Date of Award

2007

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Business Honours

School

School of Marketing, Tourism and Leisure

Faculty

Faculty of Business and Law

First Advisor

Dr Lynnaire Sheridan

Abstract

This exploratory study of community perceptions of tourism impacts and host guest relations in a Least Developed Country (LDC) was undertaken in the Boeung Keng Kang I region of Phnom Penh city, Cambodia. A mixed methodology approach, with quantitative questionnaires of the local community and semi structured interviews with both the community and key informants from stakeholder groups, was used to investigate the appropriateness of social exchange theory and economic dependency theory to the LDC sustainable tourism development agenda set by the World Tourism Organization (WTO). While the concept of sustainable tourism incorporates the economic, environmental and sociocultural aspects of tourism, this study chose to focus on the current status of resident perceptions of tourism, tourism impacts and host guest relations in a LDC experiencing early stages of tourism development to build on research that seeks to understand the sociocultural aspects of sustainable tourism development in the LDCs of the world. This study has determined that the Boeung Keng Kang I community currently perceives tourism very positively and did not discern any severe negative tourism impacts. Tourism was perceived as highly beneficial to the community by providing employment opportunities, bringing services and prosperity, contributing to increased safety and security among others. Any negative impacts mentioned, such as acculturation, were fears for potential negative impacts in the future rather than perceptions of current negative experiences. The role of the host guest interaction was also an important contributor to community perceptions of tourism. Results from this study support the interrelationship between positive perceptions of tourism impacts and a positive host guest relationship evident in the literature. That is, in this scenario, positive perceptions of host guest relations in the community appear to boost an overall positive attitude towards tourism in the Boeung Keng Kang I community. Moreover, the key findings support a new approach to social exchange theory and host guest relations by qualifying this relationship and identifying potential influences unique to the perception formation of these residents, and thus expanding the understanding of social exchange theory and host guest relations. This includes the influences of the Cambodian tourism environment, internal and external impact perception and the influence of culture on the host guest interaction. This research will highlight the importance of community perceptions of tourism and the host guest relationship to LDC tourism development strategies. It provides a case study of a community experiencing early tourism development which can inform similar cases in the future. With further research it could become a practical model to identify the challenges and successes of LDC tourism development in other regional and cultural settings.

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