Sample Essay on Leisure

Introduction
Nowadays, such well-developed countries as Australia and alike have ample opportunities to develop new industries and new perspective businesses. Among the most profitable and perspective industries may be named people’s leisure time. It means that people have more opportunities to have leisure time and consequently they need to spend it accordingly to their expectations and their needs. That is why, there is a trend in contemporary Australia to creative a lot of opportunities for leisure. However it creates big problems, mainly they concern the problem of environmental protection. Since to satisfy the growing demand from the part of customers numerous companies which operate in Australian market has to develop infrastructure, build five star hotels, cater customers, provide a comfortable transport opportunities, etc. It is particularly important that ecotourism, as a way of spending leisure time, becomes more and more popular. Naturally, it results in bigger problems for local communities as well as for the whole country at large because tourists ‘invade’ regions where they have never been before. As result, they bring in their own standards along with their own demand to local communities that naturally is followed by numerous changes that need particular attention and immediate solution, i.e. changes in lifestyle, environmental situation, catering, infrastructure, and many others. It is even possible to say that the growing demand leisure needs and creation of new opportunities for their satisfaction creates a situation which actually threatens to local communities, ecologic situation in certain regions and need a very careful planning, particularly environmental one. All these trends will be discussed in the paper and on the basis of one of the most perspective industries related to leisure, ecotourism.

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Leisure: a great attraction for investors and consumers
In order to understand why such problems appears it is necessary to thoroughly study the current situation why leisure needs are growing so rapidly causing so many problems.

First of all it is necessary to say that it is mainly the problem of well-developed countries where the rate of income is quite high. Only ecotourism as a very perspective industry, which aims at satisfying the demand of leisure needs, attracts basically people who “are high income earners who tend to spend more time in country… The study showed that most of the ecotourists belonged to the middle or upper middle income groups.” (Berno 1996:22). It means that it is a very perspective industry but it is not the only one that deals with leisure. To a certain degree it explains why it is attractive for investors.

It seems to be quite logical that as long as the market grows, there will be more investments. Since industries related to leisure are quite perspective they would show a stable growth in the nearest future as it actually happens to ecotourism that has already been mentioned above. Furthermore, it is necessary to distinguish two types of investments. One of them is internal investments, i.e. investments from those companies which already operates on the market. Another type is external investors, i.e. companies which are new and just entering and starting their business in the leisure related industries. Very often leisure businesses “by their nature are small ‘labor of love’ businesses.” (Dowling 1992:37). The explanation of such a situation is quite simple. As a rule operators love the activity they offer, normally they are quite knowledgeable, professional and quality oriented. In certain cases money may be secondary though it is rather an exception than a rule. But enthusiasm would be a weak stimulus for investors. Naturally, there is a stronger factor that is traditional for a rational business. What is mean there is the financial attractiveness of leisure industries and their profitability. For instance, the researches of ecotourism revealed very interesting facts, namely “findings show two good things about ecotourism: minimum investment and excellent cash flow.” (Dowling 1992:39).

As for consumers, the situation is even simpler. They just want to spend their leisure time well and get use of it as much as possible. Basically, they need not simply a kind of entertainment but they need something that would be useful for them, something that would broaden their sight and would be attractive, interesting, impressive at the same time. As a result they may tend to have some extreme leisure needs but such consumers are quite few. Though there are some businesses that correspond to taste and interests of different people, for instance tourism, and ecotourism in particular. By the way Australia has ample opportunities to develop this industry but consumers should remember some rules. First of all, they should remember about cultural differences and local traditions. Though it is not always possible and often such tourism reminds a kind of show. Secondly, but it is not less important, it is necessary to remember about impact on the local environment since tourists need a certain level of comfort that needs a corresponding infrastructure, catering, supply, etc. That creates a number of problems, which, actually, will be discussed in the next chapter.

Catering and other problems of leisure related industries, their causes.

As it has been just said leisure industries cause a number of problems for local communities and for the whole country at large. But, before to speak about these problems, it is necessary to understand their causes that could also contribute to the search their possible solutions.

