Effects of tourism on the host population : a case study of tourism and regional development in the Badenoch-Strathspey district of the Scottish Highlands
Getz, Donald Philip
This thesis seeks to contribute to a better understanding of the effects of tourism on the host population, within the context of planning for regional development. In the Badenoch-Strathspey District of the rural Scottish Highlands, various surveys were undertaken to obtain a wide range of information on historical trends, policies and planning, use of resources, the tourist industry and the resident population. To provide a framework for assessing effects, a set of key indicators was devised. Many are subjective in nature, and a major challenge of this research has been to obtain suitable measures for each indicator. Effects could not be 'proved', given the absence of a controlled experiment, so many of the observations are suggestive rather than conclusive, or deduced rather than based on inferential statistics. The explanation of effects required a detailed assessment of the tourist industry, so that actual mechanisms of change could be isolated. It was found that the most profound changes affecting residents stemmed from development and growth in general, leading to the integration of residents in the mainstream of national economic and social trends. Tourism had some unique effects and exacerbated others. Most significant of the positive effects were the creation of new opportunities for jobs, incomes, and leisure, while a shortage of housing and some crime and social disruption were the main negative effects. The demands of large-scale developments for importing staff and using mainly unskilled and female labour had the greatest effect which could be attributed uniquely to tourism. However, the attainment of a winter season and an emphasis on sports and large facilities increased the value of tourism by providing more all-year jobs for males. Overall, it was concluded that the benefits brought by recent developments had outweighed the costs and problems to residents and the local authorities. In assessing the implications of the case study, analysis focussed on key policy-related questions. Most significant of these was the question of concentration versus dispersal of developments. It was concluded that a large-scale concentration was most appropriate for generating major changes, but that it eventually became desirable to limit the dominance of the concentration in order to disperse more widely the benefits that could be obtained from tourism.