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The Effects on Place of the Tourism Industries in Asheville, North Carolina and Greenville, South Carolina: A Sustainability Analysis

Authors: Samantha Bernacki*, Furman University
Topics: Tourism Geography, Sustainability Science
Keywords: Place-Identity, Sense of Place, Sustainability, Tourism, Actor-Network Theory, Asheville, Greenville, Local, Economy
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/9/2020
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Virtual Track 2
Presentation File: Download



This study addressed the effects of the tourism industry on perceived place-identity in the cases of Asheville, North Carolina and Greenville, South Carolina. The purpose of this study was to define how sustainable the tourism system in each city is by determining who benefits and who is unsatisfied with effects on the place-identity of the city. Tourism impacts were identified and examined using mixed-qualitative methods that include surveys, interviews, participant observation, as well as document and spatial analyses. Sustainability principles are applied to measure each city’s performance. Actor-Network Theory (ANT) determined the nature of the dynamic interactions between actors involved in the tourism system. ANT also characterized the interactions between important human and non-human actors. The identified human actors include tourists, residents, local government, and tourism professionals. Hotels are a critical non-human actor. A place identity framework determined how the industries contributed to the sense of place perceived by each actor. At the time of the data collection, some organizations and individuals in Asheville advocate for an expansion of urban tourism, while others advocate to keep the economies and consumption local. Despite resistance in Asheville, leading companies in the tourism industry have persisted in tourism related developments. Greenville’s tourism industry is a less significant portion of the local economy; however, the industry is growing quickly. The study found that the tourism industries in Asheville and Greenville have caused misalignments in the sense of place of the cities.

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