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Chapter 10 Destination Development. Learning Objectives. appreciate the importance of the destination life cycle concept to tourism managers describe the destination life cycle model as presented in the Butler sequence

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Chapter 10 Destination Development

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learning objectives
Learning Objectives
  • appreciate the importance of the destination life cycle concept to tourism managers
  • describe the destination life cycle model as presented in the Butler sequence
  • explain how different elements of the tourism experience can be incorporated into the destination life cycle model
understand the strengths and limitations of the Butler sequence, and of the destination life cycle concept in general, as a device to assist destination managers
  • categorize the factors that contribute to changes in the destination life cycle process
explain how tourism development at a national scale can be described as a process of contagious and hierarchical spatial diffusion
  • describe how the destination life cycle concept can be accommodated within the pattern of tourism development that occurs at the national scale.
10 1 introduction
10.1 Introduction

This chapter examines the process of destination development, which to a large extent integrates the content of earlier chapters. Consider the concept of destination life cycles, and focuses specifically on the Butter sequence, which is the most frequently cited and applied destination life cycle model.

This section also provides a critique of the model, and examines the factors that can contribute to change in the cycle. The dynamics of tourism development at a national scale, which are not adequately described by the life cycle concept, are considered. The concept spatial diffusion is presented as a model that more appropriately describes the evolution of tourism at a national scale.
10 2 destination life cycle and the butler sequence
10.2 destination life cycle and the butler sequence
  • The destination life cycle, this suggests, should not be regarded as an unavoidable process, but rather one that can be re-directed through appropriate management measures to realize the outcomes that are desired by destination stakeholders .
10 2 1 the butter sequence
10.2.1 The Butter sequence





Number of visitor












Number of visitor


First, the model is a very simple one , being based on a concept –the product life cycle curve- that has long been used by economists and marketers to describe the behaviour of the market in purchasing consumer goods such as televisions and cars.
Second, Butler’s model has intuitive appeal, in that anyone who has traveled extensively or who has participated in the field of tourism studies will probably agree that some kind of life cycle dynamic is indeed evident across a broad array of destination.
Third, to elaborate on the previous point, the Butler sequence is a comprehensive, integrated model that allows for the simultaneous incorporation of all facets of the tourism experience.

Exploration:the earliest stage, characterized by very few tourist arrivals and very little impact associated with tourism.

The natural and social economic environment of the destination has not changed because of travel.

The Arctic Ocean region, Latin America and Canada in the Antarctica are placed in this stage.


Involvement: the second stage, where the local community responds to the opportunities created by tourism by offering specialized services: associated with a gradual increase in visitor numbers.

The natural and social economic environment of the destination has not changed because of travel.

The Arctic Ocean region, Latin America and Canada the Antarctica are placed in this stage.


Development:the third stage, at which a huge perfect tour market has already been established, drawing great quantities of foreign investment.

the number of tourist continues to soar.

The transportation condition, local facilities etc . all got the tremendous improvement.

The advertisement promotes sales.

The modern and large-scale facilities have already changed the image of the destination.

The travel industry develops quickly and destination becomes partially dependent in foreign labor force and assistance facilities.
  • This stage should prevent from abusing the facilities excessively, as a result the programming project of the nation or region seems to be as importance.
  • Parts of regions of Mexico, the north belongs to this stage.

Consolidation: the fourth stage, which is characterized by a decline in the growth rate of visitors and other tourism-related activity, although the actual amount of activity continues to increase.

The local residents have the bad impression towards tourist arrivals already. The facilities of the past declines for the second class facilities now are already not the place that the people look forward to.

Most and parts of Caribbean and north region of Mediterranean belong to this stage.


Stagnation: the fifth stage wherein visitor numbers and tourism growth stagnate due to the deterioration of the product.

At this stage, the tour environment capacity reaches or exceeds the biggest limit already; causes many economical, social and the environmental problems.

The problem of surplus capacity persists, prompting frequent price wars that lead to further product deterioration and bankruptcies, because of the high fixed coasts involved in the sector.
  • The destination is perceived to be “out of fashion”.

Decline:The six stage (option A) at which the decline will occur as a result of some combination of the following factors:

repeat clients are no longer satisfied with the available product, while others are no longer able to recruit new visitors fail.

no attempts are made by destination stakeholders to revitalize the local tourist product, or these attempts are unsuccessful.
  • resident antagonism progress to the level of outright and widespread hostility.
  • new competitors, and particularly intervening opportunities, emerge to divert and capture traditional market sources.

Rejuvenation:the six stage (Option B) a renewed development-like growth occurs if steps are taken to revitalize the tourism product offered by the destination.

Rejuvenation is almost always accompanied by the introduction of entirely new tourism products, or at least the radical re-imaging of the existing product, as a way of recapturing the destination’s completive advantage and sense of uniqueness.

