Community tourism development : the case of the Taung Skull World Heritage Site in South Africa
Numerous studies have been conducted on host communities' support for tourism development and its outcomes or impacts on destination inhabitants. Relatively few such studies focus on areas where little tourism exists and where community readiness for a potentially high tourism development level is inadequate. This research is part of these few studies on an area whose tourism is just emerging. The study analysed the residents' support for the ongoing development of the Taung Skull World Heritage Site by testing and confirming a hypothesis predicting that a host community's reactions or responses to and relationship with the World Heritage Site are negatively affected by residents' inadequate participation in the heritage site's development process. Based on what the hypothesis proposes, therefore, the community" s participation level is insufficient in exchange for their valued support of the development project. The research therefore proposes that the social exchange theory, applied jointly with Pretty's typology or categories of participation, potentially provides a fuller understanding of local people's reactions and involvement in development processes such as the Taung Heritage Site scheme. Drawing from the social exchange theory which provided the link between the community's support and attitudes on the one hand and the participation and its potentially positive impacts on the other, this study applied primarily the qualitative research methodology accompanied by conversational or in-depth interviews. The research findings confirm the hypothesis and the relevance of the aforementioned theory and study methodology applied in the research. Although the results show the local people's basic motivation for genuine involvement in the development process, there is still a sense of inadequacy among them in terms of touristic knowledge and the notion of participation.
- Humanities