The Powers Behind Play: The Political Environments for Recreation and Tourism in Australia


  • Keith Hollinshead


Tourism, recreation, leisure, politics, economics, marketing, public andprivate-sector cooperation, power, national identity.


Recreation and tourism are inevitably linked around the world because they both largely concern the provision of opportunities for play or free-time activity. But the two related fields have recently begun to develop quite different political-economic profiles in Australia. This paper argues that in studying the powerful forces that variously do or do not underpin recreation and tourism administration down under, some distinct differences may be observed between the two areas. Recreation provision advanced significantly in the 1970s in Australia, fundamentally as a wide-reaching "community-comprehensive" concern. But its platform goals remain many, disparate, and somewhat incohet:ently voiced at local, state, and national levels. In contrast, the delivery of tourism services came of age later in Australia and is characterized by public agencies working in an increasingly strong mutual relationship with private-sector power brokers. The political, economic and geographic context of Australia, this paper suggests, combine to distinguish the backwatered concern of recreation from the vigor of the travel trade, which furthers its own ambitions as the Australian identity shaper.?





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