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Community-Based Tourism: An Exploration of the Concept(s) from a Political Perspective

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Tourism is always seen as a viable alternative means of boosting development in developing countries. Similarly, community-based tourism (CBT) is generally associated with development in poor, especially rural, communities. This article first presents CBT as a possible community development tool, exploring its conceptual and historical evolution, and then offers solutions for enhancing the opportunities and capacity of CBT in facilitating rural community development. To that end, a definition of community and notions of development are proposed, and a community development strategy, based on issues of empowerment, self-reliance, and sustainability, is explored. Special attention is given to local context issues in relation to community development. In addition, the origin and evolution of the CBT concept, and the linkages between the concept and alternative development paradigms from the 1970s are explored, including the notions of empowerment and self-reliance. This article makes two contributions. Firstly, it proposes that the current meaning of CBT does not coincide with the original concept of CBT because the contemporary policy milieu has changed. Secondly, it presents different CBT typologies in line with contemporary CBT concept(s) and issues of community development.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2012-09-01

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  • Tourism Review International is a peer-reviewed journal that advances excellence in all fields of tourism research, promotes high-level tourism knowledge, and nourishes cultural awareness in all sectors of the tourism industry by integrating industry and academic perspectives. Its international and interdisciplinary nature ensures that the needs of those interested in tourism are served by documenting industry practices, discussing tourism management and planning issues, providing a forum for primary research and critical examinations of previous research, and by chronicling changing tourism patterns and trends at the local, regional and global scale.
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