Visitor management in action: an analysis of the development and implementation of visitor management models at Jenolan Caves and Kangaroo Island

  • Simon McArthur

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Many of the places that people value are the places they wish to visit and experience for themselves. However, each person that visits one of these places can cause impacts that reduce its value. A fundamental aim of visitor management therefore is to ensure that each visitor's experience is a high quality one, and is sustainable. Various models have been designed to assist with this aim by linking visitor management planning, monitoring and decision making. However, there is a lack of published examples of how visitor management models have been implemented, what results they have yielded, and how well they have performed. There is also a lack of evidence of widespread application of such models. Without information and insight, there is only a theoretical case to argue for the greater use of visitor management models. The aim of this study was therefore to describe, analyse and explain the formulation and implementation of the most widely published visitor management models, with reference to case studies of Jenolan Caves (New South Wales) and Kangaroo Island (South Australia). The study involved: a literature review; personal observations by the author; in-depth interviews with those involved in developing and implementing the two case studies; and an objective analysis using a Goals Achievement Matrix. The thesis critically examined seven visitor management models with respect to their: evolution and definition; dimensions and planning and development approaches; documented applications in Australia and overseas; and limitations. This would appear to be the first time that these models have been critically examined in this way so that comparisons can be easily made between them. This would also appear to be the most comprehensive identification of examples of implemented visitor management models in Australia. The study identified five critical issues relating to development and implementation of visitor management models: 1. Poor planning hmeworks and poorly defined organisational culture, particularly in visitor and tourism management. 2. Lack of, or inconsistent human and financial resources. 3. Resistance to involving stakeholders in fundamental decision-making. 4. Difficulty in choosing the right model for the situation. 5. Lack of strategic emphasis and technical ability. The study suggested that more effort needed to be made in the pre-development and implementation phases. Critical to such efforts is the development of an implementation plan, written as part of the development process. The implementation plan requires an individual(s) to take on a strategic coordination role that addresses marketing, staff development, budgeting, evaluation and areas for improvement. The study suggested that the conventional emphasis on technical expertise needs to be re-balanced with political skills to lobby for and protect the human and financial resources needed to implement a model long enough for it to prove its value. In the event where resourcing is too limited to fully operationalise an entire model at once, it was recommended to conservatively develop a portion of the chosen model all the way to the stage in which it delivers results that can be marketed to stakeholders. Finally, the study proposed a tool to assist visitor managers to clarify their need for a model, as well as their capability to develop and implement one. In the absence of sufficient information about the implementation of models, the tool empowers managers to consider the - merits of using a visitor management model further, and to select a model that best meets their needs.
    Date of Award2000
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorJohn Jenkins (Supervisor) & Josette WELLS (Supervisor)

    Cite this