Creating Shared Value
The Social and Cultural Benefits
of Tourism
Ken Robinson CBE FTS
Appreciation of the Benefits:
Free market capitalism has been dependent on financial
Expectations and results of Tourist Boards/Operators are
measured by Volume and Value
We have become pre-conditioned to measure success
only through economic and numerical indicators:
Volume and Value
Tourist Numbers up/down by X%
Profit Targets, Forecasts
Increasing Spend
Growing the margin
Financial, Social and Cultural Benefits
• Commercial organisations usually achieve success, and
are judged by their ability to exploit all opportunities to
maximise profit.
• Corporate Social Responsibility is seen by most
“responsible” operators/businesses as an optional extra
– delivering “good works”
• What have been the natural outcomes of market-driven
tourism? The evidence is clear; outcomes often show
that development erodes environment, visitor volumes
overload resources, safety and sanitation come under
threat, cultural traditions are distorted, community is
alienated, social pressures build and can be difficult to
Tourism must be managed.
Management can optimise results, minimise disbenefits
The Management of Tourism is not the topic for now
Social and Cultural Benefits:
For who?
• The benefits that are derived by visitors
• The benefits that are gained by host communities
Social and Cultural Benefits:
How are the benefits achieved?
Social and Cultural benefits are an intrinsic
consequence of tourism activity
Social and Cultural benefits can be identified,
selected, enhanced, and manipulated
The context for optimising Social and Cultural
Benefits is active management:
- by tourism operators/businesses
- by the host community
Community Related Benefits
• Maintenance and improvement of the public realm including the
development of infrastructure, facilities, and improvements to
cleanliness, safety and amenity value
• Contributes to the viability of local services and facilities that are
essential for host communities – eg., pubs, local shops, post
• Encourages the protection of community assets, and
preservation and protection of the natural and built environment
• Contributes to maintaining and enhancing cultural and heritage
assets (can initially be seen as the only/main reason to save)
• Continuity of local traditions, festivals, cultural events, crafts
• The appreciation of local food and drink including local markets
• Creating and sustaining employment maintains viable
communities, providing a stability to community life
• The stimulation of local and civic pride, enhancing the sense of
community and creating “social capital”
Visitor Related Benefits
• The enhancement of physical and psychological health
• A catalyst for change, fresh ideas, new opportunities in a
changing world
• An awareness and appreciation of other people and
• The improvement of “quality of life”
• Improved knowledge
• The encouragement to learn new skills, languages, etc
• Reduction in anti-social behaviour
Social and Cultural Benefits:
Unprompted recognition by Residents
“5 ways to wellbeing”
The New Economics Foundation’s
Foresight Project:
Social and Cultural Benefits:
• The Social and Cultural benefits of Tourism are
greatly under-appreciated
• There is vast untapped potential, and gain, for
Tourism operators/businesses and communities,
in recognising and exploiting these attributes
• But old habits die hard….businesses, and
incentivised staff, are likely to favour “volume
and financial value” unless and until the true
worth of social and cultural benefits are
understood by all.

The Social and Cultural Benefits of Tourism