post by : Jeanloz Leon


Article summary

Ashley C., Boyd C., Goodwin H. (2000) « PRO-POOR TOURISM : PUTTING POVERTY AT THE HEART OF THE TOURISM AGENDA », Natural Resource Perspectives, N°51 

Keywords: Wages coming from employment ; Global earnings from selling goods and services ; Collective income

Ashley et al. (2000) assess the different impacts of tourism on areas, people and landscapes. Its main point is about how tourism has not yet clearly included poverty elimination purposes in the tourism agenda, and how we could manage to incorporate this goal in the positive impacts of tourism on poor countries, while reducing the negative ones ! That is what we call Pro-Poor tourism. National governments usually promote the macro-economic growth and the investments in the private sector (the tourism investments come mainly from national companies, which repatriates most of the time the benefits to the metropolitan centers) without taking the needs and the opportunities that tourism has to offer to the poor into consideration. In order to change that, it is first of all important to know that Pro-Poor tourism does not simply mean setting up resorts in third world countries. Indeed, we must be aware that the local population does not have to compete for the use of local resources, because they must be fairly shared in order to increase net benefits to the poor. In addition to that, by enhancing the existing touristic strategies and infrastructures, instead of investing in them, the citizens can maximize their returns. It is now important to emphasize that tourists do not only come to the destination, but stimulate the local economy by consuming local goods and services. As it has been previously said, the point is not about creating a mass tourism resort in the third world countries, but to create a sufficient flow of money1, in order to be able to focus on other important issues such as local people social issues, and the conservation of the cultural, wildlife and landscape value. By this way, we would be able to create a sustainable tourism that would benefit to everyone. Indeed, it would create (which means financial) opportunities for lots of local people ; the guiding profession for instance, is a good example of a well-paid job that can bring financial security to a family! Thus, lots of parents could afford paying the school fees to their childrens, instead of sending them to work. It is indeed clear, that tourism is able to provide serious assets and opportunities to local people, as well as lots of positive impacts in livelihood goals (health, education, financial safety). But not only that, this article proposes and highlights different ways of enhancing economic opportunities by increasing the poor people’s participation. We know that economic participation depends mainly on two factors : the human and financial capital. That means that in order to be able to bring their contribution to their own touristic economy, local poor people would have to be trained on dealing with the tourist expectations, as well as English speaking. Setting up strategies adapted to each national policy would be an essential part of the process as well. The area of Bali (Indonesia) gives a pretty good example, because most restaurants are leaded by families or voluntary associations with a distinctive division of work and revenue, in order to give a fair share to every members. However, Pro-Poor tourism encounters significant obstacles : a lack of funds for its application, a lack of organisation or just the distance that separates people from tourism sites are just a few examples. A loss of control over the use of resources would have devastating effects on the local economy, as well as on the individual. That is why Pro-Poor strategies must be effectively and fairly led!