Keywords: community solidarity, tourism impacts, small towns, sustainable community, sustainable society, sustainability, sustainable development, rural areas, New Zealand, tourists, tourism development, tourism planning
Tourism in a small town: impacts on community solidarity
This paper discusses the impacts of tourism on community solidarity in the small-town setting. Research employing a case study approach was conducted in a rural New Zealand location. Findings revealed that both positive and negative perceptions of tourism and related growth were evident throughout economic, social and political networks. The host communities displayed feelings of apprehension towards increased tourism development, fearing it would threaten the solidarity of their communities, yet welcomed the vibrancy of new development and economic opportunity. Significantly, the connected nature of small-town communities and their involvement in planning can greatly influence the perceptions and success of tourism. The findings have implications for the rate, scale and nature of future tourism development in small settlements.