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Public–private collaboration in the tourism sector: balancing legitimacy and effectiveness in local tourism partnerships. The Spanish case

Journal article
Authors María José Zapata Campos
Michael Hall
Published in Journal of Policy Research in Tourism, Leisure & Events
Volume 4
Issue 1
Pages 61-83
ISSN 1940-7971
Publication year 2012
Published at Gothenburg Research Institute (GRI)
Pages 61-83
Language en
Keywords governance, public–private partnership, public administration, institutional theories, collaboration, hybrid organisation
Subject categories Other Social Sciences


Using a new institutional theories perspective this paper focuses on public–private collaboration processes in local tourism public–private partnerships (PPP). Research was conducted via a national survey and case studies of the organisational characteristics of local tourism partnerships in Spain. The emergence of hybrid quasi-public and quasi-private partnerships, and the general dependence on public funding, named the process of publicness, stand out as the main findings of the national survey. The institutional processes behind the evolution of local tourism partnerships in Spain are analysed through two case studies of hybrid emergent quasi-public and quasi-private partnerships. The organisational evolution of both partnerships is the result of the institutionalisation of the tourism organisational fields and the simultaneous processes of company-isation and politicisation. The inconsistencies and tensions in these hybrid organisations were the result of the organisational hypocrisy whereby discourse was decoupled from action, and partnerships’ continuity and survival were guaranteed by strategies of publicness.

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