A survey of community leaders, broadly categorized as business people, public officials, and conservationists, was conducted to assess attitudes toward tourism in a six-county region of the Southern Appalachian Highlands of Tennessee and North Carolina. Broad support for tourism development was found across all groups, with the caveat that economic growth not take place at the expense of community character or environmental quality. In general, however, members of conservation organizations were more concerned about the negative impacts of tourism development than were business people or public officials. The methodology employed highlights issues of agreement and conflict among influential community groups. This approach can help communities engage in a consensus-building process and plan a sustainable tourism-based development strategy that is acceptable to all groups.

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