Often there is a lack of awareness of the change that tourism can make in society and destination. Tourism is a powerful and complex force that needs to be better understood to connect it more effectively to development agendas. Especially tourism which is based on the resources of communities in developing countries requires careful consideration, both in theory and practice. The purpose of this study was to explore and enhance community involvement and responsibility-thinking in tourism development. The study develops design principles derived from theories on community involvement and responsible innovation and addresses how these principles are embedded in current Community-Based Tourism practices in Southwest Sumba. The design principles aid in assessing (1) how the community is involved, (2) in what ways responsible thinking is evident, and (3) the extent to which stakeholders reflect on their own actions. They consequently function as guidance for better practices. Semi-structured interviews and observations were conducted within qualitative fieldwork. Findings show how stakeholders cooperate to develop and improve current community-based tourism practices. However, engagement in collective responsibilities to execute plans is still loose. Finally, it can be concluded that the level of community participation is still limited, mainly due to the current public perception and awareness of the potential of tourism and its opportunities. Efforts to involve the community are evident, stakeholders have a high understanding of responsibility thinking, whereas not every actor showed the ability to be particularly reflexive on their own positions and actions.
Author: N. van der Velde (2018)