Title: Oil, centralised power and their shaping effects on tourism in Gabon

Authors: Isabelle Cloquet

Addresses: Faculty of Science (IGEAT-LIToTeS), Université Libre de Bruxelles, Ave. Franklin Roosevelt 50, CP130/02, B-1050 Brussels, Belgium

Abstract: The paper looks into tourism non-growth at the early stage of destination development, an under-researched phenomenon. More specifically, it examines the constraining effects of structural environment on tourism growth, with a focus on the leisure travel industry. The study involves the designing of a two-layered analytical framework, drawing on destination development theory and Jessop's strategic-relational approach to structure-agency. The framework is applied to the case of Gabon, using primary and secondary data collected through various techniques. The results highlight how the Dutch disease and institutional behaviours have determined most variables that directly affect destination development in the country. Although tourism is able to emerge in variety of forms in an unfavourable structural environment it cannot grow further. They also suggest that concentrating efforts on operational obstacles in such circumstances is unlikely to be fruitful unless power relationships and ruling elites' interests are directly addressed in business development strategies.

Keywords: business environment; destination development; Dutch disease; Gabon; institutional behaviour; involvement stage; leisure industry; travel industry; tourism industry; non-growth; rent-seeking; rent-seizing; structural environment; structural properties; structural selectivity; structure-agency; tourism development; oil; centralised power; tourist destinations; power relationships; ruling elites.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTP.2016.081528

International Journal of Tourism Policy, 2016 Vol.6 No.3/4, pp.299 - 320

Received: 16 Nov 2015
Accepted: 11 Jun 2016

Published online: 10 Jan 2017 *

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