Windsor Investigation Essay

Aims:

In this investigation I will be looking at The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, this project’s aims consist of three main objectives. Firstly, I will conduct research to discover whether Windsor is a successful tourist centre. Another aim of this investigation is to find out if there is a conflict of interest between the residents of Windsor and the tourists that populate the borough and finally I will be looking into what, if anything has been done to solve any conflict of interest.

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Tourism:

Tourism is travel for predominantly recreational or leisure purposes or the provision of services to support this leisure travel. The World Tourism Organization defines tourists as people who “travel to and stay in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes not related to the exercise of an activity remunerated from within the place visited”. Tourism has become a popular global leisure activity. In 2004, there were over 763 million international tourist arrivals. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tourism)

Throughout recent years tourism, throughout the world, has steadily been increasing. Some of the contributing factors to this advancement include changes in the world of work; these changes include things such as, shorter working weeks, longer holidays with pay and the introduction of annual holidays along with increased earnings throughout the socio-economic divide.

Another aspect that has led to this boom is that in this modern era, travel throughout the world has become easier, cheaper and quicker, the increase in car ownership has given people much greater freedom to choose where and when they go, also before the 1950’s air travel was beyond the means of most British families. Since then the use of charter aircraft has reduced fares, and the building of international airports near to large holiday resorts has enabled tourists to travel in larger numbers and greater distances than before.

Tourism is vital for many countries; this is mainly due to the income generated by the consumption of goods and services by tourists, the taxes imposed on businesses in the tourism industry, and the opportunity for employment in the service industries associated with tourism. These service industries include transportation services such as cruise ships and taxis, accommodation such as hotels, restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues, and other hospitality industry services such as spas and resorts. Other benefits include things such as preservation and celebration of local festivals and cultural events.

Although tourism brings many benefits it comes with a price, mainly for the residents. Tourism may attract visitors whose lifestyles and ideas conflict with the community’s. An example may be the visitors’ use of drugs and alcohol along with the possibility of an increase in sexually transmitted diseases. Tourism also creates congestion and crowding resulting in competition between the residents and the tourists for available services, facilities, and existing recreation opportunities. Not only does tourism affect society it also brings about negative effects for the environment, it can lead to an increase in litter, noise and pollution along with increases in property values and prices of goods and services.

There are various different types of tourist destination ranging from cultural tourist destination such as Chile, Australia and India to more niche types of tourism such as Garden tourism, which involves visits or travel to botanical gardens and places which are significant in the history of gardening. But the main type of tourist destination is package holidays. Package holidays are holidays for a set period of time in which travel, accommodation and predetermined meals are all included in the price. Tour operators can charter flights and make block bookings at holiday resorts at prices well within the range of most British people. Windsor, the tourist destination I am investigating falls into the ‘heritage tourism’ category.

Tourism is important to England and Windsor in particular because it is a vital part of the national and local income; it also promotes growth within the country and offers vast numbers of employment opportunities for the local residents.

There are many things that a tourist centre should encompass in order to be considered a ‘good’ tourist centre. Along with all the major things such as, providing comfortable accommodation and amenities the site should also consider such things as multi-lingual signs and directions, for the foreign visitor and disabled access for the less able tourist. There should also be various sources of entertainment for all ages. Tourist offices should be placed in locations that are appropriate and maps should be available at a myriad of places, separate car parks for tourists should also be available in vast quantities.

Along with facilities and services for tourists the centre should also provide perks for its residents and in most cases these come in form of an advantage card. This card gives residents benefits such as, discounts in local shopping centers and reduced, or in some cases, free entry into certain tourist attractions. Parking permits are also awarded to residents so to keep them satisfied. Windsor has its own scheme in place and gives residents its special ‘Windsor Advantages Card’.

Windsor

Windsor is a suburban town

and tourist destination in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in Berkshire, England. It is best known as the site of Windsor Castle. The town is situated 21 miles (34 km) west of Charring Cross. It is immediately south of the River Thames, which forms its boundary with Eton. The village of Old Windsor, just over two miles to the south, predates what is now called Windsor by around

300 years; in the past Windsor was formally

referred to as New Windsor to distinguish the two.

How to get to Royal Windsor Country

Located about 21 miles west of central London, Royal Windsor Country is easy to reach from all parts of Britain and abroad by rail, road and air. It is close to the intersection of the M4 and M25 motorways, and the M1. Heathrow International Airport is only a fifteen minute drive from Windsor; Gatwick and Luton airports are within an hours drive.

Directions by Car/Coach

From the M4 leave the motorway at exit 6 and follow the ‘white on brown’ signs for Windsor. From the M25 leave the motorway at exit 15, take M4 motorway exit 6 then follow the directions as above.

