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Annals of Tourism Research, Vol. xx, No. xx, pp.

xxxxxx, 2011 0160-7383/$ - see front matter 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Printed in Great Britain

www.elsevier.com/locate/atoures

doi:10.1016/j.annals.2011.03.007

COMPLEXITY IN TOURISM POLICIES


A Cognitive Mapping Approach
Ioanna Farsari Technological Educational Institute of Crete, Greece Richard W. Butler University of Strathclyde, UK Edith Szivas University of Surrey, UK

Abstract: The paper discusses a study of policies for sustainable tourism developed at all four policy making levels in Greece using a complex systems approach. Complexity was examined between policy issues i.e. the elements constituting policy considerations. The mental models of policy makers were elicited, built and analyzed by applying appropriately developed cognitive mapping methods to reveal key policy considerations, valued outcomes and perceptions of complexity. Individual map analysis and comparisons of policy making at each level revealed greater structural differences than similarities. These ndings indicate a complex domain with various ramications perceived in different ways by individual policy makers. Despite structural differences, policies at all levels in Greece contained a clear focus on the economic sustainability of tourism, reecting a rather parochial perspective on sustainable tourism. Keywords: sustainable, policy, cognitive mapping, complexity, Greece. 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

INTRODUCTION Complexity is being increasingly used as an organizing notion to address and study non-linearities inherent in tourism systems (Abel, 2003; Baggio, 2008; Farrell & Twining-Ward, 2004; Faulkner & Russell, 2002; Jamal, Borges, & Figueiredo, 2004; McDonald, 2009; McKercher, 1999; Twining-Ward & Butler, 2002; Walker, Anderies, Kinzig, & Ryan, 2006; Zahra & Ryan, 2007). Tourism policy-making is a complex phenomenon involving various actors and institutions in the negotiation of power distribution and organizational complexity (Stevenson, Airey,

Ioanna Farsari is an Assistant Professor at the Technological Educational Institute-Crete. Her research interests include policy, sustainability, indicators, knowledge representation and enhancement. (P.O. Box 1939, Estavromenos, 71004 Heraklion, Crete, Greece. Email <farsari@staff.teicrete.gr>). Richard Butler is Emeritus Professor at the University of Strathclyde. His research interests include destination development, seasonality, carrying capacity, tourism in peripheral areas. Edith Szivas is Senior Lecturer at the University of Surrey. Her research interests include tourism development and policy, human resources development, poverty reduction. 1
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& Miller, 2008). Moreover, the contested political character of sustainable development with its meaning along with its ethical considerations still being debated in policy, industry and academic circles, has complex ramications for decision making (Macbeth, 2005). Similarly, sustainable tourism has long been shown to be a malleable concept, tting different perceptions and adjustable enough to have different meaning to different people or groups (Butler, 1999). Ethical stances and ideologies also inuence the way that sustainable tourism is interpreted, resulting in many different perceptions of the term (Bramwell, Henry, Jackson, & van der Straaten, 1996). Complexity in sustainable tourism policies is also visible through the various issues and actions which have to be managed simultaneously to achieve a holistic approach integrating social, environmental and economic dimensions (Walker, Greiner, McDonald, & Lyne, 1999, p. 60). Sustainable tourism policy is what has been called in the planning literature a complex, messy or wicked problem, characterized by interrelatedness of policy areas, with implications from one spreading into other (Hall, 2000). Complex messy problems involve different value systems with no right or wrong solution but rather different paths to often unpredicted outcomes (Rittel & Webber, 1973). As such complex messy problems do not follow the rational science paradigm, their outcomes cannot be predicted with certainty and it is only through studying and understanding policies that insight and understanding of implications can be gained (Mysiak, Giupponi, & Rosato, 2005). Complexity studies in tourism policies have concentrated on organizational complexity and actors relations. Interorganizational relations and collaborative policy making have formed a eld of inquiry in tourism policy research (Bramwell & Sharman, 1999; Dredge & Jenkins, 2003; Lovelock, 2001; Vernon, Essex, Pinder, & Curry, 2005). Policy networks and actors relations have also attracted a large share of research interest in complexity and tourism policy during the last decade to explore the factors that inuence policymaking (Bramwell, 2006; Bramwell & Meyer, 2007; Dredge, 2006; Pforr, 2006; Scott, Baggio, & Cooper, 2008; Tyler & Dinan, 2001). Most of these studies draw from social science related theories such as social representation theory, social constructivism, interorganizational collaboration theory and network theory, or political economy theory. Their common characteristic is that tourism policy-making is seen as a social activity with the focus being placed on examining how actors (institutions, groups, organizations, individuals) relate to each other, or on the factors that inuence perceptions of policies. Although complexity is revealed in these studies between the actors and the way they interact in complex networks of power, almost no studies have examined complex relationships between the policy issues which form the policy considerations (Farsari, Butler, & Prastacos, 2007). This research instead, draws from complexity theory as an emerging framework for inquiry to examine how policy issues, i.e. the elements constituting policy considerations, are related to each other, and how complex these policies are as perceived by those directly involved in their formulation. It

