At a recent conference one of the speakers reminded the audience that tourism takes place at the acquiescence of the community. I thought the statement was eloquent and expressed an important idea…. but it has been bouncing around in my head ever since.
According to my dictionary, the noun acquiescence is tacit assent or agreement by silence. In the legal sense it is ” such neglect to take legal proceedings for such a long time as to imply the abandonment of a right’. It is unfortunate that so often “acquiescence” is exactly what happens in tourism destination communities.
One of the principles of sustainable tourism is that destination community stakeholders have an active say in the development process. It is interesting that while this principle is applied in developing destinations around the world, it is rarely applied to communities here in the United States. Few CVBs track consumer sentiment toward tourism or reach out to diverse stakeholder groups in developing strategic tourism plans.
So – for the sustainability of tourism and the benefit of destination communities – I will say tourism takes place in destination communities, not with their acquiescence but with their consent ( and I will continue to work with destination leaders to ensure that is, in fact, the case).
Excellent point Jonathon!
Good points. The problem is, the more people you invite to have a say, the messier/longer/more complicated the process becomes. Does that mean local communities shouldn’t be involved in destination development? Of course not. In fact, such involvement should be mandatory and every developer with a bit of foresight will make sure local stakeholders are happy with their work, even if it is “just” to avoid problems later on, such as protesting residents.
..as just happened in Barcelona, a city loved to death, at least according to its disenchanted residents..