By Bus

Windsor Express bus numbers 700, 701 and 702 connect London with Windsor. The 718 royal river route services connect London Victoria with Windsor (Limited summer service only).

By Rail

Windsor is served with two train stations, Windsor Central Station and Windsor and Eton Riverside Station. First Great Western operates from London Paddington to Windsor Central Station with a change at Slough (minimum journey time 25 minutes). A frequent shuttle service runs between Slough and Windsor. Also South West Trains operate a direct service from London Waterloo to Windsor and Eton Riverside Station. Journey time is approximately 55 minutes.

By Air

There are no direct flight links straight into Windsor but if arriving at Heathrow, Gatwick or Luton follow the appropriate road or rail links.

Parking

Windsor offers a vast amount of parking spaces for tourists and residents as the map below shows;

Attractions

Two of the UK’s Top 20 attractions, Windsor Castle and Legoland Windsor are perhaps what Windsor is most famous for, But the underlying reason why Windsor has become such a popular tourist destination comes down to its heritage. The historic core of Windsor has grown up over the centuries in the shadows of Windsor Castle and each successive monarch has left their mark upon the town. The cobbled streets, known as Guildhall Island, have many interesting buildings dating from as early as the 17th century. The Old King’s Head, in Church Street, bears a plaque on its wall recording the warrant for the execution of Charles I in 1648 and it is said to be where William Shakespeare wrote “The Merry Wives of Windsor”. Just a few doors along is Burfurd House, Reputed to be where Charles II housed his favorite mistress, Nell Gwynne.

Queen Charlotte Street is recorded in the Guinness Book of Records as the shortest street in Britain at just 51 feet 10 inches. To the right of Queen Charlotte Street is Market Cross House, now housing the “Crooked House Tea Rooms”. Next to Market Cross House is the Windsor Guildhall. The building was completed by Sir Christopher Wren in 1690. On close inspection you will notice that the central columns do not touch the ceiling and tradition has it that the councilors of the time, against Wren’s wishes, insisted on the columns in the interest of safety. Wren, not to be outdone, left the columns an inch short of the ceiling.

Just before Windsor Bridge is Sir Christopher Wren’s House. The famous architect built the house in 1676 as his family home. He was a member Of parliament for Old Windsor and his father was Dean of Windsor. The house is now a hotel with splendid views across the Thames. The Bridge was built in the reign of Henry III in the 13th century and was a wooden structure. Those passing over the bridge had to pay a toll. The current bridge was opened in 1823 but was closed to vehicles in 1970 due to structural problems.

Eton High Street is packed with galleries, antique shops and curiosity shops. One of the most interesting buildings is the Cockpit Restaurant. It contains the remains of the original cock fighting area which went on during the 17th and 18th centuries. It is said to have been frequented by Charles II. In front of the restaurant is an original pair of stocks and a Victorian post box.

Apart from its heritage, Windsor also offers a myriad of other opportunities such as its attractive shopping centre with high order shops along with other places, a few examples are:

i. Ascot Racecourse

ii. Boat Trips

iii. Changing of the Guard

iv. Dorney Court

v. Eton College

vi. Frogmore House

vii. Legoland

viii. Old Thatch Garden

ix. River Thames

x. St George’s Chapel

xi. Theatre Royal

xii. Windsor Arts Centre

xiii. Windsor Farm Shop

xiv. Windsor Great Park

Method

Just to reiterate, I am conducting an investigation on the Royal Country of Windsor as a tourist centre.

Preparation:

Before are visit to Windsor we, My Humanities Class (10P), had several lessons with are humanities teacher, Mr. Drummond, discussing the topic, we also participated in virtual tour of the one we were going to take in a few weeks on our interactive white board and learned some of the significant details, we also produced spider diagrams as a class showing any conflict of interest that could occur between the residents and tourists of a town. We were also advised of what to expect when we reached Windsor and given some rules to abide to and told to do some individual research on Windsor and its history for homework.

For this homework assignment that Mr. Drummond had set us I decided to use the internet as my sole source of information. I Googled ‘Windsor’ and browsed the relevant links, from this I learnt a numerous amount of details about Windsor and the surrounding areas.

I also quizzed my dad about Windsor but his only experience with the area came from his days as an illegal mini-cab driver and could only advise me on how to reach the area quickly.

On the day of the trip as we were departing for Windsor, Mr. Drummond handed out two types of questionnaire to every student. One was a questionnaire for the tourists in Windsor and another for the residents. We were also given a few tips on how to successfully approach people with our questionnaires. It took approximately 40 minutes to reach Windsor, The coach driver decided to take the M40 as he had predicted congestion on the more popular M4 route.

The coach arrived in Windsor at approximately 10.30; we were greeted with a large car park which had clearly been designed for visitors. We were then walked to the river Thames on the way we passed a large open lawn which was designed to give people a place to relax; already I could see that Windsor was very tourist-orientated destination.

