Theory Of Sustainable Tourism Tourism Essay

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Introduction and motivation

In the existing theories, many researches in the aspect of sustainability and tourism have been studied. For instance, House (1997) infers a political dimension to the application of sustainability in tourism. Holden (2001) also claims that both 'tourism' and the 'sustainability' represent complicated concepts, and both can be interpreted as intricate systems, where actions taken in one part of the system have consequences for its other component parts. However, a majority of the existed theories studies on the relationship between the sustainability and the whole global tourism industry. There are fewer topics and studies just focus on the place of St Andrews, and meanwhile, there are fewer studies combining the sustainability and sport tourism together. This is one reason for choosing the topic of golf sport tourism sustainability in St Andrews. Mentioned other reasons why the topic is chosen, there are several explanations. Firstly, St Andrews is a very small town but with a high international reputation due to the golf sport tourism. Secondly, based on some existed researches, it can be seen that the tourism industry here is one of the main revenue. The number of tourists who come here for travelling increases every year. The study of sustainability becomes more important these days. Thirdly, I want to provide some useful suggestions after researching, to the home of golf --- St Andrews.

This paper will mainly study how to enhance the sustainability of St Andrews sport tourism. It can be divided into four parts: literature review, current situation of St Andrews sport tourism, methods and suggestions. At the first stage, the theories which are related to the study objective will be collected --- theory of sustainability and tourism, theory of sport tourism and theory of tourism planning. In the second part, the current situation of tourists in St Andrews will be discussed, and at the seam time, it offers some methods to improve these situations and aim to enhance sustainability of St Andrews golf sport tourism. In the third part, it mainly discusses some efforts which provided by government, and it gives some other suggestions for government. At last, some suggestions to different groups besides government will be proposed, for instance, non-government organizations, individual tourist, etc.

Literature review

theory of sustainable tourism

After reading some important researches, sustainable tourism can be divided into two aspects: environment sustainability and economic sustainability. Mathieson and Wall (1982) emphasize the diverse environmental, economic and social structures. Holden (2001) also advocates sustainable tourism emphasis on the customer and marketing consideration of tourism to sustain the tourism sector, and using tourism as a vehicle to achieve 'sustainable development', in which emphasis is placed on developing tourism as a means to achieve wider social and environmental goals. On the other hand, both Coccossis and Parpairis (1996) and Hunter (1996) identify a form of sustainable tourism which is oriented toward the viability of the tourism industry. Coccossis refers to this as the "economic sustainability of tourism" and Hunter as the "tourism imperative". The aim of development is primarily concerned with satisfying the needs of tourists and players in the industry. Furthermore, sustainable tourism management is not a value-free concept, a point seldom mentioned in the literature (Bramwell, 1996). Come what way, the sustainable tourism is becoming more and more important in modern society. Additionally, Inskeep (1991) infers that the goals of sustainable tourism are:

To develop greater awareness and understanding of the significant contributions that tourism can make to the environment and the economy;

To promote equity in development;

To improve the quality of experience for the visitor; and

To maintain the quality of the environment on which the foregoing objectives depend.

theory of golf sport tourism

Sport tourism is not a totally modern phenomenon, which appeared a long time ago. The earliest documented example of sport tourism is that of the Olympic Games which date from 776 BC (Finley and Pleket, 1976). However, sport tourism --- especially golf sport tourism has only recently become the focus of concentrated academic inquiry. Weed and Bull (2004) said that, "In the second half of twentieth century and, especially in the last couple of decades, the expansion of golf sports tourism was extremely dramatic." Even a golf sport tourism framework provided by Gammon & Robinson (2003) appears before our eyes.

Golf Sport Tourism

hard definition soft definition

Passive or active participation at a competitive golf sport; primarily active recreational participation in golf sport

Tourists who as a secondary reinforcement passively or actively participate in sport

Active golf sport:

pitch and putt, crazy golf, mini golf, putting, driving ranges, target golf.

Competitive golf sport:

British Open Championship.

European Tour.

Veterans Tour.

Amateur Championships.

Dunhill Cup.

World Matchplay.

Ladies Golf tournaments.

Junior Events.

