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Role of Tourism Development in Sustaining Local Economies

Impact of Community Participation on Residents Satisfaction with Tourism Development
Tourism development has a tremendous role in sustaining local economies, and this is a widely acknowledged fact. The tourism industry is considered a positive agent of transformation and change especially considering its potential to generate income and create employment. Community participation plays a substantial role in tourism development.

Conversely, community participation impacts the residents’ satisfaction with tourism development in different ways. A study by K.O. and Stewart (2016) indicates that the tourism industry generates an environmental, social and cultural transformation in the host community and it shapes the attitudes of the residents toward tourism development. As such, when a host community participates in tourism development, the residents are impacted according to how the development affects their healthy lives. The community participation shapes the attitude of residents and hence the success or failure of the tourism development depending on the opinions of the residents.

A positive attitude would translate to a thriving tourism development due to good community participation, and an adverse reaction of residents would mean that several things will hinder the tourism development. Policy makers and researchers alike agree on one thing that any tourism development can only be achieved if the views of local communities are taken seriously in the tourism planning process.

Involving a community in tourism development can create a sense of ownership when making decisions, and this consequently fosters a higher success rate as compared to traditional models for planning that included making tourism development decisions without consulting and involving the community residents. Several factors influence the resident’s support for tourism development, and this matter has undergone extensive research over the past. The results of these researchers suggest that the satisfaction of the residents with their communities was the primary determinant of their attitude and consequent participation and support for the tourism industry.

The studies moreover confirm that noneconomic domains gained by the residents in the host community from tourism development play a significant role in shaping their attitude towards tourism development. The position assumed by the community towards tourism can have implications for the policy and planning for tourism in a community, and as such, tourism development and community satisfaction should be integrated. Residents who perceive tourism as achieving positive impacts in their community would likely commit themselves to supporting tourism development in their region. , suggest that the satisfaction of a community is multidimensional and comprises of various constructs of the community such as social ties, satisfaction with the conditions of the population, family life, neighborhood and financial life. ,,,, in an attempt to further comprehend on this issue, analyzed the influence that residents had on community participation in the tourism development and considered that dependent on things such as community commitment, satisfaction with the conditions of the neighborhood and satisfaction with the services offered by the community.

The attitudes of the community are essential for succeeding and having a sustainable tourism development because of a clear understanding of the perceptions and beliefs of the community and how these attitudes and perceptions can be used in planning a sustainable tourism development. Community participation is significant because the community is the most significant party in tourism development. With this understanding, policymakers should push for the formulation of policies that relate to community development and plans that engage the community to participate in decision making because the growth of the population will translate to a better environment for the residents and consequently instill a sense of satisfaction, gratitude, and support for the tourism development. Additionally, decision-makers and local learners should develop internal marketing strategies that will market the benefits that tourism will bring to the communities. To win over the hearts of the local community residents for tourism development, there should be a publication of the positive impacts of tourism.

According to, there is a big difference between the behavioral intention of developing tourism and community environmental attitudes. He adds that promoting community participation and community environmental attitudes may influence community involvement with tourism development, which is an ultimate necessity. Factors affecting the attitudes and perceptions of residents and the extent and nature if the impact will be different for every community, but an important fact to note is that social structure has impounding effects on a community’s ability to absorb positively the different values and norms that tourists come with.

There is also a resilient, positive relationship between the perceptions of the residents of a community towards the increased development of tourism and the extent of the community in developing tourism. In this regard, the residents who have more economic gain will more readily support the industry because development in tourism involves some tradeoff between cultural or environmental costs, and economic gains, and residents will cope through down paying negative impacts and emphasising economic benefits to maintain satisfaction with tourism development and with their communities. Communities interacting with tourists can have positive implications because it creates opportunities, integrates the different cultures and brings societal peace.

