McCamley, Claire (2016) Achieving competitiveness in an emerging heritage region; examining the role of trust as a critical antecedent to heritage tourism development. In: Global Marketing Conference 2016, 21st - 24th July, Hong Kong. (Unpublished)

The paper examines the role of trust in an emerging heritage tourism region. The heritage tourism system is conceptualised as a supply chain; a series of interactions between key stakeholders in order to develop a composite tourist product. Social Exchange Theory (SET) is used as a theoretical lens with which to examine this area. Various stakeholders involved in the heritage tourism supply chain have respective roles and responsibilities and SET posits that upon entering interactions, both parties will have a cost and a reward; perceptions of cost and benefit will influence the interaction. Trust is critical to this interaction given the social and political context of tourism. Two heritage-based regions were examined using a case study approach. In-depth interview were carried out with key informants and private and community sector stakeholders. Key findings suggest that trust is indeed integral to the success of exchanges between key stakeholders. Trust is dependent on several factors, including the delivery of essential tourism infrastructure, active engagement in consultative processes and confidence in public sector actions. Reduction in levels of trust leads to a reaction by the private sector which may diminish competitiveness.

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