Deconstructing paradise and the lessons from Samoa's 1992-2001 Tourism Master Plan

Peter Burns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


ourism master planning for small island developing states (SIDS) has been framed and dominated by donor aid agencies and their executive institutions including the World Bank, various United Nations agencies, and regional development banks as well as the European Union. The paper argues that for the South Pacific, this framing has been a western construct based, in part, on the myth of paradise and notions of Saidian “Other”. The Samoa Plan for 1992-2001 is a typical example of this problem, which has wider implications for other SIDS. The paper undertakes, from a historical perspective, a detailed critical analysis of the plan (undertaken by the then EU Tourism Council of the South Pacific) concluding that a) the flaws and contradictions in tourism master planning could have been avoided by a more careful reading of classic planning texts from as early as the 1960s, and b) the plans are too complicated, take little account of local sensibilities, and fail to recognise the balance that needs to be struck between national plans and the regional context in geographic locations where individual island states are, in effect, too small to ignore intra-regional cooperation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-210
Number of pages16
JournalTourism and Hospitality Planning and Development
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2010

Bibliographical note

This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Tourism and Hospitality Planning and Development, 2010, 7, 2, copyright Taylor & Francis, available online at:


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