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Comprehensive human resource planning: an essential key to sustainable tourism in island settings

Baum, T. (2006) Comprehensive human resource planning: an essential key to sustainable tourism in island settings. In: Classic Reviews in Tourism. Multilingual Matters Ltd. ISBN 187315044X

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This paper examines the importance of human resources for successful tourism, from the narrower perspective of human resource development planning in island settings and from the perspective of sustainability in this context. It argues that the special characteristics of island tourism call for a greater emphasis on the rational use of labour. Six characteristics of island tourism destinations which have particular significance in the human resource context can be summarized as follows: a high economic dependence on a small range of economic sectors, including tourism; a focused and limited range of tourism products, generally hedonistic rather than historic/cultural in nature; a focus on high spend, international tourism, with the consequent requirement for five-star or equivalent product standards; a restricted pool of skilled labour; and limited education and training provision for tourism. It recommends that public sector policy makers and private sector decision makers need to recognize that human resources are a necessary element of successful tourism development, particularly that which is sustainable. The adoption of a comprehensive policy approach incorporating public policy frameworks to ensure the integration of host populations within the industry is also required. This paper is able to provide a more detailed empirical and case study research into the various dimensions of human resource policy and implementation.