A major challenge in defining the tourism sector’s boundaries is to decide what investment costs should be related to tourism growth. Although international agencies have not historically regarded tourism as an “industry” in terms of national accounting, it includes a range of goods and services that are directly offered to tourists and would not otherwise have been given.
It is difficult to analyze and prepare for tourism because of its interdependence with other economic sectors. The lack of reliable statistical data hinders both the recognition of the processes by which tourism generates growth and its development potential. Nonetheless, the role of tourism in competing for limited investment funds has been identified in those cases where study has been carried out and work has preceded planning. Long-term tourism development programs have been designed in these situations.
Investment needs in the development of nature and heritage tourism are in some respects different than the traditional development of hotels. There may be more need for improved access to and mode of development that does not interfere with a sensitive habitat or historical area.