Youth's Perceptions of Tourism's Social Impacts in Casablanca, Morocco

Bachelor Thesis, 2016

68 Pages, Grade: 80.00








1.1 Background to the Research
1.2 Aim
1.3 Objectives
1.4 Structure of the Dissertation

2.1 Introduction
2.2 Tourism Development in Morocco
2.2.1 Morocco
2.2.2 Casablanca
2.2.3 Tourism Development
2.3 Socio-cultural Impacts
2.3.1 Social Impacts
2.3.2 Alienation
2.3.3 Acculturation
2.3.4 Demonstration Effect
2.4 Tourism Impacts and Host Community Perceptions
2.4.1 Host Perceptions
2.4.2 Doxey's Irritation Index
2.4.3 Butler's Cycle
2.4.4 Social Exchange Theory
2.5 Social Impact Assessment
2.5.1 Social Impact Assessment in Tourism
2.5.2 Social Resource Unit
2.5.3 Interactive Community Forum
2.5.4 Surveying
2.6 Conclusions

3.1 Introduction
3.2 Secondary Research
3.2.1 Literature Search
3.2.2 Literature Review
3.3 Primary Research
3.3.1 Qualitative Research
3.3.2 Quantitative Research
3.3.3 Research Instrument Design
3.3.4 Sampling Strategy
3.3.5 Conducting the research
3.4 Data Analysis

4.1 Introduction
4.2 Results and Analysis
4.2.1 Demographics
4.2.2 Survey Analysis
4.2.3 Open-ended Questions
4.3 Conclusion

5.1 Introduction
5.2 Conclusions
5.3 Recommendations
5.3.1 For Tourism Planners and Stakeholders
5.3.2 For Hospitality and Tourism Businesses
5.3.3 For Participants and Casablancan Youth
5.4 Reflections and Evaluation of Methodology
5.5 Suggestions for Future Research




This dissertation aims to investigate the perceptions and attitude of young citizens towards the social impacts of tourism in Casablanca, Morocco. Tourism is known to have both positive and negative social impacts on any community and significant research has been done on how host communities perceive it. However, little research has been implemented on the perceptions of young people particularly. The first objective was to review secondary data regarding the topic. The reviewed literature presents different models and theories such as Doxey's Irritation Index, Butler's Cycle and the Social Exchange Theory. A primary fieldwork research was designed to meet the second objective of investigating the perceptions of the youth. The research was carried out through an e-survey and a total sample of 301 people in Morocco. The collected data were analysed and the results were compared with the findings from the literature review. Some of the findings were indeed surprising. Although most of the respondents think that tourism has a good impact on their city, opinions vary according to age, gender, income and ethnic background. Casablanca is yet to become a mature destination and measures need to be taken to avoid future irritation among locals. Most notably, hospitality managers should provide women with adequate working conditions and the Moroccan government should prioritise tourism as an economic activity but also as means for social cohesion and social sustainability.

This dissertation would not have been possible without the help and support of several people. I would like to primarily thank my supervisor, Mr. Ioannis Evagelou, as he provided me with extraordinary support right from the start when I had a small idea and helped me develop it into a full dissertation. His continuous availability to guide my way throughout the research was essential in helping me manage my time and improve the quality of my work. Ευχαριστώ πολύ!

I would also like to thank my parents and siblings in giving me the opportunity to pursue my education and providing me the right conditions to be able to study at ease. Their unconditional love and support cannot be stressed enough. Ez ji we hez

Throughout my studies at IMI, Ana de Macedo's wisdom and love were what kept me going on during both good and bad times. During my last two semesters, I was able to achieve more than what I expected thanks to her presence, advice and attention to detail. Amo-te muito!

Finally, I cannot forget to mention colleagues, friends and relatives: Evar Hussayni for encouraging and inspiring me to choose the topic of my research; Mariam El Maslouhi for helping me with my primary research. Last but not least, my IMI colleagues who helped me academically and personally to complete this piece of work: Tinodaishe Mukarati, Sofia Branca, Maria El Lallous and Karim Barakat.


