Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Tourism and its impacts are characterized by spatial variation. Recognizing this, governments have actively tried to influence the location of tourism development in an attempt to capture perceived benefits associated with tourism. One of the most direct approaches used has been the provision of financial assistance to investors in areas targeted for regional development. Unfortunately, the theoretical understanding of the spatial process associated with tourism development has not kept pace with the practice of intervention into this development process. The intent of this thesis is, therefore, to provide insights into the process of the spatial development of tourism in Ontario with particular attention given to the role of financial assistance.;The first phase of the study examined spatial patterns of development in Ontario from 1974 to 1988. Commercial accommodation capacity in the form of bed space equivalents along with Defert's measure of tourism intensity were described at the county, tourism region and planning region level. The analysis of these data also explored the spatial variation in the rate of change associated with each measure. Metropolitan Toronto was found to be characterized by exceptional increases in accommodation capacity and intensity while the Muskoka area and Southwestern Ontario were characterized by a decline in tourism intensity.;Factors contributing to this pattern of tourism development were identified in the second phase of the study which involved a review of regionally specific literature along with a telephone survey of tourism professionals located throughout the province. Findings from these two sources were compared and classified as being either exogenous or endogenous relative to Ontario's tourism sector. Economic and demographic trends were recognized as being the most influential exogenous factors while marketing and financial assistance programs were generally identified as the most important endogenous factors.;Finally, multiple and bivariate regression analyses were used to empirically test the influence of financial assistance aggregated at a county level on the distribution of accommodation capacity in Ontario during the study period. Financial assistance was not shown to have a statistically significant impact on the change in tourism development under either the multiple or bivariate analyses with the exception of assistance provided between 1980 and 1982 relative to the change in accommodation from 1986 to 1988.;In the concluding chapter, a revised spatial model of tourism development is proposed which incorporates landscape attributes, exogenous factors and endogenous factors. Although it was originally hypothesized that financial assistance programs would act as an endogenous factor, the study results indicate otherwise. While financial assistance may be effective at different scales or when using different evaluative measures, the results of this study suggest that it has not been effective in altering the spatial distribution of accommodation at the county level in Ontario.



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