Post-print of: Wilde, SJ & Cox, C 2008. ‘Linking destination competitiveness and destination development: findings from a mature Australian tourism destination’, Proceedings of the Travel and Tourism Research Association (TTRA) European Chapter Conference - Competition in tourism: business and destination perspectives, Helsinki, Finland, TTRA, pp. 467-478.
Whilst the study of tourism destination competitiveness continues to gain interest amongst tourism researchers (Evans, Fox and Johnson 1995; Faulkner, Oppermann, and Fredline 1999; d’Hauteserre 2000; Hassan 2000; Enright and Newton 2004), there is little identifiable research that 1) links this broad concept of tourism destination competitiveness with the development and evolution of tourism destinations, nor 2) suggests the relevance or importance of key competitiveness variables to destinations at different stages of development. In exploring this association, focus group discussions with tourism industry stakeholders were conducted in a mature destination on the East Coast of Australia. Preliminary results from this discussion indicate competitiveness factors related to the ‘management’ of the destination appear to be of utmost importance to local stakeholders, given the identified stage of development. To this effect, three fundamental elements were identified by respondents: the ability of tourism infrastructure to be maintained and introduced to sustain the destination’s appeal; the ability of the local tourism industry and relevant governing bodies to cooperate as a driving force to sustain the destination; and the existence of a strong community vision for the future of tourism.