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Characteristics of Successful Tourism Partnerships: A Multiple Case Study Design

Steven Selin, Debbie Chavez


In an era of fiscal constraint, leisure service providers are examining tourism as a revenue enhancement strategy. Anecdotal evidence has established that linkages between public leisure services and the tourism industry are underdeveloped and need strengthening. The purpose ofthis paper is to develop a contextual understanding of the dynamic nature of tourism partnerships. Characteristics of successful partnerships are gleaned from a qualitative research study examining three community partnerships involving the USDA Forest Service and other federal, state, and local organizations and individuals. Characteristics of successful partnerships are broken into four categories: personal factors, interpersonal factors, organizational factors, and operational factors. Results from the study suggest a number of managerial actions to foster successful partnerships: develop more flexible personnel and financial accounting systems, ensure staff continuity over life of a partnership, and implement partnership incentive programs for agency staff and potential external partners. Suggestions for future research are offered.


Partnerships; characteristics of success; leisure; recreation; tourism; natural resource management; qualitative research; case study research.

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