TABLE OF CONTENTS
LIST OF TABLES
LIST OF FIGURES
list of ABBREVIATIONS
1.1 Research Objective
1.2 Concepts: CSR and pro-poor tourism approach
2 LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 Tourism as a poverty alleviation tool
2.1.1 Pro-poor tourism strategies
2.1.2 Pro-poor critical factors
2.2 Tourism-Agriculture Linkages
2.2.1 Demand related factors
2.2.2 Supply related factors
2.2.3 Marketing and intermediary factors
2. 3 CASE STUDY GAMBIA IS GOOD
2.3.1 Area and Context
2.3.2 Tourism in The Gambia
2.3.3 Background and details of the PPT initiative
2.3.4 Pro-poor focused actions
2.3.5 Specific actions to involve the poor or address barriers to participation
2.3.6 Implementation and Impacts
2.3.7 Identifying impacts on poor people
2.4 Research questions
3.1 The sub-sector framework
3.2 sub-sector Approach
4 Sierra Leone – Background Information
4.1 Geography and Economy
4.2 Tourism Sector
4.2.1 Instability & Demand
4.2.2 Tourism Infrastructure
4.2.3 Tourism in Poverty Reduction Strategies in Sierra Leone
5.1 Peri- urban agriculture sub-sector
5.1.2 Peri-urban Farming
5.2 Lobsters Export Agent
5.3 Support Services
5.3.1 Extension Services
5.3.2 Financial Services
5.3.4 Destination Management & Marketing
6 Conclusions & RECOMMENDATIONS
6.1.2 Main objective of this thesis
Demand related factors
Supply related factors
Marketing and intermediary factors
6.2.1 Research on food consumption
6.2.2 Implementation “Market Linkages Training Program for Sierra Leone”
6.2.3 Sustainable Lobsters Export and Fishery in Sierra Leone
Tourism has been acknowledged by practitioners and governments to be a tool for economic development, not exclusively but mainly, of less developed countries with few other competitive sectors and, therefore, for boosting their domestic economy as well as reducing the endemic poverty. Competitiveness in tourism is considered by many authors as the availability of a tourist destination participants, but principally of governmental bodies, to preserve those natural attractions (landscape, fauna and flora) that attracted the tourism in the first place, but also to maintain a high quality of other tourism assets such as cultural attractions (historic buildings, culture, traditional food), sport activities, accommodations and other value-added services including tours, food and residents’ receptiveness (see Annex II), in order to meet tourists expectations. Undoubtedly, the quality of the overall tourism experience is considered by many sources the crucial factor to maintain the attractiveness and competitiveness of a destination within a highly competitive international tourism market; a more responsible tourism approach and destination management can contribute to maintain those assets upon which this industry is built. Sustainable tourism, CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) and the pro-poor tourism, while with different foci, if correctly “applied”, can contribute to maintain or enhance the overall tourism experience as, for example, by reducing the number of street vendors who annoy tourists. Relevant for all of them and particularly for less developed countries is the fact that an existing tourism industry needs to develop strategies to ensure that the poor inhabitants, with a focus on the informal sector, receive more benefits from the tourism industry. This paradigm is difficult to apply when the tourism industry is not viable in a country and the great majority of tourism establishments have insufficient numbers of clients to make profit. In fact, Sierra Leone cannot utilize many of the guidelines for pro-poor tourism or corporate social responsibility yet, as they are not applicable to a country with a tourism economy that is not currently functioning profitably. However, the concept of establishing backward linkages between the hotel industry in Sierra Leone and local producers has been considered to be relevant by FIAS (The Foreign Investment Advisory Service) and DFID (Department for International Development, UK) (Annex I), based on the assumption that benefits of an expanding tourism industry will “trickle down” and boost the demand for local services, especially for agricultural produce.
This master thesis aims, therefore, at clarifying how fostering backward-linkages between tourism and agriculture as a pro-poor tourism strategy and as an approach to enhance the competitiveness of the destination, is a viable tool for poverty reduction in developing countries, and especially in Sierra Leone.
Following the introduction and research objective (Chapter l), this thesis is divided into five more chapters. Chapter 2 reviews the literature dealing with tourism as a poverty reduction tool, as well as the factors (demand, production and marketing) which influence agri-tourism linkages; it concludes with a case study on agri-tourism backward-linkages in The Gambia, a best practice mainstream “sun & sand” tourism destination, which have implemented several pro-poor tourism strategies with the aim to improve the access of the informal sector to more lucrative markets. The Author of this thesis discussed the possible implementation with Concern Universal, the UK based international NGO responsible for a DFID founded pro-poor initiative called Gambia is Good; a private sector – civil society horticultural marketing company enabling the access of smallholder producers to more lucrative market-segments (tourism and local elites through supermarkets), which has had a considerable pro-poor impact so far. This initiative is currently supplying 60% of all needed fresh vegetables of 41 major costumers within The Gambia and, after five years of operations, has made its first profit in 2006. While both countries, Sierra Leone and The Gambia, have some characteristics in common, the replicability of a similar initiative linking small-scale farmers with lucrative markets in Freetown has been found, due to reasons further explained, quite precipitate.
Chapter 3 introduces the research framework and methods derived from the literature and the case study Gambia is Good review. The fieldwork was conducted in Freetown and Western Peninsula during November and December 2006. Data was collected through a review and analysis of secondary data (mainly Internet research) and rapid market appraisal techniques (see Annexes III, IV and V), from different participants within the FFV (Fresh Fruits and Vegetables) and lobsters supply chain, including producers, service providers and the gastronomy (hotels and restaurants). Peri-urban agriculture around Freetown provided the adequate context for examining the linkages and the demand for fresh fruits and vegetables, due to the proximity to the potential tourism market and the impact on poverty reduction, as 80% of the Sierra Leonean depend on such type of agriculture; on the other hand, the lobsters export agent provides a clear example of economic “leakages” due to unregulated markets.
Using secondary literature and primary sources, Chapter 4 provides a general overview of Sierra Leone fragile socio-political context including a description of the country, its dependence on foreign aid, and of the declining tourism sector.
Chapter 5 provides an overview of both food sub-sectors analyzed during the fieldwork. It describes the structure and linkages amongst actors (production, distribution, demand, and support services), and identifies constraints and opportunities influencing the linkages between agriculture and tourism.
Based on the foregoing, Chapter 6 discusses the findings, and presents recommendations for the design of strategies to promote local food consumption in Sierra Leone, as a tool to enhance its attractiveness and reduce poverty.
Despite some unique pristine beaches, Sierra Leone has little tourism attractions to offer compared to other West African countries such as Togo, Benin Ghana, and even The Gambia. Besides, the tourism product quality is very low and very expensive, in comparison with other destinations. However, the main problem is its insecurity and political instability and, consequently, the lack of confidence not only of international tourists but also of foreign investors. This is especially relevant for “sun & sand” unsafe destinations, which are quickly replaced by more stable ones with similar few tourism attractions. As a conclusion, the declining tourism industry of Sierra Leone, in terms of product quality and international arrivals, cannot sustain any tourism approach aimed to increase the benefits for the poor or attract demanding high-yield tourists, who eventually would pay a premium for quality, thus allowing more “fair” payments, and covering the living costs of some members of the host communities. In this respect, some findings indicate that, tourism and local small-scale agriculture (World Bank, 2006b) have been widely neglected by the Government of Sierra Leone, all efforts having been directed onto the development of the mining sector. In this respect, findings confirm those sources in the literature stressing the incapability and lack of political commitment of such countries emerging from conflict, known as “fragile states”, to deliver basic services for their population (particularly the poor) and to promote development and stability (Longley et al., 2007). Interesting is, however, and according to this same source, the crucial role of international donors’ initiatives and pressure, at all levels, to promote market-led agriculture as a rehabilitation and stabilisation mechanism after civil conflicts. In fact, while production and marketing constraints can be solved as stated in the wider agriculture literature, due to the nature of Sierra Leone as a “fragile state”, findings suggest that the lack of commitment and attitude of the Government to more responsible tourism forms or approaches will hamper any attempt to foster strategic alliances between the poor agriculture sector and tourism industry or other lucrative market-segments. But what it is more important, no local tourism supportive organizations aiming at improving the access of the informal sector to more lucrative markets have been identified; coordination and communication seem inexistent. Although the recent tourism development in Sierra Leone addresses the important issue of preserving the few available tourist attractions, an overall (responsible) tourism destination management integrating all stakeholders and planning consequently the steps leading to competitiveness, as in the case of The Gambia, is still lacking.
