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RESOURCES: PAPERS & PRESENTATIONS
|Julia N. Albrecht & My N. D. Tran
|School/Work Place :
|Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
Most tourism development is initiated and led by either the private or the public sector. These projects’ potential impacts on host communities have been explored since the 1980s, and they are now relatively well known. This is not the case for the small but increasing number of Third Sector-led tourism development projects. The Third Sector comprises community and interest groups as well as many volunteer organisations. Even though such players become increasingly involved in tourism and are associated with more sustainable approaches to development, their roles and impacts are not well understood.
This project explores the economic, social and environmental impacts of the Hump Ridge Track (HRT) in Tuatapere, New Zealand, as perceived by members of the local community. This involves a) gaining an understanding of community members’ involvement in the establishment, maintenance, and management of the track, and b) an exploration of their perceptions of the track and its impacts. The project takes a quantitative approach. Data is gathered using a quantitative survey questionnaire. Community members are surveyed using a questionnaire distributed in public places in the Tuatapere community. Descriptive statistical measures and analysis of variance are used in data analysis. Community perceptions are correlated with respondent characteristics such as demographics, previous involvement with the track, and length of residency in Tuatapere, among others.
The contributions of this project are both conceptual and practical. The conceptual contribution lies in an improved understanding of tourism impacts in peripheral rural communities. The shifted focus from public and private sector-led developments to a Third Sector project allows for a more differentiated perspective on host community impacts. It is expected that impacts will be perceived more positively where community members were highly involved in initiating tourism development. The practical contribution lies in insights into community perspectives that may shed light on tourism management and project implementation by Third Sector organisations in a peripheral rural context.