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Hospitality & Tourism Management

Understanding Of Community Participation In Tourism Development; A Case Study Of Barabarani Village In Tanzania




One of the core elements of tourism development is to encourage local communities’ participation as it is central to the sustainability of tourism industry. While the literature suggests a number of roles local communities could take in tourism development, little emphasis has so far been given as to how local communities themselves feel about this. As a result, there has been little evidence, especially from the grassroots, on what communities really think of their role(s) in tourism development. Using a case study of Barabarani village in Tanzania, this paper contributes to the understanding of community participation in tourism development by examining local communities’ views on their role in tourism development. The paper triangulates both quantitative and qualitative data to bring together perspectives from the grassroots based on household questionnaire survey with some members of the local community and a two-month period of field observations in the study area, coupled with the researcher’s experience with the wider community. The findings revealed that local communities want to be involved when tourism policies are being made to enable policymakers to prepare a policy that meets stakeholders’ needs and addresses their concerns. They also want to be part of tourism development decisions to ensure their needs are incorporated. Furthermore, local communities want to have a voice in development issues (not necessarily tourism development) to enable them to protect community interests, and increase transparency and accountability, and wipe out embezzlements and abuse of offices, which are rampant acts amongst decision-makers. Similar to previous studies, they rejected the statement ‘local people should not participate by any means’ in tourism development. It is clear from the findings that people are against the prevailing top-down approach in decision making when it comes to tourism development in their areas. It also depicts the nature of the central government which controls all the forms of decision making when it comes to development and policy formulation.


1.1 Introduction

Tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors in the service Industry. From the international financial context, ten percent of the total revenue in the world economy has been generated from the tourism industry and ten percent of the world’s work force has also been generated from the tourism industry. These figures are  expected to double by the year 2015, with an anticipated one billion tourists per year. So, tourism has enormous potential to contribute towards the growth of developing countries, particularly for local communities, where wild life tourism exists (Ashley & Roe,1998).

Today, tourism has become one of the major sources of income. It generates employment opportunities, foreign exchange earnings, and supports the development of infrastructure in any destination. Compared to other sectors, tourism has the capacity to generate economic support even in remote areas. However, in several are as it has minimized economic benefits because of leakages (Ashley & Roe, 1998), which is a major threat to the growth of the industry.

Tourism can affect the lives of the local community in various ways. For some local community, tourism can be a driving force of  the overall development, and for others it may cause negative impacts (Ashley & Roe,1998) such as displacement of local people to make way for tourism facilities, depletion of local resources, increase in cost of living and commercialization of culture. The active involvement of local community in tourism activities is highly essential in order to increase the benefits of tourism, and to minimize  the negative impacts.

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1.2 Defining Community Development.

The fact that community development can be a process and product, it has created a hindrance to the development of a unanimous universally accepted definition (Wise; 2008). It neither focuses solely on natural resource development nor on addressing needs, thus, an integrated model that will access these community problems, builds community capacity and then goes a long way to provide solutions or solving these problems will be accepted (Jones & Silver; 1991).Community development stormed up from the amalgamation of two ideas i.e. community from one hand and development on the other.

Defining community has not been an easy task. Its definition is strictly based on the focus of interest. It is more than just a physical place endowed with geographical elements even though it can. It might be a group of persons with same interest even though from different places and many not even correspond about their shared interest (Wise; 1991). As a matter of fact, community of interests has been used to 12 characterize this term and it need not be made up of similar perspectives. Rather, it is more often than not characterized by diverse perspectives engulfing a common idea. As difficult as it is to define community, defining development is even more problematic. Many descriptions have been made as to what it really means. Christenson et al, (1989) describes development as a process of choice i.e., diversification, thinking about issues differently with an anticipation of change. Shaffer on the other hand describes it as the creation of wealth which does not necessarily dollar not. It requires vitality improvement i.e. a direct attempt to improve participation, flexibility, equity, attitudes, the functioning of institutes leading to an improvement in the quality of living. This will definitely increase community assets and dismiss the controversy of “zero sum” where a job created here is a job lost there. Despite the inconsistency and the difficulty in bringing out a clear definition of the term, many scholars have put forth definitions based on its characteristics as summarized by Greg Wise; (1998) as shown in (Appendix 5). However the definitions can be summarized as; community development depicts a community in its self-engaging in a process aiming at improving the social, economic and the environmental situation of the community. This means that, the community acts in double capacity; a means and end of community development. It brings forth an idea and actively participates in developing the idea making the community economically and functionally strong and vital. In this vane, community development biffs up the capacity of the community in collectively and better decision making as far as resource uses such as labor, knowledge and infrastructure is concern for better development. This clarification was presented by Shaffer in Community development enhances community decisions about the employment of resources Source: Shaffer, (1989) 2.3 Typology of Community The concept of community describes a social organization considered fundamental to traditional society or religious. Such communities are often regarded as natural grouping based on ties of shared blood, language, history, territory and above all, culture (Upadhya, 2006). In their edited book, Lives in Context: the Art of Life History Research, Coles and Knowles (2001: p.11) define community as ‘Clusters of individual lives make-up communities, societies and cultures. To understand some of the complexities, complications, and confusions within the life of just one member of a community is to gain insights into the collective’. These are just two example of community definition. As mentioned earlier, a universal definition for community has been farfetched due to its dynamic nature and connotes a wide range of meanings.

