A Research Agenda for Tourism and Development
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A Research Agenda for Tourism and Development

Edited by Richard Sharpley and David Harrison

Tourism is integral to local, regional and national development policies; as a major global economic sector, it has the potential to underpin economic growth and wider development. Yet, transformations in both the nature of tourism and the dynamic environment within which it occurs give rise to new questions with regards to its developmental role. This Research Agenda offers a state-of-the-art review of the research into the tourism-development nexus. Exploring issues including governance, policy, philanthropy, poverty reduction and tourism consumption, it identifies significant gaps in the literature, and proposes new and sometimes provocative avenues for future research.
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Chapter 6: Tourism and poverty

David Harrison and Stephen Pratt


There is a long-held belief that tourism can be a passport to development and can also alleviate poverty. Although international tourism has grown markedly since the 1950s, the promised benefits of tourism and its potential to reduce poverty has come under question. This chapter reviews the definitions of poverty, noting both absolute and relative measurements; single indices and multidimensional criteria. The chapter then assesses, from a macroeconomic perspective, the extent to which tourism can contribute to poverty reduction. The overwhelming conclusion is that tourism can indeed improve the lives of residents of destination areas but that equality may have to be sacrificed for growth. Who benefits from tourism depends on the type of tourism involved, the prevailing wider environment at the destination and the ability and commitment of governments to extend tourism’s benefits as widely as possible. Lastly, the chapter discusses the mechanisms of how poverty can be alleviated through tourism. Directions of future research are suggested.

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