Community empowerment in tourism decision-making

The Hague (Netherlands), San Sebastian (Spain) and Ioannina (Greece)

The impacts of tourism on destinations and the perceptions of local communities have been a major concern both for the industry and academics in the past decades. However, tourism planning has been mainly focused on efforts to increase tourism arrivals without taking under consideration the wellbeing of residents and visitors. Inclusion of local community in tourism decision-making has become more urgent in light of anti-tourist movements in popular destinations. Community participation in tourism planning is not always possible due to structural, economic and socio-cultural restrictions that residents face resulting to their disempowerment. The project started in April 2022 and involves an evaluation of the decision-making systems in each destination focusing on tourism governance. The focus is on local participation, stakeholder collaborations and the socio-cultural differences in each destination that either empower or disempower locals.