Community-Based Ecotourism: The Transformation of Local Community
1 Department of Hotel and Tourism Studies, Siam University, Bangkok, Thailand
2 School of Social Sciences and Psychology, University of Western Sydney, Sydney, Australia
Community-based ecotourism (CBET) is considered a sustainable form of tourism that improves the quality of life of hosts at the tourist destination. Scholars have yet to explore the long-term operation of CBET in relation to its effects on the local way of life. Consequently, the purpose of this paper is to examine the transformation of a local community due to the operation of CBET in relation to sociocultural, economic and environmental aspects. The findings reveal that the community encounters both positive and negative impacts of transformation. However, unintended impacts of the CBET operation lay embedded in the transformation of relationships among the community members. The study identifies that close relationships among the villagers has been initially transformed to loose relationships due to forgotten communal goals; CBET has transformed from being a conservation tool to being a business-oriented goal which causes conflicts of interest among local people and alters traditional social structure. The study also agrees with the notion of social exchange theory for villagers to enhance environmental sustainability, and proposes that slight inequalities of benefits received from CBET causes social transformation at the local level.
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2014
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