The purpose of the Butler Model is to look at the way that
tourist resorts, grow and develop. The tourist industry, like all industry, is
dynamic and constantly changing. Therefore, the Butler Model is a way of
studying tourist resorts and seeing how they change over time and in relation to
the changing demands of the tourist industry. These changes can then be compared
to the predictions as shown on the model.
The Butler Model (see Figure 1) breaks down tourist resort
development into five distinct stages.
1. Discovery Stage
A settlement is 'explored' or 'discovered' by a small number of people who later
tell others about their experience. In time other people visit and local people
seize upon the new economic opportunities provided by these visitors and provide
services to meet the needs of these visitors or tourists.
2. Growth and Development Stage
More tourists arrive having heard about the place by word of mouth, articles in
Travel Supplements in papers such as The Sunday Times, brochures or tourist
guides. The extra tourists attracted by the publicity and people willing to
visit somewhere new will lead to the building of new hotels, restaurants, shops
and services to cater for the influx of people.
3. Success Stage
As more people visit the resort, the facilities are now fully utilised. At this
stage mass tourism replaces what was once the original economic function of the
settlement. This may cause some resentment with people in the town who have not
benefited from the new industry or from the loss of distinct identity that the
settlement held before. It may appear that the local culture is being diminished
by a more international and non-unique culture compared to what may have existed
4. Problem – Stagnation Stage
Popularity may be short lived. People may become bored with the resort once its
initial appeal had waned. Little of the original natural environment will remain
and negative comments about what it used to be like may lead people to find
somewhere new to discover. The effect of falling tourism if a resort goes out of
fashion leads to economic decline and the under-utilisation of tourist
infrastructure. The eventual closure of some of the businesses will lead to a
rise in unemployment.
5. Decline or Rejuvenation
The tourist resort then has two options; either go into decline or rejuvenate
and develop more sustainable strategies based upon lower visitor numbers.