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Title: Tourism and sustainable development : active stakeholder discourses in the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve, South Africa
Author: Lyon, Andrew
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2013
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The aim of this thesis is to examine the extent to which tourism is a sustainable development (SD) option in the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve (WBR), South Africa. It examines the discourses of those stakeholders who can actively affect decisions or actions regarding sustainable tourism development (STD). The literature on tourism points to it being a contested development option, with a number of positive aspects which are mainly economic fitting with the neoliberal development paradigm. There are however critical concerns over the ability of tourism to contribute to the wider issues surrounding SD. There are also conceptual and practical issues regarding SD/STD with stakeholders having varying approaches to, and positions on, the concepts. This case-study examines tourism development in the predominantly rural WBR which has seen tourism become the major economic and land-use sector in the area. Biosphere reserves are a United Nation’s designation stipulating that the region should endeavour to follow the principles of SD. Therefore, how tourism develops in the area has implications for the SD of the biosphere reserve area. An inductive qualitative methodology was designed to collect and analyse the discourses of those stakeholders who can actively affect STD concerns within the WBR. Critical discourse analysis is used to reveal notions of power, ideology and knowledge relating to the macro contexts of development, SD, STD and the micro context of the geographical area. The discourses of the active stakeholders reveal that tourism is seen mainly as an economic driver and SD discourses do emerge regarding the environment and futurity or concern for future generations. The discourses also uncover a strong ‘sense of place’ attachment to the region and a desire to conserve the environment. However they show that tourism does not contribute to wider SD objectives of basic needs, poverty reduction, quality of life improvement and population levels. This thesis reveals how levels of knowledge from active stakeholders, influenced by ideology, affect power in the region. The main contribution of this research is that active stakeholder discourses need to be understood in the contexts of development and that the link between discourse, knowledge, ideology and power needs to recognised when examining tourism as a sustainable development option.
Supervisor: Hunter-Jones, Philippa; Levermore, Roger Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: G Geography (General)