Pro-Poor Tourism: Association With Development Activities, Sustainability, And Benefiting Local and Poor Population
Tourism is an effective tool of achieving development, especially in developing nations, and poor and remote communities. This is possible if governments, non-governmental, and private institutions involved in tourism engage poor and local communities in tourism activities, through pro-poor tourism strategies. Pro-poor tourism strategies, which can alleviate poverty and encourage development include unlocking opportunities in the tourism sector for the poor. This entails the expansion of employment and business activities, provision of training, and addressing the negative environmental and social impact of tourism. The research finds evidence that pro-poor tourism enables sustainable development and the conservation of social-cultural and environmental resources. Overall, pro-poor tourism promotes development at the community level through infrastructure and economic development and promotion of social amenities.
Pro-Poor Tourism in Development and Sustainability
Private, non-governmental, government, and international organizations are increasingly paying attention to the concept that tourism can be a tool of poverty alleviation. According to the UN world Tourism Organization, tourism is the top job creator in the world and leading export sector, especially in developing nations, where it has the potential to assist in the achievement of millennium development goals (Spenceley, Habyalimana, Tusabe, & Mariza, 2010). Proponents for tourism reason that poor communities can benefit from infrastructure and services developed and provided for tourists like communication, roads, sanitation, and health services. The linkage of poverty eradication and millennium development goals led to the emergence of "pro-poor tourism" theory (Harrison, 2008). Pro-poor tourism is catching in across the globe leading to a need to investigate the applicability of the concept.
The concept is spearheaded by a partnership between the UK-based pro-poor tourism agency, the ICRT, the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) (Harrison, 2008). This research investigates the concept of pro-poor tourism in terms of the use of the term pro-poor and its differentiation from economic development. This research will begin by describing the concept and theory behind "pro-poor tourism," by trying to define, describe, and create a theoretical basis for the idea. This is followed by an evaluation of the theory in terms of poverty eradication, contribution to sustainable development, and the benefits to poor communities. The research will make use of real examples of the use of pro-poor tourism from different parts of the world to reveal its positive and negative impact among communities. In addition, focus is placed on the participation of local communities in pro-poor tourism efforts and debates.
In tourism, pro-poor tourism is contrasted and often confused with poverty tourism. Pro-poor tourism is a concept created and forwarded by Deloitte and Touche in "On sustainable Tourism and Poverty Eradication," and commissioned by the UK's Department for International Development. At the time, the goal was to maximize economic benefits from tourism by employment and micro-enterprises opportunities to alleviate poverty (O'Brien, 2011). At the same time, the report also indicated the negative impacts of tourism like environmental impact, social, and economic impact. The report indicated that tourism generated higher net benefits for the poor than costs. This saw the beginning of the pro-poor tourism concept as a tool for unlocking opportunities for poor communities by governments, rather than the expansion of the overall tourism sector. According to Nevin (2007), pro-poor tourism is a way of bringing the poor to tourism development in emerging or developing economies. Pro-poor tourism aims at putting "poverty at the heart of the tourism agenda and the pro-poor tourism partnership was formed to pursue this goal" (Nevin, 2007). Therefore, pro-poor tourism is a concept that is focused at the micro-level of the economy and society and is applied to all forms of tourism, including mainstream tourism.
Tourism as an industry is believed by international, government, and non-governmental organizations as a potential tool in poverty eradication. This is because the travel and tourism sector in the world is the fastest and largest growing industry, with an average growth of 7% per annum in the last decade (Marx, 2011). The forecasts by the United Nations World Tourism Organization are that tourism significantly contributes to the global economy, and is expected to rise to $2 trillion by 2020, with $1.6 billion international tourists visiting different parts of the world (Marx, 2011). In addition, the World Travel & Tourism Council predicted that tourism and travel industry would be one of the fastest growing industries in the world between 2011 and 2021, creating 66 million jobs and creating 9.6% of the GDP (Leclercq & Buchner, 2011). These figures drove the international agency to identify impact driven and practical methods of using tourism as a means to alleviate poverty by creating net benefits for the poor (Marx, 2011). This saw the emergence and use of pro-poor tourism as a market-led approach to facilitating the participation of poor people effectively in product development processes. Moreover, pro-poor tourism is seen as a means to improve development, especially economic development in developing nations.
