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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
In 1988, Robert Runcie, then Archbishop of Canterbury, said in a speech in London: “In the middle ages people were tourists because of their religion, whereas now they are tourists because tourism is their religion”. Perceptive words indeed, and it does seem as if travel and tourism have become one of the defining activities of our age. Simultaneously hailed as the saviour of developing countries and reviled as one of the great despoilers of our environment, travel and tourism is now an industry of global scale, and 2002 saw the number of international tourists exceed 700 million for the first time – the equivalent to over one in ten of the entire population of the world travelling on holiday.
The papers that have been brought together in this special issue on tourism reflect the fact that tourism is about more than just people travelling to exotic locations. It is a business, like any other, with the same need to consider seriously and carefully the real estate requirements of the business. And, like many other businesses, there is a diverse range of stakeholders.
The papers by Sherif Roubi and Constantinos Verginis and J. Stephen Taylor focus on the realities of owning real estate in the tourism industry, and concentrate on the needs of one group of stakeholders – those with a financial interest in the real estate. While confirming what had been thought of as best practice, Constantinos Verginis and J. Stephen Taylor’s paper does indicate that discounted cash flow (DCF) methods of valuation are regarded as the norm in the industry, although they do find that there is less acceptance of the method for lower-quality hotels. Sherif Roubi investigates a technique to value intangibles in hotels, and proposes that hedonic pricing models can effectively be used for this purpose.
Important though tourism and leisure is, it is not the only use that land can be put to, and Richard Reed and Emma Greenhalgh’s paper explores the dynamics of the market for caravan sites in Australia. This, it has to be admitted, is not one of the most glamorous tourism options, and this paper demonstrates that alternative uses can and do put pressure on such land uses.
The paper by Brian Goodall, Gaye Pottinger, Tim Dixon and Henry Russell reminds us that tourism is an activity that should be capable of being enjoyed by everyone. Disability should be no deterrent but, as the authors explore, many of the buildings that are tourist sites are also of great historical significance, with a need to be managed and conserved sympathetically. How to balance these two – sometimes conflicting – requirements is a real issue for those involved in managing such properties.
The paper by John Ratcliffe and Sheila Flanagan explores that fact that tourism is now becoming an increasingly important way in which towns and cities re-invent and re-vitalise themselves – cities are no longer places where products are made but where experiences are consumed. Using case studies drawn from across the UK and Ireland, they explore the use of business improvement districts (BIDs) as a means of galvanising business in an area behind attempts to improve the environment – both for residents and, just as important, for tourists. There is a lively debate about whether cities compete with each other, or whether it is just the businesses in cities that do so. BIDs certainly provide an example of a way in which cities can help business to compete.
We trust that you find that these papers of interest in highlighting some of the issues involved in real estate management in the leisure and tourism industry. As with any other industry, if the tourism industry is to provide the benefits that we all want from it, then it is clear that we have to manage the real estate resource in the most effective way possible. These papers have provided some indications as to how that could be done.
Stephen BrownDirector of Research, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Foundation and Professor of Tourism Culture and Developments.
David Harrison Professor of Tourism Culture and Development, Lonodon Metropolitan University, London, UK