Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS

Institutional structures survey

The development of IT requires an understanding of the external environment faced by economic actors. This study set out to examine the dynamics of institutional structures, including: actors perceptions of links between tourism and place, and of resource, product and activity potential for IT; institutional interests, requirements, experiences and limitations; interactions with other relevant actors, the role of partnerships and communication, and the effectiveness of institutional roles and resource use; the effectiveness of rural, regional and tourism policy.

It became apparent that the considerable diversity and complexity in the institutional frameworks and the potential loss of respondents with divergent opinions were areas of concern and therefore a Modified Delphi Evaluation was adopted, consisting of face-to-face interviews with around 20 institutional representatives for each sub-region. Interviews were based on semi-structured questionnaire methods which provided ample opportunities for the respondents to express their views. The institutions were involved in one or more of five primary functions: policy, planning, regulation (including certification), provision of funding, implementation of projects. Other pertinent functions (e.g. related to human and social resource development) were also recorded. The main thrust of the analysis was qualitative.

The country reports provide wide-ranging information on institutional structures; analyse perceptions of links between tourism and place, and of resource, product and activity potential for integrated tourism; analyse institutional interests and experiences; assess institutions interaction with other actors, the role of partnerships and communication, and the effectiveness of institutional effort; and evaluate the effectiveness of rural, regional and tourism policy. The reports also identify institutional good practice against the background of the opportunities and constraints facing integrated tourism, and assess the structural patterns which best allow integrated tourism to become an effective contributor to rural and regional development.

UK: Sectoral agencies responsible for economic development or specific aspects of tourism were surveyed in both regions. The interconnections of sustainable development (economy, natural environment, cultural and social spheres) are present in rural tourism policies, where agriculture is contributing to the rural economy alongside tourism and other rural enterprises. Respondents reported an increase in the importance of tourism in the local economy arising from the decline of other sectors. It was felt that integrated tourism dovetails well with the objectives of rural development.

ES: In both study regions, the regional and national government provide money for tourism development, but their actions are addressed predominantly to promotion in the national and international context.

IE: Irish tourism is administered by a wide range of institutions, many of which are exogenous to the regions. Changes in national tourism governance structures were a cause of uncertainty at the time of the interviews. The need for a cohesive regional tourism strategy and networking that would incorporate issues relating to tourism promotion, physical planning and environmental protection was identified in both regions.

GR: Twelve institutional surveys were conducted in the each study region, all involving public institutions that are part of the larger administrative structure of the country. The findings indicate that interviewed institutions are primarily responsible for regional development and implementation of regional projects. This top-down approach leaves space for informal cooperative networks. Institutions are not actively involved in policy formulation, which is the responsibility of central development agencies that decide the actions and deliver appropriate funds. Institutions acting locally manage these funds and select the projects to be funded.

FR: Institutions interviewed ranged from national to local scale, with many in policy, planning, funding, advising. Concerted actions exist at regional level but tight networking is rare and limited. In France, institutions are in charge of promotion at the departmental, regional and national scales. Public-private relationships are not balanced and while many structures for partnership exist, institutions expressed a wish for greater attention to be given to private competence and needs. Relationships between sectoral and territorial institutions are complex and sometimes conflicting. Stronger and clearer policies for rural tourism are necessary at all levels.

CZ: The sustainability of tourism lies, according to the institutions, in balancing two aspects: keeping the genius loci of the area untouched and simultaneously promoting the area to visitors.

Reported by

National University of Ireland
Department of Geography, University Road
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