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Whitaker Ideas Forum: Sheila Malone, Investigating the link between sustainable tourism development and community well-being

January 24 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Location: CA110 (SAC Room), Cairnes Building, NUI Galway Galway Ireland

Speaker(s): Dr Sheila Malone

Affiliation: SIPPs (Lancaster University, UK)

Organised by: Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change, NUI Galway

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The 2018 Whitaker Ideas Forum series continues on January 24th with a seminar by Dr Sheila Malone (of Lancaster University) representing the SIPPs research cluster on the topic of ‘Investigating the link between sustainable tourism development and community well-being’.

The research aims to examine the link between sustainable tourism initiatives and community wellbeing (CW). Specifically, it will explore how the local communities perceive CW and how sustainable tourism practices contribute to it. Here we are not referring to the economic impact of tourism on a local community as such (i.e., economic well-being), but to other important indicators that are emic in nature (i.e., community life, material life, emotional life health and happiness, and quality of life). The industry has made many attempts to be more responsible by addressing sustainability-related issues with the aim of promoting more positive longer-term benefits, and the core of such efforts often pivots on greater community involvement. These efforts can lead to enhanced community empowerment on a broader scale (Papaoikonomou and Alarcón 2017; Fraser et al. 2006), however we still know little about the impact of sustainable activities in relation to their contribution to a community in the long term i.e., CW (e.g., Lee 2013).

We argue for a more holistic view of CW with particular emphasis on aspects that relate to the sustainability efforts in a host destination (namely selected UNESCO Geoparks). Sustainable tourism initiatives aim for long-term growth and continuing benefits, yet economic well-being is often prioritised despite the fact that it only captures a short-term snapshot of a particular date in time. A greater understanding of the link between sustainability and CW will allow decision makers (e.g., policy makers, the government and local businesses) to develop, enhance and promote sustainable tourism practices and demonstrate its contribution to CW in the long term.

Sheila Malone is an Assistant Professor in Marketing at Lancaster University, UK. Sheila has a Ph.D. from the University of Nottingham (UK), and an MSc in Marketing Management from Nottingham University Business School. Sheila’s research interest lies in the broad areas of consumer behaviour, ethical/sustainable consumption practices, value creation and destruction, tourism and food marketing. She has a keen interest in the Transformative Consumer Research agenda with particular emphasis in the area of customer and CW. Sheila’s research to date has been published in the Annals of Tourism Research, Tourism Management, and Journal of Travel Research (all 4 AJG ranked journals). She is currently the co-track chair for the 43rd Annual Macromarketing Conference (2018) “Tourism, Sustainability and Community Wellbeing” track. Her work has received press attention and cited in the Irish Times, Irish Independent, USA Northern California (newspaper), Marketing Business Week, thedrum.com, Snappii, and Computer Weekly.