Tourism, poverty and poverty reduction in Msambweni district, Kenya
AuthorsBarasa, Davis Wekesa
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AbstractThis thesis examines the potential of tourism’s contribution to poverty reduction as perceived by local people in Msambweni district in Kenya. Whilst many studies in tourism have focused mainly on the macro-economic impacts of tourism in developing countries, there is little empirical work on understanding its effects upon poverty reduction. Furthermore, researches on how the poor or local people define poverty are also at their embryonic stage. The research utilises multiple qualitative methods and participatory approaches including focus group discussions and meetings. Key objectives of the research are: to critically analyse how poverty is conceptualised by local people; to identify the barriers to participation in the tourism industry and development process; and make recommendations on how to overcome them. The thesis reviews the theoretical framework of poverty within the discourse of development studies. Contrary to the conventional economic definition of poverty, poor people in Msambweni view it as a multidimensional concept. The understanding of the concept of poverty as perceived by the ‘poor’ themselves is critical for addressing barriers to their participation in the tourism development process and in designing meaningful tourism-led anti-poverty strategies. The thesis also reviews other relevant tourism concepts and development paradigms. The central argument of this thesis is that the current model of tourism development in Msambweni is not suitable for addressing poverty. The study identifies barriers to local people’s participation in tourism development in Msambweni. Key barriers include weak capacity in the context of physical, human, financial and institutional capital; corruption; poverty; lack of information; weak linkages with the local economy attributable to the lack of access to tourist markets; and the inability to develop and promote the ‘right’ types of tourism. Ecotourism, volunteer tourism and ‘philanthropy tourism’, although practiced on a small scale, are the most preferred types of tourism by local people. Philanthropy tourism, an emergent term of this study, involves tourists visiting local attractions, villages, and schools and making donations to support various projects. The study concludes that for tourism to have meaningful contribution to poverty reduction, barriers that limit local people’s participation must be addressed. There is also the need for a paradigm shift to embrace policies that facilitate the transfer of economic benefits from the macro-level towards the poor at the micro-level, combined with the development and promotion of the ‘right’ types of tourism as identified by local people.
CitationBarasa, D. (2010) Tourism, poverty and poverty reduction in Msambweni district, Kenya. Unpublished Thesis (PhD), University of Bedfordshire.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted to the University of Bedfordshire, Faculty of Education, Sport & Tourism, in fulfilment for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in June 2010.
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