That tourism benefits will automatically “trickle down” and boost other sectors of the economy, mainly agriculture, is a widely spread belief; yet empirical evidence is still lacking. On the contrary, the literature review indicates that tourism might harm the already neglected and weak agriculture of less developed countries through increased food imports to satisfy the new demand. The enclave nature of the current accommodation and gastronomy sectors in Freetown benefiting only the local elites, confirms such negative impacts; a number of supermarkets and restaurants cater foreign expatriates working and living in Sierra Leone with imported canned food and meat.
In fact, in spite of the lack of international leisure visitors, but with the need to address the poverty issue with practical initiatives, the Author recommends firstly tapping the already available opportunities within Freetown (compare Fischer, 2004), before trying to compete with other established and competitive tourist destinations with such few comparative and competitive advantages. This is obviously not as glamorous as promoting the destination internationally, but an important community of foreign expatriates, mainly from UK and working in Sierra Leone, might be less demanding in relation to quality standards (e.g. accommodation, food and airport transfer) than international guests, while it is assumed, being foreign expatriates, that their disposable income is available. The literature review showed that English nationals spend important amounts in eating-out, consume more FFV (Fresh Fruits and Vegetables) and fish, and are willing to pay a premium for quality fresh food with some “ethical” attributes, all of them relevant issues to Sierra Leone. The already existing market of local elites and expatriates (including the supermarkets) provides an excellent ground to start a project, even if economic sustainability -lack of profitable market- remains a major constraint. However, tourist and local elites consumption patterns and preferences were not addressed in this study; this should be included in further research as the demand (food preferences) finally pulls the food product through the supply chain. Furthermore, the Author recommends using the already existing know-how and experience in such kind of projects aimed to augment the profit for the poor; DFID and Concern Universal could combine their efforts with the already developed and implemented projects by Epler Wood International; this surely would avoid "re-inventing the wheel". Compared to many programs observed in Sierra Leone aimed for food security (quantity) and measured by its outreach (number), this proposal would only target a reduced group of 20 female small-scale peri-urban farmers plus eventually 5-10 female street vendors at the supermarkets (“supermarket women”), with the aim to supply regularly a reduced selection of fresh quality and safe (phitosanitary) FFV to the three high-end restaurants and foreign expatriates directly. Outside the most popular supermarkets amongst foreign expatriates, newly designed stalls inspired by Gambia is Good could be placed. This would be later be extend to the ES-KO supermarket at the Mammy Yoko hotel, the only establishment interested in collaborating with this project, as it used to supply local FFV daily for the UN-troops until 2005. Eventually, the Government of Sierra Leone could demonstrate its commitment and support for the smallholder producers and to this project, by acquiring all fresh produce from this initiative for the ministerial cantina at the Youyi Building and for the two biggest government-owned hotels, the Cape Sierra and the Bintumany. In line with the pro-poor approach and experience with previous projects, this is intended, at least, to provide access to a lucrative market segment for a small female group in a particular area, rather than to provide inputs and finance as an end in its self to all inhabitants with no or little economic achievements; an issue creating a “foreign aid dependency” culture, as observed and reported by the local micro-finance institutions: it is preferable to keep things simple and achieve little than rather nothing (Ashley, 2006). In fact, it is intended to support fairly poor individuals that are already doing better by themselves, as they might be the driving force behind a successful implementation, namely tangible economic benefits and a first change in the perpetual “status quo” of poverty. The project could be mostly financed through micro credits (seeds, tools), whereas the leader NGO Concern Universal and the private sector (Haygrove), would provide the necessary know-how of a more market-lead approach. According to the general manager of Gambia is Good, a pilot project could be carried out for one year for an estimated US$ 20,000 (£10k), but a three year financing is recommended based on The Gambia experiences, to achieve the first positive results; a distribution scheme is not included in those overall costs. New stalls at supermarkets inspired in those of the Gambian project, should cost no more than US$100 and could be financed by the provision of micro credits, which in turn would support the empowerment and identification of participants with the project. Money and agricultural extension services are available in Sierra Leone; breaking the vice circle of subsistence agriculture by redirecting donors efforts, for example within the recent World Bank Rural and Private Sector Development Project, is certainly possible, as adding value to agricultural products does not necessarily imply big investments. On the contrary, such operations as washing, pre-sorting and packaging, already done in the past to supply the UN-troops stationed in Sierra Leone, would make a considerable difference.
Finally, and in order to address the economic “leakages” within the fish and particularly the lobster-sector, the Author recommends implementing the third party-labelling scheme of the Marine Stewardship Council to guarantee the sustainable use of marine resources in Sierra Leone, in order to, first, achieve higher prices through “ethical” attributes targeting more lucrative market-segments (e.g. in the UK) and, second, attract high-yield tourists interested in quality fish and seafood specialities, products that can represent a unique selling proposition and appeal tourists (e.g. fresh delicious seafood at the seaside), more than only fresh vegetables and fruits.
Thanks to Mrs Megan Epler Wood and Mrs Kristina Svensson for giving the Researcher the opportunity to have been a part of the FIAS/DFID Project Competitiveness and Corporate Social Responsibility in Sierra Leone – Industry Solutions for Tourism and Mining.
The author would also like to express his gratitude to Mrs Megan Epler Wood (Epler Wood Int.), Mrs Kristina Svensson (FIAS) and Mrs Fatu Karim Turay (World Bank Sierra Leone) for their guidance and support prior and throughout the fieldwork in Sierra Leone. He is also very grateful to FIAS and the World Bank branch in Sierra Leone for the financial and logistic support provided.
In addition, the valuable information provided by all restaurants, hotels, the National Tourist Board of Sierra Leone, governmental and non-governmental bodies, and members of the finance community is gratefully acknowledged. Thanks are also due to all small-scale farmers and the lobsters´ export agent visited in Western Peninsula. Last but not least, the Author would like to thank Mrs Nicole Häusler M.A. and Mr Professor Dr. Wolfgang Strasdas from the Sustainable Tourism Management Master’s Programme of the University of Applied Sciences in Eberswalde (Germany) for providing the Author with the necessary know-how and background for carrying out the research as well as for their assistance during the work related to this Master’s thesis.
