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|Author :||Whitney Knollenberg & Nancy Gard McGehee|
|School/Work Place :||Virginia Tech, USA|
The development of sustainable and competitive tourism destinations is contingent upon many factors including the creation of inclusive policy (Pforr, 2006), the development and implementation of strategic plans (Jordan, Vogt, Kruger, and Grewe, 2013), and establishment of cooperative partnerships (Beritelli, 2011). As several authors have noted all of these management and governance functions within a tourism destination are influenced by power (Bramwell, 2006; Hall, 2003). While a growing body of literature exists that examines the complexity of tourism development, including assessment of stakeholders’ needs in the tourism planning and development process (Sautter and Leisen, 1999; Simpson, 2001), power structures and tourism planning (Jordan et al., 2013), and the effectiveness of various governance models in tourism development (Beaumont and Dredge, 2010), less is known about the individual leaders who help influence tourism destination development.
Pechlaner, Kozak, and Volgger (2014, p. 1) identify the need for an examination of tourism leadership as they suggest “understanding who is able and willing to lead destinations may help to explain differences between more and less competitive destinations, especially in times of economic turbulence.” This supports work by Beritelli (2011) who calls for greater emphasis on the examination of influential individuals in tourism destinations. While recent work has improved our understanding of the connection between leadership and power (Blichfeldt, Hird, and Kvistgaard, 2014; Slocum and Everett, 2014); partnerships (Zehrer, Raich, Siller, and Tschiderer, 2014); and governance systems (Beritelli and Bieger, 2014; Valente, Dredge, and Lohmann, 2014) a more holistic examination of leadership’s role in tourism is missing. To help provide a broader understanding of tourism leadership this research employs a framework which conceptualizes leadership as the central influence behind the interconnected forces which shape tourism destination development, power, planning, policy, and partnerships (Figure 1). Through the use of this framework this research will 1) analyze literature related to power, planning, policy, and partnerships to explore the potential role of leadership in each of these tourism development forces and 2) use this synthesis to develop a research agenda that may guide future tourism leadership studies.