Local tourism business as drivers of social and economic wellbeing in Small Island Developing States

Authors: Regina Scheyvens*, Massey University, Litea Meo-Sewabu, University of the South Pacific; Massey University, Glenn Adrian Banks, Massey University, Suliasi Vunibola, Massey University
Topics: Tourism Geography, Development, Indigenous Peoples
Keywords: tourism, SIDS, Fiji, Samoa, community development, sustainable, wellbeing, inclusive
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Maryland B, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Tourism continues to be a major economic driver in Small Island Developing States (SIDS), and its growth is thus relentlessly pursued by many donors and most host governments. Statistics readily proclaim the economic success of the industry, whether in terms of export revenues earned, job creation, contribution to GDP or overall growth in numbers of arrivals. What is often overlooked, however, is the extent to which local actors engage with and benefit from tourism in meaningful ways, particularly through running their own businesses. In line with this session’s focus on communities as the cornerstone of successful tourism development strategies, in this presentation I will draw on examples from Fiji and Samoa to show how local people are adopting utilising their customary land in a range of creative and dynamic ways so that it can contribute to the sociocultural and economic development of their wider communities. In the face of foreign-domination of the sector, and against the norms of capitalist, profit-seeking imperatives, these culturally-embedded businesses are defining a new way forward for holistic and inclusive tourism business practice.

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