Interdisciplinary agenda ~ecreafion trends and mountain resort development, April 1991, Vail, Colorado, USA
The ‘Recreation trends and mountain resort development’ conference was convened in April 1991 with the goal of initiating and stimulating dialogues between academics, planners, and resort managers regarding the status and future of recreation and tourism development in mountain areas, and the abilities of mountain environments to sustain such growth pressures. The planned ski resort and mountain community of Vail, Colorado provided an appropriate setting for such timely discussions. Conference organizers Dr Alison Gill (Simon Fraser University, Canada) and Dr Rudi Hartmann (University of Colorado, USA) prepared an agenda that was international in scope, as well 3s integrative in content. The conference attract4 over X0 participants from academia, local and national government agencies, resort and tourism administration, and private planning and consulting firms. Geographers. sociologists, tourism researchers and planners, natural resource managers, community development specialists, landscape designers, economists, and ski industry analysts provided a variety of perspectives about recreation and tourism issues in mountain settings. The conference opened with a lecture by Dr Peter Williams, Director of the Centre for Tourism Policy and Research at Simon Fraser University, Canada, who spoke about trends in recreation and travel in North America. The meetings formally closed two evenings later with a panel discussion by seven experts in public, private, and academic positions, analysing the future of mountain resort development, particularly ski areas, in North America. The conference keynote address was delivered by Professor Tej Vir Sin&, Director of the Centre for Tourism Development Research in Lucknow, India. His comments on strategies for sustainable development
in mountain areas were illustrated with slides which highlighted community efforts to develop heritage tourism whilst m~tintain~ng environmental sensitivity in a Himalaya valley. During the conference over 40 analytic papers, covering a wide variety of topics and locales were presented by scholars from Canada, the USA and Europe. Several themes were evident across the presentations: concerns ahout maintaining and enhancing a community’s sense of identity and charncter during the development process; natural resource conside~ti~~ns in resort development, especially the management of wetlands and compliance with environmental legislation; and the need for regional, rather than simply local, planning and impact assessment in resort and InoLint~iin c~~inmLInity ~ievel(~ptne~it. Specific papers focused on a variety of related topics, including growth issues 011 the local community level, espcci:llly employee housing, visitor transportation. hazard reduction measures, resort fin~~ncing, and environInent~~i concerns; sense of identity and place in community planning and development of mountain resorts; regional economic issues and impacts in mountain tourism development; and intcrnational issues, inciuding travel trends in North America, and potential impacts on ski area development resulting from global climate change. Many of the speakers and participants at the conference were from the Canadian and American Rocky ~tountain region, so naturally western mountain tourism settings such as Vail, Breckenridge, Central City. Aspen, Jackson, Park City, Whistler, Banff and Calgary, received much attention. However, the national and intern~~ti[~nal scope of the conference was evidenced by speakers analysing mountain resorts and communities in Vermont, Ontario, the Great Lakes region, Switzerland, Austria, Yugo-
slavia, the English Lakes region. Norway, and New Zealand. The diversity in participation resulted in both an extraordin~~ry display of colourful regional ski sweaters during the conference’s social events, and also a stimulating collection of experiences and anecdotes which personalized the discussions. One benefit of attendance at these meetings was the opportunity to hear so many superb analytic cam studies clearly focusing on the relationships between people and the mountain environments they inhabit and transform. In addition to the recreation trends conference, particip~l~~ts were able to register for a concurrent seminar entitled ‘Ski area development: obstacles and future strategies’, sponsored by John Fry, editor of S~zow Coltrlrry, and David Rowan. publisher of Ski Aretr .~~i~~f~g~~z~~zf.This seminar, designed specifically for ski resort executives and community and government administrators, was focused on topics important in ski area planning and management, including procedures for conducting cnvironmcntal reviews and audits; ski market supply and demand; community and resort design issues; and communication strategies for successful interactions between managers and interest groups and regulatory agencies. Beyond the formal paper presentations, panel discussions, and professional seminars. several evening ‘fireside chats’ provided in depth analyses of specific people-resource interactions in mountain locales. Thebe evening pr~)gr~iIilInes included a review of the historical ties between Rocky Mountain National Park and the border town of Estes Park; a lecture about design issues in mountain communities; and a retrospcctivc on the history of the ski resort industry. To round out the programme five field trips to local ski resorts in the Colorado Rocky Mountains were coordinated. As ;I whole, the ‘Recreation trends and mountain resort development’ conference gathered togcthrr people who very often work independently in either academe or industry, to provide a forum for the exchange of information. ideas, and insights about tourism
and community development in mountain settings. The success of this venture was confirmed by the spirited discussions and continuing dialogues that arose between members of the various groups who attended. A truly interdisciplinary agenda facilitated a wide variety of perspectives, and the comfortable setting of the Vail Westin resort encouraged both formal and informal interactions. The conference proceedings, containing most of the papers delivered during the meetings, are due to be published by the end of 1991 under the auspices of the Centre for Tourism Policy and Research at Simon Fraser University. These proceedings, edited
by Drs Alison Gill, Rudi Hartmann and Peter Williams, will be available for purchase by contacting the editors at that Centre (Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, V5A 1%). As a result of the positive response and favourable support for this initial conference, follow up conferences are planned. The second recreation trends and mountain resort development conference will probably be held at a site in Utah in 1993.
