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Academic Statement         

Rejuvenating  Schladming‐Rohrmoos          Gerhard Pilz, BA  1010487014          Management Center Innsbruck  MCI Tourism  Weiherburggasse 8, 6020 Innsbruck  AUSTRIA 


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Rejuvenating Schladming-Rohrmoos A discussion about Butler’s Tourism Area Life Cycle (TALC) This paper gives an overview about the current stage within Butler’s Tourism Area Life Cycle (TALC) model (Butler 1980) for the destination Schladming-Rohrmoos in Styria, Austria. This essay also provides an outlook on the destination’s possible future development and shortly discusses the general applicability of the product life cycle model on tourism destinations.

The TALC of Schladming-Rohrmoos For defining the current stage in the TALC it is useful to shortly outline the history of tourism in the destination. Today, the origins of Schladming-Rohrmoos as a tourism destination are seen in the year 1875 when the Enns valley was first made accessible by railway (Gemeinde Rohrmoos Untertal 2009, p. 346). 33 years later the founding of Schladming’s winter sports club marked the beginning of the winter sports destination. In 1953 finally, the construction of the first ski lift on Planai was another milestone in the touristic history (Schladming.at 2011). Initially sought by its guests especially during the summer months for the so-called “Sommerfrische” (Gemeinde RohrmoosUntertal 2009, p. 346), Schladming then developed into a internationally regarded skiing centre, supported by numerous Ski World Cup events in the 1970s and -80s and the Ski World Championships in 1982. The 1990s brought a consolidation phase to the area. Growing competition from other ski resorts during the winter seasons on the one hand and a lack of investment and innovative spirit by local business owners on the other hand pressed Schladming in its development.


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Back to the Roots By the end of the millennium Schladming’s focus got back to its initiator as a tourism destination – the summer months. Schladming started to broaden its portfolio by developing new products for the summer months. On the one hand the result was the creation of new products for hikers and families by introducing “Sommercard” and on the other hand it meant opening new markets, especially within younger customer segments and new alpine sports like mountain biking, but also new-school skiing in winter. Another new segment that is worked on is congress tourism, for which infrastructure is established within the scope of the FIS Alpine Ski World Championships 2013 (www.congress-schladming.com). Considering this development the destination of Schladming-Rohrmoos is clearly in the rejuvenation phase of Butler’s Tourism Area Life Cycle. By diversifying products and markets the destination currently tries to overcome its dependency on traditional customer segments (hikers and alpine skiers) and markets (German and domestic market – compare overnight statistics 2000-2009).

Outlook into the Future Apart from the orientation towards congress and conference tourism the newly developed products and markets are a clear signal in claiming the expertise of Schladming-Rohrmoos as a destination for Alpine outdoor sports and families. Hiking and skiing have always been at the core of the destination and are extended with additional sports offers and tailor-made products for families. Thus, the combination of the outdoors and families offers a good opportunity to strengthen the brand identity as a family destination. Another chance for further development in Schladming-Rohrmoos would be the successful handling of sustainability issues. At the moment most Alpine destinations


MCI | ePortfolio | Applied Destination Management | Gerhard Pilz 

that lead the way on this topic and market sustainability to potential guests, do so because of their beneficial topographic situation. The location at the head of a valley (e.g. Zermatt) or an other exposed site (e.g. Wengen, Werfenweng, Oberlech) allows for relatively easy separation regarding topics such as soft mobility (Werfenweng) or car-free zones (Zermatt). The topics of family and outdoor sports fit very well with the issue of sustainability, as parents want their children to grow up in a sustained and healthy environment. If Schladming-Rohrmoos accepts the challenge, the destination could serve as a role-model for sustainable Alpine tourism that does more than only ban cars from its roads. This means to provide healthier, but also well-balanced and sustained (social, natural & economic) environment for the inhabitants.

Conclusion Ultimately, balance is the answer to the question if the classical product life cycle model can be applied to a tourism destination. According to the PLC concept a destination is dying when it faces stagnation or even decline in the number of tourists visiting (Baum 1998, p. 169). However, the concept ignores an important point. The stagnation/decline may be true for the tourism aspect of a destination, but it does not imply the same effect for the destination/region as a whole. In conclusion that means, it is important to provide for a good balance among the different economic sectors within a destination/region and also attract non-touristic businesses, because then decline of tourism will not have such a negative impact on the destination. Therefore, the classical PLC model has clearly its limits in its application on tourism destinations.


MCI | ePortfolio | Applied Destination Management | Gerhard Pilz 

Sources: Baum, T. 1998, Taking the Exit Route: Extending the Tourism Area Lifecycle Model, in: Current Issues in Tourism, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 167-175. Butler, R. W. 1980, The Concept of a Tourist Area Cycle of Evolution. Canadian Geographer, Vol. 24, Issue 1, pp. 5-12. Gemeinde Rohrmoos-Untertal 2009, Natur | Kultur | Menschen: Die Gemeinde RohrmoosUntertal, Gemeinde Rohrmoos-Untertal, Rohrmoos-Untertal. Schladming.at 2011, Historical Development of the Mining Town Schladming, Online, Available at: http://gemeinde.schladming.at/index.php?option=com_content&view=article& id=2&Itemid=9&lang=en, [accessed 1st May 2011]


Rejuvenating Schladming-Rohrmoos