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Participatory Approaches and Geographical Information Systems (PAGIS) in Tourism Planning

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Tourism researchers and planners continue to grapple with the problem of how to achieve more sustainable forms of tourism development; community participation and stakeholder interaction are increasingly seen as central to achieving desired outcomes. This paper explores how participatory approaches (PA) and geographical information systems (GIS) – PAGIS – can be blended to provide a framework that can facilitate a better understanding of attitudes towards tourism and enhance participation and stakeholder interaction in tourism planning. The paper demonstrates the initial development process of PAGIS by focusing on the case of Marahau, a small community in New Zealand. Marahau lies at the gateway to the Abel Tasman National Park, one of New Zealand's tourism icons. The community is facing considerable changes that impact on their quality of life. This is, in part, due to increasing visitor numbers and tourism developments resulting in growing conflicts over common resource use. There are multiple stakeholders (community, Maori, local government, industry, developers) involved in deciding the future of Marahau and this paper suggests that PAGIS has the potential to play an important role in enhancing sustainable tourism development outcomes.

Keywords: Geographical information systems; New Zealand; community development; participatory approaches; stakeholder interaction; tourism planning

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: New Zealand Tourism Research Institute, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand

Publication date: August 1, 2005

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