Stakeholder Engagement

Transactive Approach to Stakeholder Engagement

Effective stakeholder engagement involves engaging and mediating government, business and community interests with a stake in tourism.

I use a transactive planning approach that aims to foster learning amongst stakeholders about sustainable tourism, and the need and process of strategic tourism planning. In turn, we aim to learn from various stakeholders about their values and vision for tourism in their destination region, and their views on important issues, opportunities, challenges for tourism in their destination region.

In other words, we as planners bring our knowledge, expertise and experience to guide and inform the strategic planning process. Stakeholders bring their personal knowledge and experience about local conditions and needs to the planning process1. The goal is to foster engagement and learning amongst diverse stakeholder interests.

This approach to stakeholder engagement is therefore not just about stakeholder consultation. As planners, we aim to develop a transactive relationship with stakeholders and to be open to their varied learning processes and underpinning values.

This is achieved through facilitated Destination Workshops with stakeholder groups and allowing opportunities for stakeholder input to a dedicated Destination Website. Another important part of the stakeholder engagement process is to communicate outcomes of stakeholder engagement and strategic planning process back to participants.

This approach is important for sustainable tourism planning processes that aim to integrate varied stakeholder perspectives and to better engage stakeholders in the decision-making process. For the planner, an understanding of the destination context, specific destination conditions and issues, and stakeholder (actor) roles and activities emerge through effective and meaningful engagement with stakeholders involved in the planning process.

The objective is to develop a long-term strategic tourism plan that is owned and valued by stakeholders involved in tourism for the destination region.

This information is an extract from an article that has been accepted for publication in a special issue of the Journal of Sustainable Tourism (2011).

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