It would be a mistake to think that only companies operating in the market of leisure industries are the source of all problems. Actually, as in any other business or industry there is another significant factor that is probably even more important than companies investing money in industries. Naturally, this factor is a consumer. It is for his sake the companies creates everything they can to attract him and his money. In the case of leisure industries it is probably more obvious than in any other industry. At this respect, it would be better to dwell upon one very important problem, the problem of catering which appeared as an attempt to support the diversity of leisure opportunities. Probably, its role would be the most obvious if ecotourism were taken as an example.

It is obvious that travelling to remote places is not always ideal and there may be serious problems with catering because there is no infrastructure that is appropriate or habitual for middle class Australian or foreign tourists. Furthermore, tourists often want local food only that naturally creates a problem because the question of hygiene arises.

At this respect it is necessary to say that it is practically impossible to provide all tourists with local food, and moreover, local food may be unacceptable for some tourists. Consequently, there is only possible way out to provide them with conventional food. And again there is a problem how to cater tourists in remote regions. In such cases it is necessary to build roads, communications, etc. but it will obligatory result in another problem, the problem of environmental protection. For instance, more roads traditionally mean more pollution, if not take into account that nature suffers in the process of their building. By the way the same situation with other leisure industries even if companies are situated in large cities they simply aggravate the situation.

Thus, there is no doubt that the growing leisure demand, and the tendency to its diversity creates a number of interlinked problems, including the problems concerning infrastructure, catering, and, what is probably the most important, environmental protection and many others. All of them demand solutions that should be found as soon as possible. Actually, strategic environmental planning should find effective ways to solve these problems and it would be the point of the discussion of the next chapter.

Regional strategies and environmental plans
As it has already been mentioned leisure industries and growing leisure opportunities create number of problems that are quite serious and need immediate solution. Taking into consideration all these problems Australia has to have a definite, concrete plan of action aiming at their solution. It is necessary to say that Australian government has started to work on these problems for quite a long time ago. For instance, there were regional environmental plans made under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 which provided “the framework for detailed local planning by councils.” (Ross 1991:177). However, despite the fact that all regional environmental plans are traditionally exhibited in a draft form for public comment, and all submissions are supposed to be “considered before the final plan is gazetted and becomes legal” (Ross 1991:178), it is not enough. It is obvious that local communities have to be more involved in the process of the creation of plans, especially in the process of their development, implementation and revision.

Furthermore, local communities should be able to determine their own futures within regional plans which set out broad principles. This should also include, wider public access to information concerning planning. A very important strategy of Australian authority is the planning of creation of ‘livable neighbourhoods’, it includes area improvement programs, transport interchanges, fund improvements to parks and public open spaces, regenerate bush land and green the urban environment. As for the problem of catering, its solution may be found in improvement of integrated delivery of infrastructure and public services such as roads, schools, water and sewerage systems, power and gas, hospitals, police and other government activities. Finally, an extremely important factor is a comprehensive regional planning and strategies as well as close cooperation of state and local government, local communities and business.

Conclusion
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned it is possible to conclude that Australia, being one of the most developed countries in the world, has a problem of growing leisure opportunities, which, in their turn, engenders the whole chain of other closely interlinked problems, among which environmental problems, problems of infrastructure and catering, local communities and their culture and traditions may be named. They are caused by many factors but probably the most important is the growing demand of diversity of leisure opportunities. Actually, there is no solution that would work one hundred per cent effectively.

However, there are some possibilities to minimize the effect of the problems mentioned above but they need a close cooperation of all participants of the process beginning from ordinary consumers, companies working in the leisure related industries market, local authorities and federal government. They should be oriented on the environmental protection at first turn. Naturally, they should take into considerations interests of local communities. Probably, the fulfilment of these conditions, based on a wide public participation in regional environmental programs and planning, will result in a successful solution of if not all then some of the problems mentioned in the paper. It is obvious that Australia has a very realistic chance to do this and serve as an example for other countries.

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