Stakeholders in tourism development
This article aims to identify the key stakeholders in tourism development. Stakeholders are very important for any organisation/industry, and without their support, and commitment, success can be a far-fetched idea.
Definition of stakeholder
A stakeholder is a person, group, or organization that can affect or be affected an organisation. According to Johnson, Scholes & Whittington (2006) stakeholders refer to individuals or groups who depend on the organisation to fulfil their own goals and on whom, in turn, the organisation depends.
Stakeholders in tourism development
Participation of stakeholders in the decision-making process is very important for sustainable tourism development. According to UNWTO (2005) there are several stakeholders who may impact directly or indirectly on tourism planning and development. They play a wide variety of roles and may sometimes have competing aims and objectives.
The roles of stakeholders in tourism development
In order to understand the roles of stakeholders in tourism development, it is important to identify who the key stakeholders are. That discussion that follows addresses this issue.
National governments play an important role in tourism development. They plan tourism activities at national levels. Planning at national levels require appropriate policies being designed and implemented. National governments’ roles include but not limited to developing and maintaining infrastructures such as roads, railways, and ports; promoting destinations to local and international tourists; and ensuring safety and security of tourists. In 2016, the UK government made an announcement of £40 million investment to deliver new tourism outside London and ease travel around Britain, which is aimed at helping local and international visitors to explore the wealth of tourism opportunities across the country (UK Department for Culture, Media & Sport, 2016) .
Local governments with specific competence in tourism matters also play in important role in tourism development. Local councils promote local tourist attractions, provide infrastructure and services to support tourism and manage the impacts of tourism. They are also in a better position to understand unique characteristics of a destination and can create an authentic experience for the people who want to visit it.
Tourism establishments and enterprises
Tourism establishments and enterprises play a variety of roles in tourism development. For example, airlines, trains, and buses transport tourists from one place to another, restaurants provide them with food and drinks, and hotels provide accommodation. Tour operators, travel agencies, and tourist information centres also fall into this category. In fact, travelling abroad is almost impossible without tourism organisations.
Travellers, including business travellers, and visitors to tourism destinations, sites and attractions are perhaps the most important stakeholders. Tourists visit attractions; spend money; and may promote the attractions through word of mouth and social media if their experience is positive. If the experience is not positive, tourists may not return to the attractions again, and may even spread negative word of mouth.
Tourism employees, professionals and consultants also play a very important role in tourism development. According to Visit Britain (2021) tourism has been the fastest growing sector in the UK in employment terms since 2010. Tourism is expected to support almost 3.8 million jobs, which is around 11% of the total UK number by 2025. These figures demonstrate how important tourism employees and professionals are. Restaurants, hotels, airlines, buses, trains, and others will certainly struggle should they employ an inadequate number of employees, or there are shortages of skilled people in the market.
Local people are also very important in tourism development. They may have legitimate concerns and may resist any tourism development. Therefore, they need to be involved in the decision-making process where appropriate. Local people with their distinct values and cultures can add value to any tourist destinations. Tourists may also benefit from local people in many different ways.
There are some other stakeholders that tourism planners should consider. For example, institutions engaged in financing tourism projects, trade unions of employees and professionals working in tourism, tourism educational centres, and other tourism specialist organisations play a variety of roles in tourism development.
Importance of stakeholders in tourism development
Having discussed the roles of stakeholders in tourism development, this article now focuses on their importance. As identified above, there are a number of stakeholders in tourism development who tourism planners must consider. Modern tourism world is a complex web of interconnected stakeholders. Therefore, understanding their needs and desires is important to get the best results in planning and developing tourism projects.
However, it is worth mentioning that all the stakeholders may not have equal power and interest in a particular tourism project. It is therefore important for planners to identify who the most important stakeholders in tourism development are so that they can devise an appropriate communication strategy. The article on Stakeholder mapping- stakeholder analysis provides more information on how to identify the most important stakeholders.
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Last update: 16 July 2021
Johnson, G, Scholes, k, & Whittington, R. (2006) Exploring Corporate Strategy, 7th edition, Prentice Hall
Pearson Education Limited (2011) Travel and Tourism Management: Study Guide, Essex: Pearson Education Limited
UK Department for Culture, Media & Sport (2016) Government invests £40 million and cuts red tape to boost tourism across England, available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-invests-40-million-and-cuts-red-tape-to-boost-tourism-across-england (Accessed 28 June 2017)
Visit Britain (2021) Britain’s visitor economy facts, available at: https://www.visitbritain.org/visitor-economy-facts (accessed 10 July 2021)
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Author: M Rahman
M Rahman writes extensively online with an emphasis on business management, marketing, and tourism. He is a lecturer in Management and Marketing. He holds an MSc in Tourism & Hospitality from the University of Sunderland. Also, graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University with a BA in Business & Management Studies and completed a DTLLS (Diploma in Teaching in the Life-Long Learning Sector) from London South Bank University.