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The Evolution of Tourism and Development Theory - Tourism Development

Development theory and tourism have evolved along similar time lines since the
Second World War, yet there has been little work connecting the two fields of study
(Telfer, 1996a). This is surprising considering tourism continues to be a growing
focus of economic development policy in many regions and nations (Maleki, 1997).
Countries around the world are turning to tourism as a strategy for development;
however, researchers in this field have given minimal acknowledgement to the
overriding development paradigms. Countries are fiercely competing for interna-
tional tourism receipts, which are forecasted to total over US$2 trillion by 2020 and
arrivals are predicted to top 1.6 billion (WTO, 1998a). Locations which can develop
and market a tourism product, whether it be a special natural, historic or cultural at-
traction or an urban or rural destination, can take advantage of this market by
attracting revenue from visitors (Maleki, 1997). Tourism is being used to generate
foreign exchange, increase employment, attract development capital and promote
economic independence (Britton, 1982). Others have also suggested that tourism
can be a focus for local economic development tied into the maintenance of the bio-
physical environment (Wilkinson, 1992).
The purpose in this article is to address the theoretical gap between develop-
ment theory and the use of tourism as a development tool. It focuses on the nature of
development and will explore the evolution of development theory since the
ending of the Second World War. While it is acknowledged that there is a diversity
of approaches and classifications of development theory, for the purposes of this
article, the main paradigms that have been identified are modernisation, depend-
ency, economic neoliberalism and alternative development (see Telfer, 1996a).
While it is not possible to provide a detailed comprehensive study of development
theory in this article, the key components of each development paradigm are dis-
cussed along with relevant criticisms as they form the basis of the analysis to which
tourism development is later evaluated. Linking the two fields together, the
article then moves to indicate the extent to which each development paradigm
has influenced tourism. An analysis of the positive and negative attributes of
tourism developed under each of the four development paradigms is presented.
This information is used as a basis for the establishment of an initial set of consider-
ations for appropriate and sustainable tourism development. The considerations
for appropriate and sustainable tourism development are based on elements from
the four development paradigms, however, there is a heavy emphasis on the con-
cepts from the alternative development paradigm. It is argued that linkages to local
communities are an important component of appropriate and sustainable tourism
development, which, in turn, should be planned with other sectors of the economy
under the broader concepts of sustainable development.

Nature of Development
While there has been tremendous advancement, the planet still faces a number of
new and old problems. Persistent poverty and unfulfilled elementary needs,
famines and widespread hunger, violations of political freedoms and basic liber-
ties, neglect of the interests and agency of women, and increasing threats to the
environment and the sustainability of economic and social welfare continue to face
both rich and poor nations (Sen, 1999). The way in which these problems have
been dealt with has varied over time. The definition of development, classified as a
normative term, has long been debated (Harrison, 1988; McKay, 1990). As pointed
out in last article, the term has had several meanings including ‘economic growth,
structural change, autonomous industrialisation, capitalism or socialism, self-
actualisation, and individual, national, regional and cultural self-reliance’ (Harrison,
1988: 154). Initially the idea of development was conceived narrowly as economic
growth after the Second World War and social and cultural factors were only recog-
nised to the extent to which they facilitated growth (Brohman, 1996a; Malecki,
1997). Development was later expanded to incorporate social, moral, ethical and en-
vironmental considerations as it came to deal with human betterment and
fulfilment through the expansion of choice (Goldsworthy, 1988; Ingham, 1993).
Eight years after addressing development in terms of poverty, unemployment and
inequality, Seers (1969, 1977) introduced the concept of self-reliance into his defini-
A further expansion of the term can be seen in the work of Todaro (1994) who
outlined three core values (sustenance, self-esteem and freedom) and three objec-
tives of development. The first objective is to increase the availability and
distribution of basic human needs, the second is to raise the standard of living,
which involves higher incomes, better education, the provision of more jobs and
greater attention to cultural and humanistic values, thereby promoting greater indi-
vidual and national self-esteem. The final objective is to expand the range of
economic and social choices so that individuals and nations are not dependent on
other people or countries. The expansion of freedoms is also at the heart of Sen’s
(1999) call for expanding freedoms in the areas of economic opportunities, political
freedoms, social facilities, transparency guarantees and protective security.
With the growth of the environmental movement, development has expanded to
encompass the highly debated term, sustainability (Redclift, 2000). The most cited
definition of sustainable development proposed by the World Commission on En-
vironment and Development (WCED, 1987: 43) is defined as ‘development that
meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future genera-
tions to meet their own needs’. The 1992 United Nations Conference on the
Environment and Development (also known as the Earth Summit or Rio Confer-
ence) produced Agenda 21 (see Keating, 1994) which was an action plan for
achieving sustainability based on the involvement of local communities using a
bottom-up approach. The second Earth Summit (Rio +5) held five years later noted
the increasing reliance some developing countries place on tourism and the need to
plan appropriately (Holden, 2000). The Rio + 10 Conference is scheduled for 2002 in
South Africa.

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    Original ByGuestAt2010-11-13 01:32:35Released
    tourism development in advocacy platform
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