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Resilience to climate change in a cross-scale tourism governance context: a combined quantitative-qualitative network analysis

Tobias Luthe, University of Applied Sciences Chur, Institute for Tourism and Leisure, Switzerland; University of Freiburg, Centre for Key Qualifications, Germany
Romano Wyss, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Laboratory on Human-Environment Relations in Urban Systems; LMU University of Munich, Department of Geography


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Social systems in mountain regions are exposed to a number of disturbances, such as climate change. Calls for conceptual and practical approaches on how to address climate change have been taken up in the literature. The resilience concept as a comprehensive theory-driven approach to address climate change has only recently increased in importance. Limited research has been undertaken concerning tourism and resilience from a network governance point of view. We analyze tourism supply chain networks with regard to resilience to climate change at the municipal governance scale of three Alpine villages. We compare these with a planned destination management organization (DMO) as a governance entity of the same three municipalities on the regional scale. Network measures are analyzed via a quantitative social network analysis (SNA) focusing on resilience from a tourism governance point of view. Results indicate higher resilience of the regional DMO because of a more flexible and diverse governance structure, more centralized steering of fast collective action, and improved innovative capacity, because of higher modularity and better core-periphery integration. Interpretations of quantitative results have been qualitatively validated by interviews and a workshop. We conclude that adaptation of tourism-dependent municipalities to gradual climate change should be dealt with at a regional governance scale and adaptation to sudden changes at a municipal scale. Overall, DMO building at a regional scale may enhance the resilience of tourism destinations, if the municipalities are well integrated.

Key words

adaptation; climate change; core-periphery integration; social network analysis; stakeholder perceptions; tourism destination; transformation

Copyright © 2016 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087