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The Changing Environment

The tourism industry operates in a constantly changing environment that is influenced by a wide range of global, national, regional and organisational trends. An understanding of the changing environment should guide destination planning and management. An analysis should involve consideration of the:

  • Internal Environment – including an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the destination, access to human resources and funding, understanding of the stakeholder network, the destination life cycle, important issues and challenges, and the development potential and attractiveness of the destination
  • External Environment – including an assessment of the macro and micro environment trends (economic, political, social and environmental) at a global, national and regional level that may impact on the destination. This includes identifying future threats and opportunities, analysis of the competitive attributes of the destination and potential competitors.

Three important research programs have been completed by the Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre to assist in better understanding a destination’s operating environment:

The Destination Competitiveness and Sustainability model found in Modelling Destination Competitiveness can be used to assess the external macro and micro environment and the internal competitive attributes of a destination. This assessment forms a key part of developing appropriate strategies for destination development, management and marketing.

Source: Ritchie, J.R.B. and G.I. Crouch (2003). The Competitive Destination: A Sustainable Tourism Perspective, CABI Publishing, Wallingford, UK.

The Megatrends Underpinning Tourism to 2020 report identifies key global and national factors and trends that are likely to impact on the competitiveness of tourism destinations. Proactive and innovative approaches are required to negate these potential challenges and remain competitive.

The STCRC’s Local Government Pathways to Sustainable Tourism workbook provides a framework for undertaking a Tourism Health Check to assessing a region’s readiness to participate in tourism and destination management, taking into consideration the internal and external environment.

Destination Management Tip

Social trends such as the use of technology and attitudes towards the environment are a major driver of tourism consumer preferences.


Browse case studies:

Migration-Related Determinants of Australian Inbound and Outbound Tourism Flows

Much of the analysis of migration-tourism linkages draws on statistics regarding tourism flows and migration flows. This study outlines the applicable statistics and trends in migrant and tourism numbers for Australia over the complete period 1980-2009. These data form the raw material to inform the statistical analyses and the modelling of the migration–induced economic impacts.

by Larry Dwyer, Peter Forsyth, Brian King and Neelu Seetaram

Communities as Regional Destinations: A Development Potential Index

This report presents the findings of an investigation into the ability of regional destinations to attract visitors into  the Australian countryside. The main objectives of the research were to:

  • Examine how tourists can be dispersed throughout regional Australia
  • Investigate the relevance of five selected theories to regional tourism development from the point of view of local decision-making
  • Assist in local investment decision making and provide a guide to future government policy through the development of a development potential index

How Do Australians Choose Holiday Destinations and Experiences? Modelling Consumer Choice

The aim of this research was to explore and compare choice behaviours of different consumers for specific domestic and overseas destinations offering a particular set of holiday experiences. The selected eight destinations represent the whole range of option types for short trip vacation travel from or within Australia: overseas (Asia/Pacific), domestic metropolitan interstate, regional interstate, local regional (intrastate) and local ‘home’ destination. The implementation and modelling of consumer choice experiments such as this provides a powerful method for deconstructing and understanding how tourism consumers make decisions.

by  Harmen Oppewal, Twan Huybers and Geoffrey I. Crouch

Megatrends Underpinning Tourism to 2020: Analysis of Key Drivers for Change

This report explores the way in which some key drivers could affect the tourism industry, both international and domestic, to the year 2020. An exploration of these trends allows important change agents, on both the supply side and the demand side of tourism, to be highlighted and discussed, strategies formulated by destination managers, and tourism operators to develop tourism in a sustainable way. While the implications extend to all tourism destinations and operations, the focus is on Australia in particular.

by Larry Dwyer, Deborah Edwards, Nina Mistilis, Carolina Roman, Noel Scott and Chris Cooper

Regional Tourism Modelling: The South West Tapestry

The Tapestry Tourism Region, in the south west of Western Australia, is focused on the areas of Bunbury, Harvey, Collie, Dardanup, Donnybrook-Balingup and Capel. This study investigated future tourism opportunities by developing a greater understanding of tourism as a system and developing a computer model (Tapestry Tourism Futures Model) for developing and testing tourism strategies.

by Paul Walker, Diane Lee, Russell Goddard, Gail Kelly and Jan Pedersen

Strategic Issues for Australian Tourism 2008

This study aims to assist the development of a future national tourism strategy and research agenda and represents a typical but vital stage of a tourism visioning process. It provides an overview of four industry workshops hosted in late 2008 by STCRC in partnership with Tourism Australia. The workshops brought together 82 key tourism representatives from a broad cross-section of the industry. The goal was to develop a vision and identify key strategic issues, pressing policy objectives and research and development requirements for the Australian tourism industry. In particular, the workshops aimed to ascertain the industry’s opinion on core research priorities and to support the development of a national tourism research agenda, including the medium to long term research priorities that might be relevant to the role of a CRC or similar agency, in the future. It builds on a previous STCRC report Aanalysis of National, State, Regional and Local Tourism Strategies and Plans: Identification of Strategic Issues .

by Char-lee McLennan

The McKinsey Report: China’s Green Opportunity

To help policy makers and business leaders identify and prioritize additional opportunities to raise energy efficiency in China and make its growth more sustainable, McKinsey & Company undertook a study of technologies, measuring their impact on greenhouse gas emissions. Published in the McKinsley Quarterly, this report outlines their research and findings.

by McKinsey & Company

The McKinsey Report: Extreme Climate Conditions – How Africa Can Adapt

Even before global warming became an issue, many African countries were unusually vulnerable to floods, droughts, and heat waves. This study by McKinsey & Company looks at a number of scenarios and responses, enablers and barriers, and finally the impacts and adaptations of power generation and health.

by McKinsey & Company