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Tourism and Resilience

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This is the first book to address the concept of resilience and its specific application and relevance to tourism, in particular tourism destinations. Resilience relates to the ability of organisms, communities, ecosystems and populations to withstand the impacts of external forces while retaining their integrity and ability to continue functioning. It is particularly applicable to tourism destinations and attractions which are exposed to the potentially harmful and sometimes severe effects of tourism development and visitation, but which also can experience increased resilience from the economic benefits of tourism. Tourism and Resilience is relevant for researchers, students and practitioners in tourism and related fields such as development studies, geography, sociology, anthropology, economics and business/management. Phenomena such as destination communities, wildlife populations and ecosystems are discussed, as well as the ability of places and communities to use tourism and its infrastructure to recover from disasters such as tsunamis, earthquakes, unrest and disease.Ê

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PART 1 INTRODUCTION

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Part 1

Introduction

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1 

Introduction

Richard Butler*

Strathclyde University, Glasgow, UK

1.1  Sustainability, Capacity and

Resilience

1.1.1 Introduction

As tourism has developed into an important academic field of study over the last century, researchers in the field have adopted and adapted a number of concepts and frameworks from other fields and disciplines to use as conceptual hooks for their research. Contributions have been made from all the major social science disciplines and, although fewer in number, of equal importance, from the physical sciences also. The following sections review briefly two of those which have been of particular relevance to the concept of resilience and which have preceded this in terms of their application to tourism research and development.

1.1.2  Sustainable development

Since the publication of Our Common Future in

1987 (WCED, 1987) the last three decades have been dominated by the concept of sustainable development. This concept has been adopted by many actors involved in tourism at all levels, from individual companies and communities to national governments and international agencies such as the United Nations World Tourism

 

PART 2 SOCIO-ECOLOGICAL RESILIENCE

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Part 2

Socio-ecological Resilience

Introduction

The movement of resilience from a physical science concept into the social sciences has to some degree followed a similar path to that of other such concepts including chaos theory, whereby the transfer of ideas has ‘caught on’ with researchers outside the original disciplines and become popularized in different contexts. Such a transfer has not always been universally accepted and certainly not without issues and problems as for example, in the context of chaos theory and its application to tourism, but the results are often stimulating and rewarding in terms of introducing different ways of examining common problems. In the case of socio-­ecological systems, and in particular communities, the problems arising from the introduction or expansion of tourism are well documented and have been studied from many viewpoints and well summarized in Mathieson and Wall’s seminal work on tourism impacts (1982). The three chapters in this section examine the application of one aspect of resilience in the context of destination communities, linking adaptability, governance and capacity in explaining how human communities can increase their resistance and reduce their vulnerability with respect to tourism. Ruiz-Ballesteros reviews an approach to

 

PART 3 RESILIENCE AND RESPONSE TO DISASTERS

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Part 3

Resilience and Response to Disasters

Introduction

In an ideal world, systems, both ecological and social-cultural, would develop sufficient resistance to deal with and survive shocks such as disasters, conflict and revolutionary change. In reality, most systems have limited resistance to sudden shocks, generally it is only after such shocks that affected systems begin to improve and strengthen their resistance to (mostly external) forces and the undesired changes they may bring about. In the case of tourism, communities can experience shocks both from the rapid growth or expansion of tourism, and also from the sudden reduction or loss of tourism. Such shocks as natural disasters, conflict and violence, sudden economic recession, or loss of accessibility often come about rapidly and result in major effects, leaving affected communities to recover and renew their tourism appeal or to replace tourism with some other economic activity. In reality, the very reason that tourism has been developed or allowed to develop in some of these communities was because there were few resources and a very limited range of economic development options available, and a future without tourism would often pose a major problem. While the view that crises and disasters can be taken as opportunities is sometimes necessary, in reality opportunities may be difficult if not impossible to find. Communities need to recover from such major shocks rapidly and appropriately and to build resilience to be able to

 

PART 4 RESILIENCE IN PROTECTED NATURAL AREAS AND INSULAR LOCATIONS

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Part 4

Resilience in Protected Natural Areas and Insular Locations

Introduction

It is in natural areas and remote communities that the concept of resilience perhaps has the most direct relevance, given its origin in ecological systems. Many protected natural areas place the highest priority on maintaining the natural environment and associated processes either unimpaired or as near their ‘original’ state as possible. Ensuring the resilience of the natural systems to withstand the shocks of tourism visitation and related infrastructure is a major problem for the management of parks and similar areas, a problem that is often aggravated by political requirements for ever increasing visitor numbers and economic benefits obtained from national parks and other such units, often in the face of evidence of increasing impacts of visitor use. Cochrane explores this issue in the context of the management issues of protected areas, some of which are subjected to extremely high levels of use and inevitably experience problems of impact, resulting in loss or reduction in habitat and biodiversity, thus threatening the very attributes which make them attractive to tourism as well as the basis for their protection. In this context tourism is a double-edged sword, providing a further rationale for protection but also being a major potential threat, and is discussed in the context of national parks in the

 

PART 5 RESILIENCE AND THE TOURISM INDUSTRY

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Part 5

Resilience and the Tourism Industry

Introduction

This section of the book contains discussions on how resilience fits in with other concepts in tourism and how it can be applied in the context of the tourism industry and political ideologies.

Goodwin places resilience in the context of both sustainability and responsibility, thus returning to some of the key elements discussed earlier in

Chapters 2 and 3. He stresses the importance of taking responsibility and action in appropriate situations and discusses some of the arrangements put in place to protect tourists and tourist enterprises from shocks and disasters within the tourism industry. This is a topic of particular relevance at the present time with conflict being present in a number of tourist destinations and security being a global issue for tourism and many other forms of economic activity. The shocks of terrorism-induced violence, for example, have ramifications far beyond the specific locale affected directly, changing perceptions, market appeal, transport agents and government responses, often leaving tourists confused, out of pocket and seriously inconvenienced, if not also in danger. Despite major political change in recent years and initial fears of problems for tourism, the two former Western colonial outposts of Macao and Hong Kong have boomed in terms of tourist arrivals over the last decade

 

PART 6 CONCLUSIONS

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Part 6

Conclusions

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17 

Conclusions and Implications

Richard Butler*

Strathclyde University, Glasgow, UK

17.1  Resilience and Tourism

Resilience is a concept that has come relatively late to tourism in the sense of the use of the term in its current form, as a conceptual input from the physical sciences. There has long been commentary on communities and destinations as being resilient in one form or another, normally indicating that they have retained some or most of their attributes despite the onset of tourism development. In this context tourism has almost always been marked as the shock or agent of change that the community in question has experienced. Among researchers from sociology and anthropology in particular, tourism has often been seen as a major negative influence on the culture, traditional way of life and attitudes of residents of tourism destinations. In general, such criticisms have not been accompanied by suggestions or illustrations of what such affected communities might do to better shield themselves from the negative influences and effects of  tourism, or, in other words, how they might increase their resilience to such external impacts. Mathieson and Wall (1982) were among the first to note that in fact, tourism communities were not simply passive receptors of the influence of tourism, but in fact could cause effects to be experienced by the tourists who visited them. Wall (personal comment) has pointed out that in many tourist destinations tourists wear pseudo ‘native’ clothes while the locals wear jeans and T-shirts, indicating an exchange

 

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