Different Type of Residents, Different Type of Attitudes?: The Case of Tourism Development in East Timor

Different Type of Residents, Different Type of Attitudes?: The Case of Tourism Development in East Timor

Manuel Vong (Dili Institute of Tecnology, East Timor), Patrícia Pinto (Faculty of Economics and Research Centre for Tourism, Sustainability and Well-Being (CinTurs), University of Algarve, Portugal) and João Albino Silva (Faculty of Economics and Research Centre for Tourism, Sustainability and Well-Being (CinTurs), University of Algarve, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3156-3.ch008
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Abstract

This study examines residents' attitudes towards sustainable tourism development in Timor-Leste, a new country that is also in the initial stages of tourism development. In particular, this study intends to understand whether residents with different roles and responsibilities (ordinary residents and residents as leaders in the public, private sectors, and NGOs) have different attitudes about the development of sustainable tourism. In order to accomplish this goal, the sustainable tourism attitude scale (SUS-TAS) is applied. Results have shown that ‘ordinary residents' as well as residents with leadership responsibilities in the community are very positive and supportive of tourism development. These results are encouraging for the development of tourism in this country and should be considered by the government, private sectors, and NGOs to promote tourism industries as a contribution to the sustainable development of Timor-Leste.
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Introduction

Tourism in small islands should be planned to be compatible with and scaled to the available human capital and physical resources if sustainability in terms of economic, socio-cultural, ecological and political dimensions is to be achieved (Tinsley & Lynch, 2001; Twining-Ward & Butler, 2002). East-Timor is a small island state located in the South Asian and Pacific region. In this country, tourism is considered one of the future priorities for national economic development (Vong, Valle, & Silva, 2014). However, sustainable tourism development cannot be successfully implemented without the involvement of those who are most affected by tourism, namely, the residents (Sheldon & Abenoja, 2001; Woosnam, Maruyama, Ribeiro, & Joo, 2019).

Sustainable tourism development requires a participatory approach involving all residents. However, a local community is far from homogeneous, with different residents having different roles and responsibilities (Aref, Redzuan, & Emby, 2009). This implies that there may be different attitudes regarding the sustainable tourism development process within the community, and this diversity of attitudes may result in different perceptions regarding tourism. Within a local community, two main groups of residents can be identified in terms of their roles and responsibilities: the ‘non-leading residents’, i.e. those who do not have specific roles and responsibilities as leaders in the community; and the residents with roles and responsibilities as leaders (in the public sector, the private sector and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), named in this study as ‘leading residents’. The latter are those involved in decision-making processes for policy, planning, implementation and control of tourism development (Choi & Sirakaya, 2006; Ribeiro, Valle, & Silva, 2013). As Butler (1980, p. 11) suggests, “a change of attitude is required on the part of those who are responsible for planning, developing, and managing tourist area”.

The purpose of this study is to examine the different residents’ attitudes towards sustainable tourism development in East-Timor, a destination that is not only new but also in the first stage of tourism development. Henceforth, the contribution of this study is twofold. First, although there are many studies about residents’ attitudes towards tourism, most of them focus on mature destinations, and few focus on developing destinations, such as Bigodi in Uganda (Lepp, 2007, 2008) and Cape Verde (Ribeiro et al., 2013; Ribeiro, Pinto, Silva, & Woosnam, 2018). East-Timor is in the first stage of tourism development and has been little studied as a destination (Vong et al., 2014; Vong, Pinto, & Silva, 2017). Second, this study intends to understand whether residents with different roles and responsibilities (non-leading residents and leading residents in the public and private sectors and NGOs) have different attitudes about sustainable tourism development. This new approach will allow for a more complete understanding of residents’ attitudes and consideration of the different roles residents can play in sustainable tourism development (Richards & Hall, 2002). To achieve this aim, the sustainable tourism attitude scale (SUS-TAS) will be used. The SUS-TAS scale has been proposed by Choi and Sirakaya (2005 & 2006) in order to measure residents’ attitudes towards sustainable tourism development.

Key Terms in this Chapter

SUS-TAS: Multiple measure tourism impact attitude scale developed by Choi and Sirakaya (2005 , 2006 ) to measure residents’ attitudes towards sustainable tourism development. SUS-TAS measures not only community feelings towards sustainable tourism development, but also existing paradigms, such as the social exchange theory and the theory of sustainability.

Destination Lifecycle Model: Tourism development model, proposed by Butler (1980) , that recognizes six stages in the tourism product life cycle: exploration, investment, development, consolidation, stagnation and, finally, decline or rejuvenation.

Leadership: A process in which a person influences others to accomplish an objective and directs an organization in a way that makes it more cohesive and coherent ( O’Halloran, 1992 ; Wart, 2003).

Leading Residents: Residents with leadership roles are those with important responsibilities in the planning and implementation of tourism development (in the public sector, the private sector and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Sustainable Tourism: Tourism which presently meets the needs of tourists and residents while protecting and enhancing future opportunities of tourists and residents ( WTO, 2004 ).

Attitude: A tendency to respond favourably or unfavourably towards a particular object ( Fishbein & Ajzen, 1974 ).

Non-Leading Residents: Residents who do not have specific roles and responsibilities as leaders in the community.

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