Tackling Latin America's Tourism and Poverty Conundrum
New research reveals how tourism needs to directly benefit local communities if it is to alleviate poverty amongst the impoverished in Latin America
June 3, 2014 (Newswire.com) - With the World Cup kicking off in less than two weeks, all eyes will be turned on Brazil - providing the country with an opportunity to showcase the essence of what makes Brazil a spectacular place to visit.
But while the prospect of tourism development in Latin America is bright, will the influx of international tourists help the estimated 68 million living in extreme poverty? According to new research published in a special issue of Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes by global academic publisher Emerald Group Publishing, tourism needs to directly connect to the poor for it to be effective in poverty alleviation.
The special issue How might tourism contribute to poverty reduction in Latin American countries? offers a unique opportunity to investigate the region's tourist development conundrum.. It also serves as a timely reminder about how mega-events can go beyond the sporting arena. Guest editor, Dr. Robertico Croes, from the University of Central Florida, has brought together a team of experienced researchers with particular interests in Latin America and the Caribbean to reveal how economic and social forces shape the relationships between tourism and poverty reduction in Latin American countries.
While alternative tourism (such as community and wilderness) is used as a vehicle to reduce poverty, the research reveals that local communities often feel left out of the development process despite efforts to include them. This often results in local stakeholders behaving in non-collaborative ways. Even in successful and mature destinations such as Costa Rica, a lack of collaborative marketing teamed with poor governance are preventing communities from integrating into the tourism market.
The seven articles in this special issue span the challenge of managing resources at cultural sites such as Machu Picchu and Cuzco in Peru to reflections on archaeology, poverty and tourism in the Bolivian Amazon.
Offering recommendations in the form of practical steps that governments could use to align tourism development with poverty alleviation, Dr. Croes advises that job creation should be the cornerstone of government policy.
He comments: "Most studies assume that the benefits from tourism will just spread to the poor, but mixed results suggest the link is not automatic. It is not humane to experiment with alternative tourism and speculate about its effects on the poor. We need small but powerful solutions with immediate and tangible results that percolate to the poor masses, such as job creation. This would lead to increasing self-confidence, motivation and recovery."
This issue is available to read for free throughout June by visiting www.emeraldinsight.com/tk/latin_america
Published as Volume 6 Issue 3 2014, WHATT aims to make a practical and theoretical contribution to hospitality and tourism development and seeks to do this by using a key question to focus attention on an industry issue. For more information about this journal, visit http://www.emeraldinsight.com/whatt.htm
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