A review of case studies in community-based tourism (CBT) indicates that most initiatives emerged from a rather comprehensive critique of the international tourism industry and were part of the community’s movements searching for solutions to the many worrisome impacts generated by increasing mass tourism (Christensen, 2002&Pleumarom, 2002&Christ, 1998). These alternative tourism projects were certainly not without problems, but what is important to note is that they were genuinely owned and controlled by local people and their organizations without interference from government, business and international agencies. Commercialisation was seen as the main cause of tourism-related problems, so the motivation was not to establish profitable businesses. Rather, the priority was to expose visitors to the realities of Third World countries and to engender understanding and solidarity for peoples’ struggle against injustices and unwanted development schemes. This kind of community attitude is often rooted in tourism developers’ and researchers’ lack of understanding of community views and perceptions. A literature review revealed that resident perceptions of tourism are an important planning and policy consideration for the successful development, marketing, and operation of existing and future tourism programmes and projects. The research undertaken for this study aims to provide a better understanding of community perceptions surrounding tourism, as perceived by the residents of the Tshivhase area, a relatively newly established tourism destination in Venda, Limpopo Province, and draws implications for future marketing and sustainable tourism development. The study indicates variables that influenced community perceptions of tourists, tourism and their own cultural heritage and indicates its significance for the study area. It provides insights into community perceptions towards tourists, tourism and their cultural heritage in the tourism context by discussing research findings that were identified in the study area during the field research. Furthermore, the study identifies how the community perceive their own culture in respect to tourists’ culture and finally, how they perceive tourism to influence their own cultural traditions (socio-cultural Impacts of tourism). Finally, the study provides guidelines for an appropriate marketing approach for Community-based Tourism (CBT) and indicates the significance of community perceptions for sustainable CBT development. The semi-structured interviews produced a very large range of responses that were categorised by grouping community members according to their common socio-demographic characteristics. Education, age group and occupation Emerged as the most important variables. Community members in the Tshivhase area with similar socio-demographic characteristics in terms of education, age and occupation demonstrate similar perceptions, thus enabling the researcher to draw clear distinctions among them. On the one hand, the findings suggest that there is a high degree of agreement among respondents with regard to the positive economic and socio-cultural impacts of tourism on the area. On the other hand, despite their very favourable disposition towards the industry, respondents recognise the possibility that some negative social effects may ensue, despite their absence in the area thus far. In most cases, however, respondents are convinced that these negative consequences of tourism will not emerge in the area because of certain African practices such as the custodian role of the chief and the strong moral codes and values generally upheld within the community. Another important conclusion is that certain socio-demographic characteristics play an important role in understanding significant perceptual differences between Category A, B and C. The most crucial and explanatory of these were education, age, and occupation. Category B and C in particular demonstrate little understanding of the tourism industry as a result of low levels of education and limited exposure to the tourism industry.
Dissertation (MHCS (Heritage and Culture Tourism))--University of Pretoria, 2007.