Date of Award

5-2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management

Advisor

Norman, William

Committee Member

Anderson , Paul

Committee Member

Lauria , Mickey

Committee Member

McGuire , Francis

Committee Member

Nocks , Barry

Committee Member

Ramshaw , Gregory

Abstract

The dissertation investigates how a medium-sized U.S. city (Charleston, SC) transformed itself from an old depressed port, with a predominance of manufacturing industries, to one that is a popular international tourist destination. The research seeks to answer the following questions:
* What urban processes have been most influential in shaping the tourism product?
* Can Butler's Tourism Area Life Cycle (TALC) model be used as a basis for measuring tourism growth in the Tourism Business District of a U.S. city?
* Is the change in a city's business structure related to the growth of the tourism industry?
* What measures have to be taken by the public and private sectors to develop and maintain the tourist product in the Tourism Business District?
* What other factors are important to the growth and success of a destination?
The TALC model is examined by looking at the changes in business structure over a hundred year period from 1899-1999. 'Snapshots' are taken every twenty years using business data taken from city street directories. For tourism businesses (accommodations, restaurants, antique stores and gift shops), the snapshots are taken every five years to obtain a more accurate picture of growth and change. The analysis also includes graphs of tourist visitation rates and expenditures and maps of the central area of Charleston.
An historical analysis helps to explain why some of the changes in Charleston's business took place and how tourism became the leading industry in the area. Topics such as events, advertising, beautification, facility development and tourism management give a picture of the tourism development process in the community. The study concludes that while the city may go through cycles of business growth, change and decline, tourism is not always affected by those cycles. Exogenous factors like recessions, gas shortages and price rises, have far more impact on tourism. Butler's model is suitable for a description of tourism development but there needs to be more focus on the process and evolution of tourism management and planning as tools for maintaining the urban tourism product and in a multifunctional city some better measures of estimating tourist numbers.

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