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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

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Record number 492763
Title The rise and fall of tourism for poverty reduction within SNV Netherlands Development Organisation
Author(s) Hummel, J.A.
Source Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Rene van der Duim, co-promotor(en): Jaap Lengkeek. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462574939 - 206
Department(s) Cultural Geography
Publication type Dissertation, internally prepared
Publication year 2015
Keyword(s) toerisme - ontwikkeling van toerisme - ontwikkelingsstudies - tourism - tourism development - development studies
Categories Sustainable Tourism / Development Studies (General)

Although development organizations have been involved in tourism for poverty reduction for more than 30 years, their role remains contested. In my study, I examined the rise and fall of tourism within SNV Netherlands Development Organisation in the period 1993–2013. Here, I show how and why tourism as a development tool was introduced within SNV, how it was conceptualized and implemented as development practice, how the organization’s internal ‘ways of working’ influenced this implementation and why SNV recently phased out tourism.

Only a few researches have studied tourism development practices in development organizations. To study on these development practices, I used notions that are of importance at the intersection of tourism studies, development studies and organization studies. As such, this thesis contributes to ‘aidnography’, an ethnographic approach to study institutions, organizations and people involved in international development. Aidnography often includes notions of the actor-oriented and actor-network theory approaches.

Based on my research I conclude that tourism emerged as a tool for poverty reduction in SNV when development paradigms changed to an alternative/sustainable development paradigm in the 1990s, providing possibilities for tourism to be introduced as an element of integrated rural development. A few enterprising SNV directors started tourism initiatives.

The development discourses of SNV and the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs have always been closely related, reflecting and influencing international development debates. Around the turn of the millennium, SNV changed its main development concepts, emphasizing capacity development. In the second half of the 2000s, partnerships for development became more important. Tourism in SNV was enabled by and followed these paradigm shifts.

In line with these shifts, SNV changed its tourism development approaches and tools. In this thesis I discerned six phases. In the first years tourism was an element in sustainable rural development projects, especially in relation to local participatory planning. A few years later, the tourism practice focused more on capacity development, using multi-stakeholder approaches. Finally, in the years before phasing out, private sector engagement and support, and value chain analysis and development, became dominant approaches.

The way tourism was organized and implemented in the organization, was strongly related to the way SNV changed its internal organization over the years. Combinations of six organizational modes of ordering created possibilities for organizational change, which kept SNV relevant as a development organization and consequently influenced the tourism development practice.

The way SNV measured its results changed in every phase, and consequently its definition of development success changed in every phase. SNV needed periods of conceptual and material stability to get its result frameworks in place. Within SNV, and in development aid in general, ideas about what needed to be measured changed; changes occurred in the way development results had to be measured and documented, by whom and when. Therefore, impact was not measured thoroughly in the various phases.

In early 2011, tourism as a development sector was rather suddenly phased out by SNV. The organization concluded that tourism had not demonstrated its development impact convincingly and had limited donor funding potential, and that not enough expertise was available within SNV in comparison to other development sectors. It also seemed that tourism as a development sector in SNV did not have a strong internal or external lobby. Due to announced budget cuts for the end of 2010 by a new coalition government in the Netherlands, SNV decided to immediately focus only on its most prominent development sectors, namely agriculture, water and sanitation, and renewable energy. Tourism and other development sectors were phased out.

However, tourism as a development sector remains relevant wherever poverty persists in existing or potential tourism destinations. It is a growing sector in several developing countries. Tourism can propel innovative local development and provides opportunities for ethnic minority groups and remoter communities. An inclusive destination development approach is proposed, combining an enabling policy environment with strategic marketing and product development, capacity development, local enterprise development, and impact measurement on the ground. To support these multi-stakeholder development processes, a facilitating organization is often required to act as a catalyst.

If no local organizations are readily available to take the facilitating role, development organizations can support tourism for poverty reduction through three interrelated roles: facilitating, linking and networking; capacity development of local organizations and in local contexts; and knowledge development, innovating and sharing;. It is suggested that development organizations focus on innovative solutions and on time and space for experimenting and situated learning from the start of new development initiatives, and use tourism for poverty reduction to pull local social and economic development, demanding more dynamic pathways for inclusive and sustainable growth at the local level.

As tourism for poverty reduction is a composite and complex cross-cutting development sector, development impacts are difficult to measure and demonstrate. To improve impact assessments, the focus might need to be broadened beyond employment and income to include the multiple impacts (based on direct, indirect and dynamic effects) of tourism for poverty reduction in destinations. The focus could be on multi-stakeholder capacity development situations, with more emphasis on local learning. There seems a need for more case studies and impact narratives in tourism for development. Continued analysis and comparison of case studies will enhance situated learning and increase understanding of tourism in development and poverty reduction.

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