Green tourism planning: Triple bottom line sustainability - rhetoric or reality. A case study of the Bluestone development
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Triple Bottom Line Sustainability (TBLS), i.e. the balancing of economic, social and environmental agendas, is being increasingly used as a framework for sustainable tourism development, especially in rural areas. However, the conflicting priorities of different stakeholders and the different emphases of governmental policies pose major challenges to its achievement. This thesis presents a case study demonstrating issues of stakeholder empowerment in relation to TBLS in relation to the Bluestone development in west Wales - a major holiday village is aiming to create a leading UK short-break destination and to deliver sustainable tourism. A major problem relates to half of the development being inside the National Park with the other half outside the National Park. Accordingly, two planning authorities were involved in granting planning permission to the development. The case for Bluestone emphasised the provision of 600 jobs - a promise which achieved a significant contribution (£16.5M) from the public purse before planning permission for building inside the National Park was granted. This thesis explores the issue of stakeholder empowerment as illustrated through the Bluestone case study which involves a range of stakeholders (the developers, local and national government, the community, lobby groups). The research used stakeholder analysis and a Venn diagram of TBL to identify the various stakeholders' approaches and foci on different aspects of the TBL. Discourse Analysis (DA) was used and the case study was developed using document analysis, in-depth convergent and semi-structured interviews, archival records, direct observation to collect data about the priorities of different stakeholders in relation to this development. The thesis concludes that TBLS is rhetoric not reality and can only be considered a guiding fiction. When forced to select between the different aspects of the TBL, this case study demonstrates that it is the economy not the social and environmental agendas that win.
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