Opportunities and Obstacles: an analysis of public participation in Blackpool’s tourism planning

Mason, P (2007) Opportunities and Obstacles: an analysis of public participation in Blackpool’s tourism planning. [Dissertation]

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The aim of this study is to examine the role that participation plays in local tourism
development and the factors which may affect genuine and inclusive participation.
Focussing on a tourism regeneration strategy proposed by Blackpool Borough
Council, UK, this study will question the highly acclaimed and supported theory that
community participation is a vital element of sustainable tourism development.
Although residents’ perceptions of tourism development are a well-studied subject,
the role which residents play in the decision-making is much less discussed. This gap
in the literature needs to be addressed in order to challenge, or indeed corroborate, the
rhetoric of community participation.
Research was conducted by use of questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. The
results initially indicate a perspective that most Blackpool residents show a high level
of apathy towards tourism development, yet upon further examination several barriers
and limitations to participation become apparent, emphasising the need for a
multifaceted yet all-inclusive approach to participation. The results show that social
class, a lack of understanding of the participation system and a general feeling that
residents’ opinions would not be considered, all acted as barriers against resident
participation. Limited funding was also determined to be a limitation to providing
adequate participation methods. In light of these results the author puts forward
several recommendations, including the need to ensure that all residents have the
opportunity to participate, providing continuous feedback of decisions and
progression of developments, and ensuring that participation is encouraged at a local
level without input from higher levels of Government.

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