Po-poor tourism is taken as a key tool in fighting poverty and achieving development in developing nations, especially in Africa. This is because tourism contributes significantly to economies of developing nations. By 2003, the industry accounted for 11% of total exports and 20 to 30% of exports exceeding modest threshold for 500,000 foreign visitors annually (Gossling et al., 2004). Tourism is important for Africa as compared to other continents, at 1.6% of the world's GNP and 4.1% of international arrivals. Pro-poor tourism is important for the development of the African continent, for tourism is the fastest growing industry (Akyeampong, 2011). This is because tourism accounts for 12% of the African exports of services and goods, with its global market share increasingly rapidly.
Moreover, tourism as a poverty alleviation tool for Africa is viable for the industry is free from price supports indicated by tariff controls of trade in industries and agriculture. In addition, the industry is increasingly competitive and experiencing a liberalization and sophistication environment. Lastly, the long-term prospects for the industry in Africa are positive (Gossling et al., 2004). This is because Africa has a comparative advantage of wildlife and wilderness, which increases its value as a tourist asset as such assets become scarce globally. Pro-poor tourism efforts can take advantage of the existence of areas like the black holocaust the consequence of the north Atlantic slave trade in West Africa.
According to the World Tourism Organization, international tourists arriving in developing nations have increased and continue to increase, as tourism is gaining prominence as a driver of development, jobs, and exports (Leclercq & Buchner, 2011). Therefore, tourism as an industry has can alleviate poverty among the poor for it generates revenue to the government and local communities. In effect, pro-poor tourism is not a niche sector or specific product rather it is the sum total of set strategies, whose aim is to cause a trickle down of tourism' benefits to the poor and vulnerable communities (Akyeampong, 2011). Therefore, it enhances the business of tourism while allowing poor people to contribute to poverty reduction.
There are negative and positive benefits to pro-poor tourism to communities and nations. Pro-poor tourism can reduce poverty since most tourists increasingly visit natural and cultural attractions often located in rural areas. Thereby this increases the scope of poverty alleviation in local communities and developing nations due to this comparative advantage (Leclercq & Buchner, 2011). Pro-poor tourism is a key tool in poverty alleviation since two-thirds of the world's poor suffering from extreme poverty live in remote and rural areas, as indicated by the International Fund for Agriculture Development, Rural Poverty Report (2011) (Leclercq & Buchner, 2011). Moreover, tourism is labor intensive, this presented job and employment opportunities for low-skilled people. For example, the International Trade Centre (ITC) launched a tourism project in Brazil, at the Coconut Coast in 2003. This project is based on capacity building activities in arts and craft, organic agriculture, computer science, English, hotel business, design, apiculture, and environmental education (Leclercq & Buchner, 2011). These elements have benefited the local community, along with the installation of an organic waste processing plant, which processes waste as well as providing balanced fertilizer to local farmers.
Pro-poor tourism has led to community-based tourism as tourists seek for new destinations and immensely benefited communities. According to Lopez-Guzman, Borges, & Castillo-Canalejo (2011) pro-poor tourism has benefited local communities like the Island of Cape Verde. Tourism has become a key driving force in economic development for the island and the nation. This is because wealth is generated in the community through tourist products created by locals along with the entertainment, hospitality, and accommodation facilities offered locally. Residents are able to sell their farm produce, artifacts, and handiwork, and get employment (Lopez-Guzman, Borges, & Castillo-Canalejo, 2011). Moreover, through education programs like university education, tourists visiting mainly from the U.S. And Europe gain their university education. These along with leisure tourists generate an income for the community through sporting activities and tour guides. The pro-poor tourism industry in Cape Verde is a…