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The Attitude Of Residents Toward Tourism Tourism Essay

Tourism is a fast developing industry and a valuable sector in many countries. Its contribution is important to the countries’ economy. Furthermore, tourism performs an ever more significant role in the communities’ development.

A comprehension of resident’s perceptions on tourism impacts is important (Ap. 1992). One of the main reasons for increasing interest in this topic has been the confirmation that tourism can both have positive and negative impacts on local residents (Lankford & Howard, 1994). Tourism benefits are both tangible (e.g. tax revenue, job creation, etc.) and intangible (e.g. social structure, quality of life, etc.). Tourism affects the economic structure as well as the social and environmental structure of the community. Attitudes of residents towards tourism impacts are most likely to be important in planning for successful community development (Ko & Stewart, 2002; Aref et al. 2009).

According to Baker (1992), an attitude is a complex theoretical construct, which is used to “explain the direction and persistence of human behavior” (Baker 1992:10). In other words, an attitude is what Sarnoff (1970) defines as a disposition to react favorably or unfavorably to a class of objects. Disposition consists of three components namely feeling, thoughts and predisposition to act and it influences the individuals responses (Ajzen, 1988). Attitudes are defined as “a state of mind of the individual toward a value” and as “an enduring predisposition towards a particular aspect of one’s environment” (McDougall & Munro, 1987). They are developed upon the perceptions and attitudes of reality, but are strongly related to values and personality. Researchers identified that residents’ attitudes toward tourism are not just the reflections of residents’ perception of tourism impacts, but effect of exchange between residents’ perceptions and the factors influencing their attitudes (Lankford et al, 1994).

Local residents’ attitudes toward tourism have been widely examined in the literature. Three types of factors that influence attitudes toward tourism development: socioeconomic factors, spatial factors, and economic dependency were outlined (Harill, 2004).

Tourism development has been usually identified as a double-edged sword for host communities. It does not generate only revenues, but it also inflicts costs (Jafari 2001). Local residents build up their attitudes toward tourism by taking into consideration and evaluating these benefits and costs. Nonetheless, previous research showed that these factors do not solely determine residents’ attitudes towards tourism. They are altered by various moderating variables (Lankford et al. 1994).

2.2 Residents attitude towards tourism

Several studies have been previously carried out to find those variables that influence residents’ attitudes toward tourism (Perdue et al. 1987, Ap 1992, Lankford 1994). These studies identified those variables, which included residents’ demographic and socio-economic attributes. Changes in lifestyle of local residents directly influenced their perceptions of tourism development and its impacts (Esu, 2008)

Previous researches have looked at the relationship between residents’ attitudes and socioeconomic variables such as gender, income and length of residence, though results from these studies are not always constant. McCool and Martin’s (1994) and a study in Virginia (Harill 2004) found that long-term residents were more supportive of tourism development than short-term residents were. On the other hand, Allen et al. (1993) found that length of residence did not considerably influence attitudes towards tourism development in 10 rural communities in Colorado. Other studies suggested that gender is a more regular predictor of residents’ attitudes toward tourism development. Mason and Cheyne (2000) observed that men are more supportive for tourism development than women are. This is because mainly due to women perceived negative impacts like increases in crime, traffic and noise. Harill and Potts (2003) also reported the same results in their study of Charleston, SC.

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Many studies have explored the relationship between residents’ attitudes and locations, and activities of tourism development. They were established on the hypothesis that “the nearer a resident reside to concentrations of tourism activity, the more negative his or her perception will be of tourism development” (Harill 2004, p.253)

A survey of attitudes toward tourism growth in Rhode Island by Tyrell and Spaulding (1984), reported that local residents attitudes toward the tourism facilities close to their home were not so positive because of litter and trash. Gursoy and Jurowski (2002) found that residents who used a neighboring recreation area regularly were more firmly opposed to tourism development than those who visited less frequently. Additionally, in another study, Harill and Potts (2003) found that nearby residents in a tourism center of Charleston were less supportive of tourism development than residents of other communities who live further away from the core as they received the influence of the negative impacts from tourism.

Resident perception towards the impacts of tourism on a community can vary considerably. Positive attitudes about tourism impacts among residents will bring about more successful tourism development. Tourism developers need to consider residents’ attitudes and perceptions before investing in scarce resources (Cevirgen and Kesgin, 2007).

