Residents' Perception and Their Support for Tourism Development: The Case of South Korea

Residents' Perception and Their Support for Tourism Development: The Case of South Korea

Manuel Alector Ribeiro (University of Surrey, UK), Yo Han Kim (University of Surrey, UK) and Kyle Maurice Woosnam (University of Georgia, USA & University of Johannesburg, South Africa)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3156-3.ch007
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The purpose of this study is to examine residents' support for tourism development in South Korea by the lens of social exchange theory and theory of reasoned. Random sampling strategy was used to collect South Koreans residents' opinions about the perceived impacts of tourism and their level of support for tourism development. Data were collected online using a questionnaire a link was sent to residents in South Korean through several social media platforms, and 693 respondents answered the questionnaire. By using regression analysis, the findings showed that residents who perceive positive impacts of tourism more than negative impacts are more likely to support tourism, while those who perceive more negative impacts of tourism are less likely to support tourism. Both personal economic benefits and community attachment were found to be important determinants of residents' perception and support toward tourism. Both theoretical and managerial implications are discussed, as well as the limitations and recommendations for future studies.
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Tourism brings impacts destinations in both positive and negative ways, thus affecting residents’ quality of life (Andereck & Nyaupane, 2011; Woo, Kim, & Uysal, 2015). Residents can perceive tourism as the development tool that provides benefits such as generating more business, providing more employment opportunities and improving the quality of public infrastructures (Andereck & Nyaupane, 2011; Dyer et al., 2007; Gursoy et al., 2002). However, tourism also brings negative impacts such as polluting the local environment and increasing the cost of living in local areas (Andereck et al., 2005; MacGehee & Andereck, 2004).

According to Gursoy and Rutherford (2004), the success of tourism requires active support from residents. According to Murphy (1985, p. 153), “if residents resent or fear tourism, their resistance and hostility can destroy the local industry’s potential”. In other words, to develop sustainable tourism, we must seek to understand and incorporate residents’ perceptions concerning tourism moving forward. Depending on how residents perceive impacts of tourism, they will fall somewhere along the spectrum from opposition to support for tourism development (Nunkoo & Ramkisson, 2011). In other words, residents’ support for tourism development can depend on how residents perceive impacts of tourism (Andereck et al., 2005). Many previous studies reported that if residents positively perceive impacts of tourism, they are more likely to support tourism development (Allen et al., 1988; Gursoy et al., 2002; Sheldon & Abenoja, 2001).

On the other hand, negative impacts of tourism can lead residents to have negative perceptions toward tourism, which ultimately translate to less support for tourism development (Choi & Sirakaya, 2005; Nunkoo & Ramkisson, 2011). Furthermore, other studies have reported that residents’ active support for tourism development is strongly related to the success of tourism development and also sustainable tourism development (Gursoy & Rutherford, 2004; Gursoy, Jurowski, & Uysal, 2002). According to Andereck et al. (2005), residents’ support for tourism development can be based on how residents evaluate and perceive benefits and costs from tourism. Overall, to get residents’ support for tourism development, how to bring perceived positive impacts of tourism to residents needs to be considered, while minimizing perceived negative impacts of tourism (Jurowski et al., 1997; Gursoy et al., 2010).

According to Korea Tourism Organization’s reports in 2017 and 2018, there are several factors that positively affect the number of international tourists to South Korea. It includes increased international tourists’ interest in Korean foods, cultures and music, and the 2018 Olympic Winter Games held in PyeongChang. K-pop (focusing on pop music, dramas, and movies), as of late, has also attracted many international tourists to South Korea. Given these factors, South Korea has experienced an average increase of 6.6% in the number of tourists to South Korea between 1999 and 2018 (e.g., 7 million in 2009; 15 million in 2018). Such growth in visitor numbers are most welcomed by the South Korean government, however, gauging residents’ perceptions of tourism impacts and how that translates to overall support for the industry is crucial in ensuring tourism development is as sustainable as possible for the country.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Support for Tourism: Is the degree to which residents evaluate the effects of tourism in their community.

Sustainable Tourism: Increases the benefits and to reduce the negative impacts caused by tourism at destinations.

Community Attachment: The extent to which residents of a destination possess cognitive or affective bonds to a place.

Tourism Impacts: Include the effects of tourism on the environment and on destination communities, and its economic contributions.

Social Exchange Theory: Is a general sociological theory concerned with understanding the exchange of resources between individuals and groups in an interaction situation.

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