Regional Tourism Organisations in New Zealand from 1980 to 2005: Process of Transition and Change
Zahra, A. L. (2006). Regional Tourism Organisations in New Zealand from 1980 to 2005: Process of Transition and Change (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10289/2554
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/2554
This thesis is a historical case study tracing the establishment and evolution of Regional Tourism Organisations (RTOs) in New Zealand. It describes their role, structure and functions and the political processes that have influenced how they have operated and changed from 1980 to 2005. RTOs are examined in the context of government policies, local and national politics and tourism private and public sector relationships. RTOs were central to many of the key recommendations of the New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2010 (NZTS 2010) released in 2001. The NZTS 2010 attempted to address a range of tourism policy gaps created by a policy vacuum in the 1990s whereby the public and private tourism sectors focused mainly on international marketing. This strategy shaped government policy during this decade. The research findings show that although public and private sector institutional arrangements impacting on RTOs have changed, there remains, as in the past, no uniformity in their role, structure, functions and their future financial and political viability remains insecure. The NZTS 2010 raised destination management and its alignment with destination marketing as a major policy issue that needed to be addressed in the decade leading up to 2010 with RTOs having a pivotal role. A generic regional destination management model is presented. Structures and processes incorporated into this model include: a national destination management tourism policy; support for tourism by local government at the national level; a well defined destination management team; community collaboration; and tourism being integrated into the wider planning processes of local government. The model identified requisite building blocks to support regional destination management such as: the provision of staff and financial resources for regional tourism; the building of a high tourism profile in the community; the availability of statistics and research data at the regional level; local government planners acknowledging the impacts of tourism; and the existence of a legal mandate for tourism at the regional and/or local government level. When applying this model to the New Zealand context, it was found that a number of the structures and processes required for effective regional destination management were lacking, such as regional statistics and research data, staffing and financial resources for both RTOs and local government, the ability of council planners to understand and integrate tourism into the wider planning processes and a legislative mandate for tourism. The thesis concluded that a vacuum remains in the alignment of destination marketing and management. The historical and political processes of RTO change were also examined in the context of chaos and complexity theory. Chaos and complexity theory provided a complementary and different means to view change. This thesis also presented the opportunity to reflect upon the research process which led to the adoption of a multi-paradigmatic and bricoleur research methodology. Further reflexivity and reflection towards the end of the research process articulated ontological and epistemological philosophical investigations that underlay the multi-paradigmatic approach. A model is presented emphasising that a multi-paradigmatic research approach rests on ultimate reality (metaphysics) which informs the ontology. The model then highlights that ontology precedes and directs epistemology and that both inform the multi-paradigmatic research framework.
The University of Waikato
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