Tourism policy is all actions of state authorities aimed at satisfying the tourist needs of their own society, rational use of labor and capital resources in the sphere of tourism economy, shaping the optimal size and structure of tourism and creating conditions for further tourism development, taking into account its numerous functions and connections with other spheres of social and economic life.
This definition shows that tourism policy is a quite complicated process of controlling the development of tourism, in which the coordination of the activities of many institutions operating in various sectors of the economy is of particular importance. Therefore, it must take institutional forms in the form of a tourism management system. This system can be defined as a team of logically bounded institutions and organizations at the central, regional and local levels, in which the matters of tourism lie, as well as the way they affect the real sphere of tourism economy processes. The basic elements of such a system can be analyzed at various levels of the tourism management system.
In the most general sense, the goal of tourism policy can be defined as striving to serve the tourist to achieve simultaneous maximization of benefits for all concerned, while minimizing the negative effects, costs and impacts accompanying the success of the reception area.
Rungs of tourism management
Three levels of tourism management:
- the central level,
- regional level,
- local level.
At each of these levels there is one or several institutions equipped with specific powers to shape tourism policy, both in the area of demand and tourist supply.
The central level usually consists of two types of institutions:
- national tourism administration.
- national Tourism Organizations
Central government administration bodies for tourism always play a key role in the entire tourism management system. Depending on the specificity of individual countries, they may take the form of a separate ministry of tourism, or separate ministries operating within other ministries, which deal exclusively with tourism. The first solution is quite rare. Tourism is much more often associated in ministerial structures with other branches of the national economy. Usually, however, it is of secondary importance in them, even if it concerns a country in which the tourism industry plays a significant role. For example, France, where until recently, the Minister of Industry, Post, Telegraph and Tourism has been pursuing the state's tourism policy.
In Europe, the most common solution is to locate tourism in the Ministry of Economy or Industry and to distinguish a special department responsible for tourism policy in it. For example, Germany, where the general supervision over the development of tourism and state policy in this regard is exercised by the Federal Minister of Economy.
In practice, however, there is a separate part of this ministry in the form of the Tourism Policy Section. Solutions of this type exist both in countries that are important reception markets as well as the emission markets.
The second type of institutions found at the central level are: National Tourism Organizations - these are non-governmental institutions which, by taking over specific functions from the central state administration bodies, become part of the central tourism management system.
National Tourist Organizations gather representatives of all interested parties and entities of the tourist market - government administration, local government organizations, both in terms of economic self-governments as well as local self-governments in reception centers, as well as social organizations, tourist associations, etc.
Thanks to the wide representation of representatives of various sectors of the tourism industry, NTOs are an important element of the tourism management system and have a major impact on the development of tourism in individual countries.
The best-performing national tourist organizations include:
- Spanish "Turespana"
- the French "Maison de la France".
Institutions operating at the central level usually have their counterparts at the regional and local level. These may be units constituting an extension of central institutions (both NTA and NTO), or organizations independent of the central authorities, which are integrated into the structure of autonomous local administration bodies or local self-government bodies.
The shape and implementation of the tourism policy of the state is also significantly influenced by the supreme organs of state power and other institutions involved in formulating general state policy. However, they are not elements of the tourism management system, because they do not deal with management, but with the determination of basic objectives, goals and directions of tourism policy.
Instruments of tourism policy
The implementation of the tourism policy requires appropriate instruments, with the help of which, depending on the assumed objectives - the state can simultaneously influence the shaping of tourism demand and supply.
The most important instruments used by the state in tourism policy include:
- shaping the amount and structure of free time of the population and income level,
- creating and enforcing tourist law,
- impact on tourism development,
- categorization of accommodation base,
- investment reliefs,
- wide possibilities created by the tax system,
- staff training,
- information and propaganda, etc.
With regard to foreign tourism - additional instruments are: border formalities (passport, visa, customs, foreign exchange, sanitary regulations). A very important element of the tourism policy of the state is concern for the condition of the environment and tourism assets. Also in this matter, the state has at its disposal instruments that allow it to decide which of the values, in what order and to what extent can be made available to tourists. Most countries also try to shape the level and structure of tourist activity of their own citizens. The practical expression of the state's activity in this area was and is the development of social tourism. With the help of various types of instruments, the state tries to allow tourism to those who, for various reasons, have limited access to it.
Protective tourism in the field of tourist activity concerns mainly children and young people and people with lower socio-economic status and manifests itself in various forms of organizational and financial assistance to the poorest consumers. However, the most important role of the state should be seen in the field of determining the general conditions of the tourist market and coordination of the activities of various institutions and sectors of the economy participating in the processes of creation, distribution and consumption of tourism products.
Evaluation of tourism policy
This term is used to define activities that are used for constant research into the implementation of the tourism policy, due to the adopted goals, allowing it to adapt to the constantly changing conditions that prevail in the tourism market.
Many benefits are achieved through the introduction of evaluation as part of the tourism policy, including:
- It supports the authors of tourism policy in assessing the level of achievement of the objectives set,
- It provides arguments for the importance of tourism to achieve the objectives outlined in other policies and programs,
- It has an impact on the creation of a tourism policy, and above all on its adaptation to the ever-changing conditions.
In conclusion, the evaluation allows to determine whether and how public funds included in the implementation of tourism policy can be used in a better way. Thanks to the evaluation, you can also find out whether the policy objectives have been well chosen and whether the right tools to achieve them have been adapted.
When the evaluation is well carried out, it gives the authors of the tourism policy information on the following issues:
- Are the changes underway;
- what causes these changes and why;
- what changes result in the implementation of tourism policy.
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- Cracolici, M. F., & Nijkamp, P. (2009). The attractiveness and competitiveness of tourist destinations: A study of Southern Italian regions. Tourism management, 30(3), 336-344.
- Dritsakis, N., & Athanasiadis, S. (2000). An econometric model of tourist demand: The case of Greece. Journal of hospitality & leisure marketing, 7(2), 39-49.