Gaming can be sustainable too! Using Social Representation Theory to examine the moderating effects of tourism diversification on residents' tax paying behavior
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CitationCourtney Suess, Makarand Mody. 2016. "Gaming can be sustainable too! Using Social Representation Theory to examine the moderating effects of tourism diversification on residents' tax paying behavior." Tourism Management, Volume 56, pp. 20 - 39 (20).
Tourism authorities in the Las Vegas region have suggested the diversification of the tourism industry as a strategy to improve the vitality of rural communities outside of the metropolitan area. The present study uses Social Representation Theory as the conceptual basis to test the moderating effects of the various types of proposed tourism development on residents' willingness to pay higher taxes to support such development. A survey of 301 residents in Las Vegas rural communities examined how the factors of economic dependence on tourism, community attachment, and ecocentric attitude towards tourism influence residents' perceptions of tourism's impacts. A higher economic dependence on tourism and higher levels of community attachment led to more favorable perceptions of tourism's economic and social impacts. The economic impacts, in turn, resulted in a willingness to pay higher taxes, irrespective of the type of tourism development proposed by the Las Vegas authorities. The results suggest that rural communities reinforce a hegemonic social representation of tourism in order to characterize the ethos of capitalist urbanism that pervades the economic development discourse. The residents' social construction of tourism has important implications for tourism planners in the region and suggests the adoption of an inclusive tourism diversification strategy that leverages both gaming and alternative tourism.