Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (Research)


Tourism & Hospitality

First Advisor

Breda Hickey

Second Advisor

Prof. Margaret Linehan


In an Irish context, the government's engagement in tourism and its role in developing the sector is acknowledged across most Irish government publications. However, despite efforts made to highlight the major role of the government in tourism, the number of studies that seek to understand how Irish local governments are engaging in tourism is limited. In an attempt to fill this knowledge gap, this study brings a new contribution to the current relevant literature by exploring the role of the government in developing tourism within a local Irish context.

Using a qualitative case-study approach, the particular entity under investigation is Cork County Council. The research aims to provide an understanding of how the local authority engages in tourism, by examining its functions and responsibilities in relation to tourism development. It is argued that local government has a direct, unique and critical role in developing tourism and the author examines the specific manner in which this role is enacted and performed in Cork County. The study's central objective calls for in-depth insights from Cork County Council's tourism representatives on the role of the local authority in tourism development.

The findings report that the function and role of Cork County Council in terms of tourism development is currently evolving, while the analysis of data highlights current challenges, strategies and collaborations for tourism development in Cork County Council. The study reveals five main functional areas for tourism development for the local authority. Specifically, the author draws attention to local government's engagement in tourism development in areas such as product development, economic and community development, marketing and promotion, planning and policy and sustainable tourism development. The findings bring additions to the current literature in each of these areas, and develops important insights of practical significance to policy makers on tourism development. From an Irish context, the research represents a new contribution to an under-investigated subject.

In summary, this study extends the current understanding of the role of the local government in tourism development and concludes by suggesting practical implications for Cork County Council in addressing tourism development and providing a foundation for further research.

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