This article examines the role that information and communication technologies (ICT) play in influencing the shape and nature of local economic development. It is argued that the emerging field of community informatics (CI) can add an important dimension to our attempts to cope with the complex issues that characterize the tourism and development nexus. A review of the literature on applied community informatics is presented and we review some of the reasons why attempts to empower local people through the web have often failed. We then outline the implementation of a CI strategy to support tourism and local economic development on the east coast of New Zealand's North Island. “Kiwitrails” is a web-based virtual community of businesses and communities who are defining their own Internet presence through a process called “web-raising,” and the use of open-source web development software. We conclude with a reflection on the problems that face the sustainability of community informatics projects.
*Auckland University of Technology 2:
†Victoria University of Wellington 3:
Publication date: January 1, 2005
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Tourism, Culture & Communication is international in its scope and will place no restrictions upon the range of cultural identities covered, other than the need to relate to tourism and hospitality. The Journal seeks to provide interdisciplinary perspectives in areas of interest that may branch away from traditionally recognized national and indigenous cultures, for example, cultural attitudes toward the management of tourists with disabilities, gender aspects of tourism, sport tourism, or age-specific tourism.