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Tourism value chains

This study used a new methodology based on the seven dimensions of the SPRITE culture economy conceptual framework, i.e the importance of networks, relationships and partnerships; the question of the appropriateness of scale in relation to local structures; the links with endogenous forms of rural development; the connections with sustainability; the necessity for embeddedness in localised socio-cultural contexts; the issue of complementarity among resources and activities; and the association with local empowerment, control and decision-making. It measures changes in the value of tourism and compares the views of each actor group surveyed about changes in tourism value, using actors perceptions of change as the unit of measurement for changes in tourism value.

Between 1992 and 2002 the study areas experienced an increase in tourism value of 51.7% of the theoretical maximum score, with smaller changes in regional and national value-added than in value among the different actor groups and the dimensions of tourism integration. Institutions, host communities and gatekeepers were the most positive.

Examples of highest value-added tourism are those which included different actor groups, drew upon existing processes and resources, and linked to wider networks whilst emphasising the value and distinctiveness of local culture and resources. By theme, the key changes which affected the value of integrated tourism are: infrastructure and facilities; policy, regulation and funding; structures; external events; and promotion, image and quality.

Actor groups which judged tourism value to have the highest increase were institutions and host communities, followed by gatekeepers, tourists, resource controllers and businesses. Scores showed considerable unanimity among the groups across the study areas in terms of the perceived degree of value added and it is encouraging that tourists and host community members were so positive about changes in tourism value and integrative processes. Businesses were the most critical of tourism policy and organisations, and resource controllers were the most removed from tourism processes.

However, the aspects of tourism value where the actor groups saw progress do differ. While the six groups had similar overall scores for tourism value added, they highlighted very different criteria. Tourists, businesses and institutions appreciated the level of growth in scale and, like gatekeepers and resource controllers, recognised the empowering value of an expanding tourism sector. Businesses and host communities also identified empowerment as one of the major benefits and saw greater sustainability as a key change, but tourists, gatekeepers, resource controllers and host communities identified sustainability as an area of least improvement and seemed less aware of advances in institutional policy and business practice. For host communities and tourists, complementarity was the major benefit of recent developments, whereas it failed to register with gatekeepers, businesses, resource controllers and institutions. Institutions who have to operate networking did not see its improvement as a key gain, and tourists noticed it least. Embeddedness and endogeneity were highlighted by resource controllers and gatekeepers whilst tourists, businesses and institutions had noticed limited change.

Resource controllers and institutions had the widest range of scores. These were diverse groups in terms of their specific functions, which may explain this. The host community group was the most uniform its judgments, seeing benefits on all the nodes and awarding a higher score where they saw the least improvement in value than any other group's worst scoring node. Only empowerment did not appear as both an area of most and least improvement all six groups saw it as a major gain. All the nodes were selected by at least one group as an area of maximum gain and all except empowerment as the site of least gain. Behind a superficial similarity lies considerable variation in views on how tourism had improved between 1992 and 2002. Complementarity had the least increase in value, followed by networking. Embeddedness, endogeneity, scale and sustainability had similar value increases, and empowerment was the principal area of improvement.

Host communities recorded the most negative points, across five of the six countries and seven of the 12 study areas and on four of the seven nodes, but we should not exaggerate the ability of tourism to cause problems on the ground. Scale was viewed favourably by institutions, businesses and tourists alike. There was strong support for growing endogeneity and networking from resource controllers, and for the way tourism empowers communities from tourists and institutions particularly. Tourism has benefited the study areas, but some areas, aspects and actors more than others, and hence further improvement is possible.

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University of Lancaster
University of Lancaster
LA1 4YQ Lancaster
United Kingdom
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