The first step in creating a marketing plan is to scan the internal and external environments. This can be done by both directly contacting individuals and researching information in databases and publications. The environment that affects marketing can be divided into the internal, or local, environment and the external environment. In the internal environment it is necessary to understand the current state of the tourism industry both locally and regionally. Knowledge of changes in both the internal and external environments is fundamental for tourism officials to have before a successful marketing plan can be developed. Besides information from general online searches and publications in databases, social media provides data that can be useful to develop a tourism marketing plan. One of the easiest means of conducting environmental scanning of the internal environment is through tourism marketers having direct contact with both tourists and other tourism professionals.