Community-based tourism as strategic dead-end
This article is a commentary on Jim Butcher's paper entitled "The Mantra of 'Community Participation' in Context". It is argued that Butcher rightly points out how community-based tourism (CBT) has maintained its status as orthodox in some academic and non-profit quarters despite its numerous flaws and contradictions which, as also correctly noted, have not received the recognition or attention from tourism scholars that they deserve. It is argued that a new paradigm should replace community-based tourism since it is a dead-end approach. The idea of a pragmatic rather than a 'progressive' partnership-based tourism model is argued as a more effective alternative that promotes a realistic empowerment of local residents. However, unlike CBT, it does so by embracing integration with the outside world, recognizing collective self-interest and multiple nodes of power and decision-making as assets, and unabashedly situating material well-being - within reasonable limits - as a primary desired outcome of their engagement with tourism. It is argued that these characteristics better reflect the realities of human nature and the realities of becoming involved in tourism, and increase the likelihood of successful outcomes even from the perspective of local residents.
Tourism Recreation Research