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Title: Community-based homestay tourism as a tool for community empowerment : a case study of two community-managed homestay destinations in Nepal
Author: Sapkota, R.
ISNI:       0000 0004 9359 3000
Awarding Body: Liverpool John Moores University
Current Institution: Liverpool John Moores University
Date of Award: 2020
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Community based tourism (CBT) initiatives, for example, community-based homestay tourism, have been widely appreciated by its supporters for their potential to empower destination communities. Although these kinds of tourism practices are widespread and promoted as a means to empower local people in the destination area, the influence of CBT on local community empowerment remains an underexplored theme. There are some exceptions. For example, Ramos and Prideaux (2014) studied various aspects of empowerment in the context of a Mayan community in Guatemala. Similarly, Dolezal (2015) investigated psychological and social empowerment in rural villages of Indonesia. Nevertheless, empowerment in tourism studies is still an emerging area of inquiry. This is particularly so for Nepal, where there is a lack of critical empirical research investigating whether these initiatives are delivering the expected outcomes. This is despite the fact that the Nepalese government promotes community-based tourism initiatives, for example homestay tourism aggressively as an empowerment tool for the overall development of rural communities. Thus, in order to address this knowledge deficit, this research examines two community-based homestay projects in Nepal. It explores the extent to which community members’ feel empowered or disempowered as a result of homestay practices. This study furthers debates about the implementation of CBT initiatives as a tool to empower the host destination community residents by developing an understanding from not only the perspectives of the people directly involved in community-based homestay tourism, but also from the viewpoints of the people not directly involved in CBT projects. The research was conducted in two community-managed homestay destinations in Nepal, namely Ghale Gaun Community Homestay and Dalla Gaun Community Homestay, which are run by two different indigenous communities in two different geographical locations. The levels of empowerment were assessed by adopting Scheyvens’ (1999) empowerment framework, which offers equal emphasis to multiple dimensions of empowerment - economic, social, psychological and political. A qualitative approach using semi-structured interviews and participant observation was employed to examine the local peoples’ attitudes, feelings and perspectives about how homestay tourism is economically, socially, psychologically and politically empowering or disempowering them. The evidence suggests some similarities and differences between the two sites. For instance, the residents of both communities identified positive contributions of homestay practice to economic empowerment. However, Ghale Gaun residents demonstrated a higher level of economic empowerment compared to the inhabitants of Dalla Gaun. Socially, Ghale Gaun residents confirmed the social empowerment enhancement in the form of increased cohesiveness, whereas Dalla Gaun residents advised social disempowerment in the form of deteriorating cooperation between each other. In relation to psychological empowerment, both communities acknowledged the support of homestay to promoting their self-esteem and pride in natural, traditional and cultural heritage. Similarly, psychological empowerment was also reflected in the reported increased levels of confidence to engage with people outside of the immediate respective communities. However, these two villages demonstrated remarkable differences in terms of political empowerment as the respondents of Dalla Gaun revealed lower levels of political empowerment in comparison to Ghale Gaun residents. Overall, based on these findings, this thesis concludes that various levels of empowerment can be achieved through community engagement in tourism activities and decision-making processes.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: G154.9 Travel and state. Tourism