Adapting the TDM-Model in the Development of Tourism in Harghita County

Article excerpt

Introduction

In a recently published paper we were concerned with the concept of the Tourism Destination Management (TDM) focusing to the Giurgeu Basin, located in the northern part of the Harghita county. Now, we try to extend this concept to the whole county in the context of elaborating the Tourism Development Strategy of Harghita county. Elaboration of this strategy started in October 2008, by the signing of a contract between the County Council and a consulting company, located in the seat of the county, Miercurea Ciuc. The work began by assessing a project team, data acquisition and the consulting with the representatives of public administration (on county and settlement levels), then should continue with discussions with groups of tourism entrepreneurs and individuals from the non-governmental sector. The aim of planning process is that the involved parties in the county's tourism (enterprises, local authorities, NGOs) will elaborate a guiding document for their development efforts and investment objectives. This planning document should be a supporting instrument for the bottom-up built tourism policy, which will be coordinated by the county council in partnership with tourism stakeholders. It should be mainly a communication instrument, which points out the principles, priorities, guiding directions of tourism development in different areas from the county.

The concept of the TDM can be a theoretical framework for interpretation of the maintenance and influencing of the tourism system, which contains many different elements, like resources for attraction-development, basic and tourism infrastructure and superstructure, the management of tourism enterprises and so on.

1. Tourism Destination Management: What Is This?

The TDM is a complex of activities, which is necessary for attracting visitors and providing them perfect travel sensations in the course of staying in destination whilst the circulation of tourists have positive effects on socioeconomic and natural environment of the local communities both in short and in long term (Lengyel 2008). The aim of TDM is creating and maintaining a competitive and sustainable tourism system in a tourist receiving area. A destination is an area, which can provide a complex tourism product, the location of the supply in larger sense. The territorial product integrates tourism products defined both like macro products and microproducts (Michalko 2007).

1.1. Objectives and activities of TDM

According to the TDM's aim, creating and maintaining a competitive and sustainable tourism, the objectives of tourism development could be conceived by adapting the VICE-model, and accepting the double integration of tourism in the course of the planning process (Lengyel 2008). Visitors, Industry, Community and Environment represents different interests both in economic and in social, cultural, environmental fields. These interests must be conciliated by the TDM's decision-makers. The double integration means that the elements of the tourism system must be integrated (internal integration), on the other hand, the tourism system ought to be integrated in the socio-cultural, economic, technical, political and natural environment as well (external integration). But, do the premises of a TDM really exist in the studied area? If we define the TDM like tourism policy at local/regional level (Hall 1994, Ritchie and Crouch 2003), we can identify some of the existing premises in the creating of a TDM (Horvath and Peteley 2008).

TDM includes the following activities: territorial planning of tourism development, adopting decisions concerning the implementation of tourism strategies, project generating, attracting investors, management of tourism resources and attractions, quality assurance of tourism services (accommodation, hospitality, entertainment, animation etc.), human resources management, education and professional forming, perfection etc. …