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examines tourism policies in Greece in order to better understand intentions as expressed in valued outcomes (goals), complexity, and adaptive processes perceived by policy makers. Complexity theory is used to describe situations where simple linear models cannot adequately address the complex relationships found in a system as a result of large numbers of interacting elements (Roe, 1998). Holling (2001, p. 391) argues that there is a requisite level of simplicity behind complexity that, if identied, can lead to understanding. Thus, complexity of living systems of people and nature is not a matter of a random association of a large number of interacting factors, but a smaller number of controlling processes. These different perspectives of complexity reect the differences between chaos and complexity theory. Chaos is not used in its everyday sense but rather in its deterministic one, meaning that there are some simple processes behind certain magnied, unpredictable phenomena. That is, chaos theory focuses on the manner that simple systems result in complex, unpredictable behaviors and manifests that there is some underlying order waiting to be discovered (Cilliers, 1998; Mitchell, 2009). Complexity, as described by complex systems on the other hand, comes about as a result of a large number of interacting components and how they can lead to well-organized and possibly predictable behaviors (Baggio, 2008, p. 7). Chaos theory is related to the grand idea of a unied world, to the universality of that world, while complexity is more related to postmodernism and the idea of several local realities which can hardly combine into a single unied reality (Cilliers, 1998). Chaos and complexity theory have been used interchangeably in the literature (Eve, Horsfall, & Lee, 1997; Faulkner & Russell, 2002; McDonald, 2009). For Manson (2001) the different perspectives on complexity are nothing more than different divisions in complexity research namely, algorithmic (related to mathematical complexity theory and information theory), deterministic (related to chaos theory) and aggregate complexity (emphasizing holism and synergy between a large number of elements). According to Manson, deterministic complexity is characterized by features often used to describe chaotic systems such as initial conditions and the buttery effect, bifurcation, and feedback. Aggregate complexity on the other hand, is related to complex systems theory. Complex systems are characterized by the following properties (Cilliers, 1998; Manson, 2001; Mitchell, 2009; Norberg & Cumming, 2008):
i) Relationships: complex systems consist of a large number of relationships between entities which are most often from the immediate surrounding thus lacking an overarching control or unied purpose; Internal structure: these local interactions dictate that sub-systems of close entities are formed within the system; Open system: interactions are apparent also with the environment of the system making it an open system;

ii) iii)

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iv) v)

vi)

Learning and memory: complex systems are capable of processing information and storing it as experience in forms of relationships resulting in a great diversity; Self-organization and adaptivity: this diversity is essential in order to change and adapt when necessary, and self-organization refers to the changing of internal structure to better adapt to its environment. Thus change and evolution are inherent in complex systems; and nally, Emergence: non-linear relationships between entities result in new emergent properties of the system, it is a form of synergism making the whole more than the sum of its parts

These properties of complex systems are used as a framework of inquiry in this research to examine complexity between policy issues. To fulll this, the research examines the mental models of policy makers using an appropriately developed cognitive mapping method. Mental models have long been used for policy analysis and the management of complex problems (Axelrod, 1976a; Rosenhead & Mingers, 2001). Mental models refer to assumptions and beliefs that enable individuals to make inferences and predictions and can be represented in many forms such as tokens, spatial relationships between entities, and temporal or causal relations among events (Chen & Lee, 2003). Mental simulations help decision makers imagine a course of action in a specic situation, evaluate its adequacy, and formulate policies (Klein, 1989). Cognitive mapping is a well established method for eliciting, representing, analyzing and comparing mental models offering many benets in dealing with complex problems, in understanding beliefs, in analyzing those beliefs and communicating qualitative information, values and perceptions (Eden, 2004). However, very little use has been made of cognitive mapping in examining complexity in tourism policies and the views of policy makers to date. TOURISM POLICY IN GREECE Public Governance in the Study Area Government in Greece has four distinct levels: central government, regional administrations, prefecture authorities, and municipalities and communes. At the national level, the Ministry of Tourism Development has been the legal body responsible for the formulation of tourism policy since 2004 (Government Gazette 187//11.10.2004). It supervises a number of institutions also involved in policy formulation and implementation, including the Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO), the Organization of Tourism Education and Training, Tourism Development Co., and Agrotouristiki SA. Regional, prefecture and municipal authorities are characterized respectively by the third, second and rst tier of local governments. The thirteen regional administrative districts (each comprised of a number of prefectures), are each headed by a regional governor, appointed by the Minister

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Figure 1. The Research Area

of the Interior. Each prefecture is headed by a prefect (elected by direct popular vote), and is further divided into municipalities and communes (http://www.kedke.gr/generalData_english.htm). Each level is represented in this research: the Municipality of Hersonissos represents the respective level of policy making, Hersonissos belongs to the Prefecture of Heraklion, representing the prefectorial level of policy making, while the Region of Crete stands for the regional level. The national level is represented by the Ministry of Tourism and its supervised Institutions. The geographic relation of these areas is presented in Figure 1. The Signicance of Tourism in the Study Area Greek tourism represents an important share of international and European tourism, with approximately 66 million overnight stays in almost 580 thousand hotel beds (NSSG, 2009). Greece receives 3.6% of the European and 1.9% of the international tourism arrivals and is ranked tenth among European countries (WTO, 2009). Crete is one of thirteen regions in Greece, and tourism is the most important economic activity on the island. In 2008 Crete accounted for almost one fourth of all hotel beds and all international tourist overnight stays in Greece with 2.3 million arrivals in hotels and approximately 16 million overnight stays (excluding auxiliary accommodation) (NSSG, 2009).