Throughout the past 25 years, North American researchers have examined many different features related to residents’ attitudes toward tourism impacts and perceptions of tourism development (Haley et al 2005). Pizam (1978) suggested that negative host attitudes were emerging because of heavy concentration. Rothman (1978) emphasized on negative resident perceptions towards the growth in crime, over-crowding, litter, noise and increase in prices, although studies also showed the perception of positive aspects. These included higher employment opportunities (Milman and Pizam 1988), enhancement of local infrastructures and a rise in leisure opportunities (Davis, Allen and Cosenza 1988). Other important findings were known to influence attitudes and perceptions, mainly personal and demographic factors. Tourism researchers also assessed the differences in perceived impacts among various types of local residents. These included socio-demographic characteristics (Belisle & Hoy, 1980; Liu & Var, 1986; Milman & Pizam, 1988; Pizam, 1978); economic dependence on tourism (Milman & Pizam, 1988; Pizam, 1978); and place of residence or distance from the tourism area of the community (Belisle & Holy, 1980; Sheldon & Var, 1984). Research found that as distance between residents’ home and the tourism sector of the community increases, perceived impact of tourism decreases.

2.3 Theoretical Background on impact of tourism on residents

A number of theoretical approaches have been developed to explain the impact of tourism on residents. The initial models were Doxey’s Irridex model and the tourism area life cycle model (Butler, 1980). Several studies focusing on residents’ attitudes toward tourism followed (Juroski 1998; Ap, 1992, and Allen et al, 1993). Theories such as lifecycle theory, power theory, equity theory and social exchange theory were used for further research

2.3.1 Social Exchange Theory

Social exchange theory (SET) explains that residents’ are most probable to support tourism providing that perceive benefits exceed perceived costs. The theory derived from sociology, economics and psychology. SET is founded on the principle that human beings are reward seeking and punishment avoiding and that they are induce to act with the prospect of profits (Skidmore, 1975). SET has to do with understanding the exchange of resources between groups in a relation situation where the entities to exchange are measurable, have value, and there is a common allowance of rewards and costs between players (Ap, 1992, Madrigal, 1993). SET supposes that social relations comprise of exchange of resources among parties looking for common benefits from exchange interactions. The main purpose of exchange is the development of the community’s economic benefits (Aref & Redzuan, 2009). Various studies have been carried out bases on social exchange theoretical framework (Juroski 1998; Ap, 1992, and Perdue et al, 1987). These research works discovered that local residents support tourism when they gain more than they do loose from tourism activities. Individual’s perception of the impacts will also demonstrate whether the impacts of tourism development will lead to the support for or the objection against local tourism development (Aref & Redzuan, 2009).

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Social Exchange Theory (SET) has been frequently adapted by researches in the tourism field. A previous research of rural resident perceptions of tourism impacts of development in Colorado showed that support for further development was positively or negatively related to the perceived positive or negative impacts of tourism. Extra support for tourism development was also negatively associated to the perceived future of the society (Purdue et al, 1990) (Nunkoo et al, 2009). The social exchange theory was also utilized as a theoretical base by other researchers to identify why residents perceived tourism impacts positively or negatively.

Support for tourism development in their community will be higher from local residents when they assume that the benefits from tourism activities will be more important than the negative consequences. Previous researches showed that local residents would take part in tourism activities when they can benefit more than they will lose. Individual’s perception of tourism impacts will influence whether they will lead to support for or protests again local tourism development. Local people will look for economic impacts before other aspects. Hence, the primary attention of local residents will be towards the tourism impacts on the economy and they tends to be positive rather than negative as tourism development create impacts such as employment opportunity and income generation.

In conclusion, we may say that residents will be inclining to interact if they believe that they will reap benefits without suffering huge cots. By perceiving that the rewards are superior to the costs, residents will be more likely to be involved in the exchange, thus support future development in the community. Although popular among researches, SET does not take into account others non-economic benefits such as social and cultural benefits.

2.4 Tourism Impacts

Throughout studies on tourism impacts, which appeared in the 1960s, much emphasis has been put on positive effects of tourism and economic growth as a form of national development (Pizam 1978). In the 1970s, research on tourism impacts laid more emphasis on the negative socio-cultural impacts. The 1980s stressed more on the environment impacts of tourism (Butler 1980). The 1990s have been characterized by a more objective perspective, called sustainable tourism, where positive and negative effects are taken into consideration (Ap and Crompton, 1998).

Tourism development can foster when local residents have a positive attitude toward it and they feel involved in it. Tourism activity causes changes to local residents’ life, both positive and negative. It leads to higher traffic, increase in crime rates, more population and the pollution of all environment resources. Furthermore, tourism brings changes that disturb traditional way of life, family relations and many unpredictable problems (Puczko and Ratz 2005).

