Models of tourist development

Butler developed a model which shows how any tourist resort may grow. A resort may start off from being a small, low key, destination. He suggests that all resorts go through the same sort of process.

The seven stages of tourist development

A graph of Butler’s resort life cycle model
  1. Exploration - a small number of tourists visit the area. The area is unspoilt and few tourist facilities exist.
  2. Involvement - local people start to provide some facilities for tourists. There starts to become a recognised tourist season.
  3. Development - the host country starts to develop and advertise the area. The area becomes recognised as a tourist destination.
  4. Consolidation - the area continues to attract tourists. The growth in tourist numbers may not be as fast as before. Some tensions develop between the host and the tourists.
  5. Stagnation - the facilities for the tourists may decline as they become old and run down. The numbers of tourists may decline too.
  6. Decline - if the resort is not rejuvenated (stage 6) then it will go into decline. People lose their jobs related to tourism. The image of the area suffers.
  7. Rejuvenation - investment and modernisation may occur which leads to improvements and visitor numbers may increase again.

The Butler model is a generalisation, and so not all resorts will follow this process.