Table 2.1: Social Impact Assessment

Table 4.1: Demographics

Table 4.2: Positive Impacts

Table 4.3: Negative Impacts

Table 4.4: Variation of Mean according to Income

Table 4.5: Variation of Mean according to Gender

Table 4.6: Variation of Mean according to Ethnicity

Table 4.7: Safety and Security Mean and Standard Deviation


Figure 4.1: Employment Status

Figure 4.2: Tourism is good for Casablanca

Figure 4.3: Standard of Living vs. Quality of Life

Figure 4.4: Women Employment vs. Women Status

Figure 4.5: Tourism Has Provided a Wider Range of Activities

Figure 4.6: Tourism Makes Society More Open-Minded and Accepting

Figure 4.7: Variation of Mean according to Age

Figure 4.8: Local's Level of Pride in Tourism

Figure 4.9: Tourism helped to conserve the traditional architecture

Figure 4.10: Tourism makes prostitution a Bigger Problem

Figure 4.11: City Crowdedness vs. Local Disturbance

Figure 4.12: Tourist Influence on Youth and Culture

Figure 4.13: Mean of Tourist Influence on Youth and Culture according to Age

Figure 4.14: Migrant Workers Taking Jobs of Locals

Figure 4.15: Security and Safety


1.1 Background to the Research

Tourism is more than just an 'activity' carried out by a tourist; it has great economic impacts on a nation (Higgins-Desbiolles, 2006). According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, UNWTO, (2002) tourism is the most viable and sustainable economic development option for developing nations and is a key driver for socio-economic progress as well as protecting biodiversity (UNDP, 2011). Supposedly, it contributes to the preservation of a society's culture and heritage. It also sheds light on the environment and ecosystems and allows people from different cultures to interact with each other (Page and Connell, 2014). Such impacts have been used to promote 'development plans' in 'developing countries' or, more appropriately, the global south, are seen as positive.

With this in mind, many states have focused on transforming themselves as tourist destinations for their economic benefits (Gago, Labandeira, Picos and Rodriguez, 2009). Initially, heritage tourism was perceived as a 'no cost, no fumes' industry that brings in foreign currency and has noble goals such as promoting tolerance and broadening the mind (Higgins-Desbiolle, 2006). Politicians and tourism boards invest heavily in promoting cultural tourism and tourists themselves tend to visit foreign countries for their unique culture and heritage (Richards, 2003). However, tourism scholars are fully aware that tourism is not a smokeless industry and has a negative side (Telfer and Sharpley, 2016). Thus, scholars have categorized impacts into three main domains: Economic, Environmental and Socio-cultural.

Studies on community perceptions of tourism are not a novelty, they date back to 1978 (Kayat, 2002). Since then they have evolved from mere analysis to the introduction of the Social Exchange Theory by Ap (1992). The theory gave scholars a better understanding of local community's perceptions of tourism: It stated that residents sought to improve their economic, social and psychological situation through tourism development. Therefore, residents evaluated both benefits and costs in order to take a stance on tourism.

Extensive studies have been conducted in western countries to assess community perceptions but this field remains considerably under-searched in other parts of the world. In the global south, the public is rarely involved in decision-making when it comes to development. Their opinion does not matter to their governments and post­colonial researchers have failed to understand the nature of the people or have underestimated their knowledge. This is why the author is concerned with understanding the perception of the local residents in Morocco, particularly the youth, and whether they view tourism development the same way their government does.

Morocco is less than an hour flight away from Europe yet it is a completely different culture. European travel agencies tend to advertise Africa as 'exotic' and 'authentic', which is something this market desires to experience. In 2013, Travel and tourism compromised a share of 18.7% of Morocco's GDP and employed up to 16.7% of the country's working force (Turner, 2014). A total of 10.5 million tourists had visited the country (Al Arabiya, 2014), an increase of over 400% percent compared to 2005 (Smith, 2006). However, tourist revenues dropped by 0.5% between 2012 and 2013 despite a 7% increase in tourist arrivals. This exponential growth can be attributed to the allowance of budget airlines and multi-national hotels to operate on the country's Atlantic coast.

