Destination Life Cycle Theory Tourism Essay

Butler was the first to characterize the evolution of the tourist industry by the concept of the lifecycle product and it is the most-widely cited conceptual framework for comprehending the dynamics of tourist destinations (Butler, 1980). The destination life cycle theories bring on many important functions, such as adopt the homologous measure to prolong its life cycle possibly, predict the destination future development trend, and provide farsighted basic to managers to establish marking strategies etc. Although, the destination life cycle Butler’s model is a very simple one, being based on a concept that the product life cycle curve that has long been used by economists and marketers to describe the behavior of the market in purchasing consumer goods such as televisions and cars. Moreover, his model has intuitive appeal in that anyone who has traveled extensively or who has participated in the field of tourism studies will probably agree that some kind of life cycle dynamic is indeed evident across a broad array of destination (Weaver, 2000). In other word, the model is to elaborate on the previous point, the Butler sequence is a comprehensive, integrated model that allow for the simultaneous incorporation of all facets of the tourism experience (Butler, 1980). Contrast, several authors are disagreeing with the Butler’s model. According to Leiper defined as ‘the destination life cycle theory does not explain fluctuations in visitor number and is useless for predicting them’Leiper (2004, pp.133)

The Butler’s destination life cycle theory (Butler, 1980) for instance as Wat Sai floating market, the canal which is the Thailand’s major tourist attractions in the early stages of tourism promotion. This floating market is the tourist attractions all must to visit, in addition to the Emerald Buddha and Grand Palace. Wat Sai floating market and has grown to saturation due to the lack of good management with growth of the region with Thai tourists travel to the densely. No control and organize the activities. Pollution problems are different as the many attractions of this and begin to decline until a new management plan in the latter.  The road system is replaced. Wat Sai is the floating market in the degradation.  On the other hand, the theory of destination life cycle cannot be a perfect tool. The reasons are include that difficult confirmation of the conversation order, and the different life cycle relies on difference geography. From the aspect of the marketing, the theory does not take into account the niche market and ignores the segmentation of the markets.

The Butler’s model, ‘the theory is based on a feral metaphor. But the tourist destination is not living things, and interpreting them via a life cycle metaphor is potentially misleading, possibly leading to confusion and error’ Leiper (2004, pp.133). As mention the case example before that the dismissed in Butler’s model that the numbers of visitor arrivals are fluctuation, unpredictable in the number. Also the trigger factors that originate from beyond the destination, and in an unintentional way, can be described as external-unintentional actions. They are cyclones, global warming, political chaos, global recession, Asian economic crisis etc. In such situations there may be relatively little that the destination can do to influence these events. However, they may be aware of them in advance in some case, perhaps taking some adaptive strategies.


Butler, R.W., 1980. ‘The concept of a tourist area cycle of evolution: Implications for management of resource ‘Canadian Geographer’. 24 (1), pp. 5-12.

Leiper, N., 2004. Tourism Management. 3rd ed. French Forest NSW: Pearson Education Australia.

Weaver,B,D., 2000. The Exploratory War-distorted Destination Life Cycle. International journal of tourism research. 2, pp.151-161.


A tourist attraction system is a systematic arrangement of three elements. What are the functions of these and how do they influence each other? Discuss with reference to a tourist attraction of your own choice.

Leiper’s (1990a) definition of an attraction, adapted from MacCannell (1976) and Gunn (1988a) stands apart from those of other authors by implicitly identifying an attraction as a system consisting of three elements: a tourist or human element; a nucleus or central element; and a marker or informative element. A tourist attraction system comes into existence when the three elements are connected. Moreover, Leiper (2004, pp.308) defined as ‘a principle of system theory is the hierarchy: every system has its subsystems and superiors. Because tourism without attractions is inconceivable, a key principle emerges. Every whole tourism systems must have at least one attraction subsystem. Every tourist trip requires at least one attraction comprising a tourist, a nucleus, and information received by the about the nucleus’

The first component of Leiper’s (1990) attraction system is the human element. The tourists are the people who travel away from the home to another place for a short-term period of at least one night, to the extent that their behavior involves a search for leisure experiences from interactions with features or characteristics of places they choose to visit (Inskeep, 1993; Leiper, 2004; Ritchie & Goeldner, 1994). For example, the domestic Thai tourist from the southern of Thailand, they are spent their leisure which came to Bangkok for visit the Emerald Buddha and the Grand Palace, that can defined as they are the tourist attraction. They are group of 15 people and they are taken the shutter bus to visit Bangkok with 8 hours. Then they stayed one night at the hotel in Bangkok to visit the Bangkok Nightlife.

Leiper (1990) defines the nucleus or central element of a tourist attraction as any feature of a place that a traveler contemplates visiting. This is where the tourist experience is manufactured and consumed. It is where the tourism resource, both of the Emerald Buddha and the Grand Palace can be a central element of a tourist attraction in this instance

Markers are items of information, about any phenomenon that is a potential nuclear element in a tourist attraction (Leiper, 1990). They may be divided into markers that are detached from the nucleus or those that are contiguous. In each case the markers may either consciously or unconsciously function as part of the attraction system. Examples of conscious generating markers for tourist attraction are the Emerald Buddha and the Grand Palace.

Leipers (1990) tourist attraction system has provided insight into the nature of the Emerald Buddha and the Grand Palace as a tourist attraction in Thailand. While space limitations have not allowed an in depth examination of the characteristics of the Emerald Buddha and the Grand Palace that make it a strong tourist attraction, the theory based attraction system has enabled a more methodical examination of this topic than has occurred to date. The insights gained by using this type of framework have considerable potential in the management tourism. By understanding how a particular travel, in this case destination, functions within an attraction framework it is possible to consciously manage this system to meet specified tourism goals and objectives.