Understanding the Linkages between Tourism and Urban Poverty Reduction Using a Sustainable Livelihoods Framework

Mandke, Pallavi (2007). Understanding the Linkages between Tourism and Urban Poverty Reduction Using a Sustainable Livelihoods Framework PhD Thesis, School of Geography, Planning and Architecture , University of Queensland.

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Author Mandke, Pallavi
Thesis Title Understanding the Linkages between Tourism and Urban Poverty Reduction Using a Sustainable Livelihoods Framework
School, Centre or Institute School of Geography, Planning and Architecture
Institution University of Queensland
Publication date 2007
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Associate Professor John Minnery
Abstract/Summary Tourism can have significant impact on the economic and social development in developing countries. However, it is only recently that a focus has emerged in tourism studies on the potential and capacities of tourism as a tool for poverty reduction. Similarly, the development sector has also been slow to include tourism in its poverty reduction strategies. Literature shows that the association of tourism with poverty reduction has mainly been studied in the context of rural areas but little, if anything is known about the relationship of tourism with urban poverty reduction. Although tourism in cities is an old phenomenon, as is urban poverty in developing countries, the relationship between them has not been fully understood. This limitation has inhibited the development of mechanisms and techniques to optimally utilise tourism as a tool for urban poverty reduction. Also statistics indicate that cities in developing countries are becoming important tourist destinations, as well as predominant sites of poverty, which creates an urgency to understand tourism's contribution to urban poverty reduction. This thesis aims to understand the linkages between tourism and urban poverty reduction. In order to do so, it adopts an exploratory approach to systematically develop an empirical understanding of this new area of investigation. The conceptual framework used is an adaptation of the Sustainable Livelihoods Framework (SLF), which provides a holistic and systematic approach to explore the linkages between existing tourism activities and the livelihoods of the urban poor. It provides a basis to understand the contextual factors, people's livelihood assets and the Policies, Institutions and Processes (PIPs) that constrain and/or enhance livelihood opportunities. The conceptual framework is applied to the case of Bangkok, Thailand and is limited to the urban poor who are engaged in specific types of tourism related activities. Here, Bangkok was considered appropriate because it exemplifies large cities in developing countries, especially those in Asia, in terms of its urban characteristics as they relate to urban tourism, urban poverty and urban management. The chosen tourism activities in Bangkok were 1) hotels, as they are an important tourism facility and an example of the tourism related formal sector; 2) street vending, as it is an important informal sector activity of the urban poor and 3) community tourism activities, as they are examples of urban tourism, which are developed with the poor in mind and in areas where the they live. The results indicate that the conceptual framework developed for this research provides two main findings. One is a better understanding of the linkages between tourism and livelihoods of the urban poor, generated from the analysis of the interactions between livelihoods of the urban poor and the tourism activities they engage in. And the other is the identification of interventions/entry points to effectively apply tourism as a tool for urban poverty reduction, developed based on the analysis of strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats arising from the context, assets and PIP related factors as identified in the SLF. Finally, the conceptual framework extends the SLF by adding new elements and down playing some existing elements in the framework. It provides a revised and effective framework for further investigation of existing tourism activities and their urban poverty reduction potential.

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