Book Review

Managing Visitor Attractions: new directions 2nd edition

This book, first published in 2003, became a standard as the collection of articles gathered by Fyall, Garrod and Leask set out to help attractions of all kinds and sizes build their businesses by understanding how to cope with the variables and vagaries of the tourism industry and survive through the 21st century.

This second edition, with new co-editor Wanhill, offers a similar mix of insights from authoritative contributors drawn from leading universities and practitioners across the world, demonstrating a truly global perspective.

Where it justifies its repeated sub-title of new directions’ is in looking at life after the hype of the Millennium and big Lottery funding and in the shadow of global warming, not to mention the current rumbles of recession; a life where sustainability is a universal problem. Those attractions which have held their own, says Tim Smit in his foreword, are likely to have strengthened their storytelling and focused on attracting repeat visits, citing Chester Zoo and Dynamic Earth among other leading examples. Grouped into four sections including marketing and development, the contributors pull no punches. Leask, for example, examining the nature and role of visitor attractions, concludes that the growing diversity of stakeholder involvement in any given attraction could contribute to its downfall unless managers can address the potential conflicts of interest and consonant pressures.

The major section of this volume focuses on just this. Various contributors are at pains to stress the current overprovision in some areas and sound a warning lest imagination and political pressures lead to the visitor base being spread too thinly for sustainable business. Throughout, contributors offer case studies and tools to make managing these problems less hit-and-miss.

In sumary, this is a book that offers authoritative information on the sector along with practical help and inspiration to those labouring at the coal-face.

Reviewer: Polly Larner FTS, Director, Polly Larner Promotions

Credits: Alan Fyall, Brian Garrod, Anna Leask, Stephen Wanhill

Publisher: Butterworth Heinemann, 2008

Pages: 346

ISBN: 978-0-7506-8545-0