As we walked we were led into a small square full of souvenir shops, although these shops were not as up market as some we were about to see, they served well as a place to find a bargain. The square was scattered with all sorts of signs directing people around Windsor. The class was taken up a staircase connecting to the bridge that connected with the station; I noticed that there was a lift for elderly and less able people. Once we reached the station Mr. Drummond, our teacher took us for brief tour of the main shopping centre and the surrounding area. As we got closer to the centre of the town it seemed as though the shops kept getting more and more expensive.

We then left the shopping centre onto the main road, as Mr. Drummond had expected, we were right on time for the changing of the guards. This is a daily attraction and involves the marching of guards, who are in full uniform with accompanying orchestra, but it also means the closure of some main roads. Like many others, I took my chance to take a picture.

As we walked past the castle, I noticed that the castle flag was flying high and proud, signifying the Queen’s presence. Once we reached the guild hall, Mr. Drummond told us to look around and try to spot anything out of the ordinary, and to his surprise Ben, a mate of mine, noticed that the pillars were not touching the ceiling. This somewhat ruined Mr. Drummonds day, as he wanted to be the one to awe the students. Our tour came to a conclusion at the front gates of Windsor castle; from here we had an amazing view of the castles, 13 mile garden.

We were then told to get into groups, and group by group we left to go explore by ourselves and get our questionnaires filled in. my group equipped and ready to go went straight for the local cafes and restaurants as we thought this would be an ideal place to find willing respondents for our questionnaires. We decided to have turns in approaching people because we did not want to intimidate people by being in big groups; we also tried to be as polite and friendly as possible, as we were instructed we took a balanced sample of tourists and residents of all ages.

After we were satisfied that we had taken enough responses we decided to take a look around Windsor, meeting up with other groups on the way. But as always we only got as far as McDonalds and decided to call it a day.

We then met back up outside the castle and prepared to leave, as we left I decided that I’d definitely come back some time soon. On the way back we began to regret our decision, to not visit some of the attractions, as the other groups told of there day and there visits to some of the attractions. The journey home took a little longer as we were in the middle of rush hour traffic, but this did not worry us as we had such an enjoyable day.

Results

Residents

This graph shows the average rating given to certain aspects of Windsor by the residents. You can clearly see that things such as Value, Variety and parking are not rated very highly; this shows us that the local council is not catering to the residents needs. The graph also shows that residents rate the History, Cleanliness and Signs very highly; this suggests that improvements made for the tourists to some extent also benefit the residents.

This chart represents the improvements residents of Windsor would like to see. From this we can see that more than 50% of residents would like to see improvements in Parking, Pedestrian, Shops, Toilets, Tours and Supermarket. This solidifies the claim that the council is not doing enough to accommodate its residents.

This bar chart represents the responses given by residents when asked, ‘what, if any, Problems do the tourists in Windsor create?’ From this chart we can see that the majority of people thought that the tourists created problems, it also shows that the problems created are spread out all across the board rather than being concentrated in one certain area. Suggesting that there is a conflict of interest between the residents and the tourists.

This chart shows the residents views on what benefits the tourists bring to Windsor. The thing that stands out most is that 95% of people agreed that the tourists brought in revenue for Windsor. Also we can see that it is widely agreed that tourists bring benefits to Windsor as the chart is consistently high.

This pie chart represents the resident’s responses when asked if they thought there was a conflict of interest between them and the tourists, this chart tells us that more than half of the people I questioned thought that there was a conflict of interest which supports the argument that there is indeed a conflict of interest.

Tourists

This pie chart shows what the tourists responses were when asked if they would return to Windsor, from the pie chart we can see that almost every single person who took are questionnaire would return this would go a long way to suggest that Windsor is a very successful tourist attraction, answering one of my main objectives of whether Windsor is a successful tourist destination.

This bar chart shows the responses of the tourists when asked whether they would recommend Windsor to a friend. All but one of the people who took the questionnaire agreed that they would recommend Windsor to a friend. This, along with the pie chart above, suggests that Windsor is a very successful tourist attraction

This chart represents the average rating given to certain aspects of Windsor by the tourists I questioned. From the graph we can clearly see that the tourists rated the History, Cleanliness and friendliness very highly, this shows us that the local council has tried its best to please the needs of tourists. We can also see that Signs, Parking and info are rated highly which suggests that a lot has been done to improve mobility for the visiting tourists. Generally as looking at the chart it can be seen that everything scored fairly well this tells us that tourists over all were impressed all over the board by Windsor adding more credibility to the claim that it is a successful tourist attraction.

This graph details the responses given by tourists when asked what aspects of Windsor they would like to make improvements on, as you can see very few people thought that things needed to be changed, this supports the idea that Windsor is a successful tourist centre.

