Stakeholder Management in Tourism: An explorative case study of three municipalities in the Capital Region of Denmark

Camilla Hagebro

Student thesis: Master thesis


As tourism has become one of the fastest growing sectors in the world, and regions have realized the potential benefits of tourism, competition among destinations has increased. In 2014 a new law was passed in Denmark which restricts the role of VisitDenmark to only deal with marketing. Therefore it is now required that the municipalities themselves take on the task of destination development. A critical element of destination management requires that the destination authorities collaborate with their stakeholders. There are several ways to do this, which require that destination managers attribute a varying degree of importance to, and engagement with, stakeholders. As destination development is a relatively new responsibility for the municipalities in Denmark, this study has looked at how three municipalities in the Capital Region are handling this task. More specifically it has explored how they are engaging with their stakeholders and how this is affecting their performance within tourism. In their Destination Promotion Triad, Sheehan et al. (2007) argue that hotels are the key stakeholder group. This project challenges this view by looking at three additional stakeholders: cultural institutions, the retail industry and events. It does this to explore how they fit the Triad and to evaluate how, and whether, destinations distinguish and prioritize them, and how this affects the destinations’ performance. To provide a rich understanding of the subject at hand, a comparative embedded multiple-case study has been applied. The three municipalities compared here are Gribskov, Frederikssund and Furesø. Primary data has been collected through in-depth interviews with representatives from the municipalities and their stakeholders. Following meaning condensation, Mitchell et al. (1997) and Savage et al. (1991) stakeholder typologies have been applied to compare the management strategies for each stakeholder applied by the municipalities. To some extent it has been concluded that stakeholder management affects destination performance. As exemplified with the case of Gribskov, the top performer of the destinations studied here, the more stakeholders are involved and the closer these relationships are, the better the destination is performing. However, it is also important to consider other factors such as sense of community, the history of tourism efforts in the destination, as well as investment in and awareness of tourism.

EducationsMSocSc in Service Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2015
Number of pages81