In recent years, governments of developing countries have been much more active in destination management and development than they used to be in the past. However, the challenge many governments face is to determine an appropriate level of involvement. This study investigates the role government plays in tourism competitiveness by applying a panel data analysis to the Central American region. The results reveal that government plays an important role in tourism. The data provide evidence that a new theory may emerge as it pertains to tourism and developing countries. Furthermore, such discovery only reinforces the issue of free riders tourism faces and the role of ‘shadow’ economy in the Central American region.
The increasing importance of tourism and the growing number of tourists put pressure on tourist destinations. To support competitive and sustainable tourism development, it is advisable to focus on alternative forms of tourism in order to diversify tourism options in the destinations. From this point of view, it seems appropriate to deal with the issue of ‘Special Interest Tourism’ as a form of ‘alternative’, ‘ethical’, or ‘environmentally responsible’ tourism. The paper reflects the urgent need for sustainable tourism research. The aim of the paper is to provide the introduction and overview of the issue and outline perspectives that may open the way to future, more systematic research. The situation in the Czech Republic is based on the mapping of the current spatial distribution of selected special interest tourism attractions. The findings identify the possibilities for diversification of general (mass) tourism offers. The metadata from the Czech and foreign metainformation systems and databases are used.