Tourism in agricultural regions in Australia: developing experiences from agricultural resources

Thompson, Michelle (2015) Tourism in agricultural regions in Australia: developing experiences from agricultural resources. PhD thesis, James Cook University.

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Abstract

The aim of the thesis was to identify the role that agricultural resources can play in the development of tourism in agricultural regions. To achieve the research aim, this thesis specifically examined tourism experiences based on the agricultural resources of two regions in Australia. A review identified that agri-tourism, and the related area of food tourism, has received considerable attention in the literature, from both demand and supply perspectives. However, gaps remain in current knowledge, including identifying and understanding the role of drivers and barriers in tourism development in agricultural regions. There is also a need to develop a more comprehensive understanding of how these drivers and barriers interact and shape tourism development. Finally, existing models neither adequately explain the process by which agricultural resources can be transformed into tourism experiences or provide suitable planning models that can be used to assist regions develop tourism.

Based on the gaps identified in the literature, the following research objectives were developed:

1) to identify the role that drivers may play in shaping the development of tourism in agricultural regions

2) to identify the role that barriers may play in shaping the development of tourism in agricultural regions

3) to develop a theoretical model that captures those factors that enable agricultural regions to transform their agricultural resources into tourism experiences

4) to develop a planning model able to assist agricultural regions develop tourism based on agricultural resources.

A multiple case study approach was adopted to identify the role that agricultural resources can play in developing tourism. Margaret River and the Barossa were selected as the two case studies due to their international profiles as Australian food and wine destinations. Multiple sources of evidence, including documentary and secondary sources, archival records and semi-structured interviews, were subjected to content, historical and thematic analyses. Interviews were conducted with representatives from the agriculture, tourism, food and wine industries, as well as government agencies. Findings were triangulated to establish converging lines of inquiry and identify the drivers and barriers that influenced tourism development in each area. A cross-case synthesis was then conducted to determine the drivers and barriers central to tourism development across the cases, and then to model the interactions between drivers, barriers and the external environment.

The results identified a range of drivers and barriers to tourism development, which both confirmed existing literature and contributed new knowledge. The drivers were organised into a Wheel of Drivers that was comprised of two tiers to indicate the level of importance and demonstrate the dynamic nature and interactions between drivers. Tier One comprised six key drivers: geography; innovation; networks and collaboration; internal culture; people; and branding. These drivers were surrounded by a second tier of related drivers that provided a more in-depth understanding of Tier One drivers. Examples of Tier Two drivers include: product diversity; financial capacity; vision; collaborative infrastructure; successful industries; local and government support. The results also identified a range of barriers that were similarly organised into a Wheel of Barriers with two tiers to represent the dynamic nature and interactions between these barriers. Tier One comprised six barrier categories, including: economic; environmental; socio-cultural; administrative; regulatory; and product-based. Tier Two barriers more accurately described the types of barriers that could occur within each category, and include: viability of agriculture; investment; lack of resources; changes in demand; legislative requirements; and lack of infrastructure.

This research has both confirmed and extended current knowledge of tourism development in agricultural regions. The findings provide an enhanced holistic understanding of the role of drivers and barriers, highlighting how their interactions shape tourism development. A dynamic theoretical model was developed to explain the process by which agricultural resources are transformed into tourism experiences. The model illustrates how drivers, barriers and the external environment shape the transformation of comparative advantages (agricultural resources) into competitive advantage (tourism experiences). Building on this conceptual understanding, a management model was developed that may be used as a planning tool by agricultural regions to guide the strategic development of tourism.

Item ID: 43806
Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: agricultural resources; agriculture; agritourism; agri-tourism; agrotourism; Australia; tourism development; tourism planning; tourism; tourists; travel; visitors
Date Deposited: 18 May 2016 04:59
FoR Codes: 15 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 1506 Tourism > 150601 Impacts of Tourism @ 50%
15 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 1506 Tourism > 150605 Tourism Resource Appraisal @ 50%
SEO Codes: 90 COMMERCIAL SERVICES AND TOURISM > 9003 Tourism > 900303 Tourism Infrastructure Development @ 100%
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Last 12 Months: 48
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