders such as the government and the communities within the tourism destination areas. Other notable similarities in the three plans that make them compatible include the inclusion of marketing the identified tourist’s destinations such as Canberra and Floriade and the acknowledgement of the dire need for the tourism industry to improve on service delivery in order to ensure that all the tourists enjoy their core, auxiliary and augmented products thus making the tourism experience unforgettable (Weaver 2007).

Discrepancies within the three strategic plans

However, there are various observable discrepancies within the three strategic plans. For instance, The ACT and Region Tourism Strategic plan is very elaborate in terms of representing the observed tourism trends both international and domestic. The fact that this particular plan goes out of its way to try and help the reader envision the trends through graphs and elaborate explanations says a lot about the plans understanding of the whole scenario (Australian Capital Tourism 2011c).

In Comparison, the Floriade and ACT plans are not keen to vividly portray such trends in details. In my view, I think it is important for any particular strategic plan to recognise the strides made previously in order to come up with astrategic plan that caters for the mistakes and achievements made in the previous plans (Australian Capital Tourism 2011a).

Further strategic plans are designed in such a way that they are able to highlight some of the organisations strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This way, the plan is able to identify the major internal and external factors that should be included in the strategic plan. The ACT and Region Tourism Strategic plan has incorporated all the mentioned internal and external factors thus making the plan appear superior to the rest. However, the ACT Strategic Plan identified some of its opportunities but failed to include some of its challenges. On the other hand, the Floriade Strategic Plan has catered for the lack of opportunities by identifying some of its major priorities in ensuring that the Floriade festival becomes a major event in the global tourism calendar (Australian Capital Tourism 2011b).

The major goal of developing strategic plans is to articulate the step by step procedure of meeting the organisational goals. With reference to the three Strategic Plans, it is quite evident that the Floriade and ACT Strategic plans were able to meet this requirement. This is illustrated by the two plans ability to highlight their goals, performance indicators and the support structures required for the implementation and monitoring of the plans. However this does not hold for the ACT and Region Strategic Plan as the plan is not elaborate enough on what needs to be done in order to achieve a specific goal. Nevertheless, the plan does identify the bodies responsible for the implementation of the strategies (Australian Capital Tourism 2011c).

Strengths and suitability of the mission, vision and goals/objectives

Floriade’s mission is to ensure that the floriade festival becomes one of the Major Australia tourism attractions that portray the artistic and cultural attributes of Australia. This mission is suitable for the strategic plan as it illustrates the main goals of the plan through people, industry and environment development. Further Floriade’s vision of attaining international recognition is suitable for this plan as the main agenda of the strategic plan is centred on ensuring that the festival acquires international status and acceptance. The objectives of the Floriade Strategic plan such as maintaining high levels of visitation and tourism satisfaction is in line with the three priorities of the plan therefore strengthening the rationality of the plan (Australian Capital Tourism 2011b).

The ACT and Region Tourism Strategic Plan vision is to make the tourism industry exceptional and innovative in order to improve on revenue generation. However, based on its strategies, am inclined to argue that this vision is not consistent with the strategies and the expectations of the plan such as achieving a competitive edge, advocating for community participation among others. In addition, this strategy did not include the regional mission of the organisation thus questioning the strength of the whole plan. However, the expected results which in this plan stand for the objectives of the plan are consistent with the strategies (Australian Capital Tourism 2011c).

The ACT Strategic Plan is consistent with the ACT vision of ensuring regional partnership for a sustainable tourism industry thus impacting positively on the economic stance of Australia. Therefore, by managing and achieving the four pillars of the strategy, the ACT Strategic Plan will be within the expectations and forecast of its vision. Further, the strategic plan is in line with ACT mission that strives to ensure there is an improvement in both domestic and international tourism through managing the tourist’s destinations and improving on the infrastructure. The ACT goals of providing leadership, innovation and direction are well captured in all its four pillars (Australian Capital Tourism 2011a).

Conclusion

Strategic plans are vital tools that are a prerequisite when trying to shape the future of any given organisation or industry. After analysing the three tree strategic plans, it is evident that all the plans were centred on ensuring the success of the Australia tourism industry and consequently improving on the economic status of the country. Though there were minor discrepancies noted, the similarity in goals, objectives and strategies were overwhelming thus proving that the three strategic plans are compatible.

Reference List

Australian Capital Tourism 2011, Australian Capital Tourism5 year Strategic Plan 2009– 2013. Available from: <http://www.tourism.act.gov.au/images/documents/corporate/strategic_reports/ACTourism_5yr_Strategic_Plan.pdf>. (18 September 2011).

Australian Capital Tourism 2011, Floriade 5 year Strategic Plan 2009 – 2013. Available from: <http://www.tourism.act.gov.au/images/documents/corporate/strategic_reports/Floriade_Strategic_Plan_2009-13.pdf>.(18 September 2011).

Australian Capital Tourism 2011, Our Industry — Our Future: 2006 and Beyond. Available from: <http://www.tourism.act.gov.au/images/documents/corporate/archived_reports/Our_Industry_Our_Future.pdf>.(18 September 2011).

Weaver, D 2007, Ecotourism, 2nd edn, John Wiley & Sons, Melbourne.