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This concept has become popular in many academic disciplines and in day to day usage. Forming a community may span longer for some individuals while for others, it may be shorter and fast. Just like its creation, the nature and function of a community also has two opposing dimensions or views. On one hand, it is believed to be natural and a key to human welfare and on the other hand, it is argued to be non-dynamic and a hindrance to individual growth and freedom. This complex and fluid nature of community have been deeply examined by scholars coming out with diverse interpretations. It has therefore become prominent in the field of international development and reconstruction as it is synonymous to something good and desirable. No matter the length of formation, the nature or even the function of a community, it is worth noting that they are dynamic as they act, interact, evolve and change after being acted upon by both internal and external social, economic, political and environmental forces. There are generally three different types of communities which are not mutually exclusive so an individual can be a member and fully participate in the activities of the different community at the same time.

1.3 Geographic Community

It is the only type of community generally accepted by scholars. It is geographically bothered by physical features such as rivers, streets, etc. clearly rendering it distinctive in every perspective. There can be many communities within a city with each having distinct characteristics like religion, rich, poor etc. it is also constituted of diverse population with individuals and groups occupying different physical space within the landscape. It also shows a clear distinction of occupants and the characteristics of a particular space. The peculiarity of each community with the geographic community can give birth to other types of communities like community 15 of individuality, community of interest and even become a replica of international community.

1.4 Community of Identity

This is a community identified by common identifiable characteristics, i.e. a group of people who are unified by something they have in common which may be where they live, a common interest or ethnic ties. The attributes that bond the people together may be a common language, culture, age, sexuality etc. It is however important to note that, an individual belonging to this community man not necessary constitute with the norms and regulations of the community and such communities may are may not be geographically bound. For example, I may not necessary fill anything in common with student in EMU but for the fact we all study in English.

1.5 Community of Interest

Community of interest generally repairs to a common interest of a class of people within a space or without defined space. It may be equated to a movement; social, political, environmental etc. without a compulsory membership. The level of participation in the activities of the community is undefined as some people may be very active, some proactive and others even inactive. Such communities may legally bound or even illegal depending on the “w” question (what, why, where and for whom) response. There are certain things you have to consider when thinking about your community of interest such as the people you have to meet, see, speak to, email, share information or phone on regular bases. What is your contribution to such relationship, what do you benefit from the contacts and finally, for how long have you been part of the group. A critical assessment of this point may be an instigator of the performance level of an individual.

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1.6 Intentional Community

This is another commonly observed type of community, equated to eco-village, cohousing communities, residential land trusts, communes, urban housing cooperatives, intentional living, cooperative living and other projects where people live together with a common vision. In this type of community, individuals voluntarily come together to chart a particular course as a group and are one another’s keepers. The members may have same interest, same identity and may even reside in the same geographical location. e.g., members of a study group getting together every Wednesday.

1.7 Indigenous Community:

Over thirty years of deliberation about indigenous by UN and ILO, arriving at a unanimously accepted definition for this concept is still in the wilderness. However, one of the most cited descriptions of the concept of indigenous communities was given by Martinez (1986), in his Study on the Problem of Discrimination against Indigenous Populations. He forwarded a working definition of indigenous communities based on an intellectual framework which examined the right of the indigenous people themselves to define what and who is indigenous. He defined it as people and nation having a historical community with pre-invasion and pre-colonial societies that developed on their territories. They consider themselves as being distinct from other sectors of the societies who are now benefiting on the resources of their territories, or parts of them. They usually form the non-dominant sectors of society and are determined to preserve, develop and transmit their ethnic identity and ancestral territories to the future generations as the basis of their continued existence as peoples, in accordance with their own cultural patterns, social institutions and legal system (UNEIS, 2004). An indigenous person is therefore a person who belongs to these indigenous populations through self-identification as indigene and is also recognized and accepted by these populations as one of its members. This preserves the community`s sovereign right and power to decide who belongs to them, without an external interference. There are more than 370 million self-identified indigenous people in some 70 countries around the world. They have a deep, varied and locally rooted knowledge of the natural world and with these communities harboring about 80% of the earth’s biodiversity; they can play a preponderant role in natural resource management. Unfortunately, most of these indigenous communities especially in the LDC have been marginalized while their God giving lands and properties marked for reserves and parks by governments due to the massive impacts of global warming without a proper sensitization of the communities. They have often turned to lost control of their own way of life and also resist developmental initiatives in the communities thus continuing to wallow in poverty. In this light, an effective way to overcome poverty within these communities is to support their efforts to shape and direct their own destinies by ensuring that, they co-create and co-manage developmental initiatives (UN IFAD, 2011).

Pages:  26

Category: Project

Format:  Word & PDF

Chapters: 1-5

Material contains Table of Content, Abstract and References

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