On the other hand, there is job creation, regeneration of old facilities and places and improvement in social life. New business opportunities emerge with tourism development and local residents are encouraged to explore them. However, they know that there will be the emergence of negative impacts such as cultural, social, economic and physical impacts.

The relationship between local residents and tourists is also problematical. Besides that, tourism development has restrictions that are directly related with carrying capacity and the quality of life of local residents. Going beyond these limits will cause local residents to develop negative attitudes toward tourism. If these negative attitudes persist and turn into values, tourism development obstacle appears.

Mass tourism generally leads to modification in the physical and cultural environment which impact on local residents’ values and lifestyle. Local community structure and family relations are also affected by these changes, as great effort is required by local residents to handle these alterations. Jamal and Getz (1995) stated that these changes compel local residents to be actively engaged in the tourism planning process and development of tourism destination.

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Many researches in the tourism field are persuaded that for tourism development to be successful, a good relationship between local residents and tourists is vital (Ap and Crompton 1998).

In a study on Social Impacts of Tourism on Central Florida, Milman and Pizam (1988) found out that local residents have positive attitudes towards tourists. Nonetheless, many of them talked about negative impacts of tourism such as alcohol, crime, drugs, traffic congestion, and conflicts arising between local residents and tourists and so on. At the same time, they identified positive impacts like employment opportunities, increased quality of life and income generated from taxes. While researchers put more emphasis on the positive impacts of tourism at the beginning of mass tourism, the last three decades emphasized more on social, economic and environmental impacts with the emergence of sustainable tourism (Harill and Potts 2003)

2.4.1 Economic Impact

Questions concerning economic factors have been dealt with in all the studies of resident attitude toward or perception of tourism impacts. The research revealed that local residents perception towards economic impact were positive as they feel that tourism increases the standard of living of local residents, and that it helps a country earn foreign exchange (Var et al. 1985)

Tourism can be considered as an export industry as it generates revenue from external sources. A country will acquire foreign currency from tourism and this will contribute to improve its balance of payment (Liu and Var 1986). Tourism also brings about job opportunities, which decreases unemployment (Sheldon and Var, 1984). Tourism also leads to the development of community infrastructure and service (Var and Kim, 1990).

Tourism development results in higher level of economic activity, which increases the amount of taxes generated by it and which are collected by the government.

Growth of tourism lead to better communication and transportation facilities (Milman and Pizam, 1988) and new infrastructure investment (Inskeep, 1991).

However, if tourism is not well planned and managed, it might give rise to negative impacts or even decrease the efficacy of positive ones. Higher tourism activities and increased demand from foreigners might cause the prices of goods and services to go up (Liu and Var, 1986). The rise in demand for accommodation, mainly in tourism season, might lead to higher rent being charged as well as an increase in land prices (Pizam, 1978; Var et al, 1985). Tourism also creates a sense of bitterness from local residents concerning the employment of foreigners in managerial positions.

Nevertheless, some researchers conclude that residents agreed that tourism’s economic gains were greater than social costs (Liu & Var, 1986; Sheldon & Var, 1984; Weaver & Lawton, 2001).

Hypothesis 1: Perceived economic impacts significantly influence a residents’ attitude towards tourism

2.4.2 Cultural Impact

Tourism can cause a change in society’s values, cultural practices and beliefs. Tourism has frequently been criticized for the disruption of traditional social and culture structures and behavioral patterns. The one to feel these impacts more heavily are local residents. They might change their lifestyle through contact with tourists. By observing the foreigners, they might adopt their way of life such as eating, dressing, entertainment and so on. This influence might be considered as a positive impact as it increases the standard of living of local residents. However, it can be considered as a negative impact as it leads to acculturation (Brunt and Courtney 1999, Eccles and Costa 1997, Dogan 1989). Acculturation occurs when two or more cultures meet each other for a continuous period and ideas are exchanged (Liu and Var, 1986).

Locations that have adopted tourism for its economic benefits have observed a rise in the level of crime, prostitution and displacement due to the rising land costs and loss of the cultural heritage of local residents, mainly youth.

Tourism can encourage to the realization of cultural identity and heritage as well as the revival of arts, local culture and crafts. In the process of tourism development, architectural and historical sites are refurbished and safeguarded (Inskeep 1991).

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Tourism also facilitates the exchange of cultures as many people from different cultures come together (Brayley et al, 1990).

