Understanding Community Change Through Tourism Social Entrepreneurship in the Philippines: Host Community Perspectives
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Despite tourism’s advocation as a strategy for the development of local communities, there is little evidence that communities’ participation in tourism provides sustainable and inclusive outcomes. While tourism may create benefits to these localities, negative externalities may also be produced, often through the application of traditional capitalist forms of tourism development. Tourism social entrepreneurship (TSE) is conceptualised as a market-based strategy that utilises tourism to provide innovative solutions to address destinations’ economic, social, and environmental problems. The proponents of TSE often envision positive change at the community and societal levels. Tourism social entrepreneurship is gaining popularity as an alternative tourism development approach. However, there is insufficient exploration of its outcomes, and how it produces consequences on host communities. Theoretically underpinned by a systems perspective, this study aimed at understanding the processes and nature of any community change induced by TSE in two host communities in the Philippines. Informed by a constructivist research paradigm, a dual case study methodology was employed at two study sites: Culion Island, a heritage and marine tourism site in Palawan province, and Sitio Liwliwa, a surfing-based destination community in Zambales province. A multi-method approach to qualitative data collection, composed of semi-structured interviews, community asset mapping workshops, direct observations, and secondary data collection, was facilitated to elicit information from TSE and host community actors. Guided by a singular (single case) then convergent (cross-case) analytical framework, constructivist grounded theory analysis techniques were performed on the collected data. In the case of Culion Island, an integrated model was developed to depict the processes that were undertaken by a consortium of social organisations primarily led by an intermediary and capacity building tourism social enterprise. A diversity of outcomes was produced by the tourism social enterprise’s initiatives, mainly on the community’s social and cultural resources, and residents’ personal capitals. In Sitio Liwliwa, a structured model illustrated the processes performed by an accommodation and capacity building tourism social enterprise in the area. The development of TSE in this locality had reached a mature level. In terms of outcomes, TSE activities primarily benefitted the community’s economy, social environment, built assets, and human resources development. The cross-case analysis and theoretical integration led to the development of a grounded theory of community change through TSE. Three core processes emerged across the cases, namely, controlling, coping and institutional response. Furthermore, constructivist grounded theorising guided the development of a three-dimensional model utilised to map the overlapping outcomes on the communities. The findings revealed four core community change outcomes that vary according to pace of change, scale of change, and degree of tourism social entrepreneurial control. While benefits were apparent, challenges involving community non-participation, misaligned visions and interests amongst tourism actors, and inclusivity of TSE outcomes, were persistent throughout the case studies. By developing constructivist grounded theory models, this study provides novel and dynamic understandings of community change through TSE. The theoretical and practical contributions of this study are valuable to academia, local governments and the tourism industry. More importantly, the findings of this study are beneficial to organisations and host communities currently adopting, or planning to embark on, TSE ventures.