Creative Destruction and Participatory Tourism Planning in Rural British Columbia: The Case of Salt Spring Island
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This study determines if participatory tourism planning has played a role in the creative destruction process on Salt Spring Island. This is important because it links together two bodies of literature that have formerly only been studied separately. Three objectives are identified. The first is to determine Salt Spring’s stage in the model of creative destruction. The second is to assess the role played by planning in the development of the Island. The third is to provide recommendations to ensure that the Island does not evolve any further along the creative destruction path. These objectives were met using a mixed methods approach. Data collection included two questionnaires (one for residents and one for tourists), semi-structured interviews with key informants, and content analysis of the local newspaper and planning documents. Results suggest that Salt Spring is in the stage of advanced commodification. This state has been achieved in the absence of any participatory tourism planning. The tourism planning that has taken place, has been motivated by a preservationist discourse. This partially explains why the Island has maintained its current position in the model of creative destruction. It is recommended that the tourism plan currently being developed include local participation and be used to create a policy to guide future development.