Controversial ecotourism and stakeholder roles in governance: 'swim with humpback whales' in Vava'u

Walker, Kaye, and Moscardo, Gianna (2011) Controversial ecotourism and stakeholder roles in governance: 'swim with humpback whales' in Vava'u. In: Laws, Eric, Richins, Harold, Agrusa, Jerome, and Scott, Noel, (eds.) Tourist Destination Governance: practice, theory and issues. CAB International, Wallingford, UK, pp. 103-116.

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This chapter looks closely at stakeholder roles in the governance of a wildlife tourist activity in Vava'u, Tonga. The case study acknowledges the international attention and pressure that a controversial 'swim with whales' tourist activity has received. The chapter explores the conflict of values between and within a number of the stakeholders impacted by the activity in the South Pacific kingdom. The chapter describes the controversial activity and setting and then explores the challenges of effective governance regarding an activity that effectively pits conservation and wildlife preservation principles against tourism development in an island destination. The findings of the study on the whale tourist activity are discussed, describing the serious issues, and a framework for values-based sustainable tourism is considered. Perhaps, due to the international concern of individuals and, more specifically, of international non-government organizations concerned for animal welfare, this case provides an interesting illustration in understanding governance issues on both a national and international level. An important finding relates to the challenge of conflicting cultural, environmental and economic values and how these may differ significantly between more localized and international stakeholders. A secondary aspect of this case is a realization of the potential broader external scrutiny of an industry when international values are challenged. Further challenges exist, as indicated in Chapter 9, in influencing destination governance without undue external interference and control. This supports the view that decision making is a major facet of effective governance, and a focus on the importance of determining ways to address cultural and environmental value differences and challenges is needed. The chapter finishes by discussing potential solutions to local-international collaboration and engagement in areas of potential conflict and difference with relevance to destination governance.

Item ID: 19316
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-1-84593-794-2
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Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2012 02:12
FoR Codes: 15 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 1506 Tourism > 150603 Tourism Management @ 100%
SEO Codes: 90 COMMERCIAL SERVICES AND TOURISM > 9003 Tourism > 900399 Tourism not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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