Host Community Attitudes And Perceptions About Tourism

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25th Apr 2017 Tourism Reference this

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This study aims at identifying the relationships between residents’ socio- cultural, economic and environmental aspect and their attitudes towards tourism by focusing on a small community where tourism is in the development stage. By conducting this research, the author hopes to come across the residents’ attitudes and capture their current perceptions about tourism development in their area. Moreover, this research is being done because most authors agree that initial community attitudes toward tourism are critical to community involvement in the industry (Murphy 1981), the formation of destination image (Echtner & Ritchie 1991).

Attitudes are defined as “a state of mind of the individual toward a value” (Allport 1966, p. 24) and as “an enduring predisposition towards a particular aspect of one’s environment” (McDougall & Munro 1987, p. 87). Attitude of host community to tourism based development can improve if there is a boost in the tangible and indescribable settlements the host community can receive by being in based development (Choi & Sirakaya, 2006). As Attitudes are based under this understanding, this is why some researchers came to a conclusion that residents’ attitudes toward tourism are not simply the reflections of residents’ perceptions of tourism impacts, but the results of interaction between residents’ perceptions and the factors affecting their attitudes (Lankford et al.1994). Some preceding researchs have proved that some most important impacts of tourism are identified along with its variables, however the theory is underdeveloped: “Currently there is limited understanding of why residents respond to the impacts of tourism as they do, and under what conditions residents react to those impacts” (Ap 1992, p. 666). Husband (1989) also addressed this issue by saying “There is, so far, no theoretical justification of why some people are, or are not, favorably disposed to tourism” (p. 239).

Various issues can persuade perceptions of the host community about positive outcomes of tourism development. Support will depend on the degree of benefits perceived. The participation of community will be discussed later on in the literature review. The acceptance of local values can also be an important factor that leads to the achievement of a tourism based development (Alexander, 2000). However over a certain period of time many findings detected that host community perceptions’ in the direction from tourism may have more positive attitudes. People who depend on tourism industry or having a better economic benefit may possibly have a higher degree of positivity than other inhabitants who do not benefit from a tourism development ( lankford and howard, 1994; Jurowski, Uysal, and willimas, 1997; Sirakaya , Teye and Sonmez,2002 ).

Lindberg and Johnson (1997) mentioned that people having higher economic impacts from tourism may have more positive attitudes. However Travis (1984) has stated that its not only an economic characteristics such as the opportunity for jobs creation or capital generation that needs to be considered by the host community. The socio-cultural and environmental aspects are also very important. For Choi and Sirakaya (2005), the most community should also have a better environment in term of infrastructures and improved amenities such as leisure and recreational activities. They describe tourism as consisting of various supports and any development in the tourism field should ensure the protection of the culture of host community, alongside the protection of the environment.

In order to clarify the relationship between the impacts of tourism and residents’ attitudes toward tourism, several models have been developed. One of the most influential models is Doxey’s Irridex model (1975) which suggests that residents’ attitudes toward tourism may pass through a series of stages from “euphoria,” through “apathy” and “irritation.” to “antagonism,” as perceived costs exceed the expected benefits. This model is supported by Long et al.’s (1990) research results, which indicate residents’ attitudes, are initially favorable but become negative after reaching a threshold.

To have a better comprehension about the relationship between the impacts of tourism and residents’ attitudes toward tourism, several models have been developed. One of the most dominant models is Doxey’s Irridex model (1975) which suggests that residents’ attitudes toward tourism may pass through a series of stages from “euphoria,” through “apathy” and “irritation.” to “antagonism,” as perceived costs exceed the expected benefits. This model was supported by Long et al.’s (1990) research results, which indicated that residents’ attitudes are initially favorable but become negative after reaching a threshold. The Irridex model indicates that residents’ attitudes toward tourism will change overtime. It suggests that residents’ attitudes and reactions toward tourism contain a sense of homogeneity (Mason et al. 2000). Conversely, this concept was challenged by some research findings that reported heterogeneous community responses and diverse residents’ attitudes simultaneously existing in a community (Brougham et al. 1981,Rothman 1978).