In 2001, the Moroccan government laid plans for a tourism strategy under the name 'Vision 2010' in an attempt to triple its tourism capacity; to achieve that, foreign investors were involved in the project (United Nations, 2010). The government also opened up to budget airlines with in-bound tickets as low as £31 to increase the number of tourists (Smith, 2006). The authorities were so focused on reaching their targeted tourist numbers that the well being of the locals was overlooked.

Casablanca, Morocco's most populated city, received over a million tourists in 2015 (Al Arabiya, 2016). Even though tourism has suffered a setback in North Africa and West Asia but occupancy in Casablanca's hotels experienced an 8% increase in January 2016, compared to the same month in 2015 (Zawya, 2016). Its location on the Atlantic and low prices allowed it to be a major coastal tourism destination in the Mediterranean and it is still looking to attract more. At the start of 2016, local authorities announced that they are aiming to make their city Africa's most attractive tourist destination (Al Arabiya, 2016). While the city attracts plenty of European tourists and is considered to be a sex tourism destination (Lahrichi, 2016), a significant portion of its people are conservative Muslims. Islamist parties have been gaining popularity and domestic support recently (Daadaoui, 2015). The contrast between European tourists and some conservative locals could create tensions and cannot be ignored amid terrorist attacks on tourists in other North African countries such as Egypt, Tunisia and Mali.

1.2 Aim

This study aims to identify the local youth's perceptions of social impacts of tourism in Casablanca, Morocco and the factors influencing their attitudes towards tourism development.

1.3 Objectives

In order to support the aforementioned aim the following objectives were proposed:

1. To review secondary literature about social impacts of tourism in developing countries, host communities' perceptions of tourism's social impacts and assessment methods.
2. To investigate the opinions and perceptions of local youth and to understand their attitudes towards tourism through primary research.
3. To draw conclusions and propose recommendations on how to minimize negative attitudes among locals towards tourism in Morocco and highlight the importance of involving youth and locals in decision-making.

1.4 Structure of the Dissertation

Chapter 1: The first chapter presents the topic of study, presenting some background information on Morocco and social impacts of tourism. It also discusses the aim and objectives of the dissertation.

Chapter 2: This chapter is concerned with the first objective of the research. It reviews secondary literature related to social impacts, community perceptions and assessment methods. It also discusses the current stage of tourism in Morocco.

Chapter 3: The research method is identified in this chapter along with further explanation regarding the author's choice of seeking quantitative primary data using questionnaires.

Chapter 4: After designing the questionnaire and sending it out, the author meets the second objective: Collecting primary data and analysing it. The collected data is analysed and explained further through comparison to the work of others which is present in the literature review.

Chapter 5: The final chapter of the dissertation meets the third objective. It provides a conclusion of the findings as well as recommendations to different stakeholders within Morocco's tourism industry.


2.1 Introduction

In this chapter, the author aims to demonstrate an understanding of previous theories and literature, critically analyze and review those (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2012). It is essential for the literature review to explore the topical fields of the researched topic (Ridley, 2012). In fact, the current level of knowledge regarding host community perceptions of tourism impacts is going to be defined and put forward to connect the research to the work of others.

Firstly, Morocco and Casablanca are introduced in terms of country and city profiles, state of tourism development and statistics. Then, the author will review literature on tourism development and its social impacts on the host community in developing nations taking into account the findings of different scholars. The discourse also revolves around the perception of locals and the different factors that influence their attitudes. The author goes further to Social Impact Assessment, SIA, and distinguishes between the various frameworks. The following literature review is essential for the build up to the primary research framework to be carried out at a later stage.

2.2 Tourism Development in Morocco

2.2.1 Morocco

Tourism in Morocco can be grouped under three main categories: Mountainous, cultural and coastal tourism with the latter contributing to the highest number of tourists (Christie, Fernandes, Messerli and Twining-Ward, 2014). The country has a coastline of 3,400 km and a favourable climate that allows in tourists during spring and summer time (Qanir, 1989). French tourists are the most to visit the North African country; they comprise 17% of the tourists, followed by Spanish (7%) and British (5%) (Oxford Business Group, 2012).

