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Tourism as a tool for poverty alleviation using value chain analysis : a case study of Setiu Wetland, Terengganu, Malaysia

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Abd Halim, N (2014) Tourism as a tool for poverty alleviation using value chain analysis : a case study of Setiu Wetland, Terengganu, Malaysia. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

Tourism is widely acknowledged as a key economic sector that has the potential to contribute to national and local development and, more specifically, to serve as a mechanism to promote poverty alleviation and pro-poor development within a particular locality, especially in rural areas. However, even though the poverty alleviation strategies and programmes in Malaysia have been acclaimed as a success by United Nation Development Programme (UNDP), many problems and challenges remain– new forms of poverty, including single female-headed households, the rural elderly and unskilled workers, have emerged as a result of rapid economic growth.
As the focus of this dissertation is pro-poor tourism, though, it is the nature of linkages between tourism and the local economy that are critical – rather than just the aggregate size of the tourism sector. This research was undertaken in a protected area, Setiu Wetland, Terengganu, on the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia, where there is a relatively high incidence of poverty. It contributes to the debate on the impacts of tourism on the poor by critically analysing the linkages in the value chains between the tourism sector and local economic activities. Value chain analysis allows the researcher to pinpoint who the poor are, where they are, and impediments and obstacles to their participation in the supply chain. This study will help to fill this gap in the literature by specifically considering this relationship using tourism value chain analysis for poverty alleviation. This research explores two sectors in the local economy – fishing and handicrafts – using value chain analysis to see to what extent they link into tourism development and to what extent they are able to contribute to poverty alleviation. The focus of the case study is on local poor people, but does not exclude other stakeholders. In this context, a case study methodology has been employed and a mix-method approach was chosen in which distribution of questionnaires to the local households especially the poor and tourists, and also interviews with key stakeholders i.e. the local government authority, NGOs, accommodation representatives, and value chain (fishing and handicrafts) actors at every level were conducted for the research. The results indicate that the conceptual framework of Value Chain Analysis developed for this research suggests the following. Firstly, delivering poverty alleviation impact at scale means helping poor people engage with the tourism market directly and indirectly, especially with mainstream tourism rather than following the more orthodox approach of community based tourism ventures which invariably remain small and often fail to produce liveable incomes. This was generated from the analysis of mapping where the poor were involved and interacted in the tourism system. Evidence from the fieldwork revealed that the poor can benefit from tourism in the role of workers such as producers, (and in many cases of more than five product), and as owners of family-based tourism ventures. The success of the fishing and handicrafts supply chains in Setiu is due to an active private sector, supportive and progressive government policies, community cooperatives and service providers – a model for linking such sectors into tourism.
Secondly, is the identification of interventions/entry points to effectively apply tourism as a tool for rural poverty alleviation. This was developed based on the opportunities and constraints arising from value chain mapping that identified so-called ‘entry pressure points’ where factors in the two sectors could maximize the benefits that they could generate from their businesses. In this context upgrading the linkages between the two sectors (fisheries and handicrafts) and tourism-related demand is necessary as mainstreaming interventions. Value chain mapping also clearly identified, related gender issues and the role of women in Setiu Wetlands in the two supply chains. Among the poor in many societies and countries, women make a major contribution to family welfare and income: where value chain analysis contributes to our understanding of this common-place phenomenon is the way in which it is able to move from the generalized statement to specific measurements of their inputs. As the first study of its kind in Malaysia, the application of value chain analysis to communities living in and around a Protected Area utilizing the wetlands resources to explore the linkages between the fisheries and handicrafts sectors to tourism, and challenging to some extent the orthodox approach to community based tourism and poverty alleviation, in effect breaks new ground both conceptually and empirically.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Value chain analysis, tourism linkages, local economic activities, poverty alleviation, fisheries, handicrafts
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2014 the Author

Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2015 03:03
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2017 01:06
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