LIST OF TABLES
Table 1: Positive and Negative Impacts of PPT-Initiatives (selection)
Table 2: Production Constraints and Solutions
Table 3: Marketing Constraints and Solutions
Table 4: Gambia is Good Progress
Table 5: Critical Factors Affecting the Continuity of Gambia is Good
Table 6: Sub-sector Selection Criteria
Table 7: Balance of Payments
Table 8: Tourist Demand in Sierra Leone 2000-2006
Table 9: Lodging Facilities, Number of Beds and Average Occupancy
Table 10: Number of Employees in Tourism
Table 11: Forecast FFV Expenditures for 2006 in Freetown
LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1: Local linkages with tourism
Figure 2: “Hierarchy of Needs and Food as a Source of Satisfaction”
Figure 3: Destination Life-Cycle
Figure 4: Tourism Industry Maturity & Linkages with local Agriculture
Figure 5: The Gambia
Figure 6: Sub-sector/ Value chain approach
Figure 7: Map of Sierra Leone
Figure 8: Sub-Sector Map for FFV and Lobsters in Freetown
Figure 9: Location of Restaurants and Hotels in Freetown
Figure 10: Peri-Urban agriculture and Lobsters´ Export Agent at Western Peninsula
Figure 11: Peri-Urban Framing at Gloucester
Figure 12: Street Vendors
Figure 13: Lobsters´ Export
Figure 14: Kitchen Facilities at the Tourism Institute in Freetown
Figure 15: New FFV Stalls in Freetown
list of ABBREVIATIONS
illustration not visible in this excerpt
The Foreign Investment Advisory Service (FIAS) is assisting the Minister of Trade and Industry (MTI) of Sierra Leone in identifying public policies and instruments that have the greatest potential to increase competitiveness of key sectors, to improve labour and environmental Corporate Social Responsibility (CRS) standards, and to attract responsible investors and buyers. The work initially focuses on the diamond sector, but also looks into applications to the gold and tourism sectors, and will complement and reinforce the newly launched reforms in Sierra Leone on administrative barriers.
In this context, FIAS provided some recommendations of how to strengthen the capacity of the government and the tourism sector to use voluntary CSR approaches to improve competitiveness. This resulted in the report Competitiveness and Corporate Social Responsibility in Sierra Leone – Industry Solutions for Tourism and Mining, FIAS/DFID, 2006. In this report, the donors recommended that a graduate student (the Author of this thesis) be assigned to Sierra Leone with the specific objective of researching the supply chain for fresh fruit and vegetables in Freetown, and prepare some recommendations for fostering “fair” backward-linkages between the tourism and agriculture. Details of this study and the project of which it is an integral part is outlined in the terms of reference (Annex I).
Following the introduction and research objective (Chapter l), this thesis is divided into six chapters. Chapter 2 reviews the literature dealing with tourism as a poverty alleviation tool, and the linkages between food production and tourism/recreation sector (RQ1), and then a case study is presented (RQ 2). Chapter 3 introduces the research framework and research methods derived from the literature and case study review. Chapter 4 provides a general overview of Sierra Leones national context, including a description of the country, its economy, and the tourism sector (RQ1 and 2). Chapter 5 addresses the RQ1 and provides an overview of the FFV and lobsters sub-sectors. It describes the structure, linkages amongst actors (production, distribution, demand, and support services) , analyzes the constraints that limit and opportunities influencing its development. Chapter 6 discuss the findings in comparison with previous literature and highlights some recommendations derived from the analysis, and proposes priorities for further research (RQ2).
1.1 Research Objective
The Pro-Poor tourism approach recommends that an existing tourism industry in a country needs to develop more mechanisms to ensure that local people, those living at or near poverty levels, receive more benefits from the tourism industry. This paradigm is difficult to apply when the tourism industry is not viable in a country, and the great majority of tourism establishments have insufficient numbers of clients to make profits, a fact that was already identified in a study on tourism carried out by the World Bank in 2005. In fact, Sierra Leone cannot utilize many of the guidelines for pro-poor tourism or corporate social responsibility yet, as they are not applicable to a country with a tourism economy that is at present not functioning profitably.
However, the concept of establishing backward-linkages from the hotel industry in Sierra Leone and local producers was considered by DFID & FIAS to be relevant, as both development agencies assumed that if the tourism market grows, the demand for produce will grow, thus benefiting the industry in the long-run, as well as providing an opportunity to increase spill-over effects (FIAS, 2006).
This master thesis aims therefore at clarifying if and how fostering backward-linkages between tourism and agriculture, as a pro-poor tourism strategy, and as an approach to enhance the competitiveness of the destination, is a viable tool for poverty reduction in less developed countries, and especially for Sierra Leone.
1.2 Concepts: CSR and pro-poor tourism approach
Development researchers and practitioners see Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs as a potential solution for delivering sustainable economic development to low-income countries, while Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMSE) are considered to play a crucial role in its implementation (ODI, 2006; DFID, 2003). The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) additionally, stressed that, although the integration of social and environmental concerns in business was firstly conceived for multinationals with a focus on mining and oil exploitation in developed (rich) countries opera in the third world, other similar initiatives are being already employed by international companies - under names like “Fair Trade” - targeting small-scale enterprises/farmers in developing countries and addressing concerns of greater importance for those less developed countries (Fox, 2004; Pruzan-Jørgensen, Jørgensen and Cramer; Ward, 2004).
The “pro-poor tourism” (PPT) approach follows similar principles, which recognizes the essential need of the tourism private sector to make linkages and cooperate with host communities, with the aim to increase net benefits from tourism for the poor part of the population (Ashley and Hysom, 2005).
For the present thesis on tourism, the term and approach pro-poor tourism was found to be more appropriate than CSR, due to its focus on the poor and poverty alleviation, rather than general economic development (see Annex VI).
2 LITERATURE REVIEW
The purpose of this chapter is to provide a theoretical basis and framework for assessing pro-poor tourism initiatives fostering backward-linkages between tourism and agriculture, as well as to identify key factors and concepts contained in the literature with a view to choose an appropriate research methodology and instruments, that will direct and inform the research process, thus addressing the objectives of this thesis.
2.1 Tourism as a poverty alleviation tool
An important body of work acknowledges the “vicious circle” of political instability, which causes social dissatisfaction and reduces investments, impeding thus economic development and poverty reduction, and worsening the political and social volatility problem of developing countries. Poverty is widely defined as the sense of being powerless against social injustice, vulnerability to health or natural risks, and the deprivation of human essential assets including both income and non-income dimensions (World Bank, 2001):
- Financial capital: earned income, savings, remittances, access to credit.
- Human capital: education, good health, skills, and ability to work.
- Natural capital: natural resource stocks such as land, forested areas, clean air & water.
- Physical capital: basic infrastructure and services such as shelter, transport, sanitation, energy and communications.
- Social capital: social resources such as networks of family, friends, and social and community organizations.
Access and availability of those essential assets depend in turn on the access to markets providing those vital resources, legal and institutional framework’s performance, natural conditions (i.e. weather), and social differences or inequality (gender, race, status, and ethnicity), leading in the worst case to internal conflicts and/or at least to the loss of value or deployment of those assets (World Bank, 2001).
