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Modernisation or managerialism ? An investigation of the managerial paradigm and local tourism services

Burns, S (2013) Modernisation or managerialism ? An investigation of the managerial paradigm and local tourism services. Doctoral thesis, Liverpool John Moores University.

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Abstract

Tourism in England has grown to become an activity worth around £111billion to the English economy, and constituting around 4% of employment. This has led to increasing numbers of local areas becoming involved with tourism development. However local authorities supporting tourism are impacted by financial pressures and pressures for ‘less government’, which are indicative of a ‘managerial paradigm’ which has surrounded public sector management in England.This study has examined the impact of the managerial paradigm on management of tourism at the local level. Using the English cities as a ‘case’, a methodological triangulation of questionnaire and contact with senior management in local authorities involved with tourism policy was used. The findings have led to an important understanding of the current picture concerning public sector management of tourism at the local level. This study has found that tourism is worth over £17billion to the English cities, and supports around 360,000 jobs. The findings suggest that the driving forces that characterised the managerial state continue to impact management of local tourism. This study has also examined the impact of policy changes introduced by the Conservative/Liberal Democratic Coalition government on local tourism. The accession of a new government has led to a significant realignment in public sector engagement with tourism. Policy discourse has stressed government ambition for tourism to be ‘industry-led’ with a ‘re-balancing’ the economy towards the private sector. As a result, this study has found the most significant challenges facing local tourism management centre around financial pressures. Reductions in tourism budgets are leading to major changes in departmental structures and tourism managers’ roles. Reductions in tourism budgets are leading to significant pressures on tourism departments to raise income in order to make departments financially viable. This study has found that in some cases local authorities are ceasing to financially-support tourism.This research also suggests that pressure from government for the private sector to increasingly fund tourism partnerships may be difficult to achieve locally. Respondents have argued that high levels of engagement with the private sector already exist locally, and as the private sector in tourism is predominately small businesses there are limitations as to how much such businesses can contribute to marketing partnerships. Policy for the private sector having the ‘majority power’ in the new emerging tourism partnerships may also have implications for the motivation of such partnerships. Doubts have been raised in this study from within the public sector, concerning the ability of local tourism businesses to take ‘responsibility for their own future’ whilst at the same time protecting the public interest. It is concluded that a ‘realignment’ towards more private sector involvement in partnerships brings with it potential consequences if local tourism businesses are unable to ‘increasingly fund’ the new arrangements, and the new tourism bodies are unable to establish a ‘pluralistic’ tourism policy environment in their areas. With evident reductions in local authority budgets, it is legitimate to question the scope of funding that the emerging DMOs will have at their disposal, and thus their ability to deliver local ambitions for tourism development. Therefore, the new tourism partnerships will require careful structuring and management. However, their financial futures will inevitably hinge on the value that the private sector places on the new local tourism arrangement, and their ability to maintain the public interest will depend on striking an appropriate balance of power amongst all stakeholders within the partnership.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: managerialism, managerial paradigm, enabling, local tourism, tourism policy, tourism marketing, tourism management, tourism partnerships, tourism budgets, local authority, urban tourism, city tourism
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General) > G149 Travel. Voyages and travels (General) > G154.9 Travel and state. Tourism
Divisions: School of Sport Studies, Leisure and Nutrition
Date Deposited: 04 Nov 2016 12:45
Last Modified: 04 Nov 2016 12:45
Supervisors: Huddart, David and Brundrett, Mark
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/4534

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