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Community-Based Tourism as Sustainable Development

Hazel Tucker


The notion of community-based tourism is generally indicated by local ownership of tourism businesses, local decision-making regarding tourism and the feeding of economic benefits from tourism back into the local community. Community-based tourism is therefore promoted as a form of ‘alternative tourism’ which can counter the drawbacks associated with more ‘conventional’ forms of tourism. These drawbacks include, in particular, the tendency for dominance of the tourism industry by foreign investors and non-local investment in the tourism industry, which frequently results ‘in loss of local control over the destination’s resources and loss of local autonomy’ (Mbaiwa and Stronza 2009: 339). Community-based tourism, in contrast, is generally understood to be a form of tourism development where control over the planning of tourism resides in the hands of community members and the community members receive the benefits of tourism (Kontogeorgopoulos et al. 2014).

Discussions of community-based tourism (hereafter CBT) are undoubtedly complicated by ambiguity regarding the definition of ‘community’. In addition, it is often mistakenly assumed in CBT programs ‘that communities are homogenous entities with shared interests’ (Scheyvens 2011: 69). Nonetheless, CBT is ‘often upheld as a particularly good alternative to the excesses and inequalities of conventional tourism’ (ibid.: 69). On this basis, community-based tourism is frequently regarded as a useful strategy for sustainable development. Consequently, an ever increasing number of CBT projects are set up with the help of funding and technical expertise from NGOs and governments as an instrument for development, especially in rural economies (Okazaki 2008; Scheyvens 2002; Wearing et al. 2005). As

H. Tucker (H)

Department of Tourism, Te Kura Pakihi - School of Business, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand e-mail: This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

I. Egresi (ed.), Alternative Tourism in Turkey, GeoJournal Library 121, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-47537-0_21

Gascon (2013) points out, also, some examples of CBT are generated ‘without external aid, through community initiatives, or, more commonly, by peasants with some form of capital who have earmarked part of their resources for this new activity’ (Gascon 2013: 716).

As well as discussing the wider context of community-based tourism projects in Turkey, this chapter will provide an in-depth examination of the case of Goreme, as an example of ‘community-based tourism’ as ‘alternative tourism’ in Turkey. The discussion will consider how, as ‘mass’ tourism has developed in the region surrounding the World Heritage Site of Cappadocia and Goreme National Park, the tourism in Goreme township has developed in a more ‘alternative’ form, which has in turn encouraged full community participation, and hence a form of ‘community-based tourism’, to develop. The discussion will outline the form that this ‘community-based tourism’ has taken in Goreme, including its implications in relation to the concept of ‘alternative tourism’. Before going on to discuss Goreme’s CBT development in more depth, it is pertinent to outline the broader context of CBT development projects in other parts of Turkey.

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