Political Challenges in Community based Ecotourism

Chin-chin Wang, Carl Ian Cater, Tiffany Low

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36 Citations (SciVal)
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Abstract

This paper applies the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach (SLA) to explore the development of ecotourism in a Taiwanese community after a major earthquake. The study employs interviews with different NGO groups and residents, participant-observation and documentary analysis. Through a political economy lens, the study examines the social and political influences on, and the social and political consequences of, ecotourism development. Results reveal insights into political elements of the community asset base, calling for its inclusion in the existing model. The paper illustrates the challenges of ecotourism development and recognises the importance of attention to differing values if it is to be considered as a sustainable livelihood option in vulnerable communities. In particular we critique the positions of both existing power structures and NGOs, often envisioned as “experts” in the tourism governance process. In this case the imposition of various political values led to failures in inclusivity, particularly in terms of goal setting, empowerment, leadership, organisational fragmentation and benefit sharing, all of which are important principles of sustainability. Greater attention to the political nature of community-based tourism through the revised SLA model could reduce the many documented cases of hosts being merely objects of development, rather than active subjects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1555-1568
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Sustainable Tourism
Volume24
Issue number11
Early online date01 Apr 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 06 Apr 2016

Keywords

  • sustainable livelihood approach
  • community empowerment
  • political economy
  • ectourism
  • leadership
  • Taiwan

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