Traditionally, small firms have played an important and stabilising role in the socioeconomic and political development of Great Britain and that of most Western European nations (Storey 1994). In recent times, governments in Western Europe have actively promoted a more enterprising society, in an attempt to solve a diversity of economic problems. Increasingly, a healthy and expanding small business sector has come to be perceived as the panacea to a host of problems associated with relative economic decline, persistently high inflation and long-term youth and adult unemployment (Matlay 2000). The drive to promote the development of small firms in Western Europe in general and in the European Union in particular has ensured a political topicality that manifested itself in an influx of both general and specific support measures and training initiatives (Thomas 1996). Designated funds for research into various aspects of small firm finance, management and development were also made available from a growing number of regional, national and EC-wide sources (Thomas 1998). Although the focus, consistency and impact of official support that relates specifically to small tourism firms can vary from country to country, the importance afforded by Western European governments to the ongoing development and sustainability of the “fastest growing industry” remains generally high (Matlay 1998a). It is not difficult to see why: international cross-country comparisons have shown that the contribution of the tourism industry in terms of employment, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Balance of Payments throughout Western Europe is consistently greater than that of most other sectors of an economy (Matlay 1998b). Furthermore, it is generally agreed that Western Europe is characterised bymature andwell-developed industrial economies, inhabited by an aging and comparatively affluent population (Litteljohn 1995). It would not be unreasonable, therefore, to predict that tourism would continue to represent one the largest economic activities in the region and that in terms of demand there is still potential for further and widespread growth (Middleton 1998).