Development of a sustainable community-based tourism model : with special reference to Phokeng
Khunou, Pula Solomon
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The primary goal of this study was to develop, construct and test a sustainable communitybased tourism model for Phokeng or Royal Bafokeng Nation (RBN) area that may prove useful to tourism developers, policy makers, tourism planners and tourism managers as they seek to develop tourism in a sustainable way through prudent management of the role players and the social impacts of tourism. To fulfil this primary goal, the following five secondary objectives were put in place: The first objective was to analyse community-based tourism and the community’s role in achieving sustainable tourism by means of a comprehensive literature review. This objective was fulfilled through a literature study and discussion of the tourism system, tourists, communities, community-based tourism, various tourism theories that affect communities, strategies for developing community-based tourism as well as an analysis of community support for tourism. From this review it can be concluded, firstly that community-based tourism can be used as an economic diversification tool for Phokeng and similar areas. Secondly the community needs meaningful participation and decision-making power and not mere tokenism. The second objective was to analyse the social impacts of tourism by means of a comprehensive literature review. This was fulfilled through, (a) the identification of tourism roleplayers and their roles in tourism management, (b) the study of the nature of social impacts and factors influencing them, (c) a review of strategies for planners and developers in managing the social impacts of tourism, (d) Partnerships and collaboration in tourism development and management, and (e) Sustainable product development & destination management. It can be concluded that meaningful community participation in tourism also takes into cognisance the positive and negative impacts of tourism, investigates their cause and seeks mitigating factors as well as ways to manage them sustainably. Furthermore, the long-term sustainability of tourism depends to a large degree on participation of all stakeholders such as governments, community leaders and tourism managers and other players to strive to maximise the benefits as well as to mitigate the costs of tourism. Finally, the collaboration of all these stakeholders in the effective and sustainable management of tourism is paramount. The third objective was to analyse the exploratory data by identifying the elements that could be used to construct the community tourism model. To fulfil this objective information obtained from literature sources, as well as qualitative and quantitative sources was used. Both the study of literature sources and the quantitative analysis revealed that communities similar to the Phokeng community and the Phokeng community itself are undoubtedly impacted by tourism developments both positively and negatively. It was also discovered that successful development of sustainable tourism for communities hinges upon a collective management of the social impacts of tourism by all the stakeholders that are involved, them being: government, private sector, the community and other stakeholders. The fourth objective was to construct a sustainable community-based tourism model (SCBT) based on the empirical findings derived from primary research. To fulfil this objective, there was a discussion of the application of the SCBT model by exploring the relationships between model elements. Then six factors that were comprised of positive impacts, negative impacts, tourism awareness, the role of the government, the role of the private sector and community participation were identified through literature study and analysed through the primary data gathered from the qualitative and quantitative parts of the study. To obtain the primary data a sample of RBN-based residents was drawn from 30 villages. Data was analysed using different methods such as factor analysis, independent sample t-test, Spearman’s rank correlation and Structural Equation Modelling (SEM). The nine factors were then linked to other variables and finally a total of 14 research hypotheses were proposed and tested in two models, (8 for Model A and 6 for Model B). Out of these, 7 hypotheses (4 from Model A and 3 from Model B) were accepted. In addition to the testing of these hypotheses, independent t-tests and Spearman’s cross correlations revealed results that were captured in the Sustainable Community-Based Tourism Model. Thus the information gathered from all these analyses combined was finally used to create the final SCBT Model. The final model consists of nine factors namely: industry sustainability, community involvement, community information, community participation, private sector development, private sector management, role of government, negative impacts, and positive impacts. In addition to these factors an analysis was made of the correlations and relationships between SCBT factors and selected sociodemographic and behavioural characteristics such as age, length of stay, and education level as well as a comparison between SCBT factors and gender, people working in a tourism business and people owning a tourism business to gather more in-depth information. The fifth objective was to draw conclusions and make recommendations regarding the implementation and application of the model so as to ensure prudent management of the tourism in communities. The development of sustainable community-based tourism depends on effectively minimising the negative impacts and maximising the positive impacts of tourism as well as obtaining the full involvement, partnership and cooperation of all the key stakeholders through the establishment of a synergy between the government, the private sector and the host community. For this to be achieved the six factors that were previously identified through literature analysis and developed through the empirical analyses to nine factors were linked to other variables which were all used to create the final SCBT Model. This study has made several novel contributions. The first contribution is the development of the model itself, which uniquely seeks to manage the social impacts of tourism and to create community-based tourism that is sustainable. The second contribution is the identification of more defined roles that the government and the private sector have to play in this scenario. Third, the community wants more than just awareness they want to be involved, to participate, to receive information and to be part of the running and decision-making of tourism. Fourth, the ‘how’ of this model is crucial as that makes it even more different than previous models – the “how” can to a large extent be deducted from the qualitative interviews and what the respondents indicated there. Fifth, the study has combined the elements of two approaches by (i) analysing community attitudes towards tourism impacts, and (ii) investigating community attitudes and their role and participation in tourism planning and development. Sixth, for its theoretical framework it incorporated elements of three theories, namely: Social Exchange Theory (SET), Sustainable Livelihood Approach (SLA), and Stakeholder Theory. Seventh, although not the first of its kind, it was a rare feat to first work from a qualitative perspective and then to build to a quantitative perspective and to integrate the two, since very few have followed this methodology in previous studies. The specific roles of each role-player, their relationships and factors influencing these role-players were novel contributions. Eighth, it developed a model that not only seeks to create community-based tourism but also to manage the social impacts of tourism in a sustainable way. It is recommended that this model is applied to the Phokeng area and that it is tested in other similar areas.
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