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|Author :||Anna Blackman|
|School/Work Place :||James Cook University, Australia|
Tourism is often proposed as a strategy for community development, especially in rural or remote regions where traditional industries, such as agriculture, are experiencing an economic downturn and there are limited alternative opportunities. In promoting tourism development there is generally an assumption that it brings jobs and income which, in turn, contributes to overall community wellbeing.
Unfortunately, these regions do not always enter into the business of tourism with a clear understanding of the associated difficulties and challenges. While those responsible for development assume that tourism may be a source of economic opportunities, many business owners are not engaged with the tourism industry and do not understand how they might engage with it. This is particularly the case for businesses outside of what is generally considered the tourism industry and for micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) that have limited time to explore avenues that stretch their business to new products and / or new markets. The challenge is to critically examine the links between tourism development and the impacts this has on community wellbeing in more detail and to identify ways in which tourism can make a positive contribution to community wellbeing. This paper contributes to this area of research by investigating the use of business coaching as a capacity building tool for MSMEs looking to incorporate tourism into their businesses in a north eastern regional Australian destination.