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Title: Local government capacity and tourism development in Thailand
Author: Chansawang, Rochaporn
ISNI:       0000 0004 2697 1753
Awarding Body: Sheffield Hallam University
Current Institution: Sheffield Hallam University
Date of Award: 2010
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Tambon Administrative Organizations (TAOs) are a relatively new tier of local government in the rural areas of Thailand, and these organizations have responsibilities for tourism and rural development. They reflect an increasing emphasis in the country on decentralizing policy-making and service delivery to local populations and on encouraging greater local democracy and accountability. In the past governance in Thailand has been highly centralized. Inevitably, there were some tensions between ensuring that these local government institutions met local requirements at the same time as ensuring there was integration and coordination with national government priorities and expectations. The study examines the institutional capacity of the TAOs in relation to their tourism and associated rural development responsibilities. There is an assessment of the extent to which these organizations were able to assume their responsibilities for tourism-related activities, including the extent to which they secured the necessary funding, expertise, internal organizational resources, political support from higher tiers of government, popular support from local communities, and wide participation from local actors. In order to examine these issues the study developed a conceptual framework which relates the institutional capacity of the TAOs to their relations with external policy networks and with local socio-economic networks within their local communities. An actor-oriented approach is used to explore the varying views held on these issues by the many different actors that interacted with the TAOs or were affected by them. Thus, there was an evaluation of these issues from the perspectives of TAO politicians and staff, from other government officials, and from business people and local residents living and working within the TAO areas. These approaches were used for in-depth examinations of the issues and processes for two case study TAOs in Thailand. It was found that actors in external policy networks considered that the TAOs had helped to improve the rural communities in Thailand, although they argued that tourism development could not be achieved by TAOs on their own. The level of TAO control over tourism development was significantly dependent on TAO access to central government resources. TAO connections within their local communities could be close, although support from individual local actors often depended on their interactions with the TAOs and the benefits they received. The TAOs could be more effective in tourism development when they drew on the expertise of local tourism businesses, the enthusiasm of local communities, and the opportunities for local cooperation. Effective TAO performance within their local communities was essential for the success of decentralized governance as a whole. The social capital associated with local trust, bonding networks and the norm of reciprocity strengthened the institutional capacity of the TAOs in relation to tourism development. Both hard and soft institutional capacities were crucial. These capacities often depended on the strength of the TAO linkages with external and also internal networks and support. Particularly important was the extent to which TAOs actively engaged their local communities, were accountable to them, and secured local trust and legitimacy. These findings were identified through the use of the study's conceptual framework, which is considered to have much potential for application to local government and tourism development in other countries and contexts.
Supervisor: Bramwell, Bill ; Meyer, Dorothea Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available