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Butler’s Tourism Area Life Cycle and Its Expansion to the Creative Economy

In 1980, R. W. Butler published his tourism area cycle of evolution model graphing a correlation of number of tourists on the y-axis and time on the x-axis. Although a location’s capacity for number of tourists and the specific number of sustainable years may vary from location to location, Butler proposed that every tourist location evolves through a common set of stages: exploration, involvement, development, consolidation, stagnation, and then some variation of rejuvenation or decline (see Figure 1). Butler’s model frames the resources that enable a region to become a tourist destination as finite and ultimately exhaustible.

Figure 1 A Tourism Area Cycle of Evolution

Source: From Figure 1, p. 7, in Butler, R. W. (1980). The Concept of a Tourist Area Cycle of Evolution: Implications for ...

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