Local Participation in Tourism Development essay

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Successful sustainable development also requires an evaluation of major trends and problems in the tourism industry rather than focusing on minor new developments that may have localized impact only (Butler, 1998).

Taken together, the foregoing indicates that irrespective of the precise definition that is used, sustainable tourism development is based on three main principles, economic, environment and social which are described below:

1. Economic: This principle refers to something that affects to the majority number of people and enhance the economic situation which is related to sustainable management of economic in tourism sector. This can regarded as opportunities to educate and train employees, support local suppliers, trade, producers and so on (Chapman, 2007). This principle is consistent with the observation by King (2008) that, "tourism in Thailand, as with tourism in the Asian region more generally, is a highly diversified, complex, and changing phenomenon, the impact and consequences of which have to be gauged within the wider process of economic development and social change" (p. 105).

2. Environmental: The environmental principle refers to nature places, wildlife, energy, pollution, water and so forth (Rain Forest Alliance, 2007). All of these need to be taken into account in order to maintain and enhance the resources for future generations.

3. Social. This principle means to respect the local traditions and communities in particular place (Chapman, 2007). Achieving authentic sustainability, though, depends on many factors. It is believed that to achieve the sustainable is responsible for all stakeholders. The influence of stakeholders can help sustainability in the quality of the environment (Bramwell and Lane, 2003).

Stakeholders in sustainable tourism development are comprised of residents (local), management (state), government (federal), non-governmental organization, employees, industry involvement and tourists. To be successful in sustainable (equally concerned of economic, environment and social), a different of stakeholder positions and views, need to be concerned. For tourism planning in development, the participation of all stakeholders are essential of public contribution in the decision making process and benefits of tourism development. In sum, stakeholder participations appears to be a critical component of sustainable tourism (Green, 1995; Leslie, 1993; Murphy, 1988).

National governments and international organizations such as the World Bank, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the Eco-tourism Society, the Domestic Technology Institute, the European Union (EU), the Business Council for Sustainable Development and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) have all actively supported wise-use, market-driven, integrated, sustainable development principles and programs (Hirsch and Warren, 1999). To date, these and other organizations have actively promoted the so-called "greening of development practices" within the global tourism industry that specifically encourage local participation (Hirsch and Warren, 1999) and these issues are discussed further below.

The Need for Local Participation in Sustainable Development Initiatives

Local participation in sustainable development initiatives has been important key in tourism industry in developing countries for more than 30 years (Li, 2006). The research to date indicates that in order to gain benefits and achieve a competitive advantage in many emerging nations, it is essential to include local communities in the developmental process. It is also believed that it will be benefits if local participate in decision making process. Local participation can be supporter in sustainable development (Van Rooyen, 2004). Conversely, a lack of local support can doom even the most well-designed and funded tourism development initiatives (Hirsch and Warren, 1999).

The participation of local people in particular destination is therefore the main key to developing sustainable tourism offerings. It is said that local involvement is the road in development of sustainable tourism as the involvement of community plays a key role in long-term standing and can generate the quality of community's life (Putnam, 2000). In addition to the Community involvement is the road in sustainable development, it is the process in decision making which enables local to be part of development. It results in supporting local culture, tradition and local knowledge, skill and so on (Lacy et al., 2002). The important issue is that it provides a framework in which the solution of community problems can be pursued (Lasker et al., 2001). In addition, this framework can help reduce the negative impacts while maximizing the positive impacts (Lasker et al., 2001). It can create good and new opportunities for local people and in this way, local people will benefit from tourism development (Lasker et al., 2001). Moreover, a benefit in this point is not mean only about revenue, income or financial but also mean the benefit in the skills development, creating confidence, trust and becoming the owner of businesses (Tosun, 2000). Participation in decision making processes in tourism development can therefore help the Bung Kan Province tourism sector become truly sustainable.

Figure 1: Source: Timothy (1999, p. 372).

According to Timothy's model in Figure 1 above, full participation in tourism development requires involvement by all of the stakeholders. It is seen here that local people or residents in particular area should have participated in the decision making process in tourism development planning to gain benefits from it. When considering about local participation, in other word community participation in term of tourism, many studies has used "means" and "ends" approach. To define "means," it regards as the process of participation or in the position of empower community to involvement. To define "ends," it regards as the level of participation. In addition to the process of participation in tourism development, the consideration is not only dependent on the political, social and economic sectors, but must also take into account the impact from the perspective of local residents. In this point, it refers to personal interest, personal knowledge, personal confidence, resources, education, awareness and time (Reid 2003; Cole 2006; Addison 1996).

Based on these considerations, it is reasonable to conclude that the participation in tourism development planning needs not only power but also personal factors. Therefore, it links to three main types which are motivation, opportunity and ability; these three main are factors that result in participation behavior.

Figure 2: Ladder of Community Influence

Source: Swarbrooke, 1999 p.126

As can be seen from Figure 2 above, the level of community participation exists along a continuum that extends along a series of steps that are required for greater participation. The ladder helps to understand the level and step of community participation in tourism development. It can be seen from the figure that community participation develops from a lower end to great empowerment at upper end. It is seen that in the upper end, the community has a power to have resource control and has a decision making according to community interests.

Impact of Tourism

Many researchers have investigated the impact of tourism by studying locals' perception toward the impact of tourism development. The research to date indicates that tourism can result in both positive and negative outcomes (Lankford & Howard, 1994). As the main point for sustainable tourism development is local support, therefore, the positive perception or attitude of local communities toward tourism is very essential for visitors. It is approved that to have a successful in sustainable tourism development and planning, local communities need to understand the impacts of tourism sector (Andriotis, 2005; Yoon et al., 2001).

There are several positive and negative impacts that are directly and indirectly related to tourism (King, 2008). According to Kreag (2001), the impacts of tourism can be categorized into seven types which are economic, community attitude, social and culture, environmental, services, crowding and congestion and taxes. While, accordingly to Archer and Cooper (1994) stated that the impacts of tourism can be categorized into five sectors which are economic, socio-cultural, political, environmental and ecological effects. Other researcher shows that there are only two impacts of tourism which can be categorized into only socioeconomic impacts and environmental impacts (Inskeep, 1991). Therefore, it can be concluded here that impacts of tourism result in economic, sociocultural, and environmental (Yoon, Gursoy, & Chen, 2001). Each of these impacts can affect different groups in varying ways; for example, some communities may be affected by environmental issues while others may be more affected by the economic impact, with the latter appearing to predominate for the reasons discussed further below.

The corporate sector in tourism as in all industries seeks investments that yield the best opportunities for expansion and profit maximization. This inclines the industry towards promotion of luxury consumption for the cash-rich and privileged, or a mass market of middle-class tourists who are encouraged by the industry to develop similar tastes that can be satisfied through a standardized 'package'. The result is a capital-intensive pattern of tourism development, which has the same tendency as extractive industries to expand to the limit the use of all available 'resources' in its search for profits (Hirsch & Warren, 1999, p. 265).

Fueled in large part by the demand to maximize profits, growth in the tourism industry has been characterized by a tendency towards more and larger accommodation centres and transport facilities,…[continue]

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