New book chapter in print: Images, instruments and the governance capacity of local governments in tourism development planning

In line with taking time to enjoy the rejections and acceptance in academic publishing life, I am happy to share the news of my book chapter which is currently in print in a volume on ‘Tourism, Change and the Global South’ edited by Jarkko and Jayne. This chapter has had a long incubation period starting from idea inception back in 2014 and 2015 during fieldwork in Ghana – I’m grateful to my wonderful wife Marre who made the fieldwork possible by taking over my parenting duties. The initial ideas from the research got its first airing at the ICOT 2016 conference in Naples, Italy. This was later developed and integrated into my PhD thesis submitted in 2017 and then since the end of 2019 have been further refined into this book chapter. I enjoyed the experience of finalising the ideas and research into this chapter. I acknowledge the support from the co-editors of the book project and the 2 external reviewers who provided valuable comments and feedback in the process

Below is the title and abstract of my chapter:

Images, instruments and the governance capacity of local governments in tourism development planning: Evidence from Ghana


While tourism development takes place at the local level, local governments are not always the leading stakeholders in the tourism development planning process.  Given the fragmented nature of the tourism sector, tourism development plans tend to be made at the national levels and by different state tourism institutions and organisations. In this paper, I explore the governance capacity of the Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem Municipal Assembly (KEEA) of Ghana in tourism development planning. I focus particularly on the Elmina 2015 Strategy which was led by the KEEA as a local government authority in conjunction with other institutions like the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board and the Ghana Tourism Authority. The Elmina 2015 Strategy aimed to leverage heritage tourism for local economic development and poverty reduction in the historic city of Elmina – home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Elmina Castle.

This paper is based on a qualitative methodology within which I conducted fieldwork research in Ghana between August-November, 2014 and July-September, 2015. In all a total of 66 interviews with key tourism stakeholders at the national, district and local (KEEA) level was conducted. In Elmina I undertook both participant and non-participant observations and interviewed policy makers and community members who were centrally involved in the making of the Elmina 2015 Strategy. Using the interactive governance perspective as an analytic framework I consider in particular the images held by local government officers at the KEEA with regard to tourism’s role in local economic development, the instruments and tools available to them to manage tourism development and how this relate to their capacity in leveraging tourism for socio-economic development.

The findings show that although local government officers hold a positive image about tourism’s role in economic development they do not have all the needed policy and implementation instruments to achieve the objectives of the strategy as these are held by other stakeholders. This paper shows how the governance capacity of the KEEA Municipal Assembly is constrained by the dispersal of needed policy instruments, messy institutional arrangements and poor stakeholder interactions at the local level in terms of tourism planning. To be effective in leveraging tourism for local economic development, local governments need to be granted required instruments to strengthen their governance capacity.

There are many great chapters in the book so do check it out.

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