Sustainable tourism development in UK National ?· Sustainable tourism development in UK National Parks:…

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  • Sustainable tourism development in UK National Parks: Principles, Meaning & Practice

    Sarah Ann Murphy

    Submitted in accordance with the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

    The University of Leeds York St John University

    York St John Business School

    March 2014

  • - i -

    Declaration The candidate confirms that the work submitted is her own and that appropriate

    credit has been given where reference has been made to the work of others.

    This copy has been supplied on the understanding that it is copyright material and

    that no quotation from the thesis may be published without proper

    acknowledgement.

    The right of Sarah Ann Murphy to be identified as Author of this work has been

    asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

    2014 The University of Leeds and Sarah Ann Murphy

  • - ii -

    ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

    This research was only possible due to the funding provided by York St John Business

    School and I am incredibly grateful to have been given this opportunity.

    I would like to express my sincere gratitude to my primary supervisor, Professor Steve

    Watson. He has been a true mentor, providing invaluable advice, support and guidance

    throughout my academic career. Thanks are also expressed to my secondary

    supervisor, Dr Takamitsu Jimura, who provided useful feedback and direction

    throughout the research process.

    Thank you to all those within the New Forest National Park and the Yorkshire Dales

    National Park who helped with this research by sharing their valuable insights with me

    and providing an array of documents, literature and other information which

    broadened my knowledge of the areas.

    I am, as always, indebted to my parents, Keith and Angela Neale, who provide constant

    love and support no matter where life takes me.

    Finally, a special thank you is extended to my husband Chris, for his endless patience,

    love, encouragement and unwavering belief in my abilities. Without him, this thesis

    would not have been possible.

  • - iii -

    ABSTRACT

    Tourism is revered for its ability to encourage development through the utilisation of

    free natural and cultural resources. However, the benefits of tourism development are

    often accompanied by negative impacts which degrade the social and environmental

    context in which tourist interactions occur. This issue is particularly significant in

    national parks due to the challenges presented by their often opposing dual remit:

    conservation and recreational access. Sustainable tourism development has been

    recognised as a means of addressing this issue. However, to date, there has been a lack

    of research evaluating the understanding and application of sustainable tourism

    development within national parks. This research addresses this gap.

    A qualitative research strategy was adopted which utilised a multi-case study

    methodology involving the Yorkshire Dales and the New Forest. It employed a

    triangulated strategy which used primary and secondary data collection methods,

    adding credibility to the findings.

    The findings revealed that some stakeholders experienced difficulty in understanding

    the concept due to complex and ambiguous terminology. Consequently, the underlying

    principles were considered to be more significant. The meaning and operationalisation

    of the principles varied according to the contextually unique characteristics of

    destinations. Overall however, it was acknowledged that the concept should not be

    seen as an end-goal, but as an on-going process, with the principles embedded into

    planning and management processes if progress is to be achieved.

    This study culminates by presenting two models; the first is intended to facilitate an

    evaluation of the main elements affecting sustainable tourism development, namely,

    context, understanding and operationalisation. The second is intended for use by

    practitioners, to aid the identification of key principles and the elements of planning

    and management where these principles need to be embedded. Both models highlight

    the importance of contextual awareness and thus, further research is recommended to

    assess their relevance in other destinations.

  • - iv - TABLE OF CONTENTS

    Declaration ........................................................................................................................... i Acknowledgements .............................................................................................................. ii Abstract ............................................................................................................................... iii Table of Contents ................................................................................................................ iv List of Figures ..................................................................................................................... viii List of Tables ......................................................................................................................... x Abbreviations & Acronyms .................................................................................................. xi One Introduction

    1.1 Introduction ..................................................................................................... 1 1.2 Research background & rationale .................................................................... 1 1.3 Research strategy & relevance ......................................................................... 7 1.4 Research aim & objectives ............................................................................... 9 1.5 Thesis structure ................................................................................................ 9

    Two Sustainable Development & Tourism

    2.1 Introduction ................................................................................................... 14 2.2 Tourism as an agent for development ............................................................ 15 2.3 Development theory ...................................................................................... 19

    2.3.1 Modernisation theory ...................................................................... 21 2.3.2 Dependency theory ......................................................................... 23 2.3.3 Economic neo-liberalism .................................................................. 24 2.3.4 Alternative development ................................................................. 25

    2.4 Sustainable development ............................................................................... 26 2.4.1 Defining and understanding sustainable development .................... 28 2.4.2 Key objectives and principles ........................................................... 32 2.5 Tourism and development theory .................................................................. 36 2.6 Sustainable tourism development .................................................................. 39 2.6.1 Definitions and iInterpretations of sustainable tourism development ................................................................................... 40 2.6.2 Key objectives and principles ........................................................... 45 2.6.3 Operational issues ........................................................................... 50

    2.7 Conclusion ...................................................................................................... 55 Three National Parks & Tourism

    3.1 Introduction ................................................................................................... 58 3.2 National parks as protected areas .................................................................. 59 3.3 Historical context ........................................................................................... 64

    3.3.1 Origins of the concept Yellowstone National Park ........................ 65 3.3.2 The New World Canada, New Zealand and Australia .................... 67 3.3.3 The African and Asian Colonies ........................................................ 69

  • - v - 3.3.4 Europe and the Major Powers .......................................................... 71

    3.4 National Parks: A series of models .................................................................. 79 3.5 Recreation and tourism in national parks ....................................................... 83 3.6 Balancing conflicting objectives: environmental conservation and tourism ... 86 3.7 Conclusion ...................................................................................................... 89

    Four Sustainable tourism development in national parks 4.1 Introduction .................................................................................................... 91 4.2 Tourism impacts ............................................................................................. 92

    4.2.1 Environmental impacts ....................................................................... 94 4.2.2 Social impacts ................................................................................... 95 4.2.3 Economic impacts ............................................................................ 97

    4.3 Tourism planning ............................