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Hypothesizing the Shifting Mosaic of Attitudes through time: A Dynamic Framework for Sustainable Tourism Development on a ‘Mediterranean Isle’
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Social Sciences. (ETOUR)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3549-750X
2008 (English)In: Tourism , Recreation and Sustainability: Linking Culture and the Environment, Wallingford, Ox. UK: CABI Publishing, 2008, 2, 50-75 p.Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this chapter is twofold. It briefly reminds the reader of the major obstacles to implementing sustainable solutions in touristic environments. A principal impediment is that sustainability is a term fraught with ‘imprecision’ (Wall, 1997, p.33), since it holds varying meanings for different stakeholders (see also McCool and Stankey, 1999; Sauter and Leisen, 1999; Kousis, 2001). While researchers are well aware of this obstacle, the majority of existing studies examine these differences in attitudes from a cross-sectional standpoint. That is, investigations of the differing attitudes of players involved directly or indirectly in tourism’s development (e.g., developers, local government bureaucrats and politicians, national policy makers, tour operators, environmental protection groups, and local residents) tend to focus on a particular place at a single point in time. Johnson and Snepenger (2006) argue the reason for this fixation on cross-sectional studies is predictable since “it is pragmatically easier to acquire information at one point in time” but also because most researchers are under pressure to turn out publications within a short timeframe and do not have the luxury to commit themselves to lengthy studies (222).

Unfortunately, however, the prevalence of such research inhibits our ability to understand the manner in which attitudes towards tourism of each set of stakeholders in a single locality are likely to change over time. In other words, while one group of players may be extremely accepting towards tourism compared to another at an early stage of the sector’s development, the respective perceptions of these two groups based on their experiences will most likely shift through time. In some cases perhaps the varying perceptions will become increasingly convergent, while in others differences in opinion may be enhanced. Given that it is crucial in any destination to include as many stakeholders as possible in the plan-making process to generate effective policy, it is apparent that adopting a longitudinal approach, examining changes over time would prove helpful for prescribing a general agenda for sustainable tourism development.

Thus, the chapter reiterates the need for a conceptual framework that recognizes the effect that spatial/geographic and temporal/historic contingencies may have in influencing the attitudes of various stakeholders towards sustainability. A primary aim is to demonstrate the value of adopting a longitudinal model such as Butler’s (1980) widely used tourist-area life cycle to investigate the perspectives of different actors towards balanced-oriented growth at each stage of destination’s development.  In order to illustrate the use of such a conceptual framework for examining the shifting perceptions of stakeholders over time, the chapter draws on the experiences of island destinations in the Mediterranean.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wallingford, Ox. UK: CABI Publishing, 2008, 2. 50-75 p.
Keyword [en]
sustainable development, islands, stakeholders, tourism area life cycle
National Category
Landscape Architecture
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-8205Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84890245477Local ID: ETOURISBN: 9781845934705 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-8205DiVA: diva2:133740
Available from: 2009-02-18 Created: 2009-01-14 Last updated: 2016-09-29Bibliographically approved

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Ioannides, Dimitri

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