Sorry for the lengthy description


When I was in El Salvador lying on a hammock and sipping my cocktail at an illegal hostel (not paying taxes) owned by foreigners I observed something that really angered me.

Three people without residence permits whose purpose was to cater to travelers wishing to go surfing owned the old building. They had already set up a website, etc. As such, it needed a few touch ups, and it was decided that a mini bar with a thatched roof to serve drinks properly would be a perfect addition to this old building.

The owners decided to employ a young boy who happened to be walking by to collect 40 leaves and in return they would pay him a total of $1. The boy of about 10 happily agreed, as $1 is a considerable amount of money to a young boy in El Salvador (side note: the owners were selling beer for $1 and had sold copious amounts to my friends and I that day). When the boy returned after about 30 minutes with his 40 leaves, the owners inspected the leaves and decided that half were not adequate for the aesthetics of the roof and so, the boy returned to collect more.

In the end, the boy received $1 to which he protested, as it was not part of the original agreement that he needed to find nice looking leaves. The owners refused to pay him any more money so the boy left and the owners reflected on the comical aspect of having a little fun with a local kid.

Having studied about tourism in local communities and knowing that it could also have negative effects, I sheepishly protested (and left shortly after…) to this unfair payment of wages. The owners laughed it off with the argument that “that’s more than he’ll ever make in a day”. That may be true, but this made me think of my own position in the hammock that day. I had the means to travel to observe this incident, but the child would probably never (assumption) have the means to come and watch me, or the owners, or my friends work where I live, let alone visit the neighboring country. The concept of fair trade, rights, and community empowerment is also applied to tourism but does it (can it) also go hand in hand with sustainable tourism development (including positive behavioral changes)?

…and so my unrefined question is:

How can (does) empowerment of communities and improvement of local rights contribute to sustainable tourism development in developing countries?*

A case study analysis to create a framework for best practices

 *I also could not ignore the fact that the reverse may also exist.

i.e. How can sustainable tourism development contribute to community empowerment and improvement of local rights in developing countries?

 Research Paper Outline

  • Title Page
  • Abstract
  • Table of Contents
  • Introduction
  • Methodology
  • Results and Discussion
  • Conclusion and Recommendations
  • References

Initial Bibliography

  1. Cousins, B. & Kepe, T. (2004). Decentralisation When Land and Resource Rights are Deeply Contested: A Case Study of the Mkambati Ecotourism Project on the Wild Coast of South Africa. European Journal of Development Research, 16(1), pp. 37-50.
  2. Goodwin, H. & Roe, D. (2001). Tourism, Livelihoods and Protected Areas: opportunities for Fair-trade Tourism in and Around National Parks. International Journal of Tourism Research, 3, pp. 377-391.
  3. Neto, F. (2003). A New Approach to Sustainable Tourism Development: Moving Beyond Environmental Protection. Natural Resources Forum, 27, pp. 212-222.
  4. Philip L. P. (1995). From culture shock and culture arrogance to culture exchange: Ideas towards sustainable socio-cultural tourism. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 3 (3), pp. 143-154.
  5. Robinson, M. (1999). Collaboration and Cultural Consent: Refocusing Sustainable Tourism. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 7(3-4), pp. 379-397.
  6. Sanjay K. N. (1997). Sustainable tourism, protected areas and livelihood needs of local communities in developing countries. International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology, 4(2), pp. 123-135.
  7. Scheyvens, R. (1999). Ecotourism and the empowerment of local communities. Tourism Management, 20, pp. 245-249.

One Response to “Sorry for the lengthy description”

  1. Janne Liburd says:

    The topic of social justice is of importance in STD, trust you’ll enjoy Tazim Jamal’s lecturers over the next two weeks. The Shellhorn paper has additional useful references.

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