chapter  26
11 Pages

Public-private sector partnerships in tourism

We are in a field of co-operation and co-ordination . . . there are, if anything, far too many cooks concerned with tourism and I would like to say that there always will be, and so our biggest problem is how to resolve the old difficulty that when you have too many interests and too many helpers, each one of whom can contribute a little, how do you get them all to work together? (Leonard Lickorish, British Travel Association, 1968; cited in Heeley, 1975)

Tourism, as an industry, has its public and private sector components. This has always been the way of things, as detailed in several excellent historical texts (e.g. Neale, 198 1). There is an inevitability about the involvement ofboth sectors - even if there are shifts of emphasis over time (see, for instance, Cannadine, 1980), as well as widespread variations between and within nation states. As a generality, however, private sector bodies are central to the provision of hospitality, transport and entertainment services, and they also support the marketing of destinations, as can be seen, for instance, with tour operators and airlines. Public sector intervention is brought about by a variety of factors, foremost amongst which are the needs to regulate private sector activities, to provide nonremunerative infrastructure and superstructure, to remove obstacles to more effective private sector performance, and to redress market failures. Walton’s account of the historical development of Blackpool, for example, exemplifies all four modes of intervention as they gained palpable expression in promenades, illuminations, print and bylaws, and much else besides (Walton, 1978).