Development of marginal destinations: the case of Menfi


This paper aims to analyse the promotion development of Menfi’s territory. This paper fits the scientific debate about the critical role that Destination marketing and management play in the development of marginal destinations. This paper moves from a geographical approach and, trough a Stake Holders perceptions analysis, wants to emphasise the role of territorial milieu for Menfi’s competitiveness.


To describe the theoretical horizon of this paper, we want to focus on the scientific debate about territory, the proactive space where the society acts (cfr Castelnuovi, 2002; Cusimano, 2003; Cohen et al., 2011; Dematteis, 1996; Farinelli, 2003; Landini, 2007; Loda, 2008; Olsson, 2003; Vallega, 2008).

This definition of territory grounds on two crucial concepts of our research: territorial identity and territorial governance, meant as local development drivers (cfr. Buttitta, 2003; Dredge, Jenkins, 2001; Governa, 2005; Healey, 1997; Jessop,1995; Rossi, Vanolo, 2010).
We have particularly stressed the strong link between identity – the image of a proper cultural, historical, traditional system- and territory. Territorial milieu (or genius loci) is the synthetic theoretical concept of our research. It represents the strongest element that allows to define a sustainable strategy for local development and to boost the competitiveness of a tourist destination (cfr Caroli, 2008; Carta, 2005; De Spuches et al., 2002 Ercole, Gili, 2005; Giliberto, Panetta, 2009; Haughton, Counsell, 2004; Kavaratzis e Ashworth, 2005; Martini, Ejarque, 2008; Pastore et al, 2002 ; Pioletti, 2006; Valdani, Ancarani, 2000; Williams, Millington, 2004).

Tourism represents the social and economical phenomenon that, more than others, is referred to those elements. A tourist destination is bounded in a place (cfr Lozato Giotart, 1999) and represents a specific territorial organisation that needs a proper development strategy and involves the material and immaterial resources of the territory, the society and the inner community (cfr Bramwell, Sharman,1999; D’Angella et al., 2010; Dredge, 2006; Gulotta et al., 2004; Ritchie, Crouch, 2000).
We have faced the governance of marginal territory issue (cfr Amin, 1999; Amato, 2014; Aru, Puttilli, 2014): we have chosen Menfi (in Sicily) as case study to describe the development of the tourism destination.
Menfi is an interesting territory to be analysed. It has a specific geomorphological connotation, a specific productive branch and its public and private Stake Holders have convergent interests in its promotion and development.
In this paper we want to describe the quantitative dimensions of tourism in Menfi and the destination management and marketing policies. We have also wanted to show the Stake Holder perceptions in order to understand how the local offer is going to be structured and to know which possibilities of local development can be implemented.
We have supposed that in Menfi there is a shared vision and a strong synergy among the Stake Holders for the local development. The governance of Menfi can represent a good example of marginal destination management.
The quantitative analysis has been based on Agrigento’s District data. The qualitative analysis on Stake Holders perceptions (cfr Corbetta, 2003; Hay, 2005; Phillimore, Goodson, 2004) has been implemented with semistructured interviews. The interviews have been copied and interpreted through a comparative approach (cfr Cusimano, Sabato, 2014, 68-84).