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Social capital, tourism and regional development: SPCC as a basis for innovation and sustainability

Channel View Publications
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  • Ecology
  • Economics
  • Political Science


Traditional views of regional development have focused on economic factors and potential innovation in technical and resource exploitation processes. Similarly, regional tourism development is usually couched in economic terms, such as number of jobs and increasing land values. This approach usually ignores the social and community aspects of tourism development, thus an alternative view argues that the community needs to be factored into our planning and development strategies to balance the traditional economic view. It is argued in this paper that fostering innovation in regional development is much more than a process of community consultation. Rather, what needs to be factored in is SPCC - social, political and cultural capital. This works in both directions; tourism development depends on a level of social, political and cultural capital in order to be a successful regional development tool (even in economic terms) while at the same time tourism development can be undertaken in a way that contributes to SPCC in the region. The paper outlines the key concepts of social capital, political capital and cultural capital. It does so within the context of regional tourism development and the concepts of systems of innovation and sustainable development.

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