A community relations model for the tourism industry / Regina 'Marankopane' Makoloi Thetsane
Thetsane, Makoloi Malehlohonolo Reginah
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The primary goal of this study was to construct and test a Community Relations Model (CRM) that may be implemented by policy makers, tourism planners, tourism managers and tourism developers as they develop tourism policies and manage the social impacts of tourism. Five objectives were derived from the primary research goal. The first objective was to analyse the social impacts of tourism by means of a literature study. This was achieved by examining the theoretical perspectives, framework and models for assessing host community perceptions of social impacts of tourism. In this regard, it was found that the social impacts of tourism are an integral part of sociology. Therefore, the social impacts of tourism may not be successfully addressed without drawing on the methods and perspectives of sociology. This indicates clearly that there is a relationship between sociology and other social science disciplines, particularly tourism management. The host communities' perceptions of tourism may be positive or negative and are critical in policy planning and management because they affect the behaviour of the residents toward the tourists. The second objective was to analyse the role of the community by means of a literature study. This objective was achieved by examining the role of the government, the private sector and the community in managing the social impacts of tourism. It was found that the main roles of the government are to facilitate, coordinate, plan and promote development of the nations and tourists products. The private sector's roles are to invest and promote tourism as well as the country. The community should actively participate in tourism management by seeking partnership opportunities with the stablished private tourism sector, voluntary groups and NGO's. Although the community is expected to playa vital role in the management of tourism, it was found that their actual involvement depends on their awareness of tourism activities, on how they perceive tourism developments and their involvement in tourism related issues. The third objective was to determine the components to be used in order to develop and test the Community Relations Model (CRM). This objective was achieved through both literature and qualitative analysis. Evidence from the literature and qualitative analysis indicates that the Katse community is unquestionably affected both positively and negatively by tourism developments. It was also clear that effective management of social impacts of tourism may be achieved through collaboration and partnership with the government, the private sector and the community. The stakeholders should work together in order to encourage the positive impacts and ameliorate the negative impacts. The community should be involved and made aware of tourism developments in their respective areas. Both the literature and qualitative study revealed the six community relations components: namely, the positive impacts, negative impacts, the role of government, the role of private sector, community awareness and community involvement that, were used to develop a measuring instrument for Katse residents. The fourth objective was to construct and test the CRM based on an empirical investigations. The CRM is intended to guide tourism planners, managers and policy-makers in managing the social impacts of tourism. To achieve this objective, nine research hypotheses were proposed and tested. The sample of 500 Katse residents was drawn from the household population of four villages: namely, Ha-Lejone, Ha-Poli, Ha-Mikia and Mphorosane. A combination of stratified and convenience sampling approaches were used for sample selection. Data was analysed with the aid of Structural Equation Modeling (SEM). SPSS with AMOS 16 software was used to construct and test the SEM model. In constructing and testing model A, a two stage process was followed. Firstly, factors were calculated through the use of confirmatory factor analysis for the six community relations components. Secondly, the factors were used for SEM. Due to unsatisfactory data fit in model A, model B was constructed and tested. In constructing and testing model B factor analyses were not performed; instead all the items of each community relations component were used for SEM. In the resulting structural equation model for both model A and B, eight hypotheses were supported and one was not supported (H7). The results of the two models provided similar results; however, model B fitted the collected data reasonably while model A fitted the data poorly. The fifth objective was to make recommendations and suggestions on how the model may be implemented with regard to the management of the social impacts of tourism. It was recommended that the model should be implemented in the area of tourism management. In order to implement the model effectively the role players should know, understand and perform their roles and duties in managing the social impacts of tourism. The successful implementation of the CRM depends on a positive relationship between and among the role players in tourism management. Specifically, it depends on a positive relationship between the role of government, the role of private sector, community awareness, community involvement, positive impacts and negative impacts of tourism. The proposed model needs to be implemented through the partnership and collaboration of the role players in tourism management. which will lead to sustainable tourism. The most important contribution of this study is the construction of a model through which the positive and negative impacts of tourism may be effectively managed.
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