Developing Successful and Sustainable Tourism Destinations based on the 5 A’s of Tourism

PGI’s approach to design Sustainable Tourism Destinations is done through the identification and design of competitive business models that use experiences as the differentiator, to attract investors and trade agents.

There can be no tourism without a destination, therefore we create strategic master plans that focus on the development of sustainable tourism destinations.

A Destination is defined by the UNWTO as

A physical space in which a visitor spends at least one overnight. It includes tourism products such as support services and attractions, and tourism resources within a day’s return travel time. It has physical and administrative boundaries defining its management, and images and perceptions defining its market competitiveness.

Nowadays, all Tourism Development must adhere to Sustainable Principles. Sustainable Tourism is defined by the UNWTO as

Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities.

For a destination to develop and sustain itself, PGI works on five elements that are critical. These are generally known as the 5 A’s of tourism and have proven to be a very useful model in helping newcomers to the tourism industry understand its complexity and appreciate it beyond individual sites and see it as an ecosystem.

Where does this concept from? It was developed in 1997 by Sharron Dickman and is used by several tourism destinations around the world (e.g. West Tourism Australia among others).

The 5 A’s of Tourism synthesise everything that must be considered when developing a tourism development strategy for a particular tourism destination (either emerging or consolidated). Assessing and carefully considering the needs of tourists is at the heart of PGI’s sustainable tourism planning methodological approach.

  1. Access

Globally, air transport dominates the movement of international tourists. Roads and private motor vehicles also serve as significant forms of access. A healthy ground touring sector, either day or extended bus/coach tours, and rail, is also required to serve the needs of tourists who prefer not to transport themselves.

  1. Attractions

A tourist attraction is a place of interest that tourists visit, typically for its inherent or exhibited cultural value, historical significance, natural or built beauty, or amusement opportunities.

Some examples include historical places, monuments, zoos, museums and art galleries, botanical gardens, buildings and structures (e.g., castles, libraries, former prisons, skyscrapers, bridges), national parks and forests, theme parks and carnivals, ethnic enclave communities, historic trains and cultural events. Many tourist attractions are also landmarks.

  1. Activities

Attractions are generally supported by activities. Activities are the things that tourists do, active or passive, and include a very broad range – from shopping and dining to various sports (individual and or team), country pursuits (hunting, fishing, and equestrian), or specialist interest activities like art, photography, cookery, etc.

Attractions are often supported by a range of activities. For example, a beach attraction may have wind surfing, body surfing and surf boarding activities, while a treetop walk attraction may have numerous trails through the surrounding forest area for fauna and bird watching and botany activities.

  1. Accommodation

All destinations need accommodation nearby otherwise tourists will have nowhere to sleep. In recent years the market has seen a proliferation of accommodation types from basic camping facilities to resorts. Successful accommodation development, more than ever before, depends on building the right type of facility to suit the needs of profitable market segments.

  1. Amenities

Amenities are the services that are required to meet the needs of tourists while they are away from home. They include public toilets, signage, retail shopping, restaurants and cafes, tourist centres, telecommunications and emergency services.

Because many amenities are government services delivered by local, regional and national agencies, a high degree of co-operation is needed, particularly where tourist services may be seen to be competing with the needs of local residents.

The 5 A’s of Tourism listed above cover everything that is required to develop a successful destination.

PGI has a solid experience elaborating Tourism Development Master Plans (TDMP) which are strategies, that include a plan, to guide the appropriate use of resources, including land, aiming for sustainable tourism development.

This endeavours to enhance and support the growth of the Tourism Sector, balancing supply against demand to ensure profitability for investors and operators; protecting existing tourism assets and resources (i.e. supply), and safeguarding, and or improving, welfare and prosperity of local resident communities (i.e. sustainable development in its true sense).