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Crete has four Prefectures: Heraklion, Lassithi, Rethymno and Chania. Heraklion contains almost half of the population of Crete. Tourism in Heraklion has displayed a constant growth with almost half of total beds in Crete and almost six million overnight stays in hotels. The municipality of Hersonissos is located on the north coast of Crete, about 25 km from Heraklion airport. Tourism development here began during the early stages of tourism development in Greece and experienced one of the fastest growth rates in Greece (Chiotis and Coccossis, 2000 after Terkenli, 2000). Growth rates continued to be remarkable and during the period of 19912005 hotel beds almost doubled in Hersonissos to over 30,000 (excluding auxiliary accommodation) by 2005. Methodology Only a short report of the methodology is included here, as a detailed description of the methodology used in the present research may be found in Farsari, Butler, and Szivas (2010) which outlines all the considerations and assumptions made when developing a cognitive mapping method for sustainable tourism policy. Cognitive Maps. Cognitive maps have been used to study how people understand their environment and construct spatial information. According to Farsari et al. (2010) this emphasis on spatial cognition of the environment may be found in many denitions of cognitive maps (see for example Kitchin, 1994). However, the use of map-like constructs has been transferred to other domains to visualize how people conceptualize, simplify and make sense of complex problems (Huff & Fletcher, 1990). Cognitive maps are represented as a net of nodes (concepts) linked by arrows (relationships) and this network reveals an individuals perception of the problem examined (Eden, 2004). Concepts are the elements of the cognitive map and can include a great variety of entities with varying degrees of abstraction (Huff & Fletcher, 1990). The meaning of every concept is contextual and is provided by the relationships (links) of that concept to other concepts. The relationships are represented by arrows pointing from one concept to another to the direction of the relationship. Thus, a link between concepts A and B (A B) may be read either as A may have an effect on B (or A may lead to B) or as A in order to achieve B (Farsari et al., 2010). Cognitive maps ability to reduce and analyze the domain investigated in its constituting elements allowing a holistic synthesis of an individuals view (Huff & Fletcher, 1990, p. 404) makes them very useful for structuring and exploring complex problems and can help decision makers to make better inferences of nonlinearity involved in a system (Rosenhead & Mingers, 2001). When used in policy analysis, cognitive maps serve to model complexity, refer to local policy features, reveal inconsistencies, interdependencies and key issues, and thus can be used as a decision making tool (Eden & Ackermann, 2004).

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Cognitive Mapping to Study Public Policy and Tourism Policy. Axelrod (1976a) was one of the rst to use cognitive maps in policy analysis. In his seminal work Axelrod used text based cognitive mapping to understand the constructs politicians use to make decisions and consequently help them become aware of these processes in order to improve decision making. More recent research includes the improvement of auditing tasks planning in public organizations (Ackermann & Eden, 2001), the empowerment of management teams to analyze and manage complexities in the UK Home Ofce Prison Department (Eden & Ackermann, 2004), the exploration of the decision-making process in a public sector performance appraisal system (Ahmad & Ali, 2004), and the enhancement of citizens participation in a strategic forest management planning process (Hjortso, 2004). Cognitive mapping in tourism studies include research by Walmsley and Jenkins (1992), Young (1999) and Lankford Scholl, Pster, Lankford and Williams (2005), who examined visitors spatial understanding of the environment in order to better study tourist behavior, with implications for the development and promotion of tourism facilities and services. Cognitive mapping in the tourism eld has also been used to elicit perceptions of industry executives to reveal complexity in organizational decision making (Costa & Teare, 2000; Xiang & Formica, 2007). Hay and Yeoman (2005) used cognitive mapping in a tourism policy context to evaluate scenarios and formulate strategies for tourism development in Scotland. Copland, Garnham and Canava (2004) also used it in a similar context to study scholars strategic recommendations or sustainable tourism in Queenstown in New Zealand. However none of these researchers has used cognitive mapping to examine complexity in tourism policies. Method Various cognitive mapping techniques have been developed to elicit and represent knowledge for various purposes. The two most widely used techniques are the Repertory Grid Techniques (RGTs) and laddering; As noted in Farsari et al. (2010, p. 151) RGTs have been used widely in Self-Questioning (Self-Q) methodology, and laddering techniques have been used in Strategic Options Development and Analysis (SODA) methodology RGT was developed by Kelly in 1955 within cognitive psychology, in order to develop instruments that would reduce researcher bias and represent an individuals cognitive construct system, and since then many variations have been developed such, that today the term indicates a set of related methods rather than a single method (Reger, 1990, p. 302). RGTs are very popular as an elicitation method in cognitive mapping (e.g. Bougon, Baird, Komocar, & Ross, 1990; Daniels, de Chernatony, & Johnson, 1995). Repertory grids, although a well structured approach, can be time and labor intensive (Brown, 1992) which may lead to unwillingness by executives and political elites to participate (Daniels et al., 1995, p. 978) while, they provide

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rather short lists of concepts, most often predetermined by the researcher (Jenkins, 1998). Laddering is another technique used to elicit concepts and their interrelationships, originally developed by Hinkle in 1965 to elicit super-ordinate constructs which may indicate values. Laddering works by asking the interviewee questions such as why? or what makes it like that (Brown, 1992, p. 293). In this way, all ramications of thought are explored and both explanations and consequences are provided. This method has been widely used in the SODA method in cognitive mapping. This method was developed by Eden and associates to manage complex problems (Eden, 2004; Eden & Ackermann, 2001). In contrast to the tightly structured nature of RGTs, SODA allows relatively unstructured elicitation, which permits concepts to be revealed from causal links, compared to the necessity of linking predetermined groups of concepts in RGTs. This allows interrelationships to become the focus of the SODA approach (Jenkins, 1998, p. 239). This approach in cognitive mapping has been used extensively in problem structuring and decision making in the private sector and also within a public policy context (Ahmad & Ali, 2004; Copland et al., 2004; Eden & Ackermann, 2004). A variation of the SODA approach to cognitive mapping was applied here as it is a method used before for public policy analysis, it is adjustable to single individual interviews which provide rich qualitative information, and has an emphasis on the interrelationships. More importantly, SODA is also well documented and supported by special software that allows the drawing and detailed analysis of the cognitive maps. The cognitive mapping method used in this research was based on face-to-face, semi-structured, in-depth interviews. Interviews Most often policy makers are not known in advance and may involve actors participating in the policy process to different degrees (Colebatch, 1998). Colebatch identied authority as a basis for participation as it makes it easier for some people to participate in the process. Thus, the top of the hierarchy was targeted in this study to obtain the most legitimized views. Key persons in the formulation of policies, elected representatives, appointed advisors, executives and the public ofcials for tourism at the four different administrative levels in Greece were sought to provide their insights on sustainable tourism policies. Initially one interviewee was identied as a key informant at each levelgenerally the individual at the top of the respective organizations hierarchywho would also recommend other key informants in a snowballor chainsampling technique. The Mayor, members of the tourism committee, the Executive General Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism were among the interviewees in this research. Six interviews were conducted in the Municipality of Hersonissos, three interviews in the Prefecture of Heraklion, three interviews at the regional level (Crete) and ve interviews at the national level

