Collaborative partnership, sustainable processes and corporate social responsibility (CSR) plays an integral role in promoting sustainable economic development. Achieving sustainable tourism entails balancing between social, economic and ecological development outcomes. Tourism operators are expected to adhere to the laws protecting natural resources, respect the rights of the host community and providing the value of the visiting tourists. The stakeholders in the tourisms industry should come up with a collaborative mechanism supporting the sustainable development program. This study is divided into two parts. The first part addresses the application of the concepts and principles of tourisms sustainability. The second part focuses on the personal reflection of the tourism sustainability study.
Host community plays a major role in the management of sustainable tourism. The three major components of a wildlife system are the resource, the host, and the tourist. For the purpose of clarity, the host community is described as the people living within the vicinity of the tourist attraction site and are affected either directly or indirectly (Wondolleck & Yaffee, 2000). For example, an increase in the number of tourists visiting the Ruhija national park have led to an increase of impact of the lives of the local people economically, culturally and socially. Sustainable tourism highly depends on the involvement, cooperation, and acceptance from the host community. Therefore, there is need to understand the benefits and disadvantages arising from the presence of tourist attraction sites (Barber, Deale, & Goodman, 2011).
There are several issues associated with the attitude of the host community towards sustainability and biodiversity coexistence between the wild animals, the resources, the community and the tourists. First, the attitude of the host community has a direct impact on tourism sustainability (Zator-Peljan, 2011). For instance tourism impact on the social environment affect the lifestyle, traditional and religious ceremonies, and behaviour and value systems of the people. Host community will readily accept tourism system which either maintains or promote their coexistence (Deale & Barber, 2012).
Second, the acceptance of a tourism by the host community is influenced by its involvement. For example, a community that depends on hunting and farming for survival would object a proposal to have protected tourism site in their midst. It would take a lot of collaboration to defeat the resistance. Last, the perception of the host community also varies from one religion or culture to another. While one section of the host community might support sustainable tourism the other group might resist (Dhiman, 2008).
- Collaborative partnerships.
Even though tourism is regarded to as a commercial activity with an immense impact on the host community, collaborative partnership with the stakeholders enhances contribution to environmental management and biodiversity conservation (Murphy & Murphy, 2004). Collaborative enhance the understanding of the economic and social benefits of tourism sustainability as well as an understanding the value of protecting the ecosystem. To achieve sustainable tourism establishes an interconnection between different shareholders. For instance, the interests of the visitors, host community, decision makers, and wildlife agencies, local and foreign investors must be equally addressed (Deale, Nichols, & Jacques, 2009).
Where there is a conflict of interest then collaborative partnership cannot exist. For example, the community around Ruhija national park highly depends on agriculture as an economic activity. There have been conflicts been the people, forest department, and the gorillas. Considering the limited land to practice agriculture, the community was forced to engage in deforestation. Likewise, the gorillas would destroy the crop plantations (Considine & Giguere, 2008). Under such a scenario, the collaborative partnership cannot exist without an understanding between the stakeholders. Likewise, Cultural aspects might also hinder collaborative partnership. For example, the community might be using part of the community for ritual practices (Dhiman, 2008). Therefore protecting a tourist attraction site without addressing the issues raised by the people would hinder collaborative partnership. Lastly, social factors such as land ownership have hindered external investors from investing in the community. The land is owned by the community who is unwilling to sell part of his limited resources to external investors (Daly, 2012).
The Sustainable development refers to the development that fulfills the present needs of different parties without comprising the ability to meet the needs of the future generations. The sustainable development comprises of two key concepts. One the need concept which states that overriding priority should be given to the needs of the poor in the world. And two, the limitation concept. The concept addresses the limitations imposed by social and technological states on the ability of the environment to fulfill the present and future needs of the habitats (Evans, Campbell, & Stonehouse, 2003).
The Ugandan tourism sustainability should be balanced between the agricultural needs of the Ruhija community and the commercialization of tourism. Overdependence of agriculture led the people to engage in deforestation which directly impacted their livelihood as well as that of the wildlife. The development led to increasing wildlife-human conflict (Considine & Giguere, 2008).
With the global wildlife conservation initiatives on the rise, the Ruhija Busindi national park was launched with an aim of promoting collaborative partnership with the community. The main goal was to effectively manage the use of the limited resources to the best interest of the people and the wildlife. The development was meant to promote biodiversity use of natural resources for the present and future generations. Through the Gorilla friends group, it was agreed that the park would be opened for international tourists. 20% of the revenue generated would be given back to the community. The money was aimed at enhancing economic development as well as developing tourists’ accommodation that would enhance the economic well-being of the people in the long term (Graci, 2013).
Since the initiative was established, the community has enjoyed the creation of several development opportunities. First, the food production has increased because of tourist growth in the area. Second, the community has been taught about other income generating methods besides farming. Today, beekeeping and product development are thriving in the area. (Goodland, 2001) Third, the Ruhija home for the orphans has been established to support provide education and social support to children. Likewise, the children also entertain the tourists with cultural songs hence promoting the Uganda heritage globally. Today the orphanage has attracted sponsorship from the international world thanks to the Ruhija part initiative. Last, the local people have invested in the accommodation sector providing housing to the tourists (Faulkner & Faulkner, 2003).