Patricia A. Stokowski institute of Behavioral Science University of Colorado Boulder, CO 80309, USA
Credibilityin California The following paragraphs briefly summarize the 22nd Annual Conference of the Travel and Tourism Research Association held in Long Beach, California. Conference registrants and members of TTRA will automatically receive a copy of the conference proceedings when they are published. Other readers who wish to receive a copy of the proceedings may order copies from TTRA, Bureau of Economic and Business Research, University of Utah, PO Box 58066, Foothill Station, Salt Lake City, UT 84158, USA.
Richard Irvine, Walt Disney West Coast, delivered the keynote address of the conference. He presented the Seven Deadly Sins of marketing, or ‘How not to blow your credibility.’ 1. Never settle for being credible - be incredible instead. 2. The consumer is not the enemy. 3. Do not be afraid to be many things to many people. 4. True marketing genius is selling twice to the same customer. 5 There are no unimportant jobs. k: Too much credibility may be hazardous to your business. 7. Always give customers more than you have promised. Ronald W. Erdmann, US Travel and Tourism Administration. gave an
overview of the task force on accountability research. Robin Phillips, Florida Division of Tourism, presented results of accountability research undertaken by Barry E. Pitegoff, administrator of the division. Widely varying issues were addressed - their welcome centre programme, travel agency promotions and television advertising. James Burke, Rochester Institute of Technology, explained how researchers can get more from advertising studies. Marketing objectives must bear a strong relationship to measurements that will be used to evaluate the programme - a clear definition of objectives will provide a basis for compnrison of results. Barbara Koth, University of Minne-
sota, moderated a session on tourism centres. Patrick Long, University of Colorado at Boulder, described the development of the Center for Recreation and Tourism Development and discussed the three primary emphases of the centre: research, application and replication. Steve McCool, University of Montana, provided information on the development and activities of the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research and Joseph Fridgen, Michigan State University, traced the development of the Michigan Travel, Tourism and Recreation Resource Center.
Accounting for tourism’s economic impact In a session moderated by Suzanne Cook, US Travel DampCenter, John Murray, The Randolph Group, listed the common pitfalls of impact analysis. These were unrealistically high multipliers, multipliers applied at the wrong scale, strong non-response biases in mail back visitors’ surveys, recall problems associated with expenditure survey data, failure to identify all impacts, double counting of economic impacts, and unbelievably complex methods. David Foote, Banco Latino, discussed the development of resorts in Venezuela. Kathleen Campbell, Statistics Canada, described the Tourism Satellite Accounting System being used to collect tourism data within the context of a total economy.
Tourism and the environment: partners, not adversaries Glare Gunn, Texas A & M University, moderated the session and spoke on the topic of ‘the tourism product redefined’. He provided noteworthy examples of recycling carried out by tourism companies nationwide but noted the lack of creative planning in the development of tourism projects. The importance of understanding the motivations of environmentally oriented tourists was described by Gary Machlis (University of Idaho) through a case study of visitors to the Galapagos Islands.