I-Kiribati Culture and Intersection with Tourism Development
This paper looks at the intersection of tourism development and cultural behaviour and attitudes in Kiribati. The Republic of Kiribati is hardly synonymous with tourism, averaging a mere 4,300 air arrivals per annum. Very much an alternative tourism destination, there has been some engagement with mass tourism through cruise ship visits to Fanning Island (Tabuaeran), and between 2004 and 2008 there were over 141,000 visitors by sea. In the past few years the Government of Kiribati has looked to develop tourism further. This is not surprising given the advocacy of tourism for island nations where there are few resources to support industrialisation (Weaver, 2004). Tourism is a key priority in the Kiribati Development Plan (2008-2011), and in November 2009, the government officially released a five year tourism action plan. There are numerous factors that may affect how tourism develops in Kiribati. This paper focuses only on how cultural behaviours and attitudes of the I-Kiribati people may intersect with tourism development. The cultural behaviours and attitudes presented have been developed through reflections on personal experiences engaging with the I-Kiribati culture when living in the community for nine months on Tarawa; and also through engagement with the existing tourism industry in Kiribati through working as a Digital Marketing Co-ordinator at the Kiribati National Tourism Office. In addition, reference is made to early western documentation of cultural norms and traditions. Though not a complete and comprehensive representation of I-Kiribati culture (and primarily from a western point of view), ideas of how the development of tourism may interact with I-Kiribati culture are explored. Aspects of I-Kiribati culture are discussed in terms of strengths, weaknesses, opportunity or threat (SWOT) that they bring to tourism development.
3rd AAAPS Conference 'Oceanic Transformations'
Impacts of Tourism