Clark, Gordon and Chabrel, Mary (2007) Measuring integrated rural tourism. Tourism Geographies, 9 (4). 371 -386. ISSN 1461-6688
If the concept of integrated rural tourism, as developed in the SPRITE project, is to be used as an operational tool to assess the all-round value of tourism in rural areas, there needs to be a means of measuring the value of tourism, and changes in it. Statistical, 'objective' methods of achieving this are critiqued. This paper describes the development of an alternative methodology for assessing the changes in the value of tourism witnessed by different groups of stakeholders in the study areas across Europe between 1992 and 2002. The methodology allows for a holistic view of the extent to which rural tourism is integrated into the local economies and cultures. Differences in perceptions regarding change in the value of tourism between actor groups and countries are noted. Illustrative examples are given of specific events and forms of rural tourism that are perceived as being of high value. It is concluded that while tourism is now better integrated than it was ten years ago, further improvements can be made in identifiable areas and dimensions and for particular actor groups.
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