Figure 1: Local linkages with tourism
illustration not visible in this excerpt
Advocates of tourism (i.e. Pro Poor Tourism Partnership) as a poverty alleviation tool (Goodwin, 1998; Mitchell and Ashley, 2006; UNWTO, 2003) emphasize the economic and development opportunities tourism can offer to less developed countries (LDC) with few others competitive export sectors (DFID, 1999). It is widely recognized that tourism can provide foreign exchange earnings, generate government revenues (taxes on income, departure taxes, duties on tourist goods and services) and generate employment. It also can serve as a catalyst for the development of other sectors such as agriculture, and lead to infrastructure improvements (water, electricity, sewage systems) in the host communities. LDCs are considered to have a comparative advantage as they have “attractiveness attributes” or “tourist assets” valued by the tourism industry and international tourists, namely wildlife, landscape and cultural attractions (Ashley et al., 2001). Indeed, according to Gallarza et al. (2002), “landscape” and “cultural attractions” have been considered crucial elements of a destination; with “gastronomy” ranking 6th from 20 elements contributing to the destination’s appeal, in 25 previously reviewed studies (see Annex II). In this context, Goodwin recognizes the possibilities of the poor to “capitalise upon those assets, through tourism”, even though financial resources are scarce (Roe and Urquhart, 2001). Contrary to exports, tourism brings the costumer to the country’s economy (Ashley et al., 2001) as shown in Figure 1. Empirical evidence acknowledge the importance of local supply chains (particularly of food) in terms of money flows and employment generation within the host community, yet Mitchell and Ashley (2007) point out that re-coupling local chains to the tourism sector “is relatively neglected, despite its apparent poverty impact” (p. 3). Emphasis has been placed on the participation of the “informal sector”, where mainly women are employed (ILO, 2002), as a contributor to the economic well-being of the poor host communities in LDCs tourist destinations (Ashley et al., 2001; Goodwin and Bah, 2003; Mitchell and Ashley, 2007). The International Labour Office (ILO) defines the informal sector as all small-scale owned enterprises, or labour provided by the poor (e.g. in tourism, agriculture, construction, security guards) with few barriers to enter, where resources are local, the enterprise is family owned (low level of capitalization), the technology is labour intensive, skills are acquired outside the formal education system, and the market is unregulated and competitive. Timothy and Wall (1997) stressed in their literature review the importance of the informal economy within tourism development. According to them, there are two main issues particularly relevant to tourism as a poverty alleviation tool:
First, the informal sector is able to absorb large numbers of unskilled labour (Griffith, 1987; Thomas, 1992; Tokman, 1978), and second, the existence of linkages (Sethuraman, 1981; Thomas 1992; Wahnschafft, 1982) with the formal economy (provision of goods and services), thus contributing to the economic development. While the informal sector’s crucial role as an crucial component of the economy in many LDCs tourist destinations has been widely recognized, it has been seldom integrated in official government policies or in tourism development plans (Wall, 1996). Furthermore, according to Kermath and Thomas (1992), the development of the formal tourism sector is likely to reduce the related informal sector activities, whereas the formal ones probably will not be able to accommodate the displaced workforce and loss of vital income sources. The same authors stress the relevance of addressing informal activities trough improvement and fostering of linkages within official strategies in order to avoid or minimize the resulting host communities´ resentments against tourism development. Hackel (1999) furthermore questions that tourism developments aimed to protect natural assets e.g. wildlife, thus limiting the access to land and other natural resources – assets upon the poor could capitalise through tourism - will succeed within an “increasingly unpredictable social and economic environment” (p. 729) in Africa, without tangible gains from the conservation efforts for the host communities (compare 2.1.1 below).
Undoubtedly, tourism has also negative environmental and economic impacts on the poor. Yet, according to the tourism literature (Ashley et al., 2001; Goodwin, 1998) such disadvantages: displacement, inflated prices, social disruption, and economic “leakages”, to name a few, are general to globalization, and thus not exclusive of tourism. Factors for the development of tourism, such as the tourism resources (i.e. unique natural or cultural attractions), markets (i.e. proximity to outbound markets), capital (i.e. construction and maintenance of luxury hotels, planes and cruise ships), know-how (i.e. about markets needs, hostelry management-capacity, technologies) and accessibility (i.e. airports, airlines, connecting roads), may differ depending on geographical areas. The different strength and concentration of tourism in certain areas depend on such factors and cannot be avoided. Identifying those economic “leakages” or unequal distribution of tourism-related wealth generation and potential or existing linkages along the tourism “value chain” or “supply chain” as proposed in the literature (Mitchell and Faal, 2006; Ashley and Mitchell, 2007), can provide a way for poor local host communities in LDCs to participate and benefit from this industry. Ashley and Mitchell (2007) argue that “leakages” have been generally measured in the wrong way, thus overemphasizing the issue of financial losses’ out of the destination’s economy. While “leakages”- studies focused only on the entire package price of the tourism product counting for two-third of the total cost, this same source stresses the importance to consider the total holiday cost. This includes also the discretional expenditures for local services and goods such as food, handicrafts and excursions, which are not included in the package price, but are often provided by the poor in many LDCs´ destinations. It is furthermore stressed (Ashley and Mitchell, 2007) that services and goods which cannot be provided by the destination -long-distance flights, functions of international tour operators, retailing, and certain food e.g. Champaign - should not be considered as “leakages”. A reliable basis, more accurate measurement addressing the real issue for decision making avoids, “wrong answers to inappropriate policy questions” (Ashley and Mitchell, 2007; p. 2); it is made clear that there is a tendency to focus on policy interventions in order to reduce foreign expenditure flows (economic “leakages”), which will not always have the desired results, rather than on fostering linkages within their own local economy, for example import quotas (Bélisle, 1984, Latimer, 1985), or creating financially non viable national airlines with the hope to capture the lucrative but difficult to handle (know-how, capital, costumers) element of “international tourist transportation” within the tourism value chain (Ashley and Mitchell, 2007). Nonetheless, with respect to agricultural products it is widely accepted that subsidized products or activities (e.g. fishing) from Europe are a recognized barrier to development in Africa, as well as, of course, according to Howell (2005; p.1) subsidy policies in African countries aimed for big export crops activities that “perpetuate inefficiency and discourage competitiveness” on the long term, and do not target the poor rural livelihoods (compare 2.2.2).
Much has been written about “adequate” or “inadequate” tourism development forms (high-end versus low-end, large-scale versus eco-tourism, etc.), and their “positive” or “negative” impacts (leakages, amongst others) for host communities and destinations. However, as Ashley (2006) stresses, tourism-related policy decisions “have been often made on assumptions” (p. 3) rather than on assessments. For example, Clarke (1997) and Budenau (2005) argue that large-scale tourism, despite its negative connotations, has the biggest potential, if linkages with the local economy are existent, to contribute to sustainable tourism development, and thus to poverty reduction: First, large scale operators have the marketing and communication expertise and contacts with the outbound markets to actively promote the interest in sustainable tourism amongst their clients. Second, due to their volume of operations in terms of turnover, they can influence their suppliers and distributors, which could be a “persuasive force” to adapt sustainable policies along the components (accommodation, activities, food) of the supply chain (see Figure 1). Finally, and crucial for all kinds of tourism, is the protection of natural assets, as tourism depends on environmental quality and landscape attractiveness. A critical mass of committed large-size tour operators and other service providers (e.g. airlines, hotels) is essential to “exert pressure through lobbying power” in order to introduce changes (Clarke, 1997; p. 228).
Though ethical or altruistic motives might be the “driving force” behind such a commitment, there are trade-offs between profit motives and social or environmental concerns (Adams, 2006). Tourism is first of all “a commercial sector driven by business opportunities, not an engine for providing social services to the poor” (DFID, 1999; p. 2), yet its potential cannot be ignored, as already many tourism companies have engaged in responsible tourism activities. A First Choice, a leading UK tour operator research found out that “30% of overseas holidaymakers are concerned about the impact of their stay on the destination”. Furthermore, the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) analyzed the socio-economic impact of all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica, Nicaragua and Dominican Republic. The results especially indicated that a leading resort in Jamaica showed a strong commitment with local communities in terms of employment generation and capacity building addressing social and cultural impacts of this form of tourism. In addition, that resort acquires more than 50% of its FFV directly from local producers.
