Disentangling the Influence of Community and Place Attachment on Resident Attitudes toward Tourism Development.

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Title: Disentangling the Influence of Community and Place Attachment on Resident Attitudes toward Tourism Development.
Author: Banks, Carrie Elizabeth
Advisors: Dr. Yu-Fai Leung, Committee Co-Chair
Dr. Samantha Rozier Rich, Committee Member
Dr. Stacy Tomas, Committee Chair
Abstract: Though there is a wealth of research concerning residents’ attitudes toward tourism, little research has been conducted regarding residents’ attachment to their community. Exploring the possible links between resident attachment and attitude toward tourism is likely to provide key insights into the root causes of resident attitude. The purpose of this research was to explore the concepts of community attachment (attachment to social ties and relationships) and place attachment (attachment to the physical landscape) as they relate to one another and affect resident attitudes toward tourism development (i.e. a resident’s feeling about the rate of development in their community due to tourism). While past research often blurred the lines between community and place attachment, the current study sought to disentangle the two constructs. Using Ashe County, NC, as a study area, a 47-item intercept survey was used to explore attachment and attitudes. The survey measured three main constructs: community attachment, place attachment and resident attitude toward tourism development. The data were collected in Summer 2009. An exploratory factor analysis of the attachment items reduced into two dimensions: community attachment and place attachment. Subsequent Pearson Correlation tests found significant correlation between the two types of attachment. In addition, community attachment and place attachment were significantly correlated with resident attitudes toward tourism, especially in the areas of economic benefit and urbanization or overcrowding. Residents with higher levels of both community attachment and place attachment were more likely to agree that tourism was causing overcrowding in their community. Finally, a resident’s percent of life lived in the study area was found to be a statistically significant predictor of community attachment and 11 of 13 resident attitude items. The variable percent of life lived in community has not been used in previous published research and was shown in this research to be a good predictor of community attachment and resident attitudes. It is important to note that only community attachment was significantly correlated with items that dealt with economic development and equitable distribution of economic benefits, whereas high place attachment indicated a greater correlation with items dealing with land use. This supports the idea that respondents who are attached to community are more interested in economic development and equitable sharing of gains. Respondents with higher place attachment were concerned with the environmental impacts of tourism such as urbanization and overcrowding, without significant concern for economic benefit. This suggests that in the planning stages, newcomers would advocate for environmental protection and regulations such as zoning, while long-term residents would be concerned about the environment but also take notice of the economic aspects of tourism. This suggests that high percent of life (high community attachment) residents are more likely to take a holistic view of tourism in their community and both its positive and negative impacts. By successfully disentangling community attachment from place attachment, this study was able to gain insights into how each type of attachment influences resident attitudes toward tourism. By identifying the important issues of both groups, positive benefits can be accentuated and encouraged while negative impacts can be minimized.
Date: 2010-04-22
Degree: MS
Discipline: Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/6339

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