Most importantly, the level of conflicts that previously existed between the wildlife and the community have been contained. Today people have recognized the importance of commercialized tourism. The areas have been protected meaning the gorillas are not endangered. Likewise, the community has been offered diversified ways of earning a living. The number of tourists visiting the park has increased tremendously with the visitors always feeling satisfied. Lastly, the environment is protected: That is a group in collaboration with the community have engaged in reforestation and protecting the environment. This shows that there exists a collaborative partnership among the stakeholders (Daly, 2012). The community appreciates the park/ initiative because it has become part of their daily livelihood. With a positive host community, sustainable tourism development becomes successful. The initiators of the park have succeeded in conversing bio-diversity in the Ruhija area (Barber, Deale, & Goodman, 2011).
Assessment Task 3b – Individual Reflection of Studying Sustainability
The general objective of studying sustainable tourism in the developing countries like Uganda are Sustainable practices, Responsible consumption, and corporate social responsibility. Therefore, the reflection essays have been based on the three parameters.
The first aspect of sustainable practices is based on the sustainable practices. Personally, I have learned that sustainable tourism should focus on contributing to the healthy and balanced economy through the generation of tourism-related revenue, taxes, and jobs. In doing so tourism should protect and enhance the host communities’ culturally, socially, and historically by building resources to be enjoyed by both the residents and the tourisms in the long term (Barber, Deale, & Goodman, 2011).
Sustainable practices are based on the environmental, social and economic spheres. First, Social sustainability entails the maintenance of social capitals like services and investments that provide the basic relation framework to the society. Second, economic sustainability states that economic capital should be enjoyed and distributed fairly in the community. And third, environmental sustainability refers to protecting the community welfare by protecting the existing natural capital. In other words for successful environmental sustainability stable population should practice sustainable consumption (Dhiman, 2008).
Based on my understanding of sustainable practice, stakeholders in the tourism industry should strive to maintain and nurture social capitals which involves satisfaction of security, social and economic needs. However, the social needs should not undermine environmental quality and natural base. Therefore, sustainable tourisms should ensure that the interest of the parties has been met. For example, the host community will only embrace the practice with a promise that their needs have been catered for. Likewise, by protecting the environment, the lives of the wildlife would not be endangered. The move would reduce the human-wildlife conflicts. The course was productive in enriching my understanding of collaborative partnership in enhance sustainable practices in the tourism sector (Deale & Barber, 2012).
At the end of the course, I have fully understood the ascot of responsible consumption and its importance to sustainable tourism. According to my tutor, people should learn the importance of sustainable living. The individual should not overconsume the limited resources in the expense of other people. The tutor went further to state that factors such as deforestation which led to global climate warming, destruction of the environment, social inequality and non-proportional consumption of resources go against the push for sustainable living.
Sustainable consumption is a founding concept of good life which focus on meeting human wants for positive emotions, achieving goals, commitment and relationships. Therefore, responsible consumption should be based on the principles of strategic purchasing and spending and environmental friendly. One method of promoting responsible consumption in the tourism sector is sustainable traveling products which protect the natural base.
Educational institutions, business, NGOs and government agencies have been listed as the foundation to change the social values and perception on responsible consumption. In the tourism sector, responsible consumption should be expanded in enhancing the best practice towards sustainability (Goodland, 2001). Personally. I have learned that the tourist industry has focused on promoting hedonistic needs and positive emotions as a way to promote responsible consumption. Some of the strategies that enhance responsible consumption are abolishing hidden taxes and subsidies, promote cost transparency and creating awareness on sustainable tourism.
Corporate social responsibility is an integral part of sustainable development. In the today’s competitive global market, companies cannot ignore the influence of importance of the community/ its environment in their operations. I have learned a lot from the relationship between the two factors. For example, tourism parks and clubs engage in the donation of services, goods, supporting economic projects in the community and volunteer services to the community as a way of fulfilling social sustainability. In other words, being supportive to the community ensures that the community accepts and support a company’s activities in their midst (Zator-Peljan, 2011).
The course emphasizes on an inclusive social sustainability and participation in the company activities. For instance, the Ruhija national park in Uganda gives 20% of their annual revenue back to the community. The amount it used to promote social equity in the distribution of resources through investing in economic projects. The union has also educated the community on their income generating alternatives such as beekeeping and product development. In return, the community has fully embraced the existing of the park. The people have built accommodation for the tourists leading to the success of the park in terms of income generation. Therefore CSR benefits both the community and an organization (Daly, 2012).
I have acquired vast knowledge on how best tourism sites can collaborative with the local people through CSR. The site personnel sometimes act as ambassadors who connect the facility to the community.
Generally, the study has played a critical role in advancing my understanding on sustainable development. I know that sustainable development in the tourism sector is not a sole responsibility of the tourisms operators. It is a duty of all the stakeholders to support the initiative through Collaborative partnership, sustainable processes and corporate social responsibility (CSR). Achieving sustainable tourism entails balancing between social, economic and ecological development outcomes. Biodiversity can only be achieved with the willingness of all the parties to engage in a collaborative partnership. Resources should be consumed responsibly with the commitment of fair handling of the social, economic and environmental aspects of sustainable development.
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