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Rural Development in Thethi: Pursuing sustainable tourism in an Albanian mountain community

Marchington, Erin LU (2010) In IIIEE Master thesis IMEN56 20101
The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics
Abstract
Tourism is an attractive development option in rural areas of South East Europe to mitigate trends such as depopulation and poverty. However, many tourism development projects prioritize short-term economic gain, with a lack of planning, resource management, and community involvement. Thethi, Albania is an example of a rural community that has recently employed tourism as a vehicle for development, but a number of negative social and environmental impacts that can be observed suggest the current form of development lacks components of sustainability. The focus of this study was to investigate how Thethi, Albania could more effectively pursue sustainable tourism development (STD). Through fieldwork, interviews, and literature analysis,... (More)
Tourism is an attractive development option in rural areas of South East Europe to mitigate trends such as depopulation and poverty. However, many tourism development projects prioritize short-term economic gain, with a lack of planning, resource management, and community involvement. Thethi, Albania is an example of a rural community that has recently employed tourism as a vehicle for development, but a number of negative social and environmental impacts that can be observed suggest the current form of development lacks components of sustainability. The focus of this study was to investigate how Thethi, Albania could more effectively pursue sustainable tourism development (STD). Through fieldwork, interviews, and literature analysis, impacts of current tourism development in Thethi were examined and a number of social and environmental costs were observed to affect the local community. Stakeholders, roles, and projects involved in Thethi tourism development were evaluated against STD models found in the literature. Following this, stakeholder salience and typology in Thethi tourism development were determined with the support of management theory allowing for the identification of roles which stakeholders could take to change the current development pattern towards a more sustainable one. It was determined that if the local community in Thethi could increase their relative power and strengthen the legitimacy of their landholder status, they could act as the mechanism for change. To achieve definitive stakeholder status, the local community needs to acquire power through access to finances or partnership with a more powerful stakeholder. However, it is essential to recognize that this change in stakeholder role and interaction does not necessarily result in sustainable development; capacity building and education of the local community is needed to instil urgency. This could be the role of a local or international NGO, who could also act to lobby the government for landownership clarification. Overall, this study provides guidance for stakeholder identification and local community leadership in rural tourism development, which can be extended to other South East Europe rural areas. This work also shows the value in predicting tourism development impacts, which is often ignored in the planning process. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Marchington, Erin LU
supervisor
organization
course
IMEN56 20101
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
publication/series
IIIEE Master thesis
report number
2010:08
ISSN
1401-9191
language
English
id
1785076
date added to LUP
2011-02-08 16:58:20
date last changed
2011-02-08 16:58:20
@misc{1785076,
  abstract     = {Tourism is an attractive development option in rural areas of South East Europe to mitigate trends such as depopulation and poverty. However, many tourism development projects prioritize short-term economic gain, with a lack of planning, resource management, and community involvement. Thethi, Albania is an example of a rural community that has recently employed tourism as a vehicle for development, but a number of negative social and environmental impacts that can be observed suggest the current form of development lacks components of sustainability. The focus of this study was to investigate how Thethi, Albania could more effectively pursue sustainable tourism development (STD). Through fieldwork, interviews, and literature analysis, impacts of current tourism development in Thethi were examined and a number of social and environmental costs were observed to affect the local community. Stakeholders, roles, and projects involved in Thethi tourism development were evaluated against STD models found in the literature. Following this, stakeholder salience and typology in Thethi tourism development were determined with the support of management theory allowing for the identification of roles which stakeholders could take to change the current development pattern towards a more sustainable one. It was determined that if the local community in Thethi could increase their relative power and strengthen the legitimacy of their landholder status, they could act as the mechanism for change. To achieve definitive stakeholder status, the local community needs to acquire power through access to finances or partnership with a more powerful stakeholder. However, it is essential to recognize that this change in stakeholder role and interaction does not necessarily result in sustainable development; capacity building and education of the local community is needed to instil urgency. This could be the role of a local or international NGO, who could also act to lobby the government for landownership clarification. Overall, this study provides guidance for stakeholder identification and local community leadership in rural tourism development, which can be extended to other South East Europe rural areas. This work also shows the value in predicting tourism development impacts, which is often ignored in the planning process.},
  author       = {Marchington, Erin},
  issn         = {1401-9191},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {IIIEE Master thesis},
  title        = {Rural Development in Thethi: Pursuing sustainable tourism in an Albanian mountain community},
  year         = {2010},
}