Tourism "off the beaten track" : alternative tourism as an appropriate form of tourism in Fiji (1992)
Mass tourism has become an integral component within the economies of most countries as nations realise the earning potential of this worldwide industry. In countries of the Third World, however, tourism has not proved to be the much vaunted economic panacea that had been hoped for. Physical, social and economic constraints in developing nations limited the possibilities for the development of mass tourism. External rather than endogenous tourism development has thus occurred in many developing countries, which has led to the particular and predominant development of large-scale foreign owned tourism. Serious doubts over the benefits that mass tourism provided to developing countries are embodied in the core-periphery model which identified the inherent and unequal linkages that tourism fosters between countries of the developed and the developing world. Tourism does little to promote development, but is instead another mechanism perpetuating the underdevelopment of the Third World. This thesis argues for a more just and socially acceptable alternative to the mass tourism phenomenon, for Fiji and for the Third World as a whole. A definition of alternative tourism (AT), identifying five necessary components (planned indigenous enterprise, catering for independent travellers, fostering greater mutual host-guest understanding, improving environmental awareness, and promoting the greatest retention of profits) has been produced along with a number of characteristics specific to AT. The appropriateness of this form of tourism development was tested on two sites on the island of Taveuni, in the Northern Division of the Fiji Group. The sites rather than the tourists are typically alternative. The tourists are continuing to behave in a fashion similar to those characterised by mass tourists. They are generally sedentary within the enterprise, contact remains generally at the host-guest level, and very little improvement in environmental awareness occurs at one of the two sites surveyed. The major benefit tourists had on Taveuni was economic. The length of stay, three times the national average, and the use of locally owned accommodation and transport benefited many of the local businesses on Taveuni and throughout Fiji. The structure of the tourism plant and the ancillary facilities at the local level promoted rather than inhibited local development by increasing the multiplier effect and strengthening the linkages between the AT sites and the other sectors of the local, island and often national economy. The viability of these and other alternative sites remains in question while the government continues to actively encourage mass tourism within the economically and geographically confined western coast of Viti Levu, and remains essentially neutral towards AT.
KeywordsTourism--Economic aspects--Fiji; Fiji--Economic conditions
RightsAll Rights Reserved
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