The Moroccan government identified tourism as an important development tool and labelled it as a national priority. As a consequence, it launched the campaign 'Vision 2010' to reach a total of 10 million tourists by 2010 (Wood, 2009). Although the target was not met in time, tourists number had increased heavily by then and the authorities launched 'Vision 2020', a campaign that aims to get Morocco into the top 20 tourist destinations world-wide (Roudies, 2010). In order to do so, plans were laid to double the hotel rooms and number of tourists by 2020 despite austerity measures in Europe, Morocco's main target market (Christie et al., 2014). In 2011, Morocco established the Moroccan Tourism Development Fund within the tourism ministry to initiate public-private partnerships which are essential to the growth of tourism (Ofxord Business Group, 2012). The fund is expected to have a capital of over $9 billion by 2020 mainly through foreign banks based in the Arabian Gulf and the Moroccan government (Oxford Business Group, 2012). It attempted to privatise the national carrier, Royal Air Maroc, upgraded the country's airports and allowed budget airlines to fly in from Europe. Currently, it ranks 26th world-wide in terms of prioritising tourism development and 22nd for affinity towards tourism and travel (Blanke and Chiesa, 2013).

Tourism in Morocco is growing at a faster pace than in most other countries despite the regional turmoil and instability that followed the 'Arab winter'. It has around 1,800 hotels with a total of over 78,000 rooms. In 1999, Morocco had just over two million tourists but by 2013, it recorded a total of 10.5 million international tourist arrivals (Al Arabiya, 2014). In 2015, around 8.2% of Moroccans were employed in the tourism industry, contributing to a total of 12% of the country's GDP (Oxford Business Group, 2012). Leisure travellers contribute up to 82.6% of the tourism revenue. This is expected to grow by an additional 4.6% in the upcoming years (Turner, 2015). The government understood the economic value of tourism. Therefore, it worked on shielding itself from its surroundings through political reform, increased security and improved infrastructure to continue catering for tourists and protect them from terrorist acts but street crime is still a major issue (Overseas Security Advisory Council, 2014). In December 2015, three German tourists were attacked with knives in Fez (Araujo, 2015), even though the reasons behind the attack were unknown, it reflects that the relationship between tourists and hosts is not always harmonious.

2.2.2 Casablanca

Casablanca, a city of three million inhabitants, is located on Morocco's Atlantic coast (Salmon, 2010). It recorded over 2.28 million tourist arrivals in its airport in 2014, more than any other airport in the kingdom (Oxford Business Group, 2015). In fact, its airport is considered to be one of Africa's five best airports (Vos, 2016). According to the same source, the city is preparing itself for 46 new projects with a total capital of over $1 billion including the building of three new hotels, a new marina and an expansion of the city's airport. The city's aspiration to become Africa's top tourism destination is likely to exasperate resources and cause huge problems of traffic.

Despite tourism growth, youth unemployment is still considered an issue and is on the rise, albeit at a slow pace. On a national level, it increased from 10.3 % to 11.1 % (Ocampos, 2016). In addition, those who are working claim that well-paying jobs are still quite low in number. Ocampos (2016) also discovered that people of different backgrounds have different opinions: They found that educated people working in the tourism industry believe that their country is moving in the right direction even though they claim that the king always has the final say in reforms and investments. They also found out that others who once aspired to become doctors are forced to sell pottery to tourists to earn a living. This produces a lack of accomplishment and low self-esteem which may have caused thousands of young Muslims from Casablanca and other major cities to be radicalised by the 'Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant', forcing them to leave their country to fight in Syria.

