Role of community participation in leisure and tourism planning

Authors: Sadd, D.

Conference: LSA 2006: Making Space: Leisure, Tourism and Renewal

Dates: 11-13 July 2006


Community involvement and participation in leisure and tourism planning has become increasingly popular, not only to ensure that the right planning takes place, but also on a local scale to ensure a sense of community and civic pride in the new developments. The ability to increase civic pride, community spirit and collective self-image through the hosting of events has become a way of including the local community in all levels of decisions for the outset. Many communities have resorted to using citizen’s panels and community action groups to represent the views of the community as a whole. This paper will analyse the potential participation of the various groups and how effective their voice is.

The significance of citizen’s panels and community action groups to schemes of leisure and tourism development, and in particular the use of an events portfolio, is becoming increasingly vital in areas that are reliant on a good relationship between locals and visitors (Tosun, 1997, Hall, 2005, Clancy, 1999, Richter, 1989, Simons, 1994) particularly in view of Doxey’s Index of Irritation (Cooper et al, 2005).

This paper is based upon research undertaken in 2004 in Weymouth and Portland, Dorset with the assistance of the Local Council, Chamber of Commerce, Citizen’s Panel and individual citizens via questionnaires and interviews.

The local council have drawn up comprehensive plans to ensure that the hosting of the sailing element of the 2012 bid will have positive long-term legacies for the area. It is acknowledged that the area is in need of regeneration and a poll of residents had a 42% response rate. The local council recognise the significance of hosting festivals and events, not only as generators of income, but also as civic celebrations and have recently relied heavily on the views of the citizen’s panel in their collective voice, speaking on behalf of the local community. How are these panels chosen and do they represent a true cross section of the community?

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Source: Manual

Preferred by: Debbie Sadd