Resilience is a concept of growing interest amongst scholars who seek to understand how communities may better adapt to change. From a tourism perspective, the dynamic nature of the industry appears to provide it with an ability to cope with a range of system changes; however, tourism communities are at risk and vulnerable to a variety of shocks (e.g. disease outbreaks, terrorist attacks, tsunamis,) and stressors (e.g. prolonged economic recessions, climate change, changing demographics, et cetera). This research draws upon and applies the socio-ecological resilience (SER) framework developed by Ruiz-Ballesteros (2011) to understand the factors that nurture resilience in sustainability-focused governance systems. It presents the findings from a case study undertaken in the mountain resort community of Whistler, British Columbia, Canada. The findings are drawn from 48 key informant interviews, participant observation, and document analysis.This study corroborates past research, which described four sets of socio-ecological systems-based factors that enable or enhance resilience at the community level. However, it extends these findings and offers: 1) new insights related to a set of individually based factors that also appear to shape a resort community’s resilience. This study proposes an extended SER framework reflective of this finding; 2) insights related to how a variety of shocks and stressors affected a resort destination’s sustainability-focused governance system; and, 3) insights into the role of governance actors in enhancing governance and resort community resilience. Overall, the research contributes to the theoretical and applied dimensions of resilience, resort destination governance, shocks and stressors, and sustainable tourism knowledge.
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Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Williams, Peter