There are major reforms and development projects taking place in Morocco and Casablanca particularly, but some elements have not been received particularly well by the conservative parts of the community. Conservative Muslims consider women to be subject to the authority of their fathers or husbands and tourism jobs for women are considered as immoral by some and those who do work are paid much less than men (Flah, 2013). Bartherl and Planel (2010) believe that the lack of participatory processes in urban planning is denying the residents of Casablanca the right to preserve their lifestyles. This is a perfect example of how development projects do not necessarily mean improvement of quality of life. Morocco opted to cater for mass tourists, thus forced to operate on lower profit margins per tourist which means even more tourists are needed to reach the economic targets (Mason, 2011), but have the tourism planners taken the social impacts of such an increase of foreign tourists into account? It seems that tourism plans are being dictated by the customers' needs with little attention to the impacts it has on the destination's inhabitants.

2.2.3 Tourism Development

Cultural tourism is seen by Cohen and Kennedy (2000) as a force standing in the way of globalization's quest towards cultural uniformity. For instance, tourism is regarded to catalyse enthusiasm towards the revival of local traditional culture as a result of the tourist's interest and curiosity in the culture and art of a destination (Hudman and Hawkins, 1989). Governments invest in teaching local dances, sponsor cultural events such as festivals and teach local arts and hand-making craft thanks to tourist spending at a destination and the tourist's desire to bring something 'authentic' back home. In brief, the more locals preserve their culture and maintain an 'authentic' image, the more tourists are likely to visit their country and spend on eating local food, seeing museums and buying souvenirs. Thus, it can be seen that cultural tourism is not only bringing in much needed foreign currency to the developing world but also helping preserve its culture.

Higgins-Desbiolles (2006) believes that hopeful tourism is the proper approach to bring socio-economic benefits to the people of developing nations but Tribe (2006) disagreed claiming that such an approach is Eurocentric because it shuns the knowledge, culture and opinion of concerned locals. In addition, Freire (2006 in Chambers and Buzinde, 2015) criticized this approach by claiming that western tourism scholars are doing the thinking on behalf of the people 'They talk about the people, but they don't trust them'. Based on Freire's rhetoric, hopeful tourism can be translated as a neo-colonial approach to tourism development if it is not addressed properly. Privileged scholars are viewing tourism projects from their own point of view and are speaking on behalf of the people rather than involving the host communities directly. There is little doubt of tourism's contribution to a nation's economic growth but this western-biased planning could directly produce negative impacts on a society of a developing nation.

2.3 Socio-cultural Impacts

2.3.1 Social Impacts

A social impact is defined by the Social Enterprise in the United Kingdom (2012) as the effect of an activity on the social fabric of the community. Tourism, as an activity involves the interaction between the producer (the local) and the consumer (the tourist) of the product at the point of production, which is the destination itself (Berno and Bricker, 2001). Keeping this in mind, the interaction between both locals and tourists, usually from two different and distinct cultures, involves exchange and has socio-cultural impacts on both sides.

While there is no doubt that tourism has positive economic impacts, Cooper (2012) argues that tourism may cause undesired 'consequences' on a society's culture. Cooper partially attributes those negative results to the 'contrast' between the cultures of the tourists on one hand and the host community on the other. This is often true when the first world tourist visits a third world country. It is essential to take this into consideration when decision makers decide which type of tourism to develop and promote. The type of tourism is just one factor among many that dictate the impact left on the destination. Type and number of tourists, importance of the tourism industry, the level of interaction between tourists and hosts, size and development of tourism and the pace at which this development is moving at, are all contributing factors (Page and Connell, 2014). Tourism is said to improve people's standard of living but it can also cause a decline or improvement in residents' quality of life. According to Kyungmi (2002), at the early stages of tourism development residents witness a decline in quality of life but that improves with the years as the community develop adaptive behaviours.

On the other hand, Mason (2011) argues that tourists from a different culture leave positive social effects on a community such as rebirth of local arts and the conservation of a local traditional architecture and cuisine. The literature concerned with social impacts of tourism is by no means unified and in agreement as some may view tourism as an evil neo-colonial force (Senior, 1994) while others claim it is a tool for universal dialogue and peace (Smith, 2003). The more tourists interact with hosts the more likely that a social impact will be left, which is not necessarily a negative one.

