Rethinking The Role of Power and Trust in Tourism Planning

Robin Nunkoo, Dogan Gursoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Citations (Scopus)


Power and trust are two fundamental components of a sustainable and democratic tourism planning process. Yet, tourism research integrating these concepts together has remained virtually silent in the literature. This article adopts Foucault’s theoretical perspectives on power to explain power relationships in tourism at the community level. The discussion suggests that Foucault’s conceptualizations of power, that is, “the omnipresence of power” and “power in (tourism) networks,” are vital for an understanding of the politics of tourism. The article further borrows from the political science literature and emphasizes on trust as another important ingredient of sustainable tourism development. More specifically, the arguments are based on the concept of political trust, conceptualized as citizens’ trust in tourism institutions. The article argues that citizens’ trust in tourism institutions is vital for a democratic tourism planning process. The discussion further suggests that citizens’ power in tourism decision-making and their trust in tourism institutions are vital for gaining their political support for development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)512-522
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Hospitality Marketing and Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • community tourism
  • power
  • tourism planning and development
  • trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Marketing


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