As stated by its advocates, pro-poor tourism (PPT) is defined as “interventions aim to increase the net benefits for the poor from tourism, and ensure that tourism growth contributes to poverty reduction”. They furthermore state that “PPT is not a specific product or sector of tourism, but an approach. PPT strategies aim to unlock opportunities for the poor – whether for economic gain, other livelihood benefits, or participation in decision-making” (Ashley et al., 2001; p. viii).
Goodwin stresses that the focus is on those living below the poverty line (World Bank, 2001) of less than 1 US$ per day, and that participation in the tourism industry, with even minor income increases for the poor, can have a noteworthy positive impact on the poorest livelihoods (Torres and Momsem, 2004). In addition, an engagement or promotion of pro-poor tourism provides governments and the private sector with the following three relevant benefits (Goodwin and Robson, 2004):
- Minimising risks
Reduce environmental, social and economic negative impacts on host communities and the destination.
- Product quality and Market advantage
Enhance the quality of the tourism product through a unique experience (e.g. beautiful landscapes and fresh, varied food). Social and environmental engagement is recognized by tourism awards or Fair Trade Certification, thus addressing the “ethical” expectations of an important number of tour operators.
- Licence to operate
Good relationships with local communities, demonstrable concern and tangible benefits can avoid or reduce resentments against tourism development (compare Hackel, 1999).
The Pro-Poor Tourism Partnership argues that whereas sustainable tourism focuses on large scale tourism destinations located in the North, pro-poor tourism clearly centres all efforts directly on tourism destinations in the South and on developing strategies particularly relevant to alleviate poverty, whereas environmental protection is secondary. According to this same source, ecotourism, on the contrary, focus on preserving the natural and cultural assets on which tourism is built up, where conservation approaches stress local benefits either as monetary incentives for environmental protection, or as a means of promoting sustainable use of natural resources. Finally, PPT goes further than community-based tourism, in that not only it includes the local people but also all available instruments at all levels and scales (all stakeholders, the whole tourism industry, and the entire economy) to open untapped potentials to reduce poverty.
2.1.1 Pro-poor tourism strategies
The PPT approach recognizes both income and non-income dimensions of poverty (Ashley et al., 2001; see also World Bank, 2001), converted into three concrete pro-poor tourism-related growth strategies:
1. Strategies focused on economic benefits
Expansion of business opportunities (linkages, creation of enterprises), employment opportunities (skilled and unskilled), and improvement of collective benefits (collective income from tourism activities). For example, in Africa, the majority of poor and vulnerable people continue to rely on subsistence agriculture and food imports, as well as on food aid, which amount for US$ 27 billion annually (UN, 2007). According to the pro-poor literature (Jefferson, n.d.; Mitchell and Faal, 2006; Shah and Gupta, 2000) and other sources (Plummer et al., 2005; UNWTO, 2003; see also UN-OHRLLS, 2007), linking agriculture to lucrative markets such as tourism has the most positive effects (in terms of income and employment) on small-scale farmers in Less Developed Countries (LDCs). As reported in the literature (Bélisle, 1984; Torres and Momsen 2004, Meler and Cerović, 2003) tourist expenditures for food and beverages frequently account for an average of 30% of their total spending. Furthermore, Torres and Momsen (2004) acknowledge the cultural and social low-impact of linking both sectors, as they provide “an opportunity to build on existing skills of the poor without requiring a major shift in economic livelihood strategy, lifestyle and tradition” (p. 302). Yet, on the other hand, it is also widely accepted that the tourism industry in LDCs has faced difficulties to satisfy locally the required demand in terms of quantity and quality, and therefore certain food products need to be imported (compare Abdool and Carey, 2004; Bélisle, 1984; Mathieson and Wall, 1990). A large body of literature (Meyer, 2006; UNWTO, 2003) identifies several issues related with the linkages between tourism and agriculture. Those include demand-related, supply-related and marketing/intermediary factors, further explained in section 2.2. This same source stresses, that while agri-tourism linkages are relevant, other linkages (e.g. transport, services, construction) should be also taken into consideration to accelerate pro-poor growth (Mitchell and Faal, 2006; compare Figure 1).
2. Strategies focused on non-economic impacts
Capacity building, training, empowerment (i.e. lack of tourism or agriculture skills and knowledge); mitigation of the environmental impacts of tourism on the poor (i.e. deployment of natural resources); and addressing of social and cultural impacts of tourism (i.e. sexual exploitation, trivialisation of cultural capital).
3. Strategies focused on policy/process reform
Building more supportive policy and planning frameworks (i.e. addressing poverty and informal sector in policy); promoting participation of the poor in decision making processes; bringing the private sector into pro-poor partnerships (i.e. production, marketing and management capacity building of local communities´ members). Not only rhetoric, but real action is required (Ashley and Elliott, 2003).
The table below synthesizes the positive and negative impacts of pro-poor tourism initiatives on agriculture as found in the literature.
Table 1: Positive and Negative Impacts of PPT-Initiatives (selection)
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Source: Author’s own, based on Torres, R. and J.H. Momsen (2004).
2.1.2 Pro-poor critical factors
Torres and Momsen (2004) confirm the previous findings of the literature in that fostering backward-linkages between tourism and agriculture have been seldom part of a pro-poor tourism initiative. However, from several projects and practical experience, the following four factors have been considered of critical importance for a successful implementation (Ashley et al., 2001; Ashley, 2006):
1. Existence of a tourism industry
The pro-poor approach stresses the crucial importance of the existence of a functioning tourism industry if a pro-poor tourism initiative is meant to succeed, as it needs “to be complemented by the development of wider tourism infrastructure. A balanced approach is critical – if competitive products, transport systems or marketing do not exist, the industry will decline and so will any pro-poor strategy”. This implies as well the existence of a demand-side asking for the tourism product (compare also 2.1.1). In this context, the Overseas Development Institute and the World Bank carried out a review during 2006-2007 of existing research on tourism’s economic impact on poverty reduction. Their findings acknowledge the potential of domestic tourism, as it might be less demanding with respect to international standards (food, service, hygiene), and are closer to the market, thus less costly to acquire than international visitors (Mitchell and Ashley, 2007), while the pro-poor and sustainable tourism literature recognizes the pro-poor potential impact of main stream tourism (Ashley; 2006; Budenau 2005; Clarke, 1997)
2. Policy Framework
This is considered the enabling environment for carrying out any tourism related activity. The policy framework covers such matters as attitude of government to tourism (Ashley, 2006; Clarke, 1997; Baum, 1998; ), attitude to the informal sector and pro-poor policies in general - e.g. agriculture, land tenure - (Ashley et al., 2001; see also Torres and Momsen, 2004) and, specifically within tourism as well as planning processes, to enable pro-poor growth. Within this context, the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), based on investigations in Afghanistan, Sierra Leone and Southern Sudan, describes such countries emerging from conflict unable to deliver basic services for their population (particularly the poor), insufficient political commitment and incapability to promote development and stability as “fragile states”, and acknowledges the role of international donors initiatives, at all levels, to promote market-led agriculture as rehabilitation and stabilisation mechanism (Longley et al., 2007). Tourism sensitivity to social and political instability or tensions, e.g. internal upheaval or war and other safety matters in developing countries, have been widely documented (Sönmez, 1998). Even more, just the simple potential threat affects the travel and hospitality sector. Instability, terrorism (e.g. 9/11, Egypt) and military violence (e.g. Cyprus) have caused severe harm to visitor flows, as well as temporally or indefinitely and investors’ lack of confidence for investing on tourism infrastructure. Especially those tourist destinations without unique attractions and dependent on “sun and sand-tourism” are quickly replaced by others, more stable and safer and with similar resources (Neumayer, 2004; Mansfeld, 1999).
