Sustainable host-guest interactions on islands: Bruny and Magnetic Islands

Document Type

Book chapter

Publication details

Moyle, BD, Croy, WG & Weiler, B 2011, 'Sustainable host-guest interactions on islands: Bruny and Magnetic Islands', in J Carlsen & R Butler (eds), Island tourism: sustainable perspectives, CABI, Wallingford, UK. ISBN: 9781845936792


With more than 100,000 islands scattered across the globe, approximately one in ten people in the world is an islander (King and Connell, 1999). Islands are also popular destinations for tourists, in part because of their inhabitants, who are seen by outsiders as being unusual, and even unique, with respect to their cultures and lifestyles (Carlsen, 1999). On many islands, tourism planners and policy makers attempt to capitalise on these distinct social and cultural elements of island life and use tourism as a tool for economic development and job creation (Carlsen, 1999; Scheyvens and Momsen, 2008). Although tourism is recognised as having a number of benefits for island inhabitants, inappropriate development and visitor behaviour can result in adverse environmental, social and cultural impacts (Hall, 1994). Competition for space, infrastructure and key resources can also create resentment towards visitors, all of which can threaten the sustainability of the tourism industry and the islands themselves. On islands, the potential for friction is magnified by the temporal and spatial boundaries within which locals and visitors interact. It is, thus, essential that the sustainable management of tourism, perhaps more so on islands than in other contexts, incorporates active consideration of, and planning for, opportunities for host-guest interactions that are designed to respect the culture, lifestyle and traditional community values of local inhabitants and local environments. Arguably, attention to host-guest interactions is key not only to ensuring visitors are aware of appropriate behaviours on the island, but also to optimising the experience of island visitors, and thereby enhancing the sustainability of island tourism. This research proposes that managing host-guest interactions can optimise the positive impacts and the longer-term sustainability of island tourism interactions. This chapter explores the perceptions of locals and visitors of facilitators of host-guest interactions, and discusses the implications of these perceptions for tourism sustainability for island communities. To do this interaction is first conceptualised through the lens of social exchange theory, and the method of analysis used for the case study is outlined. Secondly, a brief introduction to the case study islands (the Australian Bruny Island and Magnetic Island) is presented. Thirdly, the facilitators of sustainable host-guest interactions are discussed and these are then linked back to the literature on sustainable tourism development. The chapter concludes with discussion of the implications for tourism planners and policy makers, and recommendations for future research.