Defining attractions, however, disunite tourism authorities. In fact, it has been touted that the term attractions or visitor attractions is one that defies definition simply because it has a wide range of scope and has a variety of product offerings (Fyall et al2003,p.12). The product offerings range from the natural to human-made attractions to special events. Natural attractions feature attractions within the natural environment while human-made attractions are divided into human-made edifices, structures and sites that are designed to attract tourists and are purpose-built to accommodate their needs, such as theme parks and those designed not to attract visitors but ended up attracting them anyway such as churches, mosques and other religious sites (Swarbrook 2002,p2). Fennell identifies 6 categories of tourism attractions i.e. cultural (historical and heritage sites, museums). natural (parks, flora amp. fauna). events (festivals,
Lundberg defined tourist attractions as anything that attracts tourists (Lundberg 1985,p.33). Middleton defined it as a designated permanent resource which is controlled and managed for the enjoyment, amusement, entertainment and education of the visiting public (Swarbrooke 1995,p.3). Richards, meanwhile, describes attractions as those which are essential weapons in the arsenal of tourism destinations engaged in a competitive struggle for tourist business and thus provide focus for tourism activities (Richards 2001,p.4). Gunn looks at attractions as the most important reasons for travel to destinations (Gunn 1972,p.24) while MacCannell portrays it as an empirical relationships between a tourist, a site and a marker (MacCannell 1989,p.41). Lew, however, counters this claiming that the definition should not be restricted to objective characteristics but also to subjective as well while alleging that virtually anything could become an attraction, including services and facilities (Lew 1987,p.573). Leiper grabbed the MacCannell model and crystallised a definition of a tourist attraction as a systematic arrangement of 3 elements: a person with tourism needs, a nucleus (any feature or characteristic of a place they might visit) and at least one marker or an information about the nucleus (Leiper 1981,p79).
MacCannell further reformed his model to come up with a Staged Development Model which insists that ordinary places can be developed into exciting attractions if they undergo the 5 stages of development. And these are: the naming of the site. the framing and elevating stage