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AbstractGovernments and donor agencies are increasingly advocating tourism as a viable poverty reduction option in developing countries. However, the debate surrounding tourism development mechanisms and benefits to local people is based upon limited empirical evidence. Much of the literature has focused on the socio-economic impacts of tourism in developing countries, but there is comparatively limited investment of the relationship between tourism and poverty reduction from the perspectives of the stakeholders, particularly local people. To build knowledge about this relationship, this research study examines the role of tourism in poverty reduction in Elmina, Ghana. The core aim of the research is to analyse the inter-relationship between poverty reduction and tourism from the perspective of local people and stakeholders. The research focuses upon the importance of tourism as a developmental strategy to tackle poverty. The research methodology was formulated within an interpretive paradigm utilising qualitative techniques to investigate tourism and poverty in Elmina. Stakeholders who participated in the study included: Government; Donor Agencies; Local People; Tourists; and the Private Sector. The data was analysed using thematic data analysis methods. Researcher reflexivity is also integrated into the study in view of the researcher’s experience of employment in a public sector tourism organisation in Ghana. The thematic findings contribute to knowledge about the relationship between tourism and poverty reduction in Elmina and are categorised into three main themes. Firstly, local people in Elmina define and understand poverty and tourism opportunities in multiple ways, which differ from other stakeholders; however, differences in meanings and understandings exist between and within individuals and groups in Elmina. The attributes accounting for the differences in views include: level of education; access to the tourism market; participation in decision-making; and type of businesses. Secondly, local people participate in tourism mainly as owners of informal tourism businesses and employees. ii However, a group of marginalised people, the ‘Castle Boys’, also benefit from the support received from philanthropic tourists through the activities of begging and informal tour guiding as ways of earning income to escape from poverty. Finally, several barriers to participation for local people in tourism exist in the Elmina community, which marginalises and excludes a cross-section of the locals from the advantages of socio-economic opportunities. These barriers include: a low level of education attainment; a lack of availability of and access to credit facilities; and a lack of ‘voice’ in the decision-making process, indicating a general need for capacity building. Government and donor agencies’ neoliberal policy objectives of utilising cultural tourism for development has failed to achieve poverty reduction in Elmina. This issue has given rise to evolving questions of the use of tourism as a developmental tool to reduce poverty and how to empower local people to actively participate in emerging socio-economic opportunities. This research subsequently contributes to furthering the understanding of the role of tourism in poverty reduction, and theoretically comprehending the role of tourism as a development strategy to combat poverty in local communities.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy of the University of Bedfordshire
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