Golf holiday breaks

Golf complexes

Holiday villa complexes with golf courses

Hotels with Golf courses

Golf Fantasy camps



Watching event

Source: Application of the consumer classification framework of sport and tourism - Golf (Gammon & Robinson 2003).

theory of tourism promotion

Rowley (1998) said, "Promotion is used to communicate with customers with respect to product offerings." Promotion has a key role in determining profitability and market success and is one of the key "4Ps" of the marketing mix (Dibb et al., 1994). Promotional strategy includes advertising, direct marketing, sales promotions, public relations and publicity, personal selling, and sponsorship. Promotion strategy is concerned with ensuring that customers are aware of the products that the organization makes available to those customers (Rowley, 1998). In many industries, promotions represents a significant percentage of the company budget, because promotion strategy can increase sales; create or improve brand recognition; maintain or improve market share; create a favorable climate for future sales; inform and educate the market; create a competitive advantage, relative to competitor's products or market position; improve promotional efficiency (Rowley, 1998).  

Current situation and improvement of St Andrews golf sport tourism

As mentioned in literature review, sustainable tourism development can be thought of as meeting the needs of present tourists and host regions, and at the same time protecting and enhancing opportunity for the future. Shifting the focus away from the traditional 'growth versus development' argument, nowadays, the focus is increasingly on opportunities for employment, income and improved local well-being, and meanwhile ensuring that all development decisions reflect the full value of the natural and cultural environment.

Environmental sustainability

The natural environment plays a significant role in improving sustainability. As Inskeep (1991) advocated, the environment is tourism's base, meanwhile the tourism shapes and affects the environment. In terms of the environment sustainability, St Andrews golf sport tourism set a good example in protecting the environment to fulfil the golf sustainability. There are several aspects that are able to be studied. To begin with, surroundings near the golf courses are conserved so well. At the same time, it also creates picturesque land of natural beauty. Travelers could play golf while enjoy the scenery. All the golf courses in St Andrews are built like a holiday village. Most visitors come here to play golf for the purpose of not only the golf but also the beautiful scenery. Based on our group work, through interview, it is known that some travelers come here especially for the sightseeing. Therefore, it can be seen that the term of environment conservation improve the sustainability of golf sport tourism in St Andrews. What is more, being seaside is one of the important distinctive features. Conservation and improvement of sea brings abundant of potential chances. For example, there are so many movable houses near the sea, which are just for travelers living. From this, it can be seen that it is worthy to learn of making best use of local resource advantages. The last and the most important one, all the resources including natural environment, air, grass and water resource are protected from pollution. It can be learned from the policy, under the conservation of St Andrews government, excepting golf and tourist industry, it is forbidden to carry on the heavy industry development, for maximum protecting local natural and traditional environment and culture.

Economic sustainability

Being another significant ingredient of sustainable development, economic sustainability is done well in St Andrews. However, there is even some space for improvement.

Hard golf sport tourism

For golf active sport in St Andrews, two main aspects namely golf club and university sport center related to this. As far as golf club is concerned, visitors would play pitching, putting, crazy golf, mini golf, driving ranges, target golf, etc. However, in St Andrews the golf course is open to the sky. One indoor golf course could be considered to be built up. Some travelers may not choose to play golf if they meet miserable weather. As far as university sport center is concerned, it already has the program of golf class, which has appeal lots of local students. While, a growing number of visitors come here because of the University of St Andrews, which is with high reputation, Scotland's first university and the third oldest in the English-speaking world (University of St Andrews, 2010). Based on the information, the university sport center could hold summer camp as the subject of golf to attract more visitors with the purpose of not only visiting university, but also playing golf.

For golf event sport tourism in St Andrews, there have been incalculable events held here every year, for example British Open Championship, European Tour, Veterans Tour, Amateur Championships, Dunhill Cup and so on. Every tournament is so successful except little flaws. St Andrews is very small town with the population of 11,000 (BBC news, 2000), however, during the British Open Championship which had just ended, more than 230,000 visitors plus players were in and around St Andrews, and lots of people live in camps during the tournament. It can be seen that the huge potential market existed in St Andrews. Therefore, more hotels and courses should be established in a few years.

soft golf sport tourism

Golf shop

In St Andrews, there are at least 10 golf shops, all of them sell facilities related to golf --- golf equipments, golf wear and golf accessories. To my eye, one golf manufacture should be built up in St Andrews for the reason is that it is the home and cradle of golf. For example, the most famous silk in Suzhou of China, so it has the biggest silk manufacture there to provide products to retailers and also be as a place of tourist spot to attract tourists. By the same token, the golf manufacture in St Andrews not only provide golf facilities to local stores, sell special golf staff to visitors, but also be as a tourist point. So it follows that, St Andrews would become a more golf-related place. In addition, this factory could produce some tailor-made merchandises to high-end clients based on their own requires, for example the world-famous athletes and the celebrated scrounger

Golf museum

The British Golf Museum is probably the best-known golf museum in the world. It was built in St Andrews --- home of golf, close to the place of old course --- cradle of golf. The aim of the museum managers was to make visitors aware of the importance of the golf movement --- to show, by means of images and symbols, that this is not purely a matter of sports competitions, but rather a philosophy of life whose roots are deeply embedded in our history. The museum managers also wanted visitors to rediscover the emotions experienced during playing golf, to relive the beauty of effort and physical movement, the strength of will and joy of victory, and the pleasures of celebration and ceremony.

