Sustainable Tourism - Systems Thinking and System Dynamics Approaches: A Case Study in Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve of Vietnam

Thanh Mai (2012). Sustainable Tourism - Systems Thinking and System Dynamics Approaches: A Case Study in Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve of Vietnam PhD Thesis, School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, The University of Queensland.

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Author Thanh Mai
Thesis Title Sustainable Tourism - Systems Thinking and System Dynamics Approaches: A Case Study in Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve of Vietnam
School, Centre or Institute School of Agriculture and Food Sciences
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2012-01
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Professor Ockie Bosch
Professor Kambiz Maani
Dr Carl Smith
Dr Nam Nguyen
Total pages 242
Total colour pages 30
Total black and white pages 212
Language eng
Subjects 010204 Dynamical Systems in Applications
150603 Tourism Management
Abstract/Summary Tourism is a dynamic and complex system which contains numerous components and involves a diverse array of stakeholders. These components are interconnected through non-linear relationships while each stakeholder holds different objectives, agendas and interests. This often causes conflict that necessitates compromises based on a better understanding of each other’s needs and requirements. The tourism system is also strongly influenced by various internal and external factors resulting in an extremely complex and dynamic system with high levels of uncertainty and unpredictability. In order to manage the system in a sustainable way, it is necessary to provide stakeholders with effective learning mechanisms to align their views, to help them make more informed decisions, and to adapt to the continually changing environments. The aim of this study is to develop management tools for effective learning and communicating among a diverse array of stakeholders about sustainable tourism issues in world biosphere reserves. The main objectives of the study are to develop a tourism systems model and an associated simulation model of tourism in the UNESCO designated Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve of Vietnam (CBBR), which is a relatively small island and a well-known popular tourist destination. Systems Thinking and System Dynamics approaches were employed in this study as the main methodologies and research framework. These approaches have been widely acknowledged as ‘new ways of thinking’ for managing change and complexity. This thesis is organised in nine chapters which are combined into three parts, namely the introduction and literature review, study context and research methodology, and finally inquiry and findings. The first part sets the background of the study and reviews relevant literature, while the second part presents an overview of the study site and describes the underpinning research methodology. Finally, the third part describes the field data collection and research findings and implications. The tourism systems model has been constructed through participatory systems analysis to develop a holistic understanding of the interconnectedness and relationships between the various system components that impact on the sustainable development of tourism in the CBBR. The model has been verified and validated through the use of extensive field data collections, including interviews, focus group meetings and workshops. This model can be used as a communication tool to facilitate learning, dialogue and collaboration between various stakeholders who all share the responsibility of developing, managing and sustaining the tourism system. Further, a simulatation model has been developed based on the Cat Ba tourism systems model. The model consists of four main sub-systems, namely tourism economics, human dimensions, natural resources, and the environment. This model provides a practical and powerful tool for decision making by providing a framework for developing a plan for future tourism development in the CBBR. This model could therefore play a significant role as a planningtool for the CBBR. The simulation results indicate a possible best scenario in which policies on land and water use are the main factors to be considered (e.g. allowing 20 ha of land for tourism resorts, the extraction of not more than 10% of groundwater, a reduction of 15% in the demand on the the use of fresh water and maintaining leaking water levels at less than 10%). Other important guidelines for policy making include suggestions about an investment in a waste treatment plant in which at least 75% of the total waste discharge in the CBBR should be treated and also to build two reservoirs with a total capacity of one million cubic meters. This scenario has been demonstrated to be the most plausible one and was tested for achieving sustainable tourism development in the CBBR up to 2030. However, further investigation of other alternative scenarios may reveal a variety of plausible scenarios, depending on other factors such as availability of funds and the level of adoption of tourism operators’ strategies. The aforementioned models need to be refined over time through a cyclic process of planning, implementation, reflection and refinement of the models (the Cat Ba Learning Laboratory). Despite the limitations of the models, it is expected that they will provide policy makers and tourism managers with clearer and better insights of how tourism development would have an impact on the community, the economy and the environment in the long term. The research, and especially the systems approaches that were used in this study have made a significant practical contribution towards facilitating the establishment of a future strategic plan for sustainable tourism development in the CBBR, as well as a scientific contribution by providing a way of visualising the tourism system in the context of a larger system and quantifying the nonlinear feedback relationships and delays that are involved in a complex system.
Keyword Complexity
dynamic modeling
scenario planning
Sustainable Development
Management Strategies
Strategic planning
Additional Notes Colour pages: 3,20,38,44-46,48,53,57,65-67,71,86,87,91,92,94,95,97,112,113,131,155-159,165,181 Landscape pages: 84,103,131,213,214,218

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Created: Wed, 20 Jun 2012, 11:23:47 EST by Mr Thanh Mai on behalf of Library - Information Access Service