|dc.description.abstract||Beach fale accommodation is a unique tourism product in the Pacific, offering low-key,
basic holidays in rural Samoan villages. Having gradually evolved from day-rentals of
traditional open-sided housing on the sand, beach fale businesses allow tourists to spend a night in simple accommodation, with meals, at low cost. As traditionally developed, beach fale are well-integrated with culture, aiga (family) and community. Beach fale businesses enable Samoan families with access to beach land to work within their villages, and provide a range of livelihood benefits including cash income, education, health, communications and transportation benefits. Recent research has indicated that beach fale are evolving away from their low-key nature towards enclosed units, westernised food and facilities, and adopting a more western approach to business where fa’aSamoa (‘The Samoan Way of Life’) and family interaction may play a lesser role.
This dissertation examines the influence that aspects of beach fale tourism, particularly the process of evolution, may have upon the livelihoods of owners, their families and communities. Using a qualitative approach, the research identifies beach fale owner and tourist expectations in relation to beach fale evolution as well as the beach fale
experience. Areas in which expectations are successfully matched, supporting the success
of beach fale, and the subsequent provision of a range of tangible and intangible
livelihood benefits, are discussed. Livelihood decisions in Samoa are made within
fa’aSamoa; the beach fale cannot be separated from the cultural context they operate within. Therefore, the research also examines the interaction of expectations with
The extent to which beach fale tourism extends benefits to rural communities is important to assist business integration with fa’aSamoa, and to aid the reduction of inequities and socio-cultural problems. This is assessed through an examination of ways in which beach fale tourism could be considered ‘pro-poor’ – an approach which seeks to provide “net benefits to the poor” through a range of context-specific strategies.
The outcomes of the research suggest that the beach fale businesses participating in the research are diverse in business style, priorities and desired livelihood benefits. Beach fale evolution is occurring in response to the specific needs of particular tourist markets. In meeting these, beach fale owners participating in the research choose to prioritise some livelihood benefits over others. They are forced to trade-off modernisation and participation in the increasingly influential globalised cash economy, with maintenance of their traditional lifestyles within fa’aSamoa. The different livelihood benefits that
different beach fale owners prioritise leads to diversity between the businesses in the
research. While largely happy, some tourists interviewed had expectations that fell
outside the culturally-integrated management of some businesses, and were not met.
However there is still enough variation to match the type of beach fale to the
requirements of the tourist. The beach fale are providing desired livelihood benefits to
fale owners and their families, yet are largely not pro-poor – there are few economic
linkages to encourage the spread of benefits into the community. This is an area for future research attention.||en