fourLINK Blog

The Role of Place Management within the Tourism sector

10th September 2019

A pit latrine toilet in Kenya

The tourism sector has often been seen as a good source of potential income for any community and country. With exception to the “over-tourism” of the tourist meccas like Venice, the norm is for places to want to encourage more tourism, as a valuable revenue stream.

With the development of web-based technology and platforms such Airbnb, the potential income generation from tourism has been decentralised from the large hotels down to individuals wanting to rent out their home or room for a period of time. The likes of TripAdvisor and a greater awareness of entrepreneurship opportunities have also encouraged more grassroots creation of tourism related products and services. Be it food or drink related products, hand produced local souvenirs or services in the form of attractions or experiences, these days it is much easier to create and market a new tourism related business to the tourist market.

But no matter how good the local grassroots entrepreneurship aspirations are to create a better offering, there needs to be a higher-level coordination to ensure that each place is working to its strengths, is not merely duplicating other local places efforts and above all, there is a collective local vision. A goal. A clear consensus which everyone within that place supports and is aiming for.

As every place in the world competes with every other place, it is important to have a clear understanding on who a place is trying to attract. Understanding who are the target markets and what are the unique local assets is a key part of Place Management.

We’ve recently been working in a tourist-rich coastal area of a country where a number of towns are competing with each other to bring in the most tourist income. One of the towns wanted to develop their local offering based on their fishing heritage. All of the sudden, a number of the other towns all wanted to replicate this successful formula. Within a Place Management context, we always advise against this, as the region should be looking to compete with other external regions of the world, with complementary offerings unique to each place within this internal region.

Coastal destinations can offer a completely different offering to inland destinations, and the place management offering between these areas should reflect the unique assets which each region offers.

Different types of tourism are also quickly developing, with people travelling for experiences relating to their hobbies, interests and even jobs. Understanding the local assets and how this can be developed for each target market is therefore very important.

fourLINK can work with exisiting places and stakeholders and bring a structured approach to Place Management, which can bring win-win benefits to everyone. More tourists coming to a region longer into the year, and staying a longer amount of time can bring financial benefits to any community. The entrepreneurship spirit can also be instilled in a community through incubator and start-up support which fourLINK can also provide.