Community-based tourism in Timor-Leste: a collaborative network approach

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Tolkach, Denis (2013) Community-based tourism in Timor-Leste: a collaborative network approach. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


This thesis discusses the concept of community-based tourism (CBT), as an alternative approach to tourism development. CBT emphasises the central role of local communities in relation to tourism and places a stronger emphasis on the role of community development than is evident in other forms of tourism. To date few CBT projects have been successful in delivering socio-economic benefits for local communities. A review of the relevant tourism and community development literature indicates that collaborative networks may provide a viable means of assisting CBT to achieve greater benefits for local communities. The researcher proposes alternative network configurations and applicable CBT attributes. CBT has been developed in parts of rural Timor-Leste and offers a potential basis for developing sustainable forms of tourism. Timor-Leste is an oil dependent fledgling island nation and advocates of CBT confront a number of challenges. Using a multi-stage qualitative research approach, the present thesis explores stakeholder perceptions of the potential to establish a CBT network within Timor. The researcher adopts a constructivist approach to knowledge and the thesis is informed by critical theory, grounded theory, action research and elements of Delphi study methodology. It was found that the research participants were in broad agreement that CBT offers considerable potential for developing sustainable tourism and that the establishment of a network can address challenges such as lack of knowledge, funding and marketing. The thesis evaluates the range of research participants’ views about how the network structure might be developed. The potential CBT model is explored from the perspectives of neo-liberalism, neo-colonialism, social economy and community development. The research findings have particular applicability in the case of developing states, where tourism is only moderately developed.

Additional Information

economic development, social development, sustainable development, CBT networks, Timor Leste, East Timor

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1402 Applied Economics
Historical > FOR Classification > 1506 Tourism
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > College of Business
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