Rethinking regional tourism governance: the principle of subsidiarity

This paper examines the governance of regional tourism organisations (RTOs) and relates governance to the principle of subsidiarity. The principle maintains that tasks and responsibilities should be accomplished by the lowest and most basic elements of any social organisation, and it is an injustice to assign to a larger and higher association what the lesser and subordinate associations can do. There is little research on understanding RTO governance, on how governance may contribute to RTO instability or on the application of the principle of subsidiarity in a tourism context. A New Zealand case study demonstrates a series of fundamental problems with typical RTO governance structures, linked to problems found in many tourism partnerships. Data collection methods for the case study of the Waikato RTO included observation, interviews, focus groups and document analysis. The paper concludes that the principle of subsidiarity can underpin an RTO governance system if the RTO adopts an ethos of service to the tourism sector and the wider community. This governance style requires open communication and consultation, must foster trust and legitimacy and contribute to securing the RTO's ongoing required resources. Such a governance structure would align well with the principles of sustainable tourism.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Zahra, A.L. (2011). Rethinking regional tourism governance: the principle of subsidiarity. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 19(4-5), 535-552.
Routledge Taylor and Francis
Publisher version