Local community participation in the tourism development process : the case of Urgup, Turkey
This research was an attempt to understand the concept of community participation as a tourism development approach. Four main objectives were established; 1) to examine the current practice of, and potential for community participation in the tourism development process in Urgup, 2) to determine views of interest groups on various issues of community participation, 3) to explore the expectations of the local community from the tourism development; and 4) to develop policy suggestions to facilitate community participation in the tourism development process (TDP). This study has adopted an inductive research approach, rather than a deductive one. The pre-determined research objectives have led and structured the study. Both theoretical discussions and empirical field research are employed to achieve the pre-determined objectives of the study. Several general conclusions are drawn from this study: 1) There is a theoretical gap in the knowledge of participatory tourism development which may be closed from an understanding gained in other community participation areas such as health, housing, etc. 2) Many local tourist destinations are at different levels of development; thus, it may be naive to claim that one form of participatory tourism development approach will provide a universal model. 3) This study has revealed that there are three main groups of limitations to the participatory tourism development approach. These limitations can be classified as operational limitations, structural limitations and cultural limitations. 4) Implementation of a participatory tourism development approach requires the re-structuring of the public administration system, and re-distribution of power and wealth, for which hard political choices and logical decisions are a sine qua non. 5) Adoption of contemporary approaches to tourism development emerged and refined in developed countries is not a panacea for poor planning in developing countries that do not have the basis of the pre-industrial phase experienced last century in Europe and North America. Thus, a cautionary approach is needed to follow what developed countries are doing in the context of tourism development.