Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Coastal tourist resorts: history, development and models

Richard Butler


This paper begins with a brief review of the historical development of coastal tourist destinations and the links between their characteristic design and structure, their markets and the means of access for visitors. It notes that early resorts were often developed by the transportation companies bringing visitors to them with a very distinctive purpose-focused morphology that still exists in many older resorts because it is still highly efficient today. It then discusses some of the models which have been created to explain these patterns of development and location, focusing particularly upon the Tourism Area Life Cycle model, the most cited of these frameworks in the literature. This model suggests that the pattern of development of most resorts goes through a series of stages from exploration to stagnation followed by a series of possible outcomes. The final stage depends upon management interventions being put into practice in earlier stages. If such interventions are not made by the appropriate agencies it is argued that a resort will fall into decline and experience great difficulty in rejuvenating itself and regaining its original or a new market. The paper concludes with a review of some of the applications and suggested modifications of the Tourism Area Life Cycle model, followed by some thoughts on potential future areas of research into resort development.

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