Tourism policy and the conservation estate: a tragedy of the commons?
New Zealand's conservation estate is in danger of becoming congested and degraded by increasing tourist numbers. The increased pressure from tourists is directly related to the New Zealand Tourism Board's objective of "Three Million Tourists by the Year 2000". World wide, recognition is being given to the need for sustainable tourism management in order to protect the resources that initially attract tourists. Sustainably managed tourism development is not guaranteed under the consents system of the Resource Management Act (1991), therefore alternative methods of ensuring this objective is met need to be explored. Tourism Planning and Public Choice Theory are used to examine the government institutions involved in tourism policy formulation. These two theories provide similar definitions of the problem, but offer different solutions. Tourism Planning analysis proposes a top-down implementation of a National Tourism Strategy and government initiated planning for tourism. Public Choice analysis suggests managing the conservation estate as a "common" and posits a redefinition of property rights and mediated agreements as a means of achieving sustainable management.... [Show full abstract]