Document Type

Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Other social sciences

Publication Details

Paper presented at the 3rd International Critical Tourism Studies Conference. 21–24 June, 2009.


This article argues that contemporary debates concerning the impacts of globalisation on the development of local tourism areas uncovers a dynamic interplay between global and local forces. Moving beyond traditional arguments that view tourism places as outcomes of global forces (Relph, 1976; Castells, 1993; Barnet & Cavanagh, 1995; Dunning & Hamdani, 1997) the research presents an overview of the significance of local entrepreneurs on tourism destination development.

The article draws from existing literature on models of tourism development including; Chrystaller (1963), Miossec (1976), Butler (1980), Gormsen (1981), Lundgren (1982), Keller (1987), Lewis (1998), Ritchie & Crouch (2003), as well as literatures on entrepreneurship (Russell & Faulkner, 2004; Hovinen, 2002; Koh & Hatten, 2002). It contends that while the influence of local family businesses and entrepreneurs is identified and examined in the literature it tends to be viewed as a static process captured at a given time and related only to the activity of the individual entrepreneur. This research goes further by viewing entrepreneurial activity as dynamic and creative, with the ability to influence tourism development over long periods of time.

The research takes a case study approach, using two case studies in Ireland to investigate entrepreneurial activity in Killarney, Co. Kerry, a developed tourism area and Clifden, Co. Galway, a developing tourism area In Ireland. The research identifies not only the way in which entrepreneurs can trigger change and development at a tourism destination at a particular time but also how this influence can continue through the further involvement of family members long after the original entrepreneur is involved. In addition, the research shows how the influence of entrepreneurs can differ between destinations and the way in which this can impact on the development of the area.

The overall aim of this research is to contribute to existing international research on tourism area development. There is a dearth of literature on the development of tourism places in Ireland and this research seeks to redress this deficit. In the context of the highly globalised and extremely competitive conditions that characterise the international tourism market place, the research also aims to produce new knowledge and valuable insights to inform policy making debates on tourism development.