A teacher at a college in a devastated village about 156 km from the nearest urban area received an offer to visit three out of the five cities in the world he had mentioned in his online newsletter.
This teacher called Mori (Mori means debt) published an article in the newsletter describing how he would be happy if given the chance to visit Victoria Falls in Livingstone in Zambia, Sun – city in South Africa, Tokyo in Japan, Vienna in Austria, Washington, DC in the USA, and Los Angeles in the USA.
Someone in Luxembourg came across the article of Mori and decided to arrange for Mori to visit three of the places mentioned in the newsletter. In his reply to this unexpected generosity, Mori indicated that he would like to visit Victoria Falls, Los Angeles and Tokyo. It is noted that Mori had not visited these destinations before. What he has in stock is what he has gathered from tourist booklets.
The attitude of Mori regarding his choice of destinations is typical of the attitudes of many tourists. Most of them read about e.g., Fiji that it is a pleasant place to go to for the purpose of vacation.
It is when they are in Fiji that the real search for attractions will begin, such as, a visit to Treasure Island somewhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean where you can see nothing but endless seas, and underneath these seas you can view the wonders of the deep seas, different fishes with different and glittering colours. But one thing that will keep you unsettled is the possibility of turbulent weather that might erupt at any time. Otherwise a visit to the Treasure Island would not be a waste of money. This means that a tourist, such as, Mori is interested in seeing things and doing what the destinations authorities allows him to do, e.g., take pictures of wildlife, or historic sites.
Mori decided to visit the Victoria Falls because he learned that the smoke that rises from the bottom of the Victoria Falls with thunders and creates exceptionally beautiful rainbow. He also said that he would like to see the city of Livingstone and other attractions in the city.
The decision of Mori indicates the importance of attractions for the development of tourism. A region, a city, a town, or a village that places itself as tourism destination must have some attractions. The attractions may be natural or man – made. The attractions serve multiple purposes including educational purpose. Tourists visit Livingstone because it has Victoria Falls as attractions. A tourist may visit Cairo in order to see the Pyramids. In South Africa the most attractive thing to see is the Table Mountain. In Washington, DC the Mall and the Lincoln Memorial are some of the attractions in the city, in addition to a number of fantastic museums. In New York City the Statue of Liberty is an attraction. Attractions lure people to visit a destination and help to develop tourism.
One is satisfied with Mori’s choice of Livingstone. It is time to examine Mori’s choices of Tokyo and Los Angeles. Mori has chosen Tokyo in order to see its man – made underground river course and to experience its night life, in addition to visiting other sites in the city. Mori was able to have a look at the underground river. He learned that the man – made river course is intended to absorb excess waters on the surface thereby preventing floods in the event of heavy rains, or unusual rise in sea level. Mori also enjoyed Tokyo’s night life and visited a number of historic attractions in the city. He was told that Tokyo city proper, built in C 1105, has a population of 13.3 million. The metropolitan area of Tokyo has about 37 million people, making it the top metropolitan area in the world. He also learned that the city planners are up – grading all buildings built before 1981 to make them to withstand any tremors.
In Los Angeles, Mori visited a number of attractions in the city: the Universal Studios Hollywood where many famous movies were crafted and produced for global audience. Hollywood Walk of Fame was the second attraction on the list of things for Mori to see. Third on the list was the Disney – land where fantasies are transformed into living things. The other attractions on Mori’s list included: the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, California African – American Museum, and the Korean Bell of Friendship. This was given to the USA by South Korea when the USA celebrated its 200 years of existence. Other attractions in the city which Mori could not see included the Grammy Museum, Los Angeles City Hall, Microsoft Theatre, Dock Weiler State Beach, and many others.
If Mori had opted to visit Austria he would have seen the Schonbrunn Palace which was Empress Sis’s summer residence. It contains what is described as ‘an enchanting park’, the Palm House, the Gloriette, and a Zoo. The Zoo is reported as being the oldest in the world and ranked number four in Europe. Other attractions include: St Stephens Cathedral an important Gothic building in Europe, the Imperial Palace, the seat of the Great Habsburgs Empire, and the Danube Tower rising by more than 826 feet over the City of Vienna. It also contains a rotating restaurant which gives tourists marvelous view of the entire city. These are some of the attractions Mori would have loved to see.
The reader learns from the story of Mori two or three important lessons. One of these lessons is that the development of tourism is closely associated with the presence of attractions. Some of the attractions are referred to as natural attractions. For example, the Victoria Falls. These attractions are the creation of nature. They are site – specific facilities. Another example is The Table Mountain in South Africa, or Lake Victoria in East Africa, managed jointly by Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. Site – specific but man – made attractions include the Statue of Liberty in New York, the USA, or The Big Ben in London, England. Attractions can also be in the form of events. For example, the Koamboka Cultural Festivities in the Western Province of Zambia, or the Rio Carnival in Brazil, or the Pamplona Bull Run in Spain, or religious event, such as, the Haj (Pilgrimage) to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, and so on. Some of these attractions generate millions if not billions of dollars to the economies of the countries in question. But they can also result in huge losses in the event of disturbances. For example any stampede at Mecca during Haj can lead to several deaths and enormous losses to the Saudi Arabia. It means that effective management coupled with security are some of the dictates that re – enforce success in the tourism industry. Countries aspiring to become leaders in tourism must invest in management, security and efficiency of their attractions so that their countries become attractive destinations for visitors in general.
Natural and man – made attractions require considerable inputs of efficient infrastructure and management in order that they are used effectively for tourism purposes.
They also are demanding in terms of the needs for protection from degradation.
In the discussion on the visit of Mori to Livingstone, Tokyo and Los Angeles, reference was made to tourism. It is useful for the reader to understand what is meant by tourism. The UN World tourism Organization (UN WTO) defines tourism as “The activities of persons travelling to and staying in places … for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business or other purposes.” Tourism can take place as a result of certain activities by people who move to different destinations. Travel and stay involve leisure and other economic and social activities.
A destination as has been mentioned may include a region, a country, a city, a town, a hotel, a resort, or a cruise. All these destinations are characterized by attractions, amenities, accessibility, and safety (or security). The lesser these features are the lower the number of tourists visiting the destination in question.
One can claim that for tourism to flourish, managers of tourism businesses must know the needs and wants of tourists or would be tourists. Knowing the needs of tourists and satisfying their wants is key to the development of tourism. The development of tourism can be achieved if the government and the private businesses cooperate to help the tourism industry to grow.
A country may develop its tourism potentials if it takes into account the demand of tourism, economic impacts of tourism, sociocultural and environmental impacts of tourism. In addition, it must see to it that tourism brings benefits to the local communities e.g., the reduction of poverty. Tourism demands effective organization, such as, coordinated tour operating agencies, good transportation networks, hospitality industry. Tourism is an expensive business as the following figures show.
For example, in 2004 Germany spent more than $ 71 bn on tourism while its receipts were only $ 27.6 bn. The USA in the same year spent $ 65.5 bn, its receipts were $ 74.5 bn, that is the USA was better off. Japan spent about $ 38.2 bn, and its receipts were $ 11.2 bn, giving a deficit of $ 27 bn. The figures for the UK were expenditure $ 56.5 bn, and receipts were $ 28.2 bn recording a loss of $ 28.3 bn. These figures should not be allowed to disrupt attempts at developing the tourism industry because of its educational potentials.
The Author is
Associate Professor at
Zambia Open University.