Alleviating poverty via tourism : a case of tourism cooperative in Yunnan

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Alleviating poverty via tourism : a case of tourism cooperative in Yunnan

 

Author: Yang, Xiaotao
Title: Alleviating poverty via tourism : a case of tourism cooperative in Yunnan
Degree: M.Phil.
Year: 2013
Subject: Tourism -- China -- Yuanyang Xian (Yunnan Sheng)
Tourism -- Economic aspects -- China -- Yuanyang Xian (Yunnan Sheng)
Tourism -- Social aspects -- China -- Yuanyang Xian (Yunnan Sheng)
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: School of Hotel and Tourism Management
Pages: vi, 181 p. : ill. ; 30 cm.
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2653073
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/7272
Abstract: A number of tourism cooperatives have been initiated in some rural areas of China. However, there is a lack of understanding of its role as an operating mechanism in poverty alleviation. This study explored the role of tourism cooperatives in helping the poor gain resources and power for the purpose of poverty alleviation, which has not yet been previously examined. A multidimensional understanding of poverty was introduced at the very beginning to establish the broad range of discussion. Yuhu Village, which adopted three different management approaches in its tourism business in the past 20 years, namely, individual operation, tourism cooperative operation, and renting to an external company, was selected as the study case. Qualitative inquiry was employed to capture the significance, process, and context of tourism cooperatives in relation to poverty alleviation. Two field studies, which cover 50 in-depth interviews with villagers and 15 with outsiders, were conducted in 2011 to understand the impact of tourism development on the experiences and living situations of the Yuhu villagers. A multidimensional understanding of poverty is necessary in tourism studies to remedy its historical disconnect from poverty literature. As Scheyvens (2011) pointed out in her latest book Tourism and Poverty, no academic publication on pro-poor tourism has included a substantive discussion of the term "poverty." This study firstly interviewed villagers' perception of poverty, which supported the basic argument of this thesis, that is, poverty is not only a lack of material resources but also a lack of necessary resources to build human and social capital.
The establishment of the tourism cooperative resulted in substantial improvements. Based on the interviews, the resources and power changes were two main aspects of these improvements, which were further divided into both individual and collective levels. "Materials, skills, ideas, and social capital" comprise the individual resources. Collective resources benefits were identified as "education, elder welfare, infrastructures, collective funds, and voluntary work". Individual power consists of the codes of "equality, well-being, outside support, force of public opinions, democratic, and sense of ownership." "Bargaining power and trustworthiness" were formed by collective power. Overall, the poverty experienced by many villagers was alleviated in terms of both resources and power. The measurement framework of livelihood resources in poverty literatures was employed to improve the validity of the analysis. Furthermore, this study utilized the resource dependence theory to measure the effectiveness of the organization by observing the dynamics of the resources and power exchanges between the organization and its development environment. Based on the abovementioned impact measurements, this study discussed five roles of the tourism cooperative, namely, as collective resources accumulator, benefits distribution coordinator, knowledge capital buffers, democracy and equality propeller, and power aggregate. This study also discussed how the cooperative could positively induce changes. The current study suggests that tourism cooperatives can be an effective mechanism for achieving 'pro-poor' purpose via increasing businesses competitiveness, enhancing local participation and achieving collective benefits. Reflections on tourism cooperatives and pro-poor tourism in the current study may provide useful information for tourism cooperatives and public agencies.

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