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Cultural and economic geography, Library science, Folklore studies
Tourism destination governance is concerned with the development and management of a destination; who is involved and how they are involved. Although the term governance was traditionally associated with politics and government structures it has become more broadly applied in recent years to also describe more grassroots approaches involving various community stakeholders such as individual business owners in tourism product and service provision, business owners in other sectors, community leaders and community residents Morrison (2013). Turbulence in the market has forced the tourism industry to move away from centralised, government-led, hierarchical type of governance towards more participatory approaches where stakeholders are included in decision-making. In Ireland, the importance of community engagement in tourism development, has been acknowledged by policy makers (Fáilte Ireland, 2010; The Tourism Recovery Taskforce, 2012). More than important however, it has been argued that for a destination development to be successful, community involvement is essential (Jamal & Watt, 2011). It has been shown that ensuring that stakeholders have active involvement in tourism development can enhance success by reducing conflicts, building trust, adding to the transparency of the process, improving policy co-ordination and creating an added-value to the enterprise through the utilisation of stakeholder knowledge (Ford, 2011; Schianetz et al., 2009). Nevertheless, despite the rhetoric about the importance of including community stakeholders in destination development, in reality it does not happen often (Myers, Budruk, & Andereck, 2011; Schianetz et al., 2009). This paper describes an ongoing project where community members have been encouraged to become involved in destination development. The project is focused on examining how the iconic story of St Brendan the Navigator could be developed into a tourism experience along the Wild Atlantic Way in North and West Kerry. The challenges faced in attempting this type of tourism governance are described, as well as how they can be addressed.
O'Leary, D. and Stafford, M. R. (2014) Using an iconic story to bring communities together to develop a tourism experience. Tourism and Hospitality Research in Ireland Conference, 3rd. and 4th. April, 2014, Cork.