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Cultural tourism has often been looked upon by the post-industrial cities as an economic base. Recent trends show that urban tourism has led to the prioritization of urban public spaces and public spaces forming a part of the tourist precinct become a part of the tourist attraction being visited (Mordue T.,2007).

With the high influx of tourists, the maintenance of these spaces becomes essential. Understanding the ongoing governance of an urban tourist precinct is important to improve the quality of areas within it. A detailed study of the precincts, their functionality, purpose and performance in terms of satisfying the tourist’s needs and contributing to their role towards cities as a tourist destination is needed to inform the proper governance of the place (2Edwards D. et al, 2008).

Governance insinuates the presence of the stewards in charge who aim to get the best possible outcomes from the tourist-use of these precincts and benefit the stakeholders and ensures that there are mechanisms in existence to assure collective decisions favoring the broader public interest are formed rather than the precincts development and use being dictated solely by the market forces reflecting the interests of consumers and producers.

The governance activities usually associated with the urban tourist precinct can be generally divided into three broad categories:

1.Precinct planning and design:

Tourism precinct planning is developing a futuristic vision for a precinct and recognizing it by implementing mechanisms to ensure its workability. Sometimes this is done by replacing of an existing precinct with a new idea involving changing of the urban fabric which often degrades the pre-existing physical fabric because of the displacement by something notably distinct. However most urban precincts avoid the creation of a totally new place and rather introduce tourism linked land-use and activities in the existing fabric by focusing on its maintenance and distinctness of the existing physical fabric (3Edwards D. et al,2008).

2. Precinct Management:
Urban renewal-swimming pool precinct, Germany

Management includes overseeing and administrating the ongoing activities and functionality of a public precinct. It is a form of place management that ensures the working and servicing of the physical conditions of a space along with the activities. The degree of control varies from place to place and depends on the precinct management authority. A detailed focus on the public spaces of a tourist precinct is common as the tourists spend a majority of their time forming impressions and notions of the realm in these spaces that become a dominant part of the tourism experience (3Edwards D. et al,2008).

3. Precinct Marketing:

The marketing of a tourist precinct is essentially the marketing of the tourist destination and the aim is to attract maximum visitors who would spend money on the various establishments of the precinct (3Edwards D. et al,2008).

A tourist city is often a positive attribute as tourism helps to strengthen the economy of the city, however,excessive use and lack of maintenance of spaces harm the environment and the quality of cultural experience of the city by both the visitor as well as the residents. Therefore for a destination city to renew, reinvent, and regenerate itself various forms of management and degrees of governance is needed to ensure the functionality and maintenance of the public realm of the city sphere.


2Hayllar, Bruce, Tony Griffin, and Deborah Edwards, 2008, The Evolution of the Tourism Precinct, Costas Spirou in City Spaces, Tourist Places. Oxford, Butterworth Heinemann, pp. 19-36.

3Hayllar, Bruce, Tony Griffin, and Deborah Edwards, 2008, Precinct Planning and Design, Management and Marketing: An Overview, Hayllar, Bruce, Tony Griffin, and Deborah Edwards in City Spaces, Tourist Places. Oxford, Butterworth Heinemann, pp. 243-258.

Tom Mordue (2007), Tourism, Urban Governance and Public Space, Leisure Studies, 26:4, pp. 447-462.

Image Reference:

  1. Urban renewal-swimming pool precinct, Available at-


One response to “Urban Governance in tourist precincts”

  1. Diva has begun an interesting discussion of managing tourist hot spots within a city which relate to the design of public spaces within a city to cope with higher levels of footfall. I would like to discuss an issue that pertains to somewhat contests large public spaces within our cities. As the issue of privatisation of public space has become a plaguing issue for public spaces with our UK cities, as shopping centre’s start becoming larger complex’s that enclose parcels of public space. These are commonly hot spots not only for tourists but for the general public who want to enjoy these spaces.
    The issue arises when the management of the space can be forcefully preventing its use to certain users, this mostly affects homeless and teenagers. As they are seen as negative elements that will disrupt the normal function of that space. There have been physical features built into the designing of these spaces to prevent unacceptable use, such as spikes and uncomfortable surfaces which prevent homeless people sleep rough. Other relate to preventing the use of skateboards, with notches and bumps attached to most surfaces to prevent people skating on them.
    a prime example of a heavily privatised space is Bristol Cabot Circus which is huge shopping centre in the middle of the city. It has several negative impacts to the public realm of the city. Due to the size, it has resulted in the privatisation of key public spaces and a large part the city centre resulting in closures of smaller local stores. (Townsend. 2016)

    Townsend, M. (2016.)”Will Privatisation Of UK Cities Rip Out Their Hearts?”. the Guardian. Web. 21 May 2017.

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