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The values and vulnerabilities of ‘Star Wars Island’: exploring tensions in the sustainable management of the Skellig Michael World Heritage Site
- Allen, Annie, Lennon, Mick
- Theinternational journal of sustainable development and world ecology 2018 v.25 no.6 pp. 483-490
- coasts, governance, motivation, stakeholders, sustainable development, tourists
- This paper explores challenges in reconciling the cultural, economic and ecological pillars of the sustainable development concept. It does so by examining how conflicts in the management of an island off the Irish coast called Skellig Michael, which has been internationally designated for its significant cultural and ecological attributes, have been intensified by: (a) increasing tourist numbers; (b) a re-framing of the site’s identity and (c) changing visitor motivations. These have resulted from the amplified attention the island has received following the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi in which it features prominently. Following a critical identification and discussion of the fault lines between different stakeholders involved in the conservation and use of the island, the paper advances a roadmap for action to help resolve animosity in the governance of the site and facilitate its sustainable management in the context of changing visitor numbers and profiles.