Theme routes in
tourism- and spatial
development
Gonda, Tibor
Raffay, Zoltán
The role of tourism in world economy
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Continuous, almost uninterrupted growth since
the 1950s
1950: 25 million tourist arrivals
2007: 860 million; 2010: 935 million; 2012: over 1
billion!
Average annual growth rate is above average
growth rate of world economy
WTO forecast by 2020: international arrivals at 1.6
billion, average annual growth rate at 4%, incomes
from international tourism reach 2,000 billion USD
“Industry of the 21st century”, “industry of
peace”
The role of tourism in Hungarian
economy
• Over 5% of Hungarian GDP directly from
tourism (agriculture: 4%; construction
industry: 4.6% in 2007)
• Of all employment: 7.9% in tourism
Indirectly:
• Appr. 10% of GDP
• 12.6% of employment
Tourism trends
• Local (tourism) developments are more likely to succeed if
they meet international trends in tourism
• Tourists more active physically and intellectually than before
• Traditional 3S/4S tourism giving way to special demand,
niche markets
• Back to the roots, nostalgia
• Pilgrimages to holy places
• Increased awareness about health(y environment)
• Shorter visits but more frequently than before → new
destinations can join in tourism, all year round
• Growing role of silver generation in tourism
• More informed tourists insist on value for the money
• More tourists are sensitive environmentally and socially
• Professional management needed → theme routes
From scattered attractions to real
experience
• Basic tendency: tourists want to have more fun,
experience – and knowledge on the visited sites
• More interest in local products, traditional
gastronomy (a reply to globalisation and food
scandals?)
• Rapid spread of non-mainstream tourism forms
• Many tourists seek new places, ones not visited by
tourists before
• Far-away places and ones that were not considered
as tourism destinations may get a new chance
• Today’s tourists can choose from a variety never
seen before
• New attractions must exceed ever higher thresholds
Study path of socialist
architecture,
Dunaújváros
Theme parks and theme routes
• Basic difference: theme parks entertain (mass
tourism), theme routes educate (alternative
tourism)
• Forbes Traveler, 50 Most Popular Tourist
Attractions In The World:
– Entertainment facilities: 18, with 139.4 million visitors
– Architectural complexes, squares: 6, with 88.7 million
visitors
– Monument buildings: 12, with 65.29 million visitors
– Museums: 10, 45.6 million visitors
– Natural sights of interest and national parks: 4, with
31.04 million visitors
– Total: 370.03 million visitors – 38% in fun facilities!
Theme parks
• The predecessors were the entertainment – fun – parks
• First park of this type established in 1550, “garden of
entertainment”
• Oldest theme park of the world near Copenhagen (since 1583)
• 19th century: first heyday of entertainment parks: 1843 in
Copenhagen the Tivoli park was opened, and in a few years it
became the most visited entertainment facility in the world
• Late 19th century: first seaside entertainment centre in
Blackpool, still one of the most popular attractions in thge UK
• Real heyday of the theme parks is dated to the second half of
20th century
• Disney Empire: 1955, still the number one
• Theme parks address segments with different motivations,
interests, demographic an social characteristics
• Heritage parks mostly for domestic tourists, Aquaparks also
for international ones
Theme routes
• Already in the ancient times
• Pilgrimage routes in ancient and medieval times
• New era: nobility and well-off bourgeois class
travelled to famous destinations of Western
Europe (Grand Tour)
• 1st half of 20th century: hiking trails all over
Europe (e.g. Blue Trail)
• Wine routes: Germany, early 20th century
• 1st cultural route: El Camino to Santiago de
Compostela, declared by the Council of Europe as
a theme route in 1987 (same year: European
Institute of Cultural Routes, based in Luxembourg)
Theme routes
• Culture and heritage
– Historical past,
monuments (“Castle
route”)
– Intellectual heritage
(“Palóc route”)
– Traditional handicrafts
Traditional products
– Cheese, asparagus,
tobacco, fruits (Plum
route”)
– Wine, beer, cider
Theme routes
• Most recently:
– Film tourism (Sex and the
City, Lord of the Rings)
– Geotourism: Geopark
network
– Gastronomy: wine, plum,
mineral waters
• Anything that may be
interesting
Impacts of theme parks and theme
routes – environment
Theme parks
1. Transportation
Large, concentrated
traffic
Theme routes
More even traffic in
space, search for
alternative solutions
(e.g. Greenway)
Large new capacity
2. Energy demand
needed
No new capacity needed
3. Demand for
capital
Not significant, local
communities can
participate
Large. Requires
external resources
Impacts of theme parks and theme
routes – economy
1. Tourism
indices (e.g.
guest nights)
2. Local
community
3. Inclusion of
local products
and services
Theme parks
Theme routes
Significant impact, usually
new accommodation
capacities as an effect
No major impact. Profit
goes to investors.