On the base of the above results¼Œas far as I am concerned, some more interesting things should emerge in the museum to attract more visitors. For example, establish video room --- play backing the golf tournament video over the years; establish pattern room --- collecting fingerprint or footprint of champion over the year and gathering the models of different golf courses. In addition, golf exhibition should be held regularly in St Andrews, and it has different subject in different year.

Government's effort in golf sport tourism sustainability

Sustainability is a matter of concern in various countries worldwide. Governments form every country play an essential role in developing the sustainability and make many contributions to this factor. In Britain, the Department of the Environment (DOE) developed guiding principles sustainable sport tourism in the early 1990s. The contents are as follows.

The environment has an intrinsic value which outweighs its value as a tourism asset. Its enjoyment by future federations and its long-term survival must not be prejudiced by short-term considerations

Sport tourism should be recognized as a positive factor with the potential to benefit the community and the place as well as the visitor

The relationship between sport tourism and the environment must be managed so that the environment is sustainable in the long-term. Sport tourism must not be allowed to damage the resource, prejudice its future enjoyment or bring unacceptable impacts

Sport tourism activities and development should respect the scale, nature and character of the place in which they are sited

In any location, harmony must be sought between the needs of the visitor, the place and the host community

In a dynamic world some change is inevitable and change can often be beneficial. Adaptation to change, however, should not be at the expense of any of these principles

The sport tourism industry, local authorities and environmental agencies all have a duty to respect the above principles and to work together to achieve their practical realization

Source: Department of the Environment (1991:15)

As mentioned before, golf sport tourism is a part of sport tourism, so these guiding principles are available to golf sport tourism as well, and this guiding principles make a far-reaching effect on golf sport tourism in St Andrews. This principle plays an essential role in the sustainable development of golf sport tourism. Besides this principle, government should do more things. Some suggestions are brought out as follows: Firstly, develop and implement new economic indicators which define national well-being in the sustainable development sense. Secondly, designing and implementing educational and awareness programs which will sensitize people to the issues of sustainable tourism development. Thirdly, develop adequate tools and techniques to analyze the effect of tourism development projects on heritage sites as an integral part of cultural and environmental impact assessment.

Suggestion for other organizations

As stated previously, the British government has already played an essential role in developing the golf sport tourism sustainability, apart from government, other non-government organizations or individuals should also make efforts on the golf sport tourism sustainability.

Non-government organization

For environmental sustainability, the organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) should be part of sustainable tourism advisory boards at all levels of industry. They should offer input into sustainable tourism planning and development. They should become more involved in public education concerning --- the economic importance of sustainable tourism development, the sustainable tourism development projects, and so on. They should also offer to other agencies information on locally innovated sustainable tourism products and proposals.

St Andrews tourism department

As the host country, local tourism department should also undertake activities which to a great extent influence local tourism sustainability through the following actions:

Protecting the biosphere by minimizing and eliminating pollution which causes environmental damage.

Sustaining the use of resources which including local land, water and forests.

Reducing and disposing of waste by recycling, reusing and having high standards for sewage treatment and waste disposal.

Providing complete and credible information to tourists by disclosing hazardous locations.

Incorporating environmental values in management of operations by ensuring environmental representation at the management groups.

Individual tourist

As the ultimate user of the environment, it is important that tourists undertake activities which support sustainable tourism development. In this regard, their behavior should be focused on:

Learning about and respecting the human and natural heritage of the host communities, including the geography, history, customs and current local concerns.

Traveling in a culturally and environmentally sensitive manner, refraining from inappropriate behavior which negatively affects the host community or degrades the local natural environment.

Following the environmental regulations in natural and cultural heritage areas.

Supporting resource conservation activities that require assistance in the host countries.


To sum up, this paper mostly focused on a study of golf sport tourism sustainability in St Andrews. It discusses this problem through two aspects namely environmental sustainability and economic sustainability. Based on the place of St Andrews, the organizations included local government did well on contribution of sustainable golf sport tourism development. However, some flaws exists as well, so some suggestions for not only government but also non-government organizations or individual tourists are offered at the second half of this paper.