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Local Participation in Tourism: A Study of Two Village-Based Tourism Destinations in Northeastern Thailand.

Tungchawal, Kitsada. (2010) Local Participation in Tourism: A Study of Two Village-Based Tourism Destinations in Northeastern Thailand. Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey (United Kingdom)..

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Abstract

This study was inspired by an evolution of participatory approaches in development and planning. This evolution seeks to maintain tourism as a factor for socio-cultural and economic development (Tosun, 2004). However, the full and effective participation of local communities in the planning and development process, tourism operation and activities of village-based tourism is rarely a feature of community tourism projects (Garrod, 2003). Thailand’s village-based tourism experiences uneven development that often results in unequal distribution of return. The Balls of Fire and the King Cobra Villages in the Northeast of Thailand were selected as studied cases because they are in the vanguard of steps taken by the Thai Government to encourage greater decentralization of governance in Thailand and because of the significance of tourism for the local economy. Two pieces of fieldwork took place from May to September 2007 and were conducted in the villages, both involving semi-structured, in-depth interviews with actors in tourism. This study examines the patterns and processes of community participation in tourism planning and development, tourism operation and activities of two villages. It is considered that these community participation features are the result of interactions among local governments, communities and local residents. In the Balls of Fire Village 25 residents and in the King Cobra Village 35 residents participated in interviews. The findings of the study identify what is actually being done or has been done in local tourism planning and development, tourism operation and activities, the current level of public participation and the local constraints of community participation in tourism planning and development, tourism operation and activities. Participatory planning, constraints and the possibility of improving the participation level for local citizens were observed by the researcher. The data was analysed through the categorisation of major themes and sub-themes. The responses to and discussion of research findings were associated with the literature reviews and concepts of community involvement in tourism planning and development process. It was found that there was considerable continual community involvement in tourism planning and development, tourism operation and activities in both villages. Also, community actions to get residents involved in tourism were witnessed in these villages. Information distribution both one and two-way together with village meetings and public hearings were regularly arranged at the village hall by both communities. There was periodic intervention in tourism planning and development, tourism operation and activities from the public and private sectors both in and outside the villages. The study shows that residents in both villages are most involved in tourism planning and development, tourism operation and activities for these two villages as a whole. Even though the Balls of Fire and the King Cobra Village had not gained considerable tourism decision-making powers from local government, the extent of decentralized decision-making in tourism planning and development, tourism operation and activities within the villages themselves was still perceivable. Even the influence of the community leaders in both villages was notable, local residents’ participation still had influence on decisions affecting their lives in their communities’ affairs and tourism. Limitations in community participation were mostly caused by time, harvesting season and personal economy. The idea of establishing the Community Advisory Committees was acceptable to residents in both locations. The findings also provide a more effective tool to assist in improving the strength of participation in tourism planning and development in other village-based tourism locations in Thailand in the future. Three main contributions to knowledge arose from these studied cases: first, an evaluation of the Western techniques of popular participation existing in traditional Thai community involvement in village-based tourism based on the studied cases; second, perspectives on Western popular participation based on the communities’ voice and practices; and third, the communities’ reflective perceptions of the Western aspects of popular participation models proposed by the study.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors : Tungchawal, Kitsada.
Date : 2010
Additional Information : Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Surrey (United Kingdom), 2010.
Depositing User : EPrints Services
Date Deposited : 14 May 2020 14:27
Last Modified : 14 May 2020 14:34
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/856673

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