Heritage Tourism The Way Out For Rural Poor? A Case Study Of The Tourism-Poverty Nexus In Anse La Raye, St. Lucia
Jn Baptiste, Ricky
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Tourism has emerged as one of the most dynamic sectors in many countries; as one outcome, it has generated widespread hope that this particular industry can bring prosperity to numerous developing nations. Conversely, there is substantial suspicion of its capacity to bring equitable benefits to the poor. A recent proposition is to strengthen the tourism-poverty nexus by placing tourism at the heart of poverty reduction strategies. This thesis explores the application of this new and relatively untested approach. It does so by conducting a case study of the impact of heritage tourism, a community-based and poverty-focused tourism initiative, implemented in Anse La Raye, the most impoverished rural community in the Caribbean island of St. Lucia. Obviously a single case study cannot justify sweeping generalizations, but it can perhaps serve at least to raise a number of useful policy questions that might also have some broader application.The findings reveal that poverty-focused tourism development initiatives can positively impact the lives of the rural poor, under certain circumstances. Some observable effects included the creation of useful community infrastructure, linkages of direct and indirect employment benefits and consequent income generation. Notwithstanding these successes, this limited research piece suggests that, despite their nearly exclusive and commendable focus on the livelihood of the poor, pro-poor approaches to tourism also have limitations [for example, seasonal and part-time employment, and leakages] and certainly cannot be regarded as a panacea for reducing poverty in any poverty stricken region. Nonetheless, it is believed that St. Lucia, at least, can learn from the experiences of Anse La Raye as it further refines its tourism development policies in quest of further development targets.
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