Stakeholder responses to vandalism at visitor attractions: a Singapore and Bangkok comparison

Bhati, Abhishek Dalip Singh (2014) Stakeholder responses to vandalism at visitor attractions: a Singapore and Bangkok comparison. PhD thesis, James Cook University.

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Abstract

This PhD project considered specific tourist behaviours designated as acts of tourist vandalism. The study sought to understand stakeholder responses to the tourist linked vandalism. The context of this work was the tropics - specifically the popular tourism destinations of Singapore and Bangkok in South East Asia. Stakeholders considered were the community, managers of tourist facilities and government agency personnel responsible for policy matters related to attraction management. Each group of stakeholders held potentially different perspectives and likely responses to deviant behaviours. Component parts of the study considered the responses which aim to reduce or eliminate deviant behaviors.

The research employed a post-positivist methodology to investigate the extent of vandalism, stakeholder attitudes, levels of community participation, nature of intervention strategies and future intentions related to visitor vandalism and its control. By applying the defensible space and crime prevention through environment design (CPTED) constructs from environmental design and management, the extent and nature of vandalism at visitor attractions was initially explored. In the subsequent parts of the work, the community, site managers and government officers’ responses were all investigated through surveys and structured interviews.

Building on the major themes in the background literature reported in Chapters One and Two, Chapter Three specifically reported on a physical audit of 22 matched sites and discussed the prevalence of acts of property damage/vandalism at visitor attractions in the two countries. The visitor attractions were grouped into clusters with the help of the SPSS cluster analysis program. The cluster analysis revealed that sites under the sustainable cluster employed effective vandalism prevention and control practices in their operations. In comparison, the vandalised cluster evidenced mismanagement and lack of stakeholder participation resulting in widespread property damage. The other clusters were characterised by poor management practices, lack of ownership and participation or poor enforcement. Chapter Four evaluated community responses, their involvement with other stakeholder groups in joint action to address vandalism and desired levels of involvement to arrive at a better understanding of community’s role in addressing property damage. The study found that there was a widespread view that vandalism was a serious issue but there was also optimism in both locations, especially Bangkok, that the problem would be reduced in the future, although willingness to be involved in active intervention was not high.

The third and final study in Chapter Five concentrated on the attitudes and responses of stakeholder groups such as site managers and government officers to property damage at visitor attraction under their supervision. This particular chapter explicitly highlighted the differences between responses of key stakeholder groups. Four key stakeholder groups were identified for the study: site managers in Bangkok (BSM), site managers in Singapore (SSM), government officers in Bangkok (BGO) and government offices in Singapore (SGO). The interview transcripts of the four groups were analysed with the help of relatively new and powerful content analysis software, Leximancer. The findings showed significant differences in the attitudes of the four stakeholder groups in terms of seriousness of property damage as a problem at the visitor attractions under their supervision.

The concluding Chapter Six linked the findings and conclusions to the overall research problem. The chapter described the contributions of this research as a novel comparative study involving tropical tourism destinations in the Asia Pacific region. The limitations and challenges of the work were presented, and then the future directions of this area of inquiry identified.

The research undertaken in this thesis has expanded upon the existing body of scientific knowledge and understanding in five main ways. First, it employed existing theoretical frameworks such as defensible space and the CPTED approach to crime prevention within a different context, that is, visitor behaviour at visitor attractions, and from a different conceptual focus of behaviour intervention instead of motivations to behaviour. Second, the physical audit study identified important site characteristics of the attraction property's design and management relevant to managing the tropical Asian context. Third, for the first time, arguably, it compared attitudes towards vandalism within the local community, in different countries and across a wide range of attraction sites. Fourth, the study evaluated the differing perspectives of key stakeholders – the site managers and government officials groups. Finally, it proposed a framework of property damage control and prevention at visitor attractions. This integrative model was based on the core premise that a systematic and coordinated effort is required to address the complex problem of vandalism at tourist attractions.

Item ID: 1899
Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: attitudes; attractions; Bangkok; behaviors; behaviours; graffiti; opinions; Singapore; Thailand; tourism; tourists; vandalism; vandals; visitors
Date Deposited: 05 Aug 2015 05:56
FoR Codes: 15 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 1506 Tourism > 150606 Tourist Behaviour and Visitor Experience @ 100%
SEO Codes: 90 COMMERCIAL SERVICES AND TOURISM > 9003 Tourism > 900302 Socio-Cultural Issues in Tourism @ 100%
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