They should therefore direct efforts to improve the local residents’ satisfaction with the neighborhood conditions and improve residents’ satisfaction with the physical, social, and economic dimensions of neighborhood. Policies can be geared toward improving public safety through policing and security, minimizing tourism-related crime and negative impacts such as traffic congestion and environmental destruction, improving the landscape surrounding the area, and making available recreational and entertainment facilities. As part of the corporate social responsibility initiatives, tourism and hospitality businesses should be encouraged to devote funds for community improvement. Government usually determines permit fees for a new development based on the market value of the project, with very little attention paid to the corporate social responsibility plans that developers can implement. Government can encourage corporate social responsibility activities by rewarding investors who, as part of the tourism development, set a priority for improving community attributes such as the neighborhood conditions and community services. Such rewards can be in the form of tax rebate, tax holidays, subsidies, and free training and development for employees. This is particularly important given that the findings of this study indicate that the noneconomic benefits that communities derived from tourism development are important in shaping their attitudes positively toward the industry and gaining their endorsement for future development. The study also demonstrated that satisfaction with community services influences one’s perception of tourism impacts, with more satisfied residents having positive perceptions of the industry, and less satisfied ones having negative attitudes. Tourism planners should aim at improving residents’ satisfaction with services such as those related to government, banking, and nonprofit organizations. The benefits of these facilities should be provided to the community at large. Policymakers should ensure that development of tourism contributes to the overall development of the infrastructure, institutions, and services of the regions. Efforts should also aim to increase the effectiveness, trustworthiness, and competence of local institutions. Downloaded from jht.sagepub.com at PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIV on March 4, 2016 186 JOURNAL OF HOSPITALITY & TOURISM RESEARCH Though the study has important theoretical and practical implications, a few weaknesses still remain. The study has considered only three community constructs, which might limit its findings. Other satisfaction dimensions pertaining to a community such as residents’ confidence in local institutions, power in influencing local institutions, and satisfaction with work and social life (Grzeskowiak et al., 2003) can be incorporated in the model to increase its predictive power. The study has also aggregated perceived tourism impacts as only two constructs (positive and negative), when in fact, research suggest that tourism impacts can be delineated into positive and negative economic, social, cultural, and environmental dimensions. Future research should therefore aim at incorporating these variables and analyze the nature of the relationships among them. Finally, the investigation was only directed to a small resort community of Mauritius, where tourism is a mature industry. It is possible that if the research setting is changed and conducted in other regions at different stages of tourism development, the magnitude and directions of the relationships might change. The model should therefore be tested in other places of Mauritius and in other geographic regions to improve its external validity

The results of analyzing data showed that a portion of community members have a disinclination to tourism effects. For example, their disturbance related to environment pollution, water pollution, as well as some social and cultural effects is significant. The negative effects of tourism on community cause a lower society inclination to participate in tourism development programs, though its positive affects results in increasing their support and reaching projects’ goals. With regard to Ramsar city, it seems that the benefits resulted from tourism has relatively been able to provide required encouragements to participate in tourism development programs. The results related to correlation coefficients indicate that there is a significance relationship between tourism’s effects of community and participation degree. In this paper, the effects of economic factor and the effects of social and cultural factor are reckoned as the most important factors effective on community participation in tourism development programs. Knowing how tourism effects on society and supporting community’s cooperation have an important impact on reinforcing the strengths and improving the weakness of tourism planning .To obtain this goal, it is necessary to provide an effective communication between planners and community in order to gain support from society.As it was mentioned in the Introduction, the effects of tourism development are different on various societies. Therefore, the obtained results from this study can’t be generalized to other societies with certainty. One of the biggest problems for this study was the unavailability of researchers which have been performed about the effects of tourism development in Iran. This problem is even more noticeable about coastal tourism in Iran. This results in the lack of a criterion for comparing tourism development effects for a case model. Another issue to which must be attentive is that more than 90 % of coastal tourists who choose Ramsar as their destination are excursionist tourists. Despite the fact that excursionists are observed in the tourism statistics according to the statement of World Tourism Organization, the increase in the number of foreign tourists among the coasts of Ramsar may bring different effects. This factor is effective on the participation of the society in tourism development programs. As a result, although the results of this study indicate the strong correlation between tourism development effects on community and the degree of community participation in tourism development programs, to be certain of this issue and the factors which affect it requires more studies in the future.

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Moses

Moses Njoroge is the Senior Editor at Glob Intel, a news and IT service provider company. He has a wide range of experience in freelance writing, Web/System Development and other related IT services.
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