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Figure 2. A Sample Cognitive Map

(Ministry of Tourism and supervised institutions), accounting for a total of seventeen interviews. All individuals were initially contacted with a letter providing information on the purpose of the research and the role of their own contribution. Interviews were conducted between November 2005 and February 2006 at the interviewees locations in Athens, Heraklion and Hersonissos. Interviews ranged from 30 minutes to 2 hours, with the usual duration of just over an hour. Respondents were free to talk and laddering questions were used, where appropriate, to elicit issues and relationships. Questions such as Why is this considered important in the tourism policy? and How is this achieved at present? were used to elicit interrelationships and move the chains of arguments up (thus acquiring superordinate concepts and goals) and down (thus acquiring means and strategies) respectively. Interviewees were encouraged to talk specically about concrete policies of their own agency at the time of interview rather than their personal suggestions and recommendations. This action oriented format of elicited perceptions aimed at building models of real-world policies. This approach allowed for both concepts and links to be provided by the respondents. Following the interviews, each interview was transcribed, coded and redrawn on a computer using special cognitive mapping software (Decision Explorer Version 3.3). The redrawn map was sent to each interviewee together with a letter offering advice on how to read the map, asking them for any changes or corrections they wanted to make. Two interviewees returned comments which were included in the nal maps analyzed. An example of the resulting individual cognitive maps is shown in Figure 2. Data Analysis Analysis performed here was based on methods and comparisons as described by Eden and Associates (see Eden, 2004; Eden & Ackermann,

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2001; Eden, Ackermann, & Cropper, 1992) using Decision Explorer software. First, synonymous concepts were identied to facilitate later comparisons across individual maps at each policy level. Individual policy makers maps were analyzed as to both their content and structure using Decision Explorers functions for hierarchical sets (called hiesets), potency of concepts, domain and centrality analysis, cluster, and loop analysis. Hieset analysis involves the identication of all the concepts in a map that contribute to the achievement of a goal and the exploration of these paths. The number of concepts constituting each hieset is indicative of the importance of a goal in an individuals cognition and, therefore, large hiesets reveal the most valued outcomes. Articulated goals along with the number of concepts at each map are presented in Table 1. Subsequently, hiesets of synonymous goals among individual maps were examined and compared to reveal similarities and differences. Hiesets were compared as to their extent (number of concepts included), the number of synonymous concepts and their structure. Potency analysis revealed those concepts that supported the achievement of more than one goal. Potency analysis is based on the assumption that the more goals a concept supports, the more potent this concept is. This makes potency analysis particularly apt to reveal important intervention opportunities as they may support more that one desired outcomes (Farsari et al., 2010). Domain and centrality analyses of cognitive maps revealed what is considered in the SODA method as key issues in policies. These analyses are based on the premise that the more the concepts linked directly or indirectly in a concepteither as input or output linksthe more important the concept is. Domain analysis calculates the total number of input and output arrows of the immediate surrounding of a concept; in other words, the arrows directly linking into or out of that concept. Centrality analysis goes beyond this by taking domain analysis a step further to consider the wider context beyond the immediate domain (Eden et al., 1992). The concepts ranked highly in domain and centrality analyses were subsequently compared as to their content across individual maps. Consequently, those which were synonymous in more than one map, were considered to be well established key issues of policies and are presented in Table 2. Cluster analysis revealed groups of related concepts representing themes of policies within a cognitive map. Additionally, the number of links between clusters gave an indication of the importance of a policy area. Clusters with many links to other clusters are considered more critical than those on the periphery, and indicative of cognitive complexity (Eden and Ackermann, 1998, p. 203). Loop analysis was used to identify both negative and positive feedback mechanisms, which are considered important in policy formulation. The results of cluster and loop analyses are not specically listed, though those of importance are integrated with the ndings discussed. Findings from the analysis of individual maps were compared at each policy making level to reveal similarities and differences in perceptions of tourism policy but did not involve cross-level comparisons. Similarities found among

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Table 1. Policy Goals in Individual Maps for Each Policy Making Level
Municipality of Hersonissos Sustain tourist activity in the long term (65) (33) (30) Attract new quality market segments rather than beach nightlife tourists (64) (3) Support local community income (economic benets) (41) Avoid economic loss (40) Prefecture of Heraklion Keep business working (34) Region of Crete Quality of services offered (23) National Government Release Greek tourism from dependence on package tourism (52) Sustainable economic development (44) Sustain tourism development (41) (15) Environmental protection (37) (8)

Rural development (32)

Sustain tourism resource base (20)

Greater turnover (24)

Get what the area deserves rather than alcoholic tourism (35) Avoid bad image and bad reputation of the destination (28) (3) (8) (7) Consider mass beach recreational tourism as one of the forms of thematic tourism (22) Improve aesthetics (17)

Compensate for loss from declining numbers of mass tourism (21) Establish conditions supportive to tourism (19) Promote tourism (18) (8)

Shift direction to tourism in the hinterlands rather than mass beach tourism (19) Promote Crete as a destination rather than a fragmented image of prefectures (9) Sustain income from tourism in the region (7) Employment generation (7)

Conserve quality characteristics of tourism product (22) Welfare of population (22)

Reduce pressures on mass destinations (17)

Extend tourism season (5)