In addition to political instability, Baum (1998) also suggests that governmental preferences for certain economic sectors, e.g. mining, may influence the development of tourism.
3. Organizations influential in tourism development
Local and international organizations which are interested, committed and supportive (profit and altruistic motives), are crucial to achieve the goals of the pro-poor approach. Those include the right partners in the community, such as a national tourist body, local tourism associations (hotels, ground handlers, other services providers, international donors and researchers, and international tour operators bringing the responsible visitors.
Ashley (2006) argues that “there are too many well-intentioned policies that lead nowhere, or end benefiting the wrong people” (p. 48), she furthermore stresses that the commitment or positive attitudes of policy-makers and operational staff is crucial to change the “status quo” of poverty. From the beginning, all stakeholders (i.e. farmers, donors, hotels, restaurants) must be informed about the initiative, as well as integrated in all activities related to tourism in order to increase communication and cooperation amongst participants (Ashley, 2006; see also Gomes, 1993; Hall et al., 2003; KIT, 2006; Torres and Skillicorn, 2004). In this respect, a leader (person or NGO) is needed to catalyse and manage the process. In addition, a wider “buy-in across” staff and management are necessary to coordinate other key operational staff (chefs, truck drivers, producers) and actions with other stakeholders (e.g. donors, NGOs, government, producers) in order to succeed in improving business practices (Ashley et al., 2005).
As a conclusion, pro-poor related initiatives constitute a time-consuming, complex learning process, which constantly evaluates and improves activities undertaken, requiring long-term commitment and enthusiasm of all stakeholders, as well as funds to cover start-up and operational costs. Enthusiasm can be only achieved and maintained by managing realistic expectations of all participants, such as tangible benefits, i.e. increased incomes (Ashley, 2006; Ashley et al., 2005; Ashley et al., 2001; compare also Hackel, 1999).
It is therefore recommended not to try to implement every PPT strategy at once, to keep it simple, and advisable to define it by such aspects as target group (i.e. gender) and geographical area, even if some non-poor participants or only the fairly poor (already doing well by their own) get involved (World Bank, 2001). As Ashley (2006) states, there are “many examples of pro-poor policies that are in place but not actually implemented” (p. 48).
2.2 Tourism-Agriculture Linkages
Jefferson (n.d) argued that “agriculture is possibly the sector with which the potential for linkages is greatest”. Based more on assumptions rather than empirical evidence, it has been widely assumed that tourism will “trickle down” and stimulate other sectors of the economy, particularly agriculture (Mayer, 2006; Mitchell and Faal, 2006; Shah and Gupta, 2000). Others have stressed that, rather than stimulating local agriculture, international tourism induces increased food imports undermining the local food production, the principal income and employment generation source in LDCs, as well as an overall loss of foreign exchange ( “leakages”) for the destinations’ economy (Bélisle, 1984).
Telfer and Wall (1996) and Torres and Momsen (2004), based on an extensive review of the available literature, provide a valuable framework for analysing the different factors (demand, supply and marketing/intermediary related) affecting the linkages between tourism and local agriculture which are presented below. When possible, this review was completed with further sources. A special focus is given to British food consumers’ pattern, as this community is considered to the biggest foreign group in Sierra Leone, and because almost 20 initiatives linking local produced food with tourism could be identified in the UK (Hall et al., 2003).
For the purpose of this thesis, using both geophysical (i.e. soil type, geographical area) and socio-cultural criteria (i.e. recipes, production processes, food presentation), local food is described as food and drink that is locally produced or sold as a local speciality and is in some way distinctive to an area (Christie and Woodfield, n.d.).
2.2.1 Demand related factors
1. The type of tourist
While researchers and practitioners have mainly identified production, marketing and enabling environment as related factors constraining agri-tourism linkages, few studies about consumer food patterns, while on holiday or abroad, have been carried out, despite its recognized contribution to local economies (Cohen and Avieli, 2004; Hall et al., 2003; Smith, 1988; Torres, 2002). Consequently, a wider knowledge has been drawn from more general anthropological studies on food and eating.
Tourism and immigration: according to Fischer’s review of the literature and empirical evidence (2004), not only tourism but also immigration determines food consumption and imports. Moreover, the overall immigration economic impacts have caught the interest of the World Bank as developing and poverty reduction strategy, as stated: “the positive effects of migration on developing countries include benefits through the money that migrants send home – remittances – but other channels of transmission are equally important such as the transfer of knowledge, enhanced investments in human capital and in technology”, and “Migration, however, should not be viewed as a substitute for economic development in the origin country since those positive flows of knowledge, human and financial resources need to be accompanied by sound domestic economic policies”. In this context, and according to this same source, the World Bank pursues to understand the “linkages between migration and development”, and thus to maximise positive impacts. As it can be observed, the focus is given to immigration leaving developing countries to rich nations, rather than the other way round. However, despite political and religious reasons or natural/human catastrophes, common reasons for someone to leave their origin country are new economic and employment-related opportunities, even if duration of stay (expatriate, seasonal worker) and motive of displacement (necessity; self-fulfilment, profit) slightly differ. In fact, it is rather a matter of definition, more than of conceptualization and implications (Williams and Hall, 2000). It is wider accepted that boundaries between work and tourism/leisure have been over-simplified, and “are often dissolved or are at least ambiguous” as Bianchi (2000) states. For example, in 2006, six million Britons opted to live abroad (included those who live and work part-time overseas), from which more than 200,000 stayed in Africa and 2,000 in Sierra Leone, while they would never be called “immigrants”. To better understand the importance of the tourism-migration nexus as an aim to poverty reduction, first of all, it must be identified the demand side’s real limits and opportunities (including all kinds of migration), in order to establish linkages with local small-scale farmers.
The “demand side” is, therefore, built up by many different individual food choices, which are best described by the UK Food Standard Agency (FSA), as “the selection of foods for consumption, which results from the competing, reinforcing and interacting influences of a variety of factors. These range from the sensory, physiological and psychological responses of individual consumers to the interactions between social, environmental and economic influences, and include the variety of foods and the activities of the food industry to promote them” (FSA, 2001). The major determinant for food consumption is, of course, hunger, but what is chosen to eat is not determined exclusively by physiological needs to sustain life. In her literature review, Asp (1999) distinguishes the following main factors influencing food decisions:
Food preferences: dependent on quality determinants, like appearance, smell, taste, texture; secondly, on the grade of satisfaction they provide, and, thirdly, on “likes/dislikes” based on familiarity and cultural background (Jerome, 1982; Lyman, 1989; see also Cohen and Avieli, 2004).
Food habits: cultural and demographic factors determine meal patterns (time, quantity, acquisition, and preparation), eating etiquette and edibility; they establish what and which parts can be eaten. Furthermore, food plays an important role in the creation of ethnic, regional and national identities (including religion), and is considered as “creative expression” by cooks, pâtissiers and photographers. Eating is closely related to special occasions, to celebrations and hospitality, and is associated with prestige and social status. Contrary to some beliefs, food habits are flexible as they adapt to travel, migration, and the socio-economic environment, as well as to availability or lack of certain products (Jerome, 1982; Lowenberg et al., 1974; Senauer et al., 1991; Kittler and Sucher, 1995; see also Bessière, 1998, and Cohen and Avieli, 2004). Food trends and lifestyle encompass other numerous variables such as location (Belk, 1974), and the social symbolism of eating out, as quoted by Finkelstein (1989): “In our society, much of dining out has to do with self-presentation, through images of what is currently valued, accepted and fashionable” (p. 3).
