Practices and impacts of tourism-related land grabs

Drawing on selected case studies that are described in more detail in Chapters 3—9, this section looks at the four distinct practices of dispossession (cf. Devine and Ojeda, 2017; Neef et al., 2018) introduced in Chapter 1 and illustrates them with short summaries in a tabular form to show typical patterns.


Land grabs for tourism purposes often lead to forced evictions which are defined as the “permanent or temporary removal against their will of individuals, families and/or communities from the homes and/or land which they occupy, without the provision of, and access to, appropriate forms of legal or other protection” (OHCHR, 1997, pp. 1—2). According to the special rapporteur on adequate housing forced evictions “constitute gross violations of a range of internationally recognized human rights, including the human rights to adequate housing, food, water, health, education, work, security of the person, security of the home, freedom from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and freedom of movement” (OHCHR, 2018). In most cases, forced evictions violate various civil and political rights, such as the right to security, the right of freedom of movement and the right to peaceful enjoyment of possessions. Table 10.1 provides a compilation of typical examples from the case studies.

While not all evictions come with the use of direct force, there are other forms of physical displacement, such as involuntary displacement, resettlement

Table 10.1 Practices of dispossession in tourism - Eviction

Case study Characteristics

Cambodia A large-scale tourism project by a Chinese corporation in Koh Kong

(Southeast Province forced hundreds of families from coastal land they had occu-

Asia) pied for many decades; families were given no choice and only meagre

Chapter 3 compensation; resisting groups have faced violence by private security guards and the Cambodian military; families were resettled into the interior of the Botum Sakor National Park where illegal logging remains one of few options to sustain their livelihoods.

Bangladesh Following a 20-year civil conflict in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, the (South Asia) military has maintained a strong presence to ‘securitise’ the region for

Chapter 6 tourism but also controlling a large part of the tourism sector itself.

Several hundred indigenous families from the Jumma, Mro and Marina ethnic groups have been forcefully evicted from their land to make way for military-owned tourist resorts popular with domestic tourists.

Tanzania The expansion of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries for safari (East Africa) tourism and trophy hunting has forced thousands of pastoralist Maasai

Chapter 7 from their customary lands; military and police have used brute force

for evictions; no compensation and no alternative settlement areas have been provided and there are no institutionalised grievance mechanisms in place.

Colombia Peasant settlers (coIoties') and fisherfolks in the Tayrona National Park (South were dispossessed and driven from their land by paramilitary ‘clean-up*

America) operations during the civil war to ‘secure the area’ for ecotourism

Chapter 7 development. A fishing community was evicted by park officials who destroyed the fishers’ huts that have existed for half a century, while sparing luxurious private beach homes of local elites.

Peru (South In the World Heritage ‘City of Cuzco’, the former capital of the Inca America) Empire, municipal authorities cleared the inner city of ‘urban undesir-Chapter 8 ables’, such as street vendors and the urban poor, to provide foreign tourists with a sense of comfort and security'. Thousands of street vendors were forcibly' removed in the early' 2000s. This was complemented by' market-led gentrification, with investors buying up prime property in the city’s centre.

Lao PDR The construction of the international airport in Luang Prabang, a

(Southeast famous World Heritage Site in the northern part of the country', trig-

Asia) gered the involuntary displacement of several hundred ethnic minority

Chapter 9 families who received inadequate compensation, obtained smaller plots of land than they' were originally promised and had to live without piped water and electricity for an extended period of time.

Brazil Two consecutive sport mega-events in Brazil (the 2014 FIFA World

(South Cup and the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics) were used by the state

America) government of Rio de Janeiro to legitimise the eviction of thousands of

Chapter 9 informal residents from the city's favelas. It also deployed Police Paci

fication Units (UPPs) - co-financed by the private sector — to ‘pacify’ unruly' neighbourhoods and regain administrative control over urban spaces.

Mechanisms, practices, impacts, resistance 191 under ‘induced volition’, or ‘voluntary’ resettlement based on deceit, false hopes or lack of alternative options. These may not always be categories in a legal sense, but the distinction between those concepts involves a number of ethical questions, such as who defines whether a person or community leaves a certain place out of their free will and what kind of information is available prior to the displacement. In many cases, the immediate impact of physical displacement is a near-total loss of livelihood opportunities, even when compensation may provide temporary support for the transition to other livelihood options.

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