Contribute to regional development (19) (12)

Complement existent mass tourism product (16) Sustain tourisms resource base (13) Business sustainability (12)

Protect the environment (16) (6) (8) Improve quality of life (15) (7)

Support tourism employment (12) Support the market (12)

Locals enjoy a lively place (12)

Attract tourists off beach season (12) Offer recreational opportunities to Prefectures inhabitants (12) Save resources for future generations (11) Increase competitiveness (10) Increase visitors numbers (8) Protect the environment (8) Locals quality of life (6)

Undisturbed ow of tourists from international economic and political uctuations (14) Good (continuous off season) operation of tourism sector (14) (13) Develop tourism in areas with other than sun-sea properties (e.g. mountainous) (13) Reduce dependence on touroperators (13) Tourism enterprises sustainability (11) Develop alternative forms of tourism (e.g. rural, convention, wellness) (10) Develop special infrastructure (e.g. marinas, golf) (10) Retain rural population (8) Improve and modernize existing tourism product (7) Attract international investors (7) Support tourism development in areas with little economic development (6) Develop the Region as a destination (3) Support nancially weak population to take vacations (2) Promote unique Greek products (2)

Need for rest after an intensive tourism season (12) Promote other characteristics rather than night life (12) Increase locals satisfaction (8) Safeguard the undisturbed operation of the market (8) Act as a good practice model to educate entrepreneurs (7) Promote cultural/historic heritage and tradition (7) Develop alternative forms of tourism development (7) Visitors respect the place (6) Provide economic benets in the broader area (5) Reveal beaches (5) Off peak season tourism development (5) Control legitimacy of food & beverage establishments (3) Control urban-sprawl (3) Manage emergencies (3) Control the coast and platforms (3) Product quality improvement (2) Cleanliness of public space (2)

The number of concepts in individual maps appear in parenthesis. Goals with multiple parentheses have appeared in more than one map with the respective sets of concepts.

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Table 2. Key Policy Issues in Individual Maps for Each Policy Making Level
Municipality of Hersonissos Prefecture of Heraklion Region of Crete National Government

Develop special interest Promote tourism thematic tourism

Wide consultation with Provide interest groups infrastructure

Reveal variety of natural resources

Develop convention tourism

Promote in exhibitions both abroad and in Greece Promote in specialized exhibitions

Restrictions for New investments of building new high quality accommodation in (improve quality of controlled tourism tourism areas establishments) Check legitimacy of Reduce seasonality tourism enterprises specications during construction Licensing of new Develop specialized tourism enterprises tourism and accommodation Check accommodation Exploit strategic specications advantage of variety and quantity of natural and cultural resources Protect natural Enrich and diversify environment and the tourism cultural/historic product heritage Check tourism Product quality professions improvement specications

Infrastructure improvement

Attract quality tourists to address new, more demanding international market segments than beach nightlife tourists Manage trafc congestion Show a different improved image on the beach front

Support tourisms competitiveness Financial support

Protect the environment

Develop soft forms of tourism in the hinterlands and especially mountainous and disadvantageous areas Promotion (mainly of culture and Cretan diet) Reveal Cretes strategic advantages Use internet Inform on trails

Support entrepreneurship (new investments) Quality tourism (visitors with medium to high income and special interests) Improve quality of services offered

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individual maps at each policy making level revealed the established notions among policy makers, while differences indicated ramications and relationships not perceived similarly by all interviewees. Tourism Policies in Greece The results of the research are presented below and discussed to reveal differences and similarities between individual policy makers maps at each level and to highlight the relevance of policies to sustainability. The Municipality of Hersonissos. The Municipality of Hersonissos showed very few synonymous goals among individual cognitive maps. There were only ve out of thirty nine formulated goals that were synonymous in two or more cognitive maps (Table 1). This nding indicates differences in the perception of valued outcomes of the policies. Although different, the formulated goals were very much in the same direction, emphasizing the economic sustainability of tourism. Sustaining tourism in the long term was a goal in three maps and the one with the largest supporting hiesets (most concepts) in these three maps. The remaining three maps at the municipal level had the largest hiesets (which is an indication of importance) in the goals of avoid economic loss, support local community income and avoid bad reputation for the destination. Protect the environment was a concept found at the municipal level in four maps, forming a goal in three of them and being a key (ranked high in domain or centrality analysis) issue in two maps, indicating that environmental considerations, although not as widespread as economic ones, are apparent in the municipalitys policy. Socio-cultural considerations were limited and improve quality of life formed a goal in only two maps at Hersonissos. Key issues revealed from domain and centrality analysis also emphasized the economic dimension of sustainability (Table 2). At the municipal level, responsibilities for various domains are more concentrated and some concepts related to environmental and socio-cultural sustainability were raised. However, these were limited in number compared to economic considerations, while there was a tendency to relate these aspects to alternative forms of tourism and quality tourism. Although this reects perceived interrelatedness of policy themes, the emphasis on economic aspects and sectoral sustainability was clear. The Prefecture of Heraklion. The analysis of policy makers cognitive maps in the Prefecture of Heraklion revealed very few similarities among maps. Although two interviewees argued that promotion is the main task of the Prefectures Tourism Direction and did mention a fair number of synonymous concepts related to promotion, they held different perceptions on other issues, resulting in few similarities among map properties. It was also found that they constructed their mental models of policies in different ways. The comparison of key