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Most recent literature (Magnusson et al., 2003) also includes personal health combined with altruistic considerations like environment protection, animal welfare and social “fair” work conditions (Rode et al., 2007). Consumers are affected by physiological, psychological, socio-demographic (e.g. income; Tadesse, 1991) and situational factors amongst others, but also the social framework and power relations (especially the family) influence food choices. It has been shown that an individual will not make a purchase or eating decision without being influenced to some degree by others. In this context, various conceptual models have been widely studied and developed in order to explain this complex process and factors interrelations (Furst et al., 1996). In addition, personal motives (Figure 2) have also been considered to affect consumers´ decisions. Belonax (1997), states that eating serves also to satisfy higher needs, once the lower ones have completely or partly been satisfied. In what he calls the “Hierarchy of Needs and Food as a Source of Satisfaction”, following Maslow’s model (compare also Fryer’s “Travel’s Motives and Values – Pyramid” (1999, p. 55), five levels of human needs are arranged into the form of a pyramid. These are respectively, beginning from the bottom, 1) PHYSIOLOGICAL needs: “Foods to satisfy hunger and thirst needs”, 2) SAFETY: “Foods to satisfy physical and mental health needs”, 3) BELONGINGNESS: “Foods to satisfy love, friendship, and affiliation needs” with others, 4) ESTEEM: “Foods to satisfy prestige, superiority, and status needs” and, finally, 5) SELF-ACTUALIZATION: “Foods to satisfy self-fulfilment needs”.
The market: the importance of knowing those factors and motives are best shown in the current market trends. Food preferences/trends are clearly presented by the British Food Standards Agency (2007) in its recent research. It indicates that the majority (seven of ten persons) of a representative UK sample of 3,513 adults, claimed fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy products to be eaten on a daily or regular basis, whereas fresh salad was eaten by only 44% of the sample. One third answered seldom or never to eat fish; more females claimed to consume both white and oily fish daily (20% and 21% respectively). Those food types that the respondents most frequently tried to avoid or reduce consuming, were fatty foods (26%), sweet ones (24%) and drinks containing sugar (13%) and salt (14%). According to this study, healthy eating is obviously an important issue in their lives for almost 23% of the respondents, being the fifth after crime, terrorism, health provision, and drugs (health & safety concerns).
Another major change that has taken place over the last decade in food choice patterns is the increasing number of consumers eating outside. According to the latest United Kingdom “Input-Output Analyses” of the Office for National Statistics (ONS, 2006), in 2004, the value of household spending on eating out (₤87.5 billion) surpassed those of domestic eating (₤85.8 billion). Regarding food and drink consumed outside, the spending increased by 102.2% in the time frame from 1992 to 2004, while household expenditures raised within the same frame by 53.4% for fresh, processed food as well as for drinks. The factor behind this considerable increase has been related to the disposable income (Nvision, 2005). Another interesting and relevant fact about typical “British Identity” characteristics reported in 2004 by the UK National Centre for Social Research (HETB, n.d.), was the increasing interest in local cuisine and handicrafts within England. In respect to demographic issues, older well educated UK travellers have a greater expectation for new and varied experiences as well as for quality and convenience (HETB, n.d.).
Altruistic considerations (Magnusson et al., 2003; Rode, 2007), are also suggested to determine consumers´ behaviour. A recent study dealing with perceptions of food and local buying behaviour in the UK showed that 58% of the 734 respondents were willing to buy locally produced foods, but they also stated availability, moral, health and intrinsic factors to be more relevant than origin. Many of them would choose local produces if those meet their consuming habits, like food preferences (freshness, appearance, tastes, texture and odour) and practical needs, namely a wide availability as supermarkets normally offer. Yet, almost 25% of this group was not willing to pay more for local food, while only a small number were ready to pay a premium compared to conventional products (Weatherell et al., 2003). A similar result was obtained by Christie and Woodfield (n.d.) in a study prepared for the UK Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food and the Countryside Agency on Tourists attitude towards regional and local foods, where almost 70% of 2,800 interviewed British citizens considered food as an important part of their holidays, and 72% of 1,200 visitors to four surveyed regions (Cumbria, Heart of England, South West and Yorkshire) stressed their interest for local food.
The willingness to buy more ethical produces has been also recorded by others. The Fairtrade Labeling Organization estimated that the total market for “fair trade consumption” amounted for roughly €277 million (US$372 million) in the UK in 2005, with an increase of 35% over 2004. For the same period, the market in the USA was estimated at €344 million ($462 million), representing an increase of 60% compared to the previous year. With respect to ethical products and the willingness to pay a premium price for them (McCluskey and Loureiro, 2003; p. 95), empirical evidence supports that “the consumer must perceive high eating quality”. These same authors, furthermore, acknowledged the importance of high quality, health, and social-responsibility products attribute labelling as a crucial dedifferentiation strategy appealing responsible consumers. Similarly, environmental quality of tourism destinations is considered within the tourism literature (Bumgarner, 1994; Hornemann et al., 1997) an important factor influencing tourists’ willingness to pay a premium (compare also Dwyer and Kim, 2003). Despite these promising facts, it should be taken into consideration that healthy eating or philanthropic attitudes - what it is said and believed- do not always correlate (Nvision, 2005), as it has been also observed in the case of more responsible forms of tourism (Macnaghten and Urry, 1998), especially when low price culture is prevalent in most industrialized countries (compare Adams, 2006: “trade-offs”).
The tourism related literature identified several factors determining food consumption patterns while on holidays. Bélisle (1984) and Torres (2002), reported that “visitor’s nationality”, namely cross-cultural differences such as cultural background and familiarity with tastes, determine tourist’s food choices and imports. However, other authors see lifestyle and food trends as determinants of an increased consumption of locally produced food. In this context, Andreatta (1998) Tadesse (1991) and Torres and Momsen (2004) argued that western societies in tourist outbound markets are exposed to exotic and sophisticated international foods, and hence more willing to taste and demand new local flavours in other countries. In turn, host communities at tourist destinations adopting exotic (foreign) foods and neglecting traditional crops might weaken the local production. Gomes (1993) and Momsen (1998) reported that healthy eating and philanthropic attitudes and values amongst an increasing number of socially responsible tourists are demanding local fresh FFV, thus strengthening linkages between tourism and local agriculture (Torres and Skillicorn, 2004).
2. Health and safety concerns
In her literature review, Asp (1999) identifies health and safety concerns in relation to allergies and microbiological contamination of fresh food (fruits, vegetables, eggs) to influence food choice patterns (Anderson; Gordenker and Briley, 1997). In this context, “traveller’s diarrhoea” (TD) is one of the main causes of illness amongst UK travellers visiting developing countries in Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East (Al-Abri et al., 2005). While diarrhoeal diseases have been thought to be related to unsuitable hygienic practices for food production, handling and preparation, the consequences on tourism and food demand of local products have been underestimated. Summarizing, diarrhoeal symptoms (abdominal distension and pain, vomiting, urgency, and malaise) affect considerably travellers´ normal activity at least for one day. Mardh (2003) stressed the gravity of this issue as it might create a negative unsafe image of a destination through the rapid spread of food poisoning news (Duke, 2003), and might affect two specific sectors of the local economy (see also Figure 1) particularly important for the poor and informal sector: shopping and excursions (see also Mitchell and Fall, 2006). Health preoccupation in tourists, according to Cohen and Avieli (2004; p. 761), plays a major role in the tourist’s enjoying “the short and expensive trip and desire to make the most of it” during holidays (see also Belonax, 1997 and Freyer, 1999). Moreover, Torres and Skillicorn (2004), underlined that perceived risk associated with TD and ingestion of local fresh fruits, vegetables and fish/seafood, decreases the demand, and finally results in significant economic and “attractiveness“ losses to producers and local gastronomy in the destination, and to consumers (tourists), respectively. Torres (2002) furthermore reported that hotels and restaurants in Yucatán (Mexico) tend to prefer frozen and processed foods they assume always meet food handling sanitation requirements. These same authors concluded that forming strategic alliances of stakeholders within the food supply chain is indispensable to solve the hygiene issues constraining the performance of agri-tourism backward-linkages, and especially for fresh food. In this context, Duke (2003) stressed the importance of food safety training and awareness building programs with a demand-oriented focus on guests’ health and satisfaction. The imposition of food safety standards without the necessary capacity building creates another barrier for subsistence agriculture to enter lucrative markets (Dolan et al., 2001; Reardon and Berdegué, 2002).
