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Title: An exploration of the potential for the development of culturally sustainable tourism in Kuwait
Author: Alrumaih, Abeer
ISNI:       0000 0004 5994 8437
Awarding Body: Bournemouth University
Current Institution: Bournemouth University
Date of Award: 2015
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In recent decades, sustainable tourism has emerged as an alternative to traditional mass tourism approaches to tourism development, as the latter has struggled to cope with many detrimental impacts to the socio-cultural and natural environments and, indirectly, the broader tourism economy. Tourism is now embracing the principles of sustainability to safeguard and conserve the very resources on which it depends. Sustainable tourism development recognises the importance of the cultural and ecological resources of the local community, which are regarded as essential to achieving better socio-cultural and economic results. The available studies of socio-cultural impacts are mainly based on a Western perspective and there is a dearth of information about Islamic destinations from the socio-cultural angle. The aim of this research is to assess the potential for the development of culturally sustainable tourism in Kuwait, which fills a gap in knowledge. Although Islamic teaching and principles encourage people to travel as well as to be hospitable to guests, doubt exists that the development of tourism will only bring negative socio-cultural impacts for host communities. Islamic destinations have a lifestyle connected with Islamic traditions and cultural values that are often in conflict with the needs of tourism development and leisure activities, which are mainly geared to Western culture. However, tourism development is an effective tool of economic diversification for many Islamic countries, especially in oil-dependent economies, as it can generate substantial revenues through foreign exchange earnings and thereby enable countries to withstand economic fluctuations created by non-renewable crude oil resources. Kuwait is an example of an Islamic destination that depends on oil as the main source of income and it has a unique socio-cultural context that revolves around customs and traditions originating from Islamic religion and tribal roots. Therefore, a culturally sustainable tourism policy from an Islamic point of view, closely aligned to the socio-culture of the countries involved, is likely to be preferable to the host community. This study used a qualitative approach to explore the potential for the development of culturally sustainable tourism in Kuwait. The primary data were collected through face-to face semi-structured interviews. The findings illustrate that there is a potential for tourism development in Kuwait as there is acceptance of and potential for different types of tourism such as family, business and cultural tourism. Enthusiasm for tourism development relates to the potential to diversify the Kuwaiti economy and to create new jobs for locals, as well as to enhance the Kuwait image nationally and internationally. Additionally, analysis of the findings shows there is some enthusiasm for tourism development in Kuwait if it is appropriately tailored to the Kuwaiti socio-cultural context and if the government supports it. Unfortunately, the findings highlight that the Kuwaiti government attitude is negative generally; tourism is not prioritised, and legislation has not been developed to support tourism development. Furthermore, issues such as bureaucracy, corruption and the fear of the local community add more barriers to the potential for tourism to flourish in Kuwait. The study shows that there is potential for tourism development in terms of identifiable products and resources but the barriers to development outweigh the opportunities, with a key problem being indifference on the part of government. It is hoped that this study will help the Kuwaiti government and tourism stakeholders to rethink its approach to tourism as one of the diversification options; recommendations for practice are offered.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available