Shaping leisure/tourism places - the role of holiday home owners: a case study of Courtown, Co. Wexford, Ireland
- Citation data:
Leisure Studies, ISSN: 0261-4367, Vol: 22, Issue: 2, Page: 109-127
- Publication Year:
- Social Sciences; Business, Management and Accounting; holiday homes; leisure/tourism places; power relationships; Courtown; Co. Wexford; Cultural and economic geography, Social sciences; Human Geography; Nature and Society Relations
This article investigates the role played by holiday home owners in shaping leisure/tourism places. Having reviewed recent trends in the holiday home literature, the paper argues that the literature has failed to adequately consider how this group of actors can play a role in developing leisure/tourism places. The research is case study based and reports the findings of a study undertaken in Courtown, a small seaside resort in the Republic of Ireland. Specifically, it investigates the role that holiday home owners played in a controversy that arose with respect to developing tourism accommodation in an area of woodlands. In this case, a local business alliance proposed and planned to undertake this development with the stated aim of improving tourism facilities in the area. The main opposition came from holiday home owners who formed the Save Courtown Woods Campaign. Research questions posed include what motivated the latter's involvement? What sources of power did they draw upon? How did their actions change the local area? The study found that holiday home owners as an identifiable group of actors must not be ignored as potentially important players in the shaping of local development paths. They were committed to protecting the amenity value of the area and achieved their campaign aims by securing an agreement that no development would occur on 55% of the woodland area. A key factor underpinning the group's ability to effectively engage in the local development process was the degree to which they had kinship and social connections with the local area. These gave the group an 'insider-outsider' status that enabled them to access decision-making channels. Social status was found to play a particular role in this respect, facilitating linkages between holiday home owners and the local business and political elites. Social relationships were formative influences shaping the actions taken by the holiday home owners and in particular, may have played a part in limiting their opposition to development in the area.