2.3.2 Alienation

Hegel (1949, cited in Xue, Navarrete and Buzinde, 2014) argued that alienation is the surrendering of personal interests. Marx (1978, cited in Xue, Navarrete and Buzinde, 2014) expanded on that and linked it to the working environment in a capitalist system. According to Marx, alienation is a direct consequence of capitalism. Marx argued that workers lost control of their powers and the products they produced but more importantly the relationship between them.

In modern day tourism in the global south, Marx's theory of alienation is as current as ever. The internationalisation of tourism has endangered the social power of the locals working in the tourism industry (Hjalager, 2007). The workers are almost powerless as they are unable to escape the cycle of working for multi-national hotel chains. Small family-run businesses are helpless in front of a hotel that is able to market itself through a variety of distribution channels and cut costs by hiring cheap foreign labour, such as Syrian workers in Lebanon or domestic ones from rural areas, such as Kurds in Istanbul (Gambetti and Jongerden, 2015).

Alienation in tourism also affects the social structure of a traditional society through the employment of youth in tourism rather than in land with their fathers (Cooper, 2012). A positive side to threatening the social structure could be the employment of females which could empower the oppressed sex. However, many females suffer from abuse and harassment at the hands of colleagues, employers and even tourists (Tomsky, 2011). Although females are able to find job opportunities in the tourism industry, it is hard to claim that women in the global south have been empowered when very few of them reached high positions and many of them are trafficked through sex tourism. Many of these females have been forced into such jobs and have no say in their future.

Members of the host community who do not work in the tourism industry can also be affected by their inability to use their region's most popular beaches which are reserved for tourists or through their relocation to make way for a resort. Sometimes, the host community is not forced to leave an area but tends to avoid 'tourist spots' and crowded beaches.

2.3.3 Acculturation

Tourism is said to pull the strings on socio-cultural change by a process called Acculturation (Page and Connell, 2014). Acculturation in tourism is when a tourist from a culturally strong society, usually from the developed world, comes into contact with a tourist from a culturally weak society, usually from the developing world (Page and Connell, 2014). This results in external influences on a community's culture, especially a religious one. The values (or lack of values) of the stronger culture are transferred to the people of the weaker one. Religious or cultural traditions may be swapped for western ideals; thus, causing a loss in a society's values (Burns, 2003). This could persuade youth to consume alcohol or drugs and abuse these substances or simply wear jeans instead of their traditional outfits.

When people from different cultures come in contact for a significant length of time then ideas and products are exchanged but not necessarily in a balanced way (Williams, 1998 cited in Mason, 2011). In this context, host communities are likely to be influenced by the dominant culture of the demanding tourists and adapt their behaviour. This means that rather than promoting international understanding, tourism is catalyzing global uniformity. Harrison (2001) stated that cultural continuity or acculturation of a host community is determined by the extent of control of the state or authority. Unless the host community or ethnic group is in control of or has a say in development then inequality and acculturation are inevitable.

One argument of acculturation is the commercialization of everything such as turning cultural events into a mere product for entertaining tourists. Consequently, the cultural event loses its symbolic meaning. The show put up by the hosts is quite similar to that put by animals at a circus, for the pleasure of the crowd. However, from another perspective tourism helps preserve traditional cultural practices may they be dances, food, clothing or ornaments by supplying them with the necessary funds to maintain their culture (Mason, 2011). This allows the locals to take pride in their culture and protect it.

2.3.4 Demonstration Effect

The demonstration effect is when tourists show the locals that they are different by speaking, acting, behaving or dressing differently causing the local population, particularly the youth, to aspire to act the same way (Cooper, 2012). Demonstration itself is neither negative nor positive. However, what is being demonstrated is the negative element.

The encounter between the tourist and the local happens when the tourist is on vacation and has both leisure time and money to spend at the destination while the local is usually the one catering for the former's needs (Burns, 2003). Hence, at the time of encounter, the meeting between the two is not spontaneous (Moufakkir and Reisinger, 2013); the local views the demanding tourist as superior to him. In this situation, the local may feel underpaid or more dangerously as a mere servant for the 'white' tourist. Williams (2012) considers the relationship between the 'white' tourists in the Caribbean and the dark skinned locals as a neo-colonial one basing the claims on the fact that the tourism industry in the pacific islands is exploiting local workers for the sole pleasure of tourists that are basking under the sun. If the host feels inferior to the tourist, desires of stealing the 'rich' tourist could be invoked in him and thus crime increases in the destination. On the other hand, Cooper (2012) argues that the demonstration effect can be a positive one in alternative forms of tourism when the two sides meet as equals.

