Social capital and destination strategic planning

Joelle Soulard, Whitney Knollenberg, B. Bynum Boley, Richard R. Perdue, Nancy Gard McGehee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Improving stakeholder engagement is a critical challenge for destination strategic planning. Using social capital as a theoretical lens, this paper explores the social dynamics which facilitate or inhibit successful tourism destination planning. Working with five recently completed destination plans (3 USA states, an Australian state, and an Oceanic country), in-depth interviews of 74 stakeholders explored the dimensions of trust, reciprocity, and cooperation in the contexts of bonding and bridging social capital. The study's results suggest stakeholder support for destination strategic plans will increase as bonding and bridging social capital intensifies. Recommendations are provided both for destination strategic planning processes as well as for how to best implement strategic plans. Further research examining the applications of social capital theory is recommended.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-200
Number of pages12
JournalTourism Management
StatePublished - Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Bonding social capital
  • Bridging social capital
  • Cooperation
  • Reciprocity
  • Social capital
  • Stakeholders
  • Tourism strategic planning
  • Trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Transportation
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Strategy and Management


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