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RESOURCES: PAPERS & PRESENTATIONS
|Author :||Janne J. Liburd & Jack Carlsen|
|School/Work Place :||University of Southern Denmark, Denmark (Janne J. Liburd), Curtin University of Technology, Australia (Jack Carlsen)|
Family businesses, that is, businesses owned and/or operated my members of a single family, are predominant in Western economies. This is also an important category of business within tourism hospitality, particularly in rural areas where research indicates that they form the majority (Getz et al 2004). Whereas lifestyle is a main reason for the establishment of these businesses, they are also motivated by conservation (Carlsen et al 2001, Schaper and Carlsen 2004), and sustainability remains an option as well (Bramwell and Alletorp 2001; Getz et al 2004). Key issues for family business are the role of family members, cultural practice and quality of life. Understanding these dimensions is important to a large number of people in the tourism and hospitality industry, tourism planning and sustainable development, especially in ecologically and socially sensitive rural areas.
This paper proposes that our understanding of sustainable tourism should be extended to embrace the dynamics of cultural practice and sense of belonging. Culture is constantly appropriated as a tourism resource, which is used to generate economic opportunities and simultaneously reinforce a positive sense of place, identity, tradition, professional pride and mutual respect. The latter is of particular relevance since tourism is also well known for producing unequal encounters between visiting tourists, hosts and local residents (Liburd 2006). Moreover, sustainable development is not a static target to be achieved but a process of transformation where acceptable levels of change by those involved in hospitality and tourism are of key importance. It will be argued that inter-generational collaboration and democratic equity are critical to sustainability within family businesses in tourism and hospitality. Previous research by Getz and Carlsen (2000) indicates that the most important goal for family businesses was the sharing of key decisions. Moreover, the cumulative decisions of the multitude of family businesses in tourism and hospitality have more influence on sustainable development than do the singular programs and policies of corporations, which invariably focus on profits not people. This paper will demonstrate that family businesses, not corporations, are best placed to embrace the transformation towards sustainable tourism development because principles of equity and concern for matters beyond profitability are paramount for these businesses.