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The role of local communities in community-based tourism development in traditional tea production areas in Thai Nguyen province, Vietnam

This thesis is a theoretical and empirical examination of the role of local communities in sustainable tourism development through community-based tourism. It reveals how community participation and empowerment in tourism could be enhanced from listening to, understanding, and integrating the voices of local people. It conceptualises a way that uniquely accounts for, and celebrates, local people’s understandings and expressions of themselves, their community and local tourism development. I argue that reclaiming and acknowledging local people’s power and collective responsibility in upholding their central role has the potential to transform experiences of/about local people and enable them to achieve what they desire in tourism. A mixed methodology was used, the majority of which was qualitative, to help draw better comprehensive answers for my research questions. Data collected from 28 interviews, 130 questionnaires, 3 focus groups and participation in local daily activities gave me a better insight into the community, whether they participated or not in CBT, and in managerial affairs. Empirical material is arranged around four key themes. The first highlights the needs to recommit to local characteristics as the roots of tourism development, drivers of attractiveness and competitiveness in the face of globalisation. The dialogue between tourism and local development can be more effective if decision-makers, actors in tourism, and the hosting community develop policies and attitudes resulting from an understanding of the significance of local characteristics. The second theme determines the barriers that prevent more local people from participation in community-based tourism development. This reveals how communities themselves become a source of challenges to the practical implementation of sustainable tourism. Third, this study provides a deeper understanding of how shifts in power can be achieved and lead to social change. It is important to re-confirm that the power to act is within local people’s hands. Local people’s role and participation can and must be promoted for successful implementation of sustainable tourism development by acknowledging their power and enabling them to exercise that power. This study also unpacks the significance of collaboration of all the stakeholders as it generates collective power in CBT development. Finally, this thesis reveals the importance to address and promote the concept of inclusive tourism, which is meaningful for collective responsibility in upholding the central role of the local people to achieve sustainable tourism development. This research responds to the scarcity of existing academic scholarship pertaining to the power of local people within tourism development, and provides an opportunity to advance the innovative and forward thinking of inclusive tourism. I argue that inclusive tourism should be the answer to a changing world. Given the challenges that each stakeholder faces today, this study demonstrates that the concept of looking beyond each stakeholder and the need for collective action and collaboration have never been clearer.
Type of thesis
Nguyen, T. N. D. (2019). The role of local communities in community-based tourism development in traditional tea production areas in Thai Nguyen province, Vietnam (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13109
The University of Waikato
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