This month we published Marketing National Parks for Sustainable Tourism by Stephen L. Wearing, Stephen Schweinsberg and John Tower. In this post, John introduces the main themes of the book and explains why marketing principles are vital for park managers.
The first task in writing Marketing National Parks for Sustainable Tourism was to convince park managers that marketing principles provide the tools for them to manage their parks with sustainability as a core value. Too often park managers perceive marketing as a step towards commercialism that would compromise their values of sustaining the environmental integrity of parks for future generations. This book provides a suite of marketing principles to guide natural resource and tourism students, leisure and tourism scholars, and park and forestry managers so they can understand how sustainable tourism practices are achievable in national parks.
The book sets the scene by critiquing sustainable national park-based tourism marketing. Marketing principles illustrated by the Tree Model of Marketing Delivery introduces key marketing concepts of making decisions based on reliable data to decide target markets, make market mix decisions and establish systems for managing the marketing effort. These traditional marketing concepts are complemented by alternative marketing approaches such as ecological marketing, social marketing, de-marketing and relationship marketing. The combination of these marketing principles is used to help park managers understand how they deal with competing stakeholders with contrary views about development and sustainability.
A series of park management issues such as ‘wicked policy challenges’, ephemeral tourist experiences and the multifaceted perspectives for park interpretation are explained. These issues provide unique insights that marry the marketing principles with the realities of managing national parks for sustainable tourism.
This book is not a ‘how to market national parks guide’. Instead, it introduces a variety of marketing principles that will assist all who are interested in sustainable tourism in national parks to have a better understanding of the complexities of park management. Case studies focused on diverse settings such as Yellowstone National Park, Phillip Island Nature Park and the legacy of John Muir add further insights about sustainable park tourism and marketing.
The book concludes by grappling with questions about marketing’s capacity as a tool for national park managers to advance the sustainability of natural environments. While at the same time, park managers can apply marketing principles to maintain the balance between environmental preservation and the diverse needs of different customers and stakeholders.
John Tower, Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia