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Addressing Power: Stakeholder Involvement Within an Integrated Tourism Planning Process

Lauren Duffy[1] and Gyunghoon Kim

College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina, USA

Introduction

In recent years, scholars have begun to call for more critical perspectives with regard to understanding the impacts of tourism (Ateljevic et al., 2007; Bramwell and Lane, 2008; Bianchi, 2009; Cole and Morgan, 2010). Long has the ‘triple bottom line’, ‘the trinity’ or the ‘three pillars’ of sustainable tourism - the economic, environment and socio-cultural impacts - been noted, but attention to how these impacts are dispersed and distributed among stakeholders, both positively and negatively, still remains largely unaddressed in theory and in practice. The focus of this chapter is on integrated tourism, a type of tourism development that falls under the umbrella of sustainability, and poses the questions: what are the constraints to stakeholder involvement, and how does stakeholder inclusion/exclu- sion influence the way tourism impacts are dispersed within a model of integrated tourism in the urban-rural tourism context?

The importance of this is that the equity and equality of tourism impacts need to be acknowledged and addressed, particularly in complex planning contexts that need to include diverse and numerous stakeholders, such as integrated tourism. There remains a need for strategies, plans and models to look more deeply at causes of unequal and unbalanced costs and benefits of tourism development, especially in cases where there are stakeholders who have conflicting goals and agendas (Bousset et al., 2007). This conceptual chapter will review existing theoretical frameworks for involving stakeholders in planning processes (especially those intersecting with integrated tourism planning in urban-rural tourism development), and provide an extension to thinking about the role of stakeholders by reviewing factors that influence participation and the dispersion of tourism impacts. Furthermore, this chapter will examine the utility of focusing on the construct of power in order to emphasize the importance of equity, justice, voice and participation among stakeholders within the process and provide recommendations for increasing inclusion and equity of voice among them.

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