Tuesday, February 21, 2006


tourism failure

Another topic that would be worthwhile to explore is tourism failure. Most models and case studies are based on, or assume, long term success. But most destinations don't become the next Las Vegas. While there is some literature on the failure of individual businesses there isn't much that systematically examines regions or destination areas that want tourism, take steps to develop tourism, yet fail in the mid to long run. If you're interested I can point you at a local destination that would make a great case study of tourism failure.

Interesting concept, mention more. Could put an interesting spin on my topic.
Somewhere there are references that much of the management literature contains a success bias. Conclusions are made from observation of successful firms--but if unsuccessful firms aren't included in the study one really can't say anything about what differentiates the successful ones from the unsuccessful ones.

A lot of thinking about tourism takes Butler's Tourism Area Life Cycle as its foundation. However, most destinations never grow beyond the initial stage of that model. These models _do_ address failure at the end of the product cycle but they say little about failure at the front-end of the cycle. In fact, assuming a "cycle" implies growth beyond the initial stages. But many products, and many destinations, never move beyond the Introduction stage (dollar stores are full of failed consumer products).

In our literature there's not a lot that explicitly looks at failure. There's an EU project on sustainable tourism that addresses "From sustainable tourism to decline: how to monitor the risk." Find it via Google; its authors are Manente and Celotto.

There's also an aritcle by Kotter in the March-April Harvard Business Review, "Leading change: why transformation efforts fail." It might give some ideas.

Finally, for a good local example of this topic, Google or do a database search in the New York Times for Penns Grove, NJ and Bruce Willis.
Kotter's article was HBR, 1995. Sorry!
I will do that; this sounds really interesting, and could give my paper an interesting edge. Just worry whether I can pull it off. Then again, worried whether I can pull anything off right at this moment.
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