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The Level of Tourism Development and Resident Attitudes: A Comparative Case Study of Coastal Destinations

Journal article
Authors Erik Lundberg
Published in Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism
Volume 15
Issue 3
Pages 266-294
ISSN 1502-2250
Publication year 2015
Published at Department of Business Administration, Marketing Group
Pages 266-294
Language en
Keywords resident attitudes, tourism impacts, cluster analysis, tourism area life cycle, dependency theory
Subject categories Economics and Business


This study examines the relationship between the level of tourism development and resident attitudes. The tourism area life cycle (TALC) is discussed to understand differences between destinations. Since local residents are not a homogeneous group, cluster analysis is applied to divide local residents into groups with differing perceptions. Three destinations in West Sweden are empirically studied. A four-cluster solution is used, dividing residents into development supporters, prudent developers, ambivalent/cautious and skeptics. Comparisons between the three destinations show that cluster groups are significantly different in size and attitudes toward future tourism developments. Findings show that it is not possible, as argued in previous research, to use perceived tourism impacts as an indication of destination decline. Instead, findings indicate that negative impacts of tourism development are perceived by a larger share of the population at destinations with lower levels of tourism development. The influence of the altruistic surplus phenomenon, a continuous upward movement of thresholds for carrying capacity and the existence of cognitive lock-ins are discussed in the analysis. The linearity of the TALC, in line with previous research, is questioned. The life cycle of destinations is suggested to be more complex, chaotic and dependent on the specific context of the destination.

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