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and potent concepts revealed very few similarities also. Valued outcomes, as expressed in the formulated goals, were found to have significant differences too, with only one synonymous goal, that being to promote tourism. At the Prefecture level, two of the three interviewees formulated goals almost exclusively related to economic and sectoral sustainability (e.g. promote tourism, increase competitiveness, keep business working, increase visitors numbers and business sustainability). Key policy issues (Table 2) also focused around the promotion of tourism. Environmental protection was also found in two maps at the Prefecture level, in one of them forming a goal and in the other as a superordinate construct, contributing to the goal of saving resources for future generations. The analysis of cognitive maps at the Prefecture of Heraklion revealed that although policy makers may work very close to each other and collaborate on a daily basis, their mental models of policies can differ signicantly. The complexity of the domain and the lack of a comprehensive tourism development plan may explain the differences in these policy makers cognitive maps. The Region of Crete. At the regional level there were hardly any similarities found among individual maps. Only two concepts (the promotion of tourism in the Region and the emphasis placed on the development of new soft forms of tourism) were found to be synonymous. This scarcity of synonymous concepts resulted in signicant differences in the ways policy makers construct their mental models of tourism policy. The only similarity found among individual maps concerned the emphasis on the sustainability of the economic activity, and even considerations about natural and cultural resources were articulated as sustain tourism resource base. This can be attributed to the fact that all these interviewees expressed the belief that regional authorities were not involved in the formulation of policies for tourism directly. This prohibited them from having a comprehensive view of tourism policies in the region and instead they discussed their involvement in the implementation of policies formulated by the National Government. The Central Government. At the national level, although most of the interviewees came from different organizations, there were several synonymous concepts among individual maps. Among them, the development of alternative/specialized forms of tourism was the single concept common in all individual maps and a predominant concept in all maps, either as a potent concept, a cluster or ranked high in domain and centrality analysis. These all indicate the importance of that issue for tourism policy in Greece. However, similarities of content in most cases were detected in pairs of maps rather than in the majority. Similarities were also few regarding the construal of the policy issues. National policies had a strong orientation to economic matters and the quality of tourism. Although environmental and socio-cultural considerations were found among valued outcomes, these were few and

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supported by short chains including concepts with a tourism-related content (e.g. specialized forms of tourism and quality tourism were seen as having a positive inuence in protecting the environment). Although this is considered an indication of perceived interrelatedness between policy areas, it also indicates a lack of inclusion of clear set environmental matters within policies. Complexity The comparisons of individual maps at each policy-making level in Greece revealed greater differences than similarities. Similarities focused on the content of some concepts, while the structuring of these concepts into chains of arguments revealed great differences. Similarities in the construal in most cases represented very short chains of 1-3 concepts, indicating that policy makers structure the problem differently. Differences were also noticed regarding the content and the hierarchical structure of goals. Policy makers hold different perceptions of policy outcomes and the means to achieve them. Inconsistencies were also found in the number of concepts supporting each goal. These ndings reveal different degrees of elaboration, indicating differences in perceived complexity and in the relative importance that each individual places on outcomes (with a poor elaboration indicating a low value). Some differences were also detected regarding the content of the key issues and the potent concepts, again indicating a complex domain with multiple ramications and differences in the way policy makers value important issues. The lack of a clear set strategy and policy declaration could be another factor that permits different value systems, ramications and inconsistencies to be expressed. Tourism policies at all levels in Greece are not explicitly written or communicated and comprehensive operational policy documents are absent. Policy makers individual cognitive maps examined in the present research were characterized by the absence of loops. Policy makers tend to rationalize and conceptualize the policy domain. This has resulted in mental models more simple than reality and thus sustainable tourism policy can be much more complex than what has been mapped. Indeed, humans generally hold relatively more simple mental representations than reality (Anderies & Norberg, 2008). Although loops are important in revealing the ability of individuals to identify, either consciously or unconsciously, the existence of dynamic procedures and manage complexity, in spontaneous arguments even highly sophisticated people, including political elites, tend to conceptualize causations, prohibiting them from the formulation of feedback mechanisms (Axelrod, 1976b). The degree to which each policy maker managed to conceptualize and manage complexity of policies is very different. As the research has revealed, there is not a single measure of complexity. Degrees of perceived complexity seem to vary, even within individual maps, depending on the property examined. For example, although an interviewee may have formulated relatively few goalsan indication of a

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conceptualization and structuring of the domain indicating low perceived complexitythe same individual may have many potent concepts, indicating perception of interrelatedness to achieve multiple ramications. Additionally, in the same individuals map, thematic clusters, although well isolated (again an indication of structuring of the problem and, in contrast to potency analysis ndings, an indication of low interrelatedness of issues) were large, indicating complex policy themes. What this nding implies is that sustainable tourism cannot be deconstructed into smaller units or properties, as only the total set will give the whole picture. Next, the properties of complex systems presented in the introduction are used to discuss the relevance of the results to complexity theory. First, the property as described in complexity theory is presented and then its relevance to cognitive mapping research on perceptions of policies is discussed.
(i) Relationships: complex systems are characterized by a large number of elements and complex, non-linear relationships between them. These interactions are mostly local and rather simple. What this implies is that given this large number of non-linear relationships, it is very unlikely that there is a unied purpose of the system (Cilliers, 1998; Manson, 2001; Mitchell, 2009). The analysis of policy makers cognitive maps in Greece revealed that this is especially true. The total sum of links in cognitive maps was 880. As in any complex system, local interactions determine the system; meaning is contextual and is determined by its surroundings which are determined by local relationships. This has resulted in very few similarities among individual maps. Policy makers, even within the same policy-making level or even in the same institute, hold very different perceptions over the goals to be attained. Goals which looked similar in wording were in fact different, bounded from other surrounding concepts explaining their meaning. This is also reected on the number of goals formulated. Only ten out of 89 formulated goals were synonymous in two or more individual cognitive maps. Even within the same individual map, there is no single, overarching goal to which all the means are heading. So for example, avoid economic loss because of a low quality product offered co-exists as a goal with improve quality of life, control urban sprawl, need for a rest after an intensive tourist season, locals enjoy a lively place and support the market, get what the area deserves rather than alcoholic tourism, control legitimacy of F&B establishments and support tourism employment in a single individual map at the municipal level. (ii) Internal structure: Manson (2001) describes internal structure as being formed by tight connections between components, thus forming sub-systems. This means that relationships of varying strengths dictate which components will be close together forming sub-systems within the system in the same way that the members of a family form a sub-system within the system of a village. Cluster