Success in achieving revitalization is associated with the ability of the public and private sectors to cooperate in focusing o what each does best. The effort to redevelop the product must reflect the significant market trends. Many destinations of the England and North Europe all belong to this kind.
10 2 2 inspiration of the butter sequence
10.2.2 Inspiration of the Butter sequence

The destination life cycle theories bring on many important functions:

adopt the homologous measure to prolong its life cycle possibly.

predict the destination future development trend

provide farsighted basis to managers to establish marketing strategies

10 2 3 critique of the butter sequence
10.2.3 Critique of the Butter sequence

The life cycle of the different destination is quite different: Some of theme parks attain the mature period particularly after 2-3 years, and then head for the comedown right away.

The life cycle curve is affect by a lot of external factors: competing environment, the change of the consumer goods price, the change of the consumer taste and laws etc.

The theory of destination life cycle can’t be a perfect tool. The reasons include: difficult confirmation of the conversion order; and the different life cycle rely on difference geography. From the aspect of the marketing, the theory does not take into account the niche market and ignores the segmentation of the markets.

Figure 10.2Alternative responses to the Butler sequence



Butler curve

Carrying capacity thresholds

Number of visitors

Butler threshold

Number of visitors



Increase carrying capacity in conjunction with increased tourism numbers

Maintain tourist numbers below existing carrying capacitythresholds

10 3 factors that change the destination life cycle
10.3 Factors that change the destination life cycle
  • The original and ongoing actions that influence the evolution of tourism in destinations can be positioned within a simple four-cell matrix model of life cycle trigger-factors.






10 3 1 internet intentional actions
10.3.1 Internet-intentional actions
  • From a destination perspective, the ‘ideal’ situation involves that originate deliberately from within the destination, or internal-intentional actions.
  • infrastructure upgrading
  • effective marketing campaigns
  • pole-type strategy

1.entry fees

2.infrastructure restrictions

10 3 2 external unintentional actions
10.3.2 External-unintentional actions

Trigger factors that originate from beyond the destination, and in an unintentional way, can be described as external-unintentional actions.

  • cyclones
  • global warming
  • political chaos
  • global recession
  • Asian economic crisis
10 3 3 internal unintentional actions
10.3.3 Internal-unintentional actions:
  • Internal-unintentional actions, as with external-intentional actions, are intermediate between the first two categories with respect to the control that can be exercised by the destination.
10 3 4 external intentional actions
10.3.4 External-intentional actions:
  • The opposite situation is described by external-intentional actions. In such situations there may be relatively little that the destination can do to influence these events. However, they may be aware of them in advance in some case, perhaps taking some adaptive strategies.
10 4 national sustainable tourism development
10.4 National sustainable tourism development

(a)Hierarchical diffusion

Top city

(b)Contagious diffusion

Second order city

Third order city

Four order city

10 4 1 spatial diffusion
10.4.1 Spatial diffusion:
  • Spatial diffusion can be either contagious or hierarchical. In hierarchical diffusion, the idea or innovation originates in the largest urban centre, and gradually spreads through communications and transportation systems to smaller centres within the urban hierarchy.
10 4 2 hierarchical diffusion
10.4.2 Hierarchical diffusion:
  • The concentration of tourism activity in urban areas can be seen as a manifestation of hierarchical diffusion. This relates to the observation that a country’s largest city (e.g. Paris, Sydeney, Toronto, New York, Nairobi) is most likely to function as the primary gateway for inbound tourists. Also because of its prominence, it is likely to contain sites and events of interest to tourists (e.g. opera house, parliament buildings, museums, etc.). The dominant city, then, is often the first area to host international tourism activity. Moreover, for the same reasons, this centre also acts as a magnet for domestic visitors.
1 0 4 3 contagious diffusion
10.4.3 Contagious diffusion:
  • The effects of contagious diffusion follow on from the effects of hierarchical diffusion in two ways. First, as cities grow, they emerge as significant domestic tourism markets in their own right. This leads to the development of recreational hinterlands around these cities.
case study the undara experience
Case studyThe Undara Experience
  • Questions
  • 1. How might the ‘dedicated ecotourism’ market be attracted to the Undara Experience?
  • 2. (a) What diversification strategies would you recommend to the management of the Lodge, given their desire to maintain the integrity of the environment while minimizing financial costs?
  • (b) On what grounds do you justify your suggestions?
3. Do you agree with the statement that perhaps there is no such thing as the ecotourist?
  • 4. Identify a local business (e.g. accommodation, tour operator, attraction) that markets itself as an ecotourism operation. Visit this business and try to establish:
  • (a) Whether the basic ecotourism criteria are met.
  • (b) If there any developments occurring internal or external to the operation that threaten its ecotourism-related characteristics.

Thank You !