Demonstration can cause a generation gap between the youth, who are influenced by tourists, and the older generation (Williams, 2004). The younger generation will want to own the latest technological gadgets just like the 'superior tourists visiting their city and may resort to crime and robbery in order to obtain these items or they may migrate out of their areas to 'developed' places. Despite that, it is not only tourists that are driving the youth into a more consumerist and liberal culture as globalization and social media play a big role as well. Additionally, the locals are forced to learn the language of the tourist to communicate with him. Another arising issue is the employment of foreigners who speak the language of the tourist, such as Ukrainian workers in Spain who speak Russian (Weinz, 2012).

2.4 Tourism Impacts and Host Community Perceptions

2.4.1 Host Perceptions

Perceptions are a person's own subjective interpretations of experiences (Xu, Barbieri, Anderson, Leung, Rozier-Rich, 2016). Unlike economic impacts which are based on objective or scientific data, assessing social impacts can be highly subjective and based on qualitative analysis which is based on the community's perception and personal feelings (Hailey, Snaith, Miller, 2005). The host community's perceptions are primary in sustainable tourism development (Cruz and Bersales, 2007). For tourism to be successful, it is important for the host and tourist to have a harmonious relation (Sharpley, 2013). Age and education levels could also influence the host's perception. For example, Korça (1998, cited in Xu et al., 2016) concluded that more educated people tend to have a more positive attitude towards tourism. However, it can be argued that it is their jobs and levels of incomes that made them have a positive attitude rather than their education itself.

In an urban area, development and improved infrastructure are on the agenda of any government. Nowadays, development is said to increase the standard of living of a city and improve infrastructure network as well as bring a wider variety of product choices into the market. However, new shops and restaurants do not necessarily mean a better quality of life. On the contrary, increased development could mean more pollution, more working hours and more traffic as well (Deery, Jago and Fredline, 2012). In order for the destination to receive foreign exchange and employment opportunities, the locals are expected to pay a certain social or environmental cost (Sharpley, 2013). People's perceptions, whether positive or negative, directly influence their quality of life. Doxey's irritation index was designed to help understand host perceptions (Doxey, 1975 cited in Cooper, 2012). Butler's Cycle (Butler, 1980 cited in Mason, 2011) and the Social Exchange Theory (Ap, 1992 in Cruz and Bersales, 2007) helped understand the factors that shape the host's perception.

2.4.2 Doxey's Irritation Index

Doxey (1975, cited in Page and Connell, 2014) was one of the first to develop a theoretical model to assess host perceptions. The Irritation Index or Irridex, consisted of four different stages: Euphoria, apathy, annoyance and antagonism. The residents' perception goes from one stage to the other as the number of tourists and development increase (Doxey 1975, cited in Cooper, 2012). However, this theory is quite general and assumes that the host community is homogeneous and has the same opinion. Moreover, it does not take into account the measures taken to accommodate the increased number of tourists.

2.4.3 Butler's Cycle

Butler (1980, cited in Sharpley, 2013) proposed a more detailed model. The cycle suggests that the destination has a lifecycle and at different stages it causes different perceptions and attitudes. Butler argued that as the number of tourists increases the destination goes from exploration, involvement, development, consolidation, stagnation and finally either decline or rejuvenation depending on the measures taken.

Similarly to Doxey's Irridex, this theory is criticized because it does not take into consideration the different interest groups of the same society. After all, the residents or hosts are not one single united community. There are various factors that influence the local's perceptions and attitude towards tourism and its impacts: Gender, age, social status and other demographic factors along with political affiliation, level of involvement with tourism, his or her economic dependence on it and interaction with tourists and many other factors (Williams and Lawson, 2001).

