Host Community participation in tourism developments in South Africa forms an integral part of the government objectives in the tourism industry which are inter alia to build a world class tourism industry and to integrate historically disadvantaged people into the mainstream of the industry. However, sense of community and participation forms some of the crucial factors which can affect processes of tourism development as postulated by Aref (2011).
Without community participation, tourism development could not be achieved hence there is a need for governments in the developing world to play a role in fostering community support for tourism development and enhancing long-term sustainability as a broad base for tourism development planning as cited by Hall, Kirkpatrick, Michael (2010) states that developing a sense of community contributes to participation by enabling people to feel connected and motivated to live in harmony and work together towards common goals hence Aref (2011) states that there is a strong positive relationship between the extent of the community in tourism development and their perceptions towards an increase in tourism development.
This paper serves to clearly show how the relationship between community and tourism development and also showing how community can involvement can be important relating to countries in the developing world. The relationship between host community and tourism development Communities and tourism are interdependent (Hall et al. , 2005) meaning that local communities play a crucial role in tourism.
He also points out that communities play the following key three roles in tourism: Local communities are the providers of tourist services; hence there are focal points for supply of amenities for tourists. In the case of urban tourism, tourists come into contact with the host community members who are employed in the tourism industry and provide exclusively tourism related services. Also community members are the owners of various small to medium businesses that serve both tourists and residents. Local community are the focal point for the supply of accommodation, catering, information, transport, facilities and service for tourism development. In a case of rural, cultural heritage tourism, the community itself is a tourism product. Tourists visit rural areas to see their way of life, watch rituals or attend festivals etc.
Community members provide all the services and experiences that tourists enjoy in a rural destination Community is the rightful of its natural and cultural heritage. They give us the roots in the past and our identity in the present and are also things we choose to preserve for future generations. The community can decide how extensive it wants tourism development to be, how involved in tourism it wants to be and how many tourists it is willing to accept. Communities are responsible for sustainability; there is a cost to using natural and cultural environment. They have to be maintained, cleaned, conserved and preserved for future generations.
The costs of the conservation of local resources are actually carried by local government and communities living in a particular area. Moreover, tourism development also plays a significant role in providing for the community. Tourism improves the standard of living for a community because the host communities can benefit from overall improvement of standards of living brought about by the direct and indirect effect of economic empowerment and jobs that have been created by tourism. This simple mean that tourism can impact positively to a community, because economic benefits derived by the host community will ultimately impact on its standard of living Community based tourism Community is expected to participate in tourism activities.
The purpose of community based tourism is to verify whether individual, organization and community has built their ability to anticipate tourism development in their area where their community are living (Naipinit & Maneenetr, 2010). Tourism development will not be successful without the community involved. There are a lot of local communities who fail to realise the importance of tourism in stimulating social change, culture, environment and economic dimension. Tourism is just like a tool that used by community to promote economic development. In conjunction with the issue, community leaders in the area of development must play an important role in taking care of tourism problem.
Meanwhile, tourism development and community empowerment are community welfare. Empowerment concept arises as an effort to give local community or marginal people to quit from powerlessness condition. According to World Bank (2002), basically, empowerment has four main elements. Access to information, because information is capital in dependence development, community who has sufficient information will have better position in using the opportunity, easier to get service access, using their rights, also asking for responsibility of the stake holders. Participation, chance to participate in tourism development, either is planning, implementation or policy is very important to local community.
With those participation, all decisions can be based on local knowledge, local wisdom, as well as the priorities are match with local community aspirations; it will be ended to local community commitment in development process including tourism development. Accountability of all stakeholders is needed, including in developing the role and implementation. Accountability must be done in order to get community trust, in the other side community are also educated to develop their accountability amongst them, with other parties vertically, horizontally and internal accountability. Local organisational capacity, community empowerment process must be consisted of quality ability development, ability to work. Community participation in developing countries
Dola and Mijan (2006) point it clear that host community participation in Less Economically Developed Countries (LEDCs) in terms of decision making in tourism development has always being lacking and marginalised to some extent. Community is viewed by most authors as the most important party, since it is host that will be most affected either positively or negatively by tourism planning and development. Mohammadi (2010) has stated that participation is increasingly being regarded as fundamental to the effectiveness of the planning and management of tourism. Infect, community participation in tourism development does not only relate to the decision making process and the benefits of tourism development, but also regarded integral to sustainable tourism.
The South African tourism White paper (1996) clearly considers the host community as one of the beneficiaries from tourism development, hence there is a need to include the community participation in tourism planning at all levels be it national, provincial and at a local level. However the problem still stands as to what extent is community involvement visible in the developing context as cited by Mohammad (2010). One of the findings from a research on the extent of community involvement in tourism development in Barabarani, Tanzania showed that the community was involved in tourism development but not fully involved (Michael, 2009) as they stated, this implies that community involvement is lacking in Africa.
The research further shows that there is a low commitment in community development initiatives like education and training, community co-operatives formulation and lack of capital to develop small businesses. However, there are significant obstacles to participate community in tourism planning in developing countries such as Iran as pointed by Eshliki & Kaboudi (2011). Some of these obstacles are related to the instruction of decision making in governing system. Since the central government administration structures, ministries and agencies worked on sectoral basis, it became a norm for development planning and management to work on the basis of from top to bottom communication approach (Hall et al. , 2005).
