Title: The effects of shocks and stressors on sustainability-focused governance systems

Authors: Valerie A. Sheppard; Peter W. Williams

Addresses: School of Tourism & Hospitality Management, Royal Roads University, 2005 Sooke Road, Victoria, British Columbia, V9B 5Y2, Canada ' School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, V5A 1S6, Canada

Abstract: Despite decades of best intentions and initiatives, progress on creating more sustainable forms of development has been slow, piecemeal, and generally disappointing. Sustainability advocates contend this is due, in part, to governance systems lacking mechanisms needed to respond to system shocks and stressors in a resilient manner. Consequently, attention has turned to exploring the efficacy of sustainability focused governance models. This paper uses a case study of the Resort Municipality of Whistler, British Columbia, Canada to understand how three interconnected critical events affected governance processes and priorities, as well as the overall resilience of its sustainability-oriented governance system. The findings highlight that while the governance system's shorter-term priorities were significantly altered by these events, its long-term sustainability goals and objectives remained intact. The findings also emphasise the need to embed flexibility into the interpretation of sustainability's short and long-term priorities and the importance of succession planning for ongoing sustainability progress.

Keywords: governance models; sustainability; resilience; shocks; stressors; resort destinations; sustainable development; case study; Whistler; Canada; tourism destinations; flexibility; tourist resorts; succession planning; 2010 Olympic Winter Games; 2010 Paralympic Winter Games; governance planning; management systems; global recession; financial crisis; political leadership; priority shifts.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTP.2017.082766

International Journal of Tourism Policy, 2017 Vol.7 No.1, pp.58 - 80

Received: 16 Jan 2016
Accepted: 03 Nov 2016

Published online: 10 Mar 2017 *

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