2.4.4 Social Exchange Theory

The Social Exchange Theory helps understand the host's attitudes towards tourism (Ap, 1975; cited in Xu et al., 2016). The theory is based on the benefits that the locals receive in relation to the change or impact inflicted upon them. Traditionally, a person employed in the tourism industry was thought to have a positive perception of tourism (Haley, Snaith and Miller, 2005) but it can be seen that even tourism workers can have a negative attitude if they were alienated at work, felt inferior to the tourist or forced to adapt to the tourist's demands (United Nations Environment Program, No Date). The interaction between tourists and poor communities can provide a number of intangible and practical benefits. These can range from increased awareness of cultural, environmental, and economic issues and values, on both sides, to mutual benefits from improved local investment in infrastructure. Thus, the resident would be willing to be hospitable towards more tourists if he sees the benefits of tourism outweighing its implications on him. With time, research on community perceptions has become more detailed and more geographically focused (Xi et al., 2015).

Haley et al. (2005) found that as income levels fall, locals are more likely to have a positive attitude towards tourism because it creates jobs and brings them additional income. Thus, it improves their quality of life. Additionally, they concluded that those working in the industry are also more likely to support increased tourism because it directly affects their jobs.

2.5 Social Impact Assessment

2.5.1 Social Impact Assessment in Tourism

When a tourism project is being planned or developed, the host community's concerns need to be addressed and the impacts that could be inflicted upon them must be taken into consideration. Social Impact Assessment, SIA, has become an important tool in understanding the host's concerns and the impacts of a project. It has become a requirement in certain places when a project is being planned (Bradshaw, Wood and Williamson, 2000). It has mostly been approached by a westerner or at least a researcher based in the developed world and various methods have been implemented in different situations to assess the impact (Becker, Harris, McLaughlin and Nielsen, 2003). Nevertheless, SIA remains a heavily underused tool in the global south and its implementation has been very weak in urban areas (Walker, Mitchell and Wismer, 1999).

Table 2.1: Social Impact Assessment Methods

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

There is no right or wrong method, each method is useful in the right context and has its limitations in other areas. As can be seen from above, whether the impacts are assessed in an urban or rural area along with the purpose of research can determine the researcher's method of choice.

2.5.2 Social Resource Unit

Gilder (1995) used this qualitative method along with mind mapping in her research in rural Hawaii. The two methods work closely together, the first helps the host community put its social resources into words and writing. The second assists the hosts in identifying what could change in their society and the impacts a tourism project could inflict upon them.

2.5.3 Interactive Community Forum

This method of assessment is ideal in rural areas where the population is not quite big and diverse. In this method, focus groups are organised to include different segments of the society: stakeholders, youth, adults, and elderly, people of various economic backgrounds and so on (Becker et al., 2003). This is a qualitative method that helps make a researcher more focused and thorough. However, the researcher must be very careful when choosing the sample that is going to participate in the focus group because if one stakeholder is bypassed, the outcomes could be completely altered.

2.5.4 Surveying

Surveys are perhaps the easiest method and most practical one to implement in an urban area setting whether the population is considerably large and diverse. While surveys tend to make the research less qualitative, they do in fact make a scientific statement by providing quantitative numerical data. If implemented properly, they can highlight differences in perceptions among different age groups, sexes and social classes. Most Host-Tourism research carried out utilised surveys but differed in terms of assessed variable (Sharpley, 2013). In addition, surveys can reach out to a much wider audience and help establish an understanding of the general consensus regarding tourism (Mohammadi, et al., 2010).


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Youth's Perceptions of Tourism's Social Impacts in Casablanca, Morocco
International Hotel Management Institute Switzerland  (IMI University Centre)
International Tourism and Events Management
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Tourism Impacts, Tourism Sociology, Social Impacts of Tourism, Tourism Research, Tourism in Morocco, Casablanca, Morocco, Social Impacts, Tourism Impacts in Morocco, Tourism in Africa
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Sari Arab (Author), 2016, Youth's Perceptions of Tourism's Social Impacts in Casablanca, Morocco, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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