The Tourism Policy Puzzle: Pieces and Precepts Discovered Through Qualitative Investigation of Federal Public Policy Preferences and Advocacy Activities of Tourism Associations in the United States

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Title: The Tourism Policy Puzzle: Pieces and Precepts Discovered Through Qualitative Investigation of Federal Public Policy Preferences and Advocacy Activities of Tourism Associations in the United States
Author: Swanson, Jason R.
Advisors: Richard M Clerkin, Committee Member
Karla A Henderson, Committee Member
Gene L Brothers, Committee Co-Chair
Larry D Gustke, Committee Co-Chair
Abstract: This dissertation uses the guiding theoretical frameworks of Social Exchange Theory, Resource Dependency Theory, and Advocacy Coalition Framework to examine the federal public policy advocacy agendas and activities of national tourism-related associations in the United States. The research questions were: (a) What are the roles and motivations of tourism-related associations that engage in advocacy? (b) How are organizational resources used to develop tourism policy? (c) How are tourism policy advocacy coalitions managed? (d) Under what circumstances do those involved in tourism advocacy cooperate with each other? (e) How are tourism policy agendas developed? (f) What are the public policy preferences, at the federal level, of tourism associations in the United States? Looking through a post-positivist lens of critical realism, research questions were answered using the qualitative research methods of content analysis and in-depth personal interviews. Industry sectors contained in the Travel Economic Impact Model (TEIM) served as the framework to organize the search for tourism-related associations. TEIM contains seven categories and 18 sub-categories of tourism activities, based on North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes. Data from Encyclopedia of Associations and other sources indicated specific associations classified by NAICS codes included in the TEIM. These efforts revealed a universe of 229 nationally-focused tourism-related associations. Fifty-four associations comprised the sample. Thirty sample organizations were involved in federal public policy advocacy, from which the public policy agendas were content-analyzed. A total of 20 government affairs executives from sample organizations with public policy agendas provided data via in-depth personal interviews. Fifteen interviewees were associated with organizations in Washington, DC. Five executives from organizations located outside the Washington, DC area were interviewed via telephone. Data indicated tourism associations engaged in advocacy formed coalitions to advance their public policy agendas. Cooperation among coalitions centered on similar policy preferences. Organizations with similar policy preferences and complementary resources formed coalitions. Financial wherewithal, the reputation of an organization and its affiliates, an organization’s membership base, and an organization’s knowledge were resources association used to complement attributes of coalition partners. Disagreements, personalities, mistrust, and occasionally working on opposing coalitions impeded cooperation among coalition members. According to sample data and supported by existing theory, policy preferences compelled tourism policy coalitions while association resources regulated progression toward policy objectives. Sample organizations typically behaved as the guiding theoretical frameworks prescribe. However, data revealed tourism advocacy associations also exhibited other behaviors not explained well by existing theory in areas related to association resources, coalition management, and agenda development. The research makes two types of contributions to existing knowledge. The first contribution involves activities or needs found in the data but not addressed well in the guiding theoretical frameworks. The second contribution involves activities existing theory claims should be happening but were not found in the data. Both types of theoretical contributions are incorporated into policy precepts. The Ten Tourism Policy Precepts are activities related to association resources, coalition management, and agenda development. The precepts are derived from the data and further develop theory describing how tourism association advocacy groups behave. The Ten Tourism Policy Precepts are (a) develop association advocacy resources, (b) contribute money to political causes, (c) localize tourism advocacy, (d) create a travel consumer advocacy initiative, (e) reach out to atypical advocacy partners, (f) expand reciprocity, (g) understand the will of association members, (h) anticipate policy needs, (i) analyze impacts of tourism policy, and (j) confront political realities.
Date: 2010-04-30
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/6185


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