Title: Using a political ecology approach for large scale regional tourism management

Authors: Rachel Dodds

Addresses: Ted Rogers School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Ryerson University, 350 Victoria Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Abstract: Tourism as a conservation tool is often discussed in academic research, yet usually focuses strictly on biodiversity in parks or other boundary areas, rather than destinations as a whole. This paper uses the theoretical context of political ecology to examine and offer insight into factors affecting destination management and conservation on a larger scale where strict environmental measures are not in place. This study uses a mixed methods approach to examine the Lake Simcoe Watershed in Ontario, Canada. The area has no clearly identifiable boundaries and is protected under a federal act for conservation but is not enforced with regard to tourism. Findings show that broader issues such as governance, access, development, leadership and overall awareness affect management in addition to conservation. Conclusions outline that although there is a common interest in the ecological protection of the area, other key economic and social issues of stakeholders must be addressed if environmental concerns are to be resolved.

Keywords: political ecology; stakeholders; destination management; conservation; conflict; watersheds; Lake Simcoe; Canada; regional tourism management; governance; access; development; leadership; awareness; ecological protection; environmental protection; economic issues; social issues; environmental concerns; tourist destinations.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTP.2016.081523

International Journal of Tourism Policy, 2016 Vol.6 No.3/4, pp.191 - 211

Received: 08 Oct 2015
Accepted: 29 Feb 2016

Published online: 10 Jan 2017 *

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