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analysis of cognitive maps allowed the detection of sub-systems in policy perceptions, revealing their internal structure. Clusters of different sizes and different degrees of interrelatedness to other clusters (sub-systems) were identied based on the relationships between the concepts. In this way, policy areas of concern to individual policy makers were detected, along with their interrelatedness to other policy themes. For instance, improve product quality created a policy theme in four out of ve cognitive maps at the national level. Improve product quality was also the most densely related cluster to other clusters contributing to policy areas such as address new market segments, employment, and quality tourism, as well as being supported by policy areas such as tourist education and training, and control development of tourism accommodation and formed part of the internal structure of several individual maps. (iii) Open system: Complex systems are essentially open systems and interact with their environments as was revealed from the cognitive maps of policy makers in Greece. Respondents from the Ministry of Tourism talked about policies enacted by other ministries such as the Ministry of the Environment or the Ministry of Economy and Finance. Other policy makers, from all levels, discussed policies for sustainable tourism and related them to the social welfare and quality of life of the population, revealing that tourism policy is an open system interacting with other policies in the same way that tourism is an open system interacting with its broader political, social, natural and economic environment. Sustainable tourism is a multi-dimensional concept and policy makers, although emphasizing economic sustainability, nd relationships between the tourism system and other systems. (iv) Learning and memory: Complex systems are capable of storing information concerning their environment and using this when necessary to survive (Cillier, 1998; Mitchell, 2009). This results in a diversity of available information stored as relationships between entities. In complex socio-economic systems this memory exists in various places such as a business plan or the experience of individuals (Manson, 2001: p. 410). The more diverse the system is, the better it will be equipped with the necessary information to cope with unexpected changes. In this sense, diversity plays a central role in complex systems, both natural and socio-economic. The more perceptions, the better chances there are that policies include the necessary information for addressing an issue. Diversity of policy perceptions was revealed as one result of the cognitive mapping research. Differences were large regarding the structure of the systems and were also apparent in the content of the concepts. It could hardly be argued that one perception is wrong while another is correct. It is all of them that create the whole picture and allow for a more inclusive model of sustainable tourism. Each individual could contribute their experience, their standpoint and their conceptualization of reality. Another implication of this property is that complex systems have a history. History means that the time

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dimension is important in the operation of complex systems. Unfortunately, time was not integrated in this research so it is not possible to study policies and their evolution across time here. (v) Self-organization and adaptivity: Complex systems are capable of selforganizing and changing their internal structure to adapt to changing conditions. This adaptability in human systems is characterized by intention, which can be reected in policy options and choices (Walker et al., 2006). This self-organizing capability of complex systems is largely dependent on the ability of the system to learn and remember and thus on diversity (Cilliers, 1998; Mitchell, 2009). The adaptability of a system is determined by this diversity of responses/options in the system (Anderies & Norberg, 2008). Adaptivity in sustainable tourism policy is illustrated by the various paths drawn to achieve goals or by differences in the perceptions of what constitutes sustainable tourism as expressed in wished ends and intentions behind policies. Hieset analysis showed that the supportive chains in synonymous goals were very different on several occasions. For instance, protect and respect the environment was a goal found in two maps at the national level. However, the number of supporting concepts was very different in these maps. The only similarities between these two hiesets were in the contribution of alternative and specialized forms of tourism development to environmental protection, and in the inuence of tourism education and training on their development. The second policy-makers position on environmental protection involved more issues related to controlling tourism accommodation development, the development of special tourism infrastructure, product quality improvement, the attraction of quality tourism and seasonality mitigation. However, adaptability cannot be fully studied and understood without including the time dimension into the research and its absence in this study poses certain limitations in examining complexity in policies. (vi) Emergence: A core characteristic of complex systems is that they are more than the sum of their parts. This comes as a result of nonlinear relationships between a systems components and a form of synergism between them (Mihata, 1997). The various ramications expressed in the cognitive mapping interviews illustrate this characteristic. Differences in the structure of synonymous concepts and in chains of arguments (e.g. different outcomes stemming from the same means or strategies) are illuminative of this property of complex systems. Potency analysis of cognitive maps was particularly useful in identifying concepts which held a central role in policy makers perceptions. Analysis of these concepts revealed that several were involved in multiple chains, which ramied and supported multiple goals. For instance, a relatively simple action such as meetings with interest groups which was a potent concept in four maps in the local level, has several ramications and contributes to multiple goals either intentionally or unintentionally. For instance, to one interviewee meetings with interest groups were seen to contribute to control the night market and to improve

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aesthetics which both lead to improving the markets operation and to the quality of services offered, which in turn leads to i) avoid bad image and bad reputation of the destination and to ii) improve overall quality, further leading to economic sustainability of tourism and to address new more demanding international market segments than beach, night-life tourists. However, each of these concepts is supported in turn by several others thus increasing ramications and synergies. For example, according to the same interviewee, the improvement of overall quality is supported by several issues related to infrastructure improvements, to visitors information provision and to urban management, while the economic sustainability of tourism is further supported by more concepts and so on. If one considers that meetings with interest groups was an issue found in three more maps and was involved in several chains in each of them, the synergies resulting from a rather simple action such as meetings with interest groups become evident. However, emergent properties are one more evolving characteristic of complex systems and could be illustrated in more detail in a longitudinal study.

