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Several factors actually decide the profitability of the investments into the tourism sector. Each of the primary factors is made up of many specific influences that may be briefly elaborated. Firstly, there are sets of physical constraints that will have a direct bearing upon the different forms of tourism infrastructure development. The uneven topography, for example, can influence the availability of suitable sites for construction, levels of access and the ease with which key utilities (water, power, sewage disposal, etc) may be installed or extended from existing settlements and the available infrastructure. ‘Difficult’ environments include rugged coastlines or mountain zones, both of which tend to fragment and disperse development in a way that is generally different from that of a flat or an open coastline which enjoys the ease of access. This is very true with all segments in the tourism industry. For example, in Kerala backwater tour operators face many problems and actually work in trying conditions.


Secondly, the development patterns will reflect those characteristics of the resources and attractions around which the tourism model is based. It will affect the extent to which tourism becomes dispersed or concentrated. Unique or place-specific attractions, whether natural or artificial, tend to focus development around the particular site or sites in question, whereas more ubiquitous or spatially extensive resources (for example, an accessible coastline or good quality rural landscapes) may have a dispersing effect.


Thus, rural tourism – in which sight-seeing is an important pastime – is often characterized by a diffused pattern of development due to the multiplicity of relatively small-scale sites, with the various activities being frequently being absorbed within the existing facilities through farm tourism or refurbished traditional homes (that are converted from the existing properties). In the banks of the Vembanad Lake you can witness scores of similar developments.


Although, historically, many forms of tourism development were spontaneous and only loosely controlled, the value of tourism as a tool for regional and national development has tended to mean that the modern industry is far more closely regulated. Local planning and investment conditions will therefore, offer a third primary influence upon the various forms of development. The important factors include political attitudes towards tourism and the level of political control (including the extent to which effective land planning procedures are in place), the extent to which investment is local or external to the region, and the levels of corporate interest in tourism and the associated patterns of ownership.

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