|dc.description.abstract||Third World countries are continually being promoted as important tourist destinations due to their cultural and biological diversity. However, in the rush for tourist development, many culturally unique and physically fragile rural areas are opened for tourism without a proper assessment of the existing problems of these areas or of the concerns of the people living there. These problems arise not only due to the lack of experts but also due to the lack of a framework that is appropriate to the problems of Third World rural areas. Central to such an assessment are the impacts that tourism might have on the destination community's resources (social, cultural, economic, and environmental), which nurture and sustain tourism. It is, therefore, essential to have community participation and input to integrate overall community objectives into the mainstream of tourism development. In order to achieve these goals in Third World rural areas, an appropriate framework suitable for both the assessment of tourism impacts on host societies and to facilitate community participation measures is required. To fulfil these requirements, a modified Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) approach is proposed and evaluated in the Manang District of Nepal.
This study has two major objectives. It has first adopted, tested, and evaluated Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) techniques for their potential in encouraging community participation in tourism planning within a Third World rural setting. Second, specific tourism development strategies for the study area, as articulated by its residents, are presented, interpreted, and elaborated.
Four major techniques of PRA were adapted and used for this research. They are: a review of secondary data; followed by semi-structured interviews of key informants and other individuals; group interviews and discussions; and finally a community workshop. Residents of two regions, Nyishang and Nar-Phu of the Manang District of Nepal comprised the study audience. The former is a popular tourist destination on the Annapurna circuit, and the latter is a potential tourist destination which has not yet been opened to foreign visitors. The above PRA techniques and their sequential introduction have been vital in allowing research participants an analysis of their common problems and concerns, and to move systematically towards defining acceptable styles of development and desirable future tourism opportunities.
Interviewees of both Nyishang and Nar-Phu see tourism as one option to supplement agropastoralism in meeting basic community needs. Knowledge of tourists, tourism, its impacts and planning was very poor, particularly among the residents of Nar-Phu who are not exposed to tourism. Therefore, Nar-phu has much to learn form its adjacent neighbour Nyishang. Despite this, most of the interviewees were able to identify the existing tourism product of the research area. Given the poor tourism knowledge base, residents may need a high level of an external agency's assistance in the planning process, at least in the initial phase. However, the formation of a tourism management committee representing all groups of people living in the area, emerged as an appealing institutional arrangement. This can build locals' confidence and accumulate experience. Meaningful participation, however, will depend on tourism education and awareness for both the general residents and the industry sector and their balanced inputs into planning and implementation. Although the adapted PRA process has facilitated community participation for this case study, future design should include evaluation and monitoring aspects, so as to be iterative in meeting community needs at different stages of tourism development.||en