Dispersion of tourism impacts

Ultimately, the degree of inclusion or exclusion of stakeholders in the integrated tourism planning process will affect the ways in which tourism impacts are dispersed across them. Bramwell (1998) noted that marginalized and disadvantaged social groups are the bearers of the heaviest costs of tourism development and are often excluded from the planning process as the stakes grow with the increased demand in tourism (i.e. more money to be made). Similarly, Liu (2003) argued that:

No due attention has yet been paid to intra-generational equity, that is, the fairness of benefits and costs, distribution among the stakeholder groups of tourism development. Where such attempts were made, and community involvement advocated, many writers fail to recognise that the host population is often not empowered to take control of the development process. (p. 461)

However, some studies have acknowledged the differential dispersion of tourism and, indeed, have made the explicit connection, noting that ‘distributive patterns in tourism are situated within historical and political contexts and are directly influenced by power relations dictated by social constructions of gender, class, and race’ (Duffy et al., 2016, p. 36). For example, de Kadt (1979) found asymmetrical social, cultural and economic tourism impacts between more and less economically developed countries. Britton (1982) also provided an early critique of tourism development in the context of lesser economically developed countries by exploring the political economy that surrounds the exchange between foreign developers and the developing world countries and noted that it ‘perpetuates class and regional inequalities, economic problems, and social tensions’ (p. 332); that is, the economic benefits from tourism development were pouring back into the more economically developed countries instead of netting to the local communities. Dispersion of economic impacts is especially important because often the purpose of developing tourism in a community is to bring in outside money via jobs, income and taxes. For example, enclave, all-inclusive tourism development in the Dominican Republic has resulted in few economic benefits, in terms of jobs and income, to the local coastal communities (Duffy et al., 2016).

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