England has shown massive changes in demographics, psychographics, technographics and behaviorally in the last fifty years or so, Laws and Le Pelley (2000). The main reason is supposed to be the innovation revolution in the sector if Information Technology which changed the roots of the economic structure of England. Also small tows and cities had to shift themselves to service based economy to meet the economic transformation in the past, Hall (2000) and Pride (2002). This eventually ‘transformed’ their tourism development in the end. As a matter of fact, Cambridge was successful is this transformation and is renowned for its University of Cambridge and considered to be the heart of high-tech center Silicon Fen, Maitland(2005).
Ashworth and Tunbridge (2000) explain that managing historic tourism is not an easy job. It has to be supervised with different ways within a same geographical area where no single model can be deduced for effective working. 4.1 million visitors in Cambridge 2001 (Cambridge City Council 2001) is a large number to handle. According to Davidson and Maitland (1997) most of the visitors do not tend to stay for long in Cambridge but prefer a one day trip which creates a tourism management problem. For the reason there should be adequate cheap hotels and restaurants in Cambridge so that people feel attracted to stay, Mshenga (2007).
Cambridge Tourism Strategies were formulated in 1978, 1985, 1990, 1995 and 2001. Strategic implementations were to be done on following broad basis:
- Increase and Maximization benefit from tourism
- Tourism problems and environmental protection issues
- The visitor experience
- Type of tourism sector development
- Making tourism more effective and sustainable
The analysis show that Cambridge was not provided with adequate national level policy for tourism. It was not until 1990 when the Government realized the importance of Cambridge on national level with a proper ‘tourism’ policy to be formed and implemented. It is worth importance giving that Development Plans and Regional Planning Guidance (HMSO 1992) included tourism as one of the key factor to be used for local economic development and declared a serious notion for having strategic and comprehensive tourism policy for cities like Cambridge, Oxford, etc. Pedr (2006) explains that there should be attributes which should be able to distinguish once place from other. Infact, such towns (like Cambridge) should work for building native assets based on richness in their culture, heritage and avail the significant opportunity to exploit tourism; where the city is rich in its tangible and intangible assets. Intangible assets are the native stories and tales which could also attract the attention of tourism in the city.
It is observed that the number of tourists coming in Cambridge showed an upward trend but the basic problems remained the same- the infrastructure to utilize maximum benefits from tourism.
Problems and Challenges faced by DMOs
Destination marketing organizations are NPS which aim at generating more tourism in the area. Gretzel et al (2008) figures out following challenges to DMO which are well applicable in the cultural and geographical context of Cambridge:
- Adapting the technological change
- Managing expectations
- Shifting the nucleus from destination marketing to destination management
- Facing the new levels of competition
- Creativity and external partnership in the work
- Finding new measures and areas of success
As a matter of fact, above mentioned problems are the basic problems that are problematic for DMO in Cambridge. Technological advancements vary from place to place. Therefore interactive website of Cambridge (visitcambridge.com) is also sometimes not able to fulfill the unique needs of people. On the other hand, there is a lack of leadership role of DMO in local communities of Cambridge where there is an evidence of growing number of constituency, O’Leary (2008). There is a need for ‘community relation plans’ which would enhance communicating more effectively be realizing and further implementing the changes in consumer behavior for tourism.
DMOs in Cambridge also have to fight in the free market for their share of tourism with all other destination like Wales, etc which give good tourism facilities. On the other hand there is an emergence of for-profit destination management companies which care for their profits; not the overall tourism well-being. Also, the DMOs in Cambridge are endowed with very little support and funding by the government, hence they lack in promotional activities.
External partnerships are also much effective to formulate. DMOs of different geographical regions can be approached by Cambridge for mutual interests and exchange of tourists in one another’s city. There is another problem of ‘benchmarking’ and ‘standards’ for DMOs, hence the accountability is much difficult. There should be proper working done so that effective benchmarks could be developed for DMOs of Cambridge and their productivity could be enhanced.
DMOs in Cambridge also face problems for product development and serious marketing efforts as many American tourism destinations have ‘capitalized’ their heritage spots. The marketing should also be done emphasizing the key historic value of the place. Also, the service industry has to take part in the whole exercise. DMOs should take the help of Entrepreneurial activities in the region which would also play an important part to boost tourism, Gouveria and Duarte (2001). This can serve as a dual advantage as will get a competitive advantage for Cambridge for tourism development and employment opportunities, Ashley et al
(2007). As a matter of fact, Cambridge City Council (2001) also emphasizes that Cambridge must utilize all of its tourism assets, products and experiences in order to reap maximum economic benefits. There should be serious steps to promote Cambridge as a proper tourist spot, not a one-day trip resort for universities and as a country site. Museums can be used and there is a serious need for the development of hotel and restaurant industry to be established.
There are many prevailing problems as far as tourism policies are to be formulated. Murphy and Murphy (2004) explain that there is a danger of misinterpretations and negative outcomes in the future and local and tourists have different interests and thought patterns. Particular care has to be given by the DMOs. On the other hand marketing is another difficult aspect which should be given importance to promote culture, Couto et al (2006)
Cambridge enjoys a heritage of hundred of years yet lacks in ‘market-ready’ heritage products which could boost tourism. On the other hand Cambridge lacks is using entrepreneurship as a tool to enhance tourism is not been used as Gouveria and Duarte (2001) which would upgrade the structure for tourism. Also, Cambridge does not have a well developed museum sector, Cambridge Heritage Master Plan (2008).These facets in community make it further easier to make them as more appealing and attractive to residents, future residents and business travelers in Cambridge. Hence, community development becomes supportive and will enhance tourism in Cambridge. It will also support the tourists to stay in Cambridge for a longer period of time.
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