Servizio Comunitario di Informazione in materia di Ricerca e Sviluppo - CORDIS

Tourists and gatekeepers survey and results

The survey of c. 100 tourists and 10 gatekeepers in each of the 12 study regions examined the interface between tourists and the economic, social, cultural, natural and community environments they encounter, and assessed all significant types of tourist. Gatekeepers were seen as enabling tourism rather than supplying services directly and were defined in terms of two primary functions: providing information and promoting and/or marketing the region to actual and potential tourists.

Consultation Panels had an important role in identifying relevant types of tourism and gatekeepers, determining the precise form of questioning and advising on interview timings and venues. The basic survey method was questionnaire-based interviews combining structured and semi-structured questioning. This allowed theme-based qualitative assessment of underlying processes as well as quantitative identification of trends and relationships.

Country reports provide wide-ranging information on tourists and gatekeepers; analyse their perceptions of links between tourism and place; identify tourists requirements, expectations and experiences; analyse their behaviour and motivation; assess their impact on destination areas; determine their views on the effectiveness of integrated tourism, and assess the effectiveness of rural, regional and tourism policy. They also highlight linkages between local resources, local activities and tourism; develop classifications of rural tourists; and suggest opportunities for further development of integrated tourism, including development of appropriate marketing channels and local participation.

UK: Visitors to both the Welsh border and Cumbria were attracted by the landscape, friendly communities; lack of crime; traditional shops; peace and quiet and a sense of the place being well cared for. Gatekeepers promote tourism on the basis of place-specific resources - economic, social and cultural - by using and adding value to them to retain maximum benefits within the locality. Although both sets of actors place a great emphasis on their product, four kinds of challenges have been identified: co-operation and collaboration in information provision between gatekeepers and other actors across different scales and sectors; developing flexibility and meeting customer needs and demands on businesses and resource controllers; retaining local ownership and management of tourism.

>ES: Development of tourism in the Aitana Valleys is still incipient, while Alta Ribagorça offers outstanding tourism resources managed at the local level, able to attract a high number of tourists all year around. Gatekeepers in the two areas had different profiles but shared important similarities in their views on integrated tourism.

IE: In both regions tourism was small-scale but with many repeat visitors, reflecting embeddedness. Gatekeeper businesses were relatively small. Interaction with local people was highly valued and reported levels of satisfaction were generally higher in the West than in the North Midland Counties, where the quality and range of goods available locally was questioned. Deficits included an absence or low quality of certain tourist facilities/infrastructure in the NMC and in the more remote areas of the West. The need to conserve natural resources and the traditional way of life and friendliness of the people was recognised in both regions, reflecting awareness of sustainability issues.

GR: Kalavryta attracts relatively young tourists for day trips or weekends, whereas Evrytania seems to attract older people who stay for more than a couple of days. Satisfaction from the tourism experience in Evrytania was reported to be high and tourists think of it as a unique destination. Gatekeepers in both areas were similar in terms of origin, structure and strategies. Marketing strategies and promotion in Evrytania have been more effective, perhaps because Kalavryta is rather isolated from administrative services.

FR: In both regions the main reasons for visiting are discovery and relaxation and the natural landscape. Tourist satisfaction was high, both during and after the experience. Gatekeepers had a global perception of the tourists, which was consistent with the results of the tourist survey and felt that many aspects of tourism needed to be improved.

CZ: Although environmental qualities are the main attraction for the `umava Mts they are no longer the deciding factor. One weakness of Èeská Kanada in comparison is that it only has a summer season. Tourists are mainly Czech families with children and pensioners, who enjoy their stay in an unspoilt environment. In both regions, most gatekeepers came into existence after 1989, some transformed from earlier organisations working on similar lines. The main difference between gatekeepers in the two regions is their view of the role of tourism in the local economy.

Contatto

Didier TIRARD, (Researcher)
Tel.: +33-2-3156624
Fax: +33-2-3156626
E-mail