- Tourism--Planning--Citizen participation; Economic development--Planning--Citizen participation;
The purpose of this study was to compare and contrast the current practices of citizen involvement in community tourism planning with the framework of deliberative democracy. The goal of this study was to expand the literature on tourism planning which currently lacks a working framework for participatory community tourism planning. Drawing from political philosophy, democratic theory, and planning literature, this study utilized the framework of deliberative democracy and planning as communicative action, in order to contribute to the development of a model of participatory community tourism planning.
The current practices of citizen involvement in community tourism planning were examined in three North American communities - Dubuque (Iowa), Hood River (Oregon), and Ucluelet (Brisith Columbia). Comparing and contrasting community planning processes in these communities not only illustrated contextual nature and complexities of the tourism planning practices, but also revealed a number of factors that should be considered by practicing planners in their efforts to design proactive participatory processes that will engage communities to the maximum extent possible.
While the theoretical framework of Rowe, Marsh and Prewer (2001), Rowe, Marsh, Reynolds and Prewer (2001), and Marsh, Rowe and Frewer (2001) helped better understand the design of each of the planning processes, it did not account for the contextual differences of these processes. Contextual factors influencing community based planning processes included political economy, administrative and policy frameworks, stage of economic development, place on a Tourism Area Life Cycle, power dynamics, community values, worldviews and lifestyles, community and cultural fabric, and social capital, among others. Strength of influence, role and significance of each of these contextual factors varied from one community to another.
While different in their contexts and features of participatory planning processes, all communities in the study shared similar concerns in regard to the development of their tourism product. Among them were a need to have a broad and shared community vision enforced by community leadership, supported by cooperation, collaboration, and partnerships, and expressed through shared decision making; focus on communication, dialogue and information exchange, to ensure a participatory and inclusive planning process design that would incorporate a multitude of community voices and worldviews and further strengthen social capital, as well as scope and timing of tourism development, along with the need to consider tourism impacts on the economy, environment, social and cultural community fabric.
With regard to practical implications of the framework of deliberative democracy, this study showed that while deliberative democracy and planning as communicative action are both indeed noble ideals to strive to, their application in practice should revolve around designing and implementing processes that would shift the focus from outcomes to recognizing the role and importance of contextual and process factors ensuring meaningful citizen involvement in community based planning and decision making.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/oksana-grybovych/1/