In a globalized and extremely competitive world strategic alliances are seen as a way forward towards sustainability. This is particularly true in the context of tourism due to its complex and transversal nature. In fact, participation and collaboration between multi-stakeholders is currently considered as a prerequisite to develop sustainable tourism. This acknowledgment reinforces the need for more participatory approaches in the planning and decision making of sustainable tourism. Interpreting tourism as a result of a dynamic social and cultural construction. It is argued that tourism to be sustainable, competitive and differentiated needs to place more emphasis on community values and meanings surrounding land use.
Bearing this in mind the project Place Ambassadors looks at owners of local tourism-related businesses as well as local communities enrolled in the formal ‘Place Ambassador’ scheme developed by the Brecon Beacons National Park Authorities, in Wales. The study approaches these Place Ambassador schemes as a tourism network and intends to understand its function as co-creator of place branding initiatives. In other words, this study aims to understand the role played by internal stakeholders (Place Ambassadors) in the promotion of sustainable places through a place branding strategy based on their own land meanings and narratives (storylines).
Hence, a new proposed framework intends to guide empirical evidence which addresses the stated issues, as well as to contribute to a better implementation and, ultimately, to advancement of both sustainable tourism and place branding theories. This will be done through the development of an innovative multimethod and participatory multi-case study entitled Planet and Satellite. In other words, this case study intends to provide an in-depth understanding of the main case study defined as Satellite case – Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales – and a focused knowledge in the Satellite case - the Binaural-Nodar Association, Portugal. This strategy aims, therefore, not only to test the proposed framework but also to create a real impact on the territory by providing an opportunity for change-makers take initiative to shape their places.
Key words: Place Ambassadors, Tourism Networks, Place Branding, Sustainability, Participatory Case Study, Visual Methods