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Fostering and sustaining urban tourism systems through governance networks: a comparative analysis of England and Thailand

Tengratanaprasert, Thanaporn (2017) Fostering and sustaining urban tourism systems through governance networks: a comparative analysis of England and Thailand. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

Sustainable Urban Tourism (SUT) is a central concept in tourism literature and practice. Commentators and practitioners have argued that SUT requires negotiation and compromise to avoid overemphasising one dimension. The literature suggests that governance networks (GNs) are valuable mechanism in determining the success of SUT. However, research has shown that many practical challenges can impede the development of effective GNs. This study examines how GNs might be used to gain insights into the dynamics of partnerships and enhance SUT policies and practices by comparative empirical analysis of World Heritage Sites (WHS) and tourist seaside towns in England and Thailand. This thesis examines the impact of what can be called ‘institutional designs’ and modes of governance on network effectiveness. A thematic analysis was employed to systematically analyse qualitative data. It was found that foundational platform factors - both government structure and national culture - have a significant impact upon shaping governance partnerships, leading to different modes of GNs. It was found that towns within the same national context can have different policy outcomes. This thesis shows that the norms of leadership, inclusiveness, transparency, responsibility and equity must also be followed at the network level. A shared action agenda is important for defining individual network members’ roles and responsibilities with leadership and coordination being key factors. The study shows that GNs offer an effective and suitable means of addressing the challenges of SUT in the context of national culture and policy outcomes. Each country has its own tourism governance model, produced and defined by a unique set of circumstances; a successful model must be cognisant of each country’s cultural and political context. The challenge for Thailand is to adapt the current permit centrally controlled and directed policy networks to create governance partnerships with more local influence over policy planning and implementation.

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