The desire for a simple model, made with simple tools

Thursday, May 20, 2010
by Peter Johnson

The most popular post (by far) on this blog is one where I present a simple version of Butler’s Tourism Area Lifecycle (TALC), done up in Excel: A Simple Tourism Model with Excel

Why is this post so popular? Is it because of the enduring (rightly or wrongly) impact of Butler’s work? Or is it the prospect of actually implementing his theoretical ideas in a model that can be easily shared, manipulated, tweaked, and updated? Certainly I’ll give most of the credit to the 30+ years of TALC research, but I’d like to think that there is demand for an Excel version of this model.

The funny thing is, while I used to link to an actual downloadable spreadsheet, I took it down a long time ago because I wasn’t happy with it. It was too simple, or so I thought. In reality, I think that a simple model, made with simple tools can have a great impact. Perhaps not in a quantitative or research-orientated sense, as I had originally planned, but more as a descriptive tool for tinkering. A way to help tourism students and those interested in the Butler TALC to better understand its assumptions.

So, over the summer I’m going to put in some time to shape up my Excel TALC and make it available for all who want to use it. I’ll try and make it as transparent as possible, with clear instructions both on this blog and embedded in the spreadsheet itself. Actually, another idea would be to host it as a Google Doc, online, and dispense with the need for an Excel license altogether.

Stay tuned!