Decisions made outside
Significant but hardly
measurable impact, tourists
evenly distributed in space
Economic benefit realised
by the locals. Decisions
made in the area
Not typical. Procurement
from the globalised
market
Typical. Local goods and
services marketed at good
prices
Many jobs for locals but
4. Employment
also many “guest
impact
workers”
Support keeping and
creating local jobs
Impacts of theme parks and theme
routes – society and culture
Theme parks
Theme routes
No. Having gone
Significant contribution to
1. Value creation out of fashion even
discovery, development and
and preservation environmental
preservation of values
problems may arise
2. Social
cohesion
3. Impact on
education,
training, culture
No
Strengthening social cohesion,
often leading to birth of NGOs.
Strengthening local identity
No or weak
Promotes survival of traditional
skills and professions, passing
on traditions
Impact of main tourism trends on
the development of theme routes
• Developments are more likely to succeed if they
meet trends in tourism
• Tourists more active physically and intellectually
than before → activity routes (theme routes for
bikers, new pilgrimage routes, new hiking trails
etc.)
• Traditional 4S tourism giving way to special
demand, niche markets → nature, flora and
wildlife, historical sites, cultural models, hobby
groups (birding, geocaching, angling etc.)
Impact of main tourism trends on
the development of theme routes
• Back to the roots, nostalgia → especially to
countries from where mass emigration was typical
• Pilgrimages to holy places → new routes in
addition to the already popular ones
• Increased awareness about health(y environment)
→ healing and prevention, special new therapies
(wine therapy etc.)
• Shorter visits but more frequently than before →
more destinations can join in tourism all year
round, including many formerly considered as
unattractive
Impact of main tourism trends on
the development of theme routes
• Growing role of silver generation in tourism
→ growing and solvent demand for health
services, tranquillity and clean, healthy
environment
• More informed tourists insist on value for the
money → professional management needed
• More tourists are sensitive environmentally
and socially → poorly organised destinations
with environmental and social problems are
avoided
Theme routes in the Leonardo
NewTrailJobs project
• 15 projects analysed
– Italy (3)
– Lithuania (3)
– Spain (3)
– USA (3)
– Germany (1)
– UK (1)
– UK, Finland, Spain, Estonia, Greece, Cyprus (1)
Theme routes in Leonardo NewTrailJobs project
Key issues addressed:
• heritage, traditions (10)
• events (7)
• employment, job creation (7)
• local economy (5)
• local products, producers, projects (5)
• activities (4)
• learning, training (4)
• marketing (4)
• job creation for young people and women (3)
• rural tourism (3)
• local cultural and historical locations (3)
• common awareness, common goals and objectives,
engagement (3)
• local development in rural areas (3)
Theme routes in Leonardo NewTrailJobs project
Key issues addressed:
• local roads (2)
• beer and food (2)
• networking (2)
• rural Communities (2)
• local and regional identity (2)
• entrepreneurs (2)
• information
• integration of different cultures
• different seasons
• selling of products, services
• modernist works
• renovate the industrial zones
• weekly markets
• business services to rural entrepreneurs
Conclusions and recommendations
• Preservation and of development of traditions,
specialities (foods, beverages, habits)
• Events all year round to ease peak season
stress
• All efforts should be made to keep development
local: support for local entrepreneurs, training
schemes, new business skills, marketing
• Joint efforts! Integration of various stakeholders
• Preservation of regional identity: a growing value
in our globalised world
Conclusions and recommendations
• Harmony of developments (with the inclusion
and economic benefits of locals)
• Right proportions of preservation and
development
• Environmental assessment (ecological or
archaeological values, preservation of
biodiversity)
• Assessment of carrying capacities
• Planning: alternatives for the use of the
attractions, right interpretation tools (practical
and creative instead of expensive and
complicated)
Conclusions and recommendations
• Visitor management and flow models
• Assessment of environmental, and socio-cultural
impacts
• Organisation form most suitable for the
management of the attraction, including training
of the staff
• Financial and economic analysis, estimation of
costs or operation and incomes
• Marketing plan
• Regular trainings for local people
Thank you for your attention!
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Theme routes in tourism