Hypothesis 2: Perceived cultural impacts significantly influence residents’ attitude towards tourism

2.4.3 Social Impacts

Apart from its cultural impacts, tourism also creates social impacts. It plays a role in changing individual behavior, family relations, lifestyle, moral conduct, social structure and so on (Ap and Crompton, 1998). These impacts may be either positive or negative.

Tourism alters the internal structure of the community by separating it into those who have a relationship with tourism or tourists and those who do not (Brunt and Courtney, 1999).

Tourism development in a location might also modify the social structure of the community. It could lead to the emergence of two different classes, that is, a rich class that would consist of landlords and businessmen, and a lower class, which would include mostly immigrants (Dogan 1989).

Impacts of tourism on women are seen positively as they have more opportunities to work, more freedom, increased respect, higher standard of living, better education. Yet, some researchers claim that tourism diverts family structure and values and it is a cause of the rise in divorce rates and prostitution (Gee et al 1997; Haley et al 2005).

Other negative impacts that might result from tourism development are a decline in moral values, a rise in the use of drugs and alcohol, increase crime rates and conflicts in the society (Liu and Var 1986; Milman and Pizam 1988)

Hypothesis 3: Social impacts significantly influence residents’ attitude towards tourism.

2.4.4 Environment Impact

Research on resident’s perception of tourism impact on the environment suggested that residents might consider tourism as being positive or negative on the environment. Tourism helps to encourage preservation of the environment by creating awareness (Var and Kim, 1990). Residents also perceive that tourism improves the appearance of their town and surroundings (Perdue et al, 1987).

Fast growth of tourism might lead to the enhancement of government and local services such as fire, police and security (Milman and Pizam, 1988). Moreover, there might be an increase in the range of leisure and recreational activities in the community.

Negative impacts of tourism on the environments have been studied within the range of sustainable development o tourism. Improper planning, uncontrolled constructions and inadequate infrastructure causes environmental pollution, the destruction of natural resources, the degradation of vegetation and the depletion of wild life (Inskeep, 1991; Gee et al, 1997).

However, if efforts and works to build recreation areas, to improve infrastructure system, to prevent water and air pollution and waste disposal and works to restore historic sites and buildings are well planned and managed, it will lead to positive contributions to the community. Residents must be aware of environmental and ecological issues, as tourists prefer an unpolluted environment (Liu and Var, 1986; Inskeep, 1991).

Hypothesis 4: Environmental impacts significantly influence residents’ attitude towards tourism.

The following table presents the major positive and negative tourism impacts.

Positive economic impacts

1. Provides employment opportunities

2. Generates supply of foreign exchange

3. Increases income

4. Increases gross national products

5. Improves an infrastructure, facilities and services (sewage system)

6. Raises government revenue (tax)

7. Diversifies the economy

Negative economic impacts

1. Causes inflation of land value

2. Increases demand for local products, raising price on food and other products

3. Diverts funds from other economic development projects

4. Creates leakage through demand for imports

5. Results in seasonal employment

6. Displaces traditional patterns of labor

7. Involves costs of providing the construction and maintenance of infrastructure

Positive social impacts

1. Creates favorite image of the country

2. Provides recreational facilities for residents as well as tourists

3. Facilitates the process of modernization

4. Provides opportunities education

Negative social impacts

1. Creates resentment and antagonism related to dramatic differences in wealth

2. Causes overcrowding, congestion, traffic jams

3. Invites moral degradation resulting in increased crime, prostitution, drug trafficking

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4. Causes conflicts in traditional societies and in values

Positive cultural impacts

1. Encourages pride in local arts, crafts, and cultural expressions

2. Preserves cultural heritage

Negative cultural impacts

1. Create demonstration effect whereby natives imitate tourists and relinquish cultural traditions.

2. Encourage the tranquilization of craft

Positive environmental impacts

1. Justifies environmental protection (marine reserve) and improvement

2. Protects wildlife

3. Encourages education of value of natural based tourism

Negative environmental impacts

1. Fosters water pollution, air pollution and solid waste

2. Tramples delicate soil and beaches

3. Destroys coral and coastal dunes

4. Disrupts flora and fauna (wildlife, plant life wetlands)

This list of tourism impacts was drawn from the literature on the impacts of tourism (Andereck, 1995;McCool & Martin 1994; Ap & Crompton, 1998; Farrell & Runyan, 1991; Weaver & Lawton,2001)

The next chapter provides a summary of the research hypotheses and discusses research design and methodology. The items that are going to be used to measure each hypothesis are also briefly discussed.

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