Critics about Doxey Irridex Model and Butler Tourism Area Life cycle

According to Butler (1975) when he has developed a more complex model, he suggested that both positive and negative attitudes could be held by residents in a community simultaneously and be expressed via active and passive support or opposition. Furthermore this model is supported by Murphy’s (1983) research results, which reveal the distinct attitude differences among residents, public officials, and business owners in three English tourist centers. Despite that the model addresses the difficulty of residents’ attitudes toward tourism, researchers still lacked theories explaining relationships between residents’ attitudes and tourism impacts until Ap (1992) applied social exchange theory to tourism.

According to the theory, exchange will start, only when there are irregular inaction forms. Ap (1992) suggests that “residents evaluate tourism in terms of social exchange, that is, evaluate it in terms of expected benefits or costs obtained in return for the services they supply” He also argued that when exchange of resources is high for the host actor in either the balanced or unbalanced exchange relation, tourism impacts are viewed positively, while tourism impacts are viewed negatively if exchange of resources is low. Social exchange theory has been examined as a theoretical framework by researchers to describe residents’ attitudes toward tourism impacts (Perdue et al. 1990, McGehee & Andereck 2004).

The Doxey irridex model gives a clear view of how host community attitude changes over a period of time. It mentions host community perceptions, reactions and attitudes in the direction of tourism (Manson et al.2000). This can be a conflicting principle because some research came to a conclusion that various host community attitudes and perceptions may exist in the community, (Brougham et al.1981, Rothman 1978). Akis, Peristanis & Warner (1996) disapprove the Irridex Model and The Tourism Life Cycle and view it as too simple, because both models give a few hint of changing host community perceptions and attitudes over time. Other researchers like Lankford and Howard (1994, P.135) opposed against the model of Doxey(1975) because positive and negative factors that affect the perceptions and attitudes of host community are not given much consideration.

As the tourism industry keeps on changing, this may be a reason why we must give this industry continuous support for its related development. Andereck & vogt( 2000) stated that it is considered that optimistic attitudes towards tourism may entail the encouragement for further tourism development.

If there is any delay in tourism project development can be due to frustration towards tourists. Mill and Morisson (1984) even mention that, ‘an acceptance of tourism cannot be built unless the benefits of tourism are made relevant to the community’. Attitudes and perceptions of host community at a destination is of utmost importance in the accomplishment of tourism development alongside the development of the industry at large also, (Hayword,1975), (Heenan, 1978), and Hiller (1976).

There is a broad belief perception and attitudes of host community in the direction of tourism outcomes are apt to become essential planning and policy concern for flourishing development and expansion of existing and potential tourism programs, (Ap,1992). Host community attitudes and perception is very important as it will influence their behavior towards tourism, (Andriotis and Vaughan, 2003).

Host community involvement and participation

Community participation has become a common element in many development initiatives, such as community-based programmes, which assume participatory methods and has been promoted by development organizations, notably the World Bank, to address the inefficiency of highly centralized development approaches particularly in the developing world (Baral and Heinen, 2007).

Today, many development initiatives solicit the participation of all concerned stakeholders, at the relevant level, not only for the sake of efficiency and equity of the programmes, leverage of donors and demands of local communities, but also for o for sustainability of these initiatives (Ribot, 2004). . Consequently, the real outcome for soliciting such community participation is to create and produce an enabling environment needed by these stakeholders, especially local communities who have been vulnerable to negative impacts of tourism attributed partly to the fact that many tourism resources occur in their areas, to have a real stake in development activities (Havel, 1996; Songorwa, 1999). This requires involving local communities in decision-making and strengthening their ability to act for themselves. One approach to achieve this is “through investments in human capital, such as education and health, investments in social capital such as local-level institutions and participatory processes, and support for community based development efforts planned and implemented from bottom up” (Havel, 1996, p.145). However, given the fact that the central point underlying people’s participation may be the degree of power distribution, these efforts are less likely to succeed unless responsive institutions and the legal and policy framework that facilitate and support local participation are in place (Havel, 1996; Tosun, 2004; Wang and Wall, 2005).

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