Green Economy Planning in Tourism Destinations: An Integrated, Multi-Method Decision Support Aid

By McGrath, G. Michael; Law, Alexandra et al. | The Journal of Developing Areas, January 1, 2015 | Go to article overview

Green Economy Planning in Tourism Destinations: An Integrated, Multi-Method Decision Support Aid


McGrath, G. Michael, Law, Alexandra, DeLacy, Terry, The Journal of Developing Areas


INTRODUCTION

Information technology can assist in managing the complexity inherent in developing and specifying green tourism strategies. In addition, the analytical tools and simulation features of modern decision support systems (DSSs) can be used to advantage in evaluating the possible impacts of proposed strategies. In this paper, the design and application of a DSS that meets these requirements is detailed. The system is called GETS (Green Economy Tourism System) and, to date, it has been applied in the field in separate studies at a number of locations (see e.g. Law et al, 2012). This paper is more technical, with a focus on the system features that permit iterative development, low-impact maintenance and functionality, and information sharing.

The paper is organized as follows: the framework employed to integrate system models at different levels of detail is presented in the following section. A case study, concerned with Bali, Indonesia, is then introduced and examples of how different GETS components share data is outlined. The final section contains concluding remarks.

MODELS: A UNIFYING FRAMEWORK

Background

Masuch (1992) has suggested that neither the quantitative or qualitative approaches are intrinsically superior in DSS work and that the majority of non-trivial modelling exercises demand that a combination of both methods be employed. This is consistent with the view of Curtis et al. (1992) who have argued that different aims, disparate user profiles, contradictory requirements, the need to use the same model constructs in a variety of system components and the need for both large and small-grained levels of abstraction all demand decision support models permitting multi-paradigm representations. A DSS modelling, 3-level framework that meets these requirements is presented in Figure 1. In developing this framework we have drawn on the work of IS0 Technical Committee 97 in defining the foundations of the 3-schema database management system architecture (van Griethuysen, 1982).

The UoD refers to that collection of objects, from a real or postulated world that is being described - in our case, the world of interest is centered on green economy tourism. The conceptual model defines the objects of the UoD, including rules governing allowable classifications, states, transitions and constraints (van Griethuysen, 1982) and the external model or user view is a mapping from all or part of a conceptual model to a language or representational form of the user's choosing (van Griethuysen, 1982).

The conceptual model is specified in an abstracted form and this produces a number of benefits, including: i) where appropriate, common functionality may be coded around the abstracted view, leading to a reduction in system development effort; ii) integration of DSS applications, developed around external views, is facilitated because core data types are all mapped back to the common conceptual view (model); iii) better integration means that functionality may be more conveniently shared between applications (which also means less coding effort); and iv) ongoing system maintenance is reduced (again resulting in a reduction of total development effort).

An illustration of part of the conceptual model is presented in Figure 2. The model is represented in entity-relationship form (Chen, 1976), it is highly abstracted and it is a common denominator schema, as defined by Curtis et al. (1992): i.e. it consists of only the core domain constructs, without any peripheral or presentation-level detail. The entity-relationship approach has been employed not because of its intrinsic superiority (over alternative modelling formalisms) but because: i) it is ubiquitous within the information systems development industry and has been for over 30 years; ii) there is a well-defined abstraction process for entity-relationship models that employs much the same "super" entity types used within most data and process modelling; and iii) the principal motivation for Chen's (op cit. …

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