This final graph shows the number of people that visited attractions other than the castle. From it we can infer that although the castle may be the main attraction it is not the only one visited by tourists, the graph shows that a healthy proportion of the tourists go on to visit other attractions such as the Guildhall, The River, Lego Land and so on. This also establishes that Windsor is a successful tourist destination as it offers a variety of choices for every type of tourist.

Evaluation

Method

Overall I think that the visit to Windsor was one to remember. It was a brilliant day and everything went according to plan, I think it’d be fair to say, that everyone enjoyed themselves. Some credit must go to Mr. Drummond as he trusted us enough to let us wander Windsor by ourselves which made the experience all the more better, plus without him we’d have been completely lost. It was also fairly helpful that we had background knowledge on Windsor as this meant that we would know were to find the tourists and residents, our practice at approaching respondents also came in handy.

The completing of questionnaires, went rather smoothly with no major shocks, I think this was the case because the weather was surprisingly good which meant that Windsor was fairly packed with tourists and residents on the day. Another thing that helped us was our selection of respondents, we chose mainly to go for people that were sitting down or seemed as though they had time to spare.

On the whole our questions seemed pretty neutral and got a good response, but some questions, such as ‘Please state your age?’ troubled some respondents so we wrote a rough estimation of what how old we thought they looked. Most people decided to take the time to answer our questions although a few people were in a hurry, but they were very polite in their decline and there were no hard feelings. Some of the tourists required a bit more time as they did not fully understand the nature of the questions asked, this was mainly the foreign tourists who struggled with English.

Doing the relevant work to construct this investigation seemed more difficult at home as I was not in a working environment but working in school helped me to overcome this. I believe that the information I have obtained as fairly accurate and think that my respondents were a good representation of the population; however I think I could improve certain aspects and get more accurate results by visiting more than once.

It would have been useful to visit at a different time of year, say for example Christmas, to see if Windsor is just as good an attraction then. I also think that the questions we asked could have been more detailed and specific in terms of what we were trying to find out. Another major restriction was the time we spent in Windsor, although we did complete our questionnaires in time I would have preferred to have spent a little bit more time on the site, taking pictures and interacting with the people there.

In my search for accurate results, I made sure to choose a balanced sample; 10 residents and 10 tourists, with a 50% ratio of male to female; I also tried to choose people of all different ages. I think it was important that I got a balanced sample so that I got a fair set of results which accounted for most people’s views. Overall I think that everything went well but for few minor changes.

Results

After visiting Windsor and analysing my results, I have come to the conclusion that Windsor is in fact a brilliant tourist centre. It has all the right facilities needed plus extra and the ratings given, by both tourists and residents, have generally been from good to excellent. This to me, along with my own experience, proves that Windsor has everything that a good tourist destination should offer. Along with this, the tourists did also voice there minor concerns with over pricing and parking, the residents on the other hand had several complaints, from my results we can see that more than 50% of residents would like to see improvements in Parking, Pedestrian, Shops, Toilets, Tours and Supermarket, and almost the same amount thought that the tourists created problems in Windsor.

This claim is further solidified by the response they gave when asked whether they thought there was a conflict in interests between the residents and tourists, a staggering 60% thought there was. This leads me to believe that there is in fact a conflict of interest. I believe that the council recognise this problem and have taken steps to please the residents; these include the introduction of the ‘Residents Advantage Card, so that residents can benefit from the tourist attractions, a shopping street for residents only (Peascod St), so that residents don’t have to pay ludicrous prices for their goods and finally measures such as more litter bins to reduce the amount of waste the tourists leave behind. My results show that these measures aren’t enough and that the residents would like to see some more change.

Conclusion

Now that I have come to the end of my project, this is what I have discovered about Windsor;

o Windsor is indeed a very successful tourist centre, both residents and tourists agree.

o The facilities and amenities that Windsor provides are up to, both tourists and residents, satisfaction.

o The attractions in Windsor are up to the standards of many tourists and will be able to sustain an income of tourists for the foreseeable future.

o That there is in fact a conflict of interest between the tourists and residents, and although the council has taken measures to solve the problem, e.g. the ‘Windsor Advantages Card’, more could be done.

In general all the people I interviewed were happy with Windsor, whether it was an old age pensioner or one of the lads from Eton. But the problems that people were most concerned with did vary from age to age, for example, most young people thought that the attractions could be improved but were satisfied with the amenities, where as the more older population were thrilled by the attractions but not to happy with the state of public toilets. Another thing that I noticed was that most of the female population were not to fussed about the parking issue, but their male counterparts had very strong views on the matter.

My predictions at the start of the investigation were confirmed and I had a great time in Windsor and on the whole Windsor is a very successful city; tourists love to visit and residents are proud to live there.

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