CONCLUSIONS This research has examined the perceptions of policy makers at different policy-making levels in Greece about sustainable tourism policies. In this way, it offers a description of tourism policy in Greece, which is an understudied topic with poor documentation in both the academic literature and the policy documents. Policies, at all levels in Greece had a clear target of sustaining business and the attraction of quality tourismmost often dened as tourists with more money to spend and with special interests, in contrast to beach mass tourists. The way to attract such tourists was seen mainly to be through the development of alternative, specialized forms of tourism, the improvement of product quality, beautication of destinations, and tourism promotion. Although environmental and quality of life considerations were mentioned, economic issues prevailed in occurrence, length and signicance in discussions revealing a rather parochial perspective on sustainable tourism development. However, this research has gone beyond the mere description of policies to an in-depth examination of their complexities, valued outcomes and adaptive processes. Unlike most studies in examining complexity in tourism policy which focus on organizational complexity and the networks of actors, the present research has contributed to current studies of complexity in tourism policy by elaborating on policy issues and their interrelationships in concrete structures in an empirical study using eld data from all the policy making levels in Greece. The research has revealed that properties of complex systems are indeed apparent in sustainable tourism policies and has elaborated this complexity by explicitly dening the elements and the relationships of the system under investigation.

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This research has contributed by transferring methods and concepts from different elds to the examination of sustainable tourism complexity using an interdisciplinary research approach. Cognitive mapping although a well established method in policy analysis and the studying of complex problems, has rarely been used in examining complexity in tourism policies. The multiple analyses techniques employed in this method allowed the examination of several properties of complex systems in tourism policies. At the more practical level, the cognitive maps of policy makers developed have managed to capture tacit knowledge which is difcult to elicit and operationalize. This knowledge has been represented in formal models and made visible in this research. Such information is capable of assisting actors to understand more clearly the information, to draw better inferences, and therefore to help them manage complexity and improve their policy making (Farsari et al., 2010). The understanding of the potential effect of incremental actions on the entire system, rather than only on the immediate domain of effect, contributes to a better understanding of how a system works and helps policy makers to make better inferences. Complexity was examined in the policy issues which have to be managed simultaneously to attain sustainable tourism development. Differences detected revealed perceptions of valued outcomes, ramications of issues not perceived in the same way by all policy makers, as well as potential inconsistencies. Comparisons also revealed that besides the well articulated concepts of attracting quality tourists and developing alternative forms of tourism, a clear targeting of policies and means to achieve goals is not apparent across individual policy makers. Nevertheless, it is all these differences that emphasize the need for examining and understanding the construal of policies into nets of interlinked issues as complex systems. At the end, both differences and similarities will provide a more integrated model of sustainable tourism policies and reveal the whole picture. Although there are indications of complexity in policies and cognitive mapping has indeed proved particularly useful in examining this, there are difculties and limitations in using complexity theory to understand policy issues in this research. The absence of the dimension of time has been a shortcoming of this research inevitably resulting in a certain degree of abstraction. The dimension of time holds a fundamental role in the studying of complex systems. Learning and memory, adaptation, and emergence are better understood in longitudinal studies examining changes in the relationships and entities of complex systems which can demonstrate the evolving character of complex system. Complexity, although a useful concept for investigating and conceptualizing phenomena in the real-world that cannot be adequately described by reductionist, linear approaches, is not an all encompassing theory followed by a single set of general principles applicable in every situation (Mitchell, 2009). Properties of complex systems have been developed within elds such as ecology, computational mathematics, cybernetics and articial intelligence but cannot be considered to represent a comprehensive explanatory theory for

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complexity. There is still a long way to go until these properties have been dialectically reworked and reformed to describe every living or non-living system. Additionally, these properties are often better understood in terms of the humans making the decisions. The lack of including the interactions of policy makers and their involvement into networks of power and collaboration inevitably restricts the allencompassing character of the models built. Inevitably, mental models are simpler than reality. This research has shown that although there are indications of complexity in the policy domain examined, the mental models of policy makers tend to be simpler than what reality implies. This is because of conceptualizations made by individuals to make sense of the complex real world, poor elaboration of certain aspects, the fragmentation of tourism, and also of policy departments, and the absence of other stakeholders perceptions. Moreover, individual maps, as those examined here, are always simpler than their composite (also called merged or aggregated) counterparts. Finally, caution is needed when using the mental models produced here. Mental models built cannot necessarily be considered as models of successful sustainable tourism policies. The policy makers mental models discussed here represent the net of considered policy issues at different policy making levels at a given time. They are illustrative neither of the efcacy of the considered policy measures nor of their successful implementation. Future research should focus on the implementation aspects of sustainable tourism policies. Clearly, in an effort to improve sustainable tourism policy more elements and processes, such as barriers to policy implementation, the dynamics of power and politics and monitoring of performance have to be considered as well (Dodds & Butler, 2009). Policy makers roles and responsibilities, afliation and ideologies, are factors inuencing perceptions and are important in understanding the reality of policy making. Future research should also examine the change and evolution of policies through time. The mental modeling of sustainable tourism policies should also consider other interested parties and tourism stakeholders. A diverse range of perspectives expressed by different actors would increase the multidimensionality of mental models and bring representations closer to the real world (Anderies & Norberg, 2008). Merged models should also form a eld of inquiry for future research and merged maps, aggregating all perceptions, must be discussed in a group setting to allow clarications, consensus building and the development of a shared model of policy. This research has examined sustainable tourism policy as a complex system. What it has shown is that complexity and adaptivity in sustainable tourism policies are also found among policy issues and their relationships. It has shown that there is not an ultimate recipe, an absolute path to sustainable tourism, nor there is a unied, overarching purpose guiding policies. On the contrary, there are several, often divergent perceptions, complex relationships within the system and with its broader environment, interrelatedness of policy issues, and multiple goals. This implies that policy issues are interwoven into a net rather

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