Noel HealyChange photo
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  • Department of Geography
    Salem State University
    352 Lafayette Street
    Salem, MA 01970
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  • My primary research interests are in the areas of climate change, the climate justice movement, sustainable development, sustainable tourism, and participatory processes in plan... moreedit
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In recent decades, investments in tourism capital and the advancement of media technologies have transformed the construction and consumption of tourism destinations. Using the $45 million Cliffs of Moher (CoM) visitor center in the west... more
In recent decades, investments in tourism capital and the advancement of media technologies have transformed the construction and consumption of tourism destinations. Using the $45 million Cliffs of Moher (CoM) visitor center in the west of Ireland as a case study, this paper investigates a central debate in interpretive planning: how the intensity of multimedia applications and onsite facilities shapes visitor experiences in natural area destinations. Drawing from onsite surveys, semi-structured interviews and participant observations, as well as comparative evaluations of the former and current visitor centers, results indicated that low-intensity interpretation was preferred to high-intensity, technologically driven displays. This paper challenges the dominant producer-oriented development paradigm for visitor centers where the architectural design is often the focus of attention. Instead, the authors argue for greater emphasis to be placed on interpretation that incorporates the perspectives of visitors and resi- dents throughout all phases of the planning process.
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"This article explores the political structures that shape Irish tourism development and decision-making. Drawing on two controversial cases of tourism development in the West of Ireland—Mullaghmore and the Cliffs of Moher—this article... more
"This article explores the political structures that shape Irish tourism development and decision-making. Drawing on two controversial cases of tourism development in the West of Ireland—Mullaghmore and the Cliffs of Moher—this article illustrates
how a limited consultation approach dominated by short-termism and political expediency has hitherto resisted any intentions among local communities and sustainability advocates to increase public participation in tourism planning. A comparison of these two
cases reveals how the particularities of the Irish political system and the prevalence of a producer-orientated development paradigm combined to reinforce an exclusionary approach to tourism planning. This was further compounded by the persistent marginalization of local knowledge as well as a systematic lack of research on hosts’ and visitors’ attitudes. Ultimately, the argument presented is for greater recognition and social scientific engagement with the issue of political power structures and cultural practices that underpin tourism governance and the development of tourism destinations in Ireland."
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Parks and protected areas are often seen as human products of nature that have been demarcated, interpreted, and museumized’’ for the purpose of visitors and society. In contemporary Ireland, a critical management issue surrounding the... more
Parks and protected areas are often seen as human products of nature that have been demarcated, interpreted, and museumized’’ for the purpose of visitors and society. In contemporary Ireland, a critical management issue surrounding the extent, appropriate form, and scale of visitor facilities has caused some of the most acrimonious environmental disputes in its history. Visitor center developments in the Burren National Park and the Cliffs of Moher, in the West of Ireland, highlight a number of controversies concerning the commodification of landscapes, homogenization of nature, community involvement, and the extent to which monetary concerns are main driving forces. Drawing on the narrative of these cases this article argues for adopting a consultative approach and involving all stakeholders, particularly the local community, when planning, designing, and operating visitor centers.
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Protected area governance concerns the interactions among structures, processes and traditions that determine how power is exercised, how decisions are taken and how citizens or stakeholders have their say (Graham et al., 2003). Over... more
Protected area governance concerns the interactions among
structures, processes and traditions that determine how power
is exercised, how decisions are taken and how citizens
or stakeholders have their say (Graham et al., 2003). Over
the last few decades, protected area governance has moved
away from being a predominantly state-based ‘top-down’
model to a multi-level system under which powers and responsibilities are diffused among a diversity of national and
local government actors, civil society organisations and local
communities management (Lockwood, 2010). Although
the 1990s saw the emergence and increasing emphasis on
the role of partnerships and collaboration as important elements
in resolving environmental problems and achieving
sustainable tourism development, many of Ireland’s protected
areas became embroiled in belligerent planning and governance
conflicts (Healy & McDonagh, 2009). Drawing on a case study of the Burren region in the West of Ireland this paper firstly identifies socio-cultural, historical and political factors which contribute to, complement and accelerate the contentious and conflictual nature of Irish protected area governance. Secondly, it presents the key factors which enabled BurrenLIFE (an EU Life-Nature
Funded project) become one of the first successful projects
to mend poor relations in a land-use conflict. Finally, drawing
on the good governance practices of BurrenLIFE this
paper proposes a new governance model which could be
developed for future and existing attempts at sustainable
tourism in the Burren and elsewhere.
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The International Symposium on Society and Resource Management (ISSRM) is the official meeting of the International Association for Society and Natural Resources (IASNR), and is the largest international gathering of researchers and... more
The International Symposium on Society and Resource Management (ISSRM) is the official meeting of the International Association for Society and Natural Resources (IASNR), and is the largest international gathering of researchers and practitioners interested in the application of social science to environmental and natural resource issues. While a primary goal of ISSRM and IASNR is the development and exchange of information, an important secondary goal is professional development, particularly as this applies to graduate students. To further this latter goal, a Student Forum was organized and conducted at the 13th ISSRM in Park City, UT. This article reports the findings of a survey of Student Forum participants conducted to evaluate the session. Data on graduate student participation and participants, importance-performance analysis of the programmatic components of the forum, and measures of social capital generated by the forum suggest that the Student Forum was successful and should be continued.
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