On the other hand, in terms of involving the community in issues like policy making or decision making, tourism authority can be reluctant to involve the community for a number of reasons. Firstly the authorities can feel that the community is not well educated enough about tourism and hence they do not exactly know the complex nature of tourism and what the decision they are making can affect their socio-economic being (Hall et al. , 2005). The other reason is the community itself can resist change because of fear of the unknown thinking they might lose something in the process of tourism development. The extent of community Involvement in South Africa The South African experience with regard to community involvement is minimal.
But there are cases where communities actually have control or ownership of the land, for example, Fakir, Stavrou & Russel (1999) reports that the Ritchersveld community in the Western Cape lease out their land to the South African National Parks Board (SANPB) for R900 000 a year, and the success of the Makuleke community in winning a land claims case in the Pafuri area of the Kruger National Park. In these cases communities are more empowered to determine the direction or the development options of their choice. According to the KwaZulu-Natal Tourism Authority Annual Review Report (1998-1999) the provincial government in KwaZulu-Natal started tourism projects in the province. The government started the projects with the hope of ensuring that the local communities around the developed tourist destinations derive maximum benefit.
These developed tourists destinations include the Liani hot springs near Greytown; Kwashushu near Ntunjambili; Ongoye forest near Empangeni; Emakhosini valley near Ulundi; Mkhambathini game reserve near Pietennarizburg and many more others that are in the pipeline. In the case of Madikwe in the North West Province, lodge operators often organise community drive programmes in which they take tourists to experience traditional food or theatre, for this the community gets a fee from the lodge operator. This approach can be one way that can create a sense of belonging to Kwangcolosi community in tourism projects that are developed in their immediate vicinity as stated by Fakir et al (2009).
The truth comes therefore that community involvement in South Africa in terms of tourism development is minimum; hence the South African government should show an active commitment towards community involvement because of its importance. The importance of community involvement in tourism development Community participation in tourism development processes can support and uphold local culture, tradition, knowledge and skill, and create pride in community heritage. The goal of community participation is to improve communication between stakeholders in the interest of facilitating better decision-making and sustainable development (Nampila, 2005).
Community participation also is the mechanism for active community involvement in partnership working, decision making and representation in community structures (Chapman & Kirk, 2011). It should be noted that community participation often means the involvement of people or community with the government. Without participation, there is obviously no partnership, no development and no program. Hence lack of community participation in decision making to implement tourism development can lead to failure in the community development (Miranda, 2007). Community participation increases people’s sense of control over issues that affect their lives and also promotes self-confidence and self awareness (Nampila, 2005).
Fakir et al (1999) also regard community participation as the creation of a democratic system and procedure to enable community members to become actively involved and to take responsibility for their own development, to share equally in the fruits of community development and to improve their decision-making power. Community participation provides a sense of community to take responsibility for oneself and others, and a readiness to share and interact (Aref et al. , 2010). Government strategies to foster community involvement Tourism education and training is another dimension of the community involvement in tourism development. The improvement of the skill-base of poor communities through various training initiatives is an important policy intervention and focus of recent research (Naipinit & Maneenetr, 2010).
In particular, Fakir et al (1999) argue that the dominant perspective is that, as in many countries of the world, South Africa is hard at work in attempting to put in place viable and sustainable tourism education and training programmes. As tourism activities continue to expand, the need for training and education grows. In recent years many universities and colleges in South Africa has added travel and tourism programmes to their curricula. In other institutions existing programmes have expanded, vocational schools have launched new programmes, trade associations have introduced education and certification programmes, and private firms have opened travel and tourism schools. Nevertheless, this changing environment is characterized by lack of co-ordination and integration, and rampant duplication of curricular and training.
Moreover, those in most need of tourism training; remote rural and township communities are set back by their spatial setting and lack of resources, seldom in position to utilize these opportunities, Fakir et al (1999). Financial support in terms of loans and grants plays a key role in community well being, since the community forms a key focal point in supplying tourist amenities, members of the community need financial support in terms starting their own businesses as entrepreneurs. Small and medium businesses in South Africa are most owned by community and theses include B&Bs, guest houses, and some transport facilities. also communities form co-operatives that play a huge role in tourism development hence it is the duty of government bodies like the SEDA to support these businesses.
Social responsibility programmes, the purpose of the government’s social responsibility programme is the creation of employment and skills development opportunities in the sphere of the environment and tourism for unemployed people through the implementation of labour intensive projects under the auspice of the Expanded Publics Works Programme (EPWP). Examples of projects funded under this programme include community-owned infrastructure, bush clearing areas and tourism signage (Naipinit & Maneenetr, 2010). Conclusion To sum up the above discussion, for destinations in the developing world to succeed in tourism, there is need for community involvement in order to get maximum benefit from tourism development. Tourism development alone without the consultation of the host community can fail tourism; therefore it is the duty of the government to prioritise on various strategies to maximise community capacity.