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Tourism, economic development and the global-local nexus: theory embracing complexity

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Abstract:

In this paper we review the complex links that exist between the tourism industry and processes of economic development. A brief overview of the industry's economic role at the international and national scale leads us into a discussion of local and regional involvement in the tourism industry. We emphasize the need to develop a more rigorous understanding of the evolving tourism industry and how it influences processes of local economic development. Following a review of the major theoretical frameworks that have been applied to help us understand these processes, we highlight the ways in which current attempts to understand the links between tourism and economic development are embracing the complexity of the industry and its influence on everyday lives. We advocate 'new' ways of seeing and studying the economics of tourism geography, ways that reflect the cultural turn in the 'new' economic geography, and the increasing significance of networks and new information and communication technologies. We argue that a willingness to embrace complexity is essential if we are to unpack the 'glocal' nature of tourism development processes.

Keywords: COMPLEXITY; ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT; GLOBALIZATION; NEW ECONOMIC GEOGRAPHY; REGULATION THEORY

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/146166800110070478

Publication date: November 1, 2001

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