Investigating the role of resilience theory in assessing sustainability of coastal tourism destinations: the case study of New Zealand

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The connection between resilience theories and human intervention methods such as coastal management and tourism activities was and remains to be an interest of many researchers in local and international scales. The interest of researchers arises from the growing environmental threats to coastal areas and the importance of tourism in the local and global economies. Their work has focused in two main directions. One direction has focused on measuring ways to decrease the negative effects of tourism on ecological systems. The second direction has been to investigate better ways of incorporating tourism activities within coastal management plans and increasing tourism’s contribution to coastal resilience rather than focusing only on reducing its impact on the environment. Harvey (2006) highlighted that there is a major knowledge gap in the study of the ability of coastal megacities and small communities in the Asia-Pacific region regarding adaptation to changes. He recommends that giving more focus towards developing planning systems, assessment methods, and coastal management techniques could fill such a gap. Pisano (2014) highlighted the need to incorporate the resilience concept when dealing with our vulnerable systems including coastal areas. Luthe and Wyss (2014) highlighted the knowledge gap in the study of the relationship between tourism governance and resilience and emphasised that resilience has an explanatory power to clarify ways that tourism activities could adapt and even transform under various pressures. Luthe and Wyss (2014) also highlighted how tourism systems could be approached as interrelated Socio-Economic-Ecological Systems (SEES) and that developing resilience in such systems would increase their capacity to deal with stresses while maintaining the stability of a tourism-related economy and at the same time ensuring the diversity needed for innovation and future development. They discussed how current assessments of functional tourism networks complement resilience understanding and how tourism systems could adapt with both slow and prompt change processes. In the New Zealand context, there is a knowledge gap regarding assessing the resilience of coastal tourism destinations. The attention has been given to evaluating the socio-economic and environmental impacts of tourism in coastal destinations in relationship to climate change.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Spaces of Dialog for Places of Dignity, Lisbon, 11-14th July, 2017
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