WIT Press

A National Parkless Northern Ireland: The Tourism Resource Paradox And The Implications For Sustainability


Free (open access)





Page Range

491 - 504




2,888 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


J. P. W. Bell


This paper explores the ‘resource paradox’ concept as it relates to predicted increased tourism demands on the Northern Irish countryside and the need to harness the economic opportunities presented by tourism whilst avoiding the simultaneous destruction of precious landscapes; national park designation potentially offers one mechanism for managing this impending paradox. The Mournes case study is drawn upon to highlight how local governance challenges represent a potential obstacle to securing widespread stakeholder support for the sustainability principles associated with contemporary national park models. Keywords: sustainable development, national park, resource paradox, environmental governance. 1 Introduction This paper will firstly chart the emergence of sustainable development in a global context before examining its influence on protected area management in terms of widening the remit of protected areas to include people orientated objectives. Secondly, the role of national parks as global economic generators will be discussed in the context of the ‘resource paradox’. Focus will then revert to Northern Ireland where economic orientated governmental priorities provide the basis for discussing the impending resource paradox in Northern Ireland, a region heavily dependent on countryside tourism in its quest for economic growth. Finally, the paper will draw on a recent consultation process, relating to a proposed national park, undertaken in the Mourne Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) to discuss the governance challenges associated with


sustainable development, national park, resource paradox, environmental governance.