Tourism Governance


Students in international development; Students in policy formulating; Students in planning (coastal and city planning); Tourism students; Leisure facilities design students; management system students; environmental best practices manager; tourism labelling experts (i.e. Green Globe); Professionals in the field of tourism; Officials in different government levels; Donor agencies that is interested in investing in tourism; Scholars interested in tourism system in different countries; Corporate managers in the field of hospitality and leisure.


The book aims to compare how tourism is shaped in different countries as a result of its governance system. Each chapter will be about 1 country describing its recent contemporarily tourism policies and how it is shaped. There will be a consistent outline (with some flexibility) to be able for each chapter to address the same issues, concerns, recommendations across wide range of countries from all over the world.


Tourism planners need to understand the administration of tourism in order to be able to plan or provide critical judgments on such an applied discipline. The chart below shows where tourism might fall within relevant institutions. These are not mutually exclusive categories because tourism falls into all of them but with different weights.


(1)  Tourism within public vs. private sectors

The tourism industry is attractive and financially rewarding for both the public and private sectors.  Healy (1994) argued that governments should set the agenda for tourism, because the private sector remains driven by market forces and will always be less focused on the public good. However, Ikeda (1996) and Gunn (2002) believed that, although the intentions of corporate initiatives to have greener tourism are debatable, such initiatives can play an important role in reducing the negative impacts of tourism.


Based on your chapter/country, this section discusses where the decisions that shape current and future tourism are generated. And to what extent the government is playing a role in that vs the public sector. Countries like the US that has no tourism representation in its cabinet on the federal level while have lots of land protection and environmental authorities will decide where to protect and leave the areas for development (i.e Disney Land, Las Vegas,….etc) to be shaped by private sector. While a country like Spain that relies fundamentally on tourism may have designated authorities to shape and decide tourism development destinations, quantity, quality and more.

(2)  Tourism within central vs. local governance

The balance of administration between central and local governments may vary significantly from a government to another. For example, the comprehensive administrative role played by the Chinese national government leaves very little responsibility to local government. According to Zhang et al (1999), the national government shall fulfill all the following roles; (i) operator: involving ownership and provision of the infrastructure for tourism development and operation of tourism business activities; (ii) regulator: formulating and implementing regulations to control tourism business; (iii) investment stimulator: stimulating tourism investment through the provision of financial incentives; (iv) promoter: spending money on the promotion of tourism in the international market; (v) coordinator: coordinating activities of different government departments with respect to tourism; and (vi) educator: establishing a system for institutions that provide tourism education and training programs.

Even in less controlled settings, national governments play a role in providing infrastructure that serves as the foundation for a vibrant tourism industry as well as in undertaking activities that encourage and support tourism in the area (Turkish Prim-minster Tinaz 2002).

The following example shows the simple structure for the government of Egypt and shows where tourism as an authority starts from the top level at the central government (minister level)


Based on your chapter/country, your chapter shall have similar chart (will be applied on all chapters) highlighting the box where it starts on the top level and to what extent it continues going down to local government, and what are the implementing agencies that are subordinate to the Ministry of tourism (or equivalent in the state level,…etc)

 (3)  Tourism as a stand-alone government sector vs. combined sector

Tourism activities that are led by the public sector often vary in the level of involvement from one country to another and depend extensively on the government structure.

(a)  Tourism in some countries, such as Egypt, operates through a ministry of tourism that plans and implements touristic operations and development throughout the country without much reliance on local government (Abdelwahab, 1996).

(b)  Other less centralized systems, such as in the Netherlands, have no specific ministry of tourism. Instead, recreational activities fall under the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Management, and Fisheries, which are responsible for setting policies that get implemented through the local municipalities (Ashworth & Dietvorst, 1995). Also a country like Cypress has tourism under a combined management sectors, which is the Ministry of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism

(c)  A third extremely decentralized structure is found in the US, where The United States Travel and Tourism Administration (USTTA) used to operate the country’s official travel and tourism offices worldwide. However, it was closed down in 1996. Currently, there is no ministry responsible for tourism or tourism planning, and relevant policies are managed at the state level.

Any one government structure may not be better than another, but planners need to understand how tourism is governed in order to get closer to a sustainable balance.

Based on your chapter/country, your chapter will describe the advantages and disadvantages of having the set-up for tourism as a stand alone, or mixed authorities. It should suggest improvements in the recommendations.

 (4)  Which of the mixed authorities is more influential and more powerful in your country chapter?

Which Land Use leads and which follows. In country like Egypt, the Ministry of tourism is more powerful and decides where to build or not and the ministry of Environment follow. In case of conflicts between authorities on land, the Ministry of tourism is more powerful to designate lands for tourism over protected areas that is under the administration of Ministry of Environment. In developing countries, job creation and income from tourism supersedes the importance of protecting local environment and local cultures. , While in South Africa such a conflict does not exist because the Ministry of tourism and environment are one ministry and under one leadership and one plan.


Based on your chapter/country, your chapter will address the level of coordination between authorizes as well as the governmental conflicts and how these are influencing tourism dynamics and shaping the tourism development

(5)  Can the same government system produce different tourism products (ecotourism, mass tourism,…etc)

Over the decades, tourism has experienced continued growth and increasing ‎diversification to such an extent that is has become one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world (UNWTO, 1999). In spite of the many challenges the world faced in 2014, international tourism continued to propel ahead. At the year ́s close, the number of tourists travelling internationally grew by 4.4%, reaching a new milestone. (UNWTO 2015).  The question is if the government is channeling this tourism growth via one type of framework *typical tourism) or was able to diversify the tourism products to include (Typical/Mass tourism, Sustainable tourism or ecotourism). Is this diversification subject to government guidance, dictated by authorities or/and a result of specific policy? OR the government has less to do with it and it is a result of individual initiative by educated developers. OR it is a result of a strong corporate management policy.

Based on your chapter/country, describe the extent of the diversity of tourism development (resorts, hotels, ecolodges,…etc) and to what extent this is a result of tricked governance, encouraging polices or flexible regulations.