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Seasonality is a temporal imbalance in the phenomenon of tourism, which may be expressed in terms of dimensions of such elements as numbers of visitors, expenditure of visitors, traffic on highways and other forms of transportation, employment, and admissions to attractions” Butler 2001: 5 Seasonality is defined as a systematic but not a regular effect which has two different origins, natural and institutional. Natural seasonality is the result of regular variation caused by changes in weather which include rainfall, snowfall and daylight.
Natural seasonality increases when the location is further away from the equator, most critical of natural seasonality happens in locations close to the polar extremes. Climate change has had unpredictable effects of natural seasonality factors such as rain/snowfall, temperature, snow depth, and temperature. While the natural seasonality has traditionally been regarded as permanent features, it is becoming clear that climate change is making these less certain and less predictable. The natural environment and resources: Climate; water and soil pollution; waste/litter; over-use of resources. Animal life: Habitats; animal behaviours; eco-systems; and the dangers of the souvenir trade.
The built environment: Over-development; pollution via building work; aesthetic pollution. Institutional seasonality is due to human decisions and are way more difficult to predict than natural seasonality. Institutional seasonality is mostly caused by public holidays (mostly religion and school), fashion such as playing a particular sport at a specific time or activities that have seasonal demands such as hunting and skiing. The major downside that seasonality can bring will be explained further in the text. Natural seasonality mostly relates to temporal variation in natural event (rainfall, sunlight, temperature, snowfall) of which features for certain forms of tourism demand. For example, skiing needs low temperature and a huge amount of snow while water-orientated tourism activates require a warm temperature. Climate, for example, can determine the types of tourist attractions within a destination. Variables include cycles or differences in temperature, hours of sunlight, levels of rainfall and snowfall. If Bornholm can be used as a typical example of a tourist destination in a peripheral region in Northern Europe all evidence is against any serious attempt to promote a resort as an off-season destination.
The major recommendation is to accept seasonality as a fact – not as a problem. ” Lundtorp, Rassing and Wanhill 2001 p. 103. One of the most common forms of institutionalised seasonality, which affects the most on tourism is the public holidays.
These are found in almost all countries, although the dates involved the vary greatly around the world. They were more based on religious and school holidays. Back in the nineteen century public holidays only had a small influence on tourism, however with the new rule of expansion of weekends in two days and longer breaks have made public holidays one of the most influential effects in institutionalised seasonality. Within the public holidays, school holidays are the most significant element of institutionalized seasonality. This is due to tradition of families going to vacation together and the only time possible without the children being absent from school. This case is supported by when most developed countries summer offered the best weather for holiday, whether this was by the beach, mountains or the river. Not only families had to go then, but it was a time that they desired to go. There some other factors that affect the institutionalized seasonality, such as climate, when visiting a cold water resort only a few would visit in the off season when it’s cold and foggy mostly would prefer arriving at summer. Another key point could be destination may have special characteristics that influences the seasonality such as a ski resort having both winter and summer season.
Also paying attention to analysing impacts of season extension one must be able to measure the central characteristic of seasonality. Only by measuring seasonality, we would able to test stability or instability of seasonality. The implication of seasonality must be considered for tourism forecasting. As for my sub-national destination, I have decided to pick Rome. Rome is a famous tourist destination and a place which includes all the four seasons so we can compare all factors.
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