Macquarie University
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Building resilient tourism destination futures in a world of uncertainty: assessing destination vulnerability in Khao Lak, Patong and Phi Phi Don, Thailand to the 2004 Tsunami

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posted on 2022-03-28, 15:16 authored by Emma Lidia Calgaro
The vulnerability of tourism destinations to compounding shocks and stressors is an ongoing concern for researchers, industry stakeholders, and local operators. The impact of the 2004 tsunami on the three Thai tourism destinations of Khao Lak, Patong, and Phi Phi Don, serves as a striking reminder of the vulnerability of tourism-dependent destination communities. However, the causal factors contributing to destination vulnerability are under-researched and there are few theoretical parameters for assessing destination vulnerability. To redress these fundamental gaps, this thesis: i. combines theoretical advances from vulnerability approaches, resilience thinking, sustainability science, and tourism studies with geographical theories of place, scale and time to develop a new and innovative Destinaton Sustainability Framework; and ii. applies this framework to guide a case-study based comparative destination vulnerability assessment (DVA) of the tsunami-affected destinations of Khao Lak, Patong, and Phi Phi Don to better understand destination vulnerability and its evolution in different places and developmental contexts. -- The findings from this thesis indicate that destination vulnerability is created and perpetuated by a combination of multiple, dynamic, and interacting factors, including geographical exposure, destination-specific development characteristics, social structures, and governance processes. Underlying these factors and processes are competing stakeholder agendas and actions, historically-embedded cultural norms, institutional preferences, and power structures that entrench and perpetuate unequal access to resources, all of which play out at multiple scales of social organisation. But most importantly, this thesis demonstrates that context matters; it is how the factors combine in a particular place-based setting that matters the most in determining destination vulnerability. -- Through the unique combination of current systems approaches with geographical theories of relational scale, place and time, this thesis makes several important empirical and conceptual contributions to the analysis of vulnerability in the context of sustainable tourism development.


Table of Contents

Introduction -- Vulnerability of toruism destinations to shocks -- The destination sustainability framework -- Khao Lak, Patong and Phi Phi Don: destinations in flux -- Exposure -- Sensitivity -- Response and system adaptiveness -- Conclusions.


17 December 2010 Bibliography: p. 314-345

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


Thesis (PhD), Macquarie University, Faculty of Science, Dept. of Environment and Geography

Department, Centre or School

Department of Environment and Geography

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Kate Lloyd


Copyright disclaimer: Copyright Emma Lidia Calgaro 2011.






xix, 405 p. col. ill., col. maps

Former Identifiers

mq:18696 1609012