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Adapting and reacting to tourism development: a tale of two villages on Fiji’s Coral Coast

Movono, Apisalome and Pratt, Stephen and Harrison, David H. (2015) Adapting and reacting to tourism development: a tale of two villages on Fiji’s Coral Coast. In: Tourism in Pacific Islands: Current Issues and Future Challenges. Routledge, Abingdon, UK, pp. 100-117. ISBN 9781138775350

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There has been much discussion over the extent to which theories of development are at an ‘impasse’ (Sharpley, 2009: 39; Payne and Phillips, 2010: 3), leading to calls for a return ‘to the intellectual project of political economy and the diverse theoretical traditions associated with it’ (Payne and Phillips, 2010: 181). Not surprisingly, such uncertainties have been reflected in changing perspectives over tourism’s role in ‘development,’ and Jafari might indeed be correct in suggesting that general attitudes to tourism, at least, have moved from positions of advocacy and caution, through adaptation, to a greater, and less ideological focus on knowledge and research (Jafari, 2003). However, as he notes, ‘the text and position of one platform led to the formation of the next; and indeed all four platforms exist today’ (Jafari, 2003: 9). The emergence of theories of sustainable development in the 1980s, and their subsequent linking with sustainable tourism development, while ostensibly attractive, in effect served only to tie one set of fuzzy concepts to another (Harrison, 1996) and, despite recent attempts to clarify the theoretical confusion over the role of tourism in development (Sharpley, 2000 and 2009; Sharpley and Telfer, 2002), consensus remains as elusive as ever. Mowforth and Munt, for example, consider all tourism, ‘alternative’ and otherwise, to be ultimately and distressingly linked to capitalism (2009), and serious attention has only recently centred on the role of mass tourism (Aramberri, 2010). The prevailing ambivalence is amply demonstrated by Sharpley, who accepts that mass tourism brings benefits but nevertheless contends the structure of international tourism reflects the inequalities posited by dependency theorists while those who implement tourism development focus primarily on economic growth and (consciously or otherwise) follow the tenets of modernisation theory. Consequently, they are intrinsically at odds with ‘the principles and objectives embodied in the concept of sustainable development’ (Sharpley, 2000: 14). At the conceptual level it might best to perceive international tourism development from a non-prescriptive globalisation perspective (Harrison, 2014), but there can be little doubt about the current distrust of grandiose statements about tourism development. As with development generally, however, this need not cause dismay. Instead, we should stand again on the ‘knowledge platform,’ carry out empirical research, and pay attention to the findings that emerge. As with the proverbial angels dancing on a pin, there is no substitute for empirically examining what is happening on the ground -or, to be more precise, at the end of the pin!

Item Type: Book Chapter
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
Divisions: Faculty of Business and Economics (FBE) > School of Tourism and Hospitality Management
Depositing User: Apisalome Movono
Date Deposited: 07 Feb 2017 23:32
Last Modified: 30 Oct 2018 02:37

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