3. The promotion of local cuisine
Despite its contribution to local economies, Naylor et al. (2004) report the general lack of promotion of traditional crops and foods in developing countries.
Conversely, there is a large body of work on the role of local food as an important component of the tourist experience (Du Rand and Heath, 2006). In fact, practically all tourism activities are linked to food consumption; even those tourists travelling for a range of other motives and values (Freyer, 1999) rather than gastronomic attractions, they still have to eat (Hall et al., 2003; see also Belonax, 1997). In this respect, without going much into detail, Telfer and Wall (1996), amongst other authors, recognized that agriculture not only supplies food for the tourism industry, but it also adds considerably value to the tourism product through attractive landscapes and out-door activities.
Local food and the way it is prepared, as a crucial component of the tourism experience (Meler, and Cerović, 2003), is said it can contribute to the “reaffirmation of a country’s self-image and identity” (Evangelides, 2003; p. 150) and, thus, to “authenticity”(Cohen, 2002; Chua and Poria; Frochot; Evangelides, 2003; Handszuh, 2000). Cohen and Avieli (2004) argued that “authenticity” of local cuisine is an arrangement of food selection, preparation, tastes and place of consumption, adapted more o less to tourists’ food habits and preferences to avoid repulsion, yet without loosing cultural integrity and originality. Moreover, this is considered a “unique” source of pleasure for visitors and a vehicle for preserving local traditions that adds value to the tourism product (Hall et al., 2003; Handszuh, 2000; Telfer and Wall, 1996) and might contribute to the sustainable competitiveness of a destination (Handszuh, 2000; Lothian and Siller, 2003; Porter, 2000; Torres and Momsen, 2004). In fact, adding value to a destination that sustains cultural and natural resources while maintaining market position in comparison to competitors is the first step in achieving a competitive advantage. For a tourism destination, competitiveness includes “comparative advantages”, specifically those unique natural resources (climate, landscape, flora & fauna), as well as “competitive advantages”, which include those derived resources such as the tourism infrastructure (hotels, restaurants, transport), cultural attractions (included festivals and events), quality of service, and government policies (Dwyer and Kim, 2003). In this context, successful positioning of a destination and particularly food (agriculture) as an important component within it, needs more than just simple promotion: it is rather about meeting visitors’ needs and expectations in term of tastes, quality and safety through collaborative planning and coordination (Cohen and Avieli, 2004; Dwyer and Kim, 2003; Evangelides; Latimer 1985; Torres and Momsen, 2004; Wanhill and Rassing, 2003). De Selicourt (1997; p. 6 cited in Hall et al., 2003) stresses that “buying delicious, wholesome, locally produced food sounds attractive to almost everyone”, and underlines the importance of freshness as a demanded quality characteristic of food. For that reason, strategic alliances between all stakeholders – from producers to consumers, government and donors – are recommended, but although widely reported in the literature (Handszuh, 2000; Latimer 1985; Torres and Momsen, 2004; Wanhill and Rassing, 2003), still a rare approach in tourism development programs. Positively, collaborative approaches and the relation between food and landscape have been recognized by the UK Countryside Agency as a way to “create improved market conditions for products that originate from systems of land management which enhance or protect the countryside’s landscape and character” (Hall et al., 2003). “Eat the View” was a UK governmental initiative that lasted six years, from 2000 to 2006, with the aim at maintaining the countryside as a recreation/tourism asset, while providing a stable source of income and employment generation (farming, accommodations, restaurants). Hall et al. (2003) point to one particular project, where a number of outcomes were achieved, namely:
- The development of supply chain partnerships between retailers/producers.
- Third party quality accreditation systems.
- Local produce branding/community-led food initiatives (e.g. weekend markets, food festivals).
- Consumer awareness building on environmental and social food choices impacts.
- Alternative distribution systems to target consumers directly and reduce transportation costs and pollution.
The “Peak District Foods”, based around the first British National Park located in the Peak District (Heart of England Region), is a strategic alliance between different government bodies, territory tourism authorities, local food producers, tourism services providers, and the University of Derby. The aim of this voluntary government-administered labelling scheme is to develop and promote the uniqueness of the Heart of England Region through its food and drink culture and through its heritage, trough cooperation (networking) and concerted marketing actions in the region and at the tourist offices (media, brochures, festivals) targeting directly the guests. In this respect, Eastham suggests that, even if the problem of economic “leakage” in that region might be not completely solved, at least it is a viable way to retain greater levels of income and to generate employment, providing “core tourism services draw from local resources” (Hall et al., 2003; p. 240). First of all, tourism-related governmental bodies can support the promotion of local cuisine engaging the private sector at an early stage, implementing quality standards, and training provision to enhance the levels of professionalism and awareness of local heritage. Latimer (1985), and Ashley and Mitchell (2006) discourage the imposition of import restrictions, as it might hinder the development of tourism or lead to the wrong policies. Moving towards sustainable development requires a construct capable of providing an indication of the progress achieved. Hall et al. (2003) recommends determining clear goals, to demonstrate the potential benefits of such an initiative and creating a sense of ownership (empowerment; see also KIT, 2006), in order to guarantee the long-term maintenance and commitment of stakeholders. Continuous monitoring and evaluation are essential (e.g. turn over, participating restaurants, per cent of used locally produced food) in supporting all stages and fulfilment of set goals. Gomes (1993) emphasizes the involvement of all stakeholders, as well as the crucial role of government bodies to assist them whenever possible. He recommends sampling hotels and items during a representative period of time in order to identify those products with the highest import substitution potential.
4. Tourism industry maturity
It is widely accepted that a successful development in terms of arrivals and foreign receipts figures of a destination, can damage those unique, mostly natural resources that attracted visitors in the first instance.
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Butler’s (1980; compare Telfer and Wall, 1996) destination life-cycle model was applied by several authors in order to better explain the social and environmental effects of the tourism industry, and particularly for this thesis, the linkages with the local agriculture along the time. This model proposes (Figure 3) a hypothetical evolution of a tourist area, and suggests that destinations can pass through six stages – from exploration to stagnation, with two possible outcomes: the rejuvenation or the decline of a destination, due to its competitiveness in the international tourism market (Telfer and Wall, 1996). However, decline is not always related to a loss of competitiveness (tourism industry) or to attractiveness (natural resources). In this respect, Baum (1998) suggests that “tourism may become marginalised or impossible to sustain” (p. 171): besides natural determinants, human factors such as war, political instability or other economic priorities, e.g. mining, force the decline (Baum, 1998).
Figure 3: Destination Life-Cycle
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Figure 4 : Tourism Industry Maturity & Linkages with local Agriculture
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Nevertheless, if tourism is considered a real economic diversification alternative, rather than a development mode, the real challenge is to maintain those unique natural resources from the beginning of a tourism development (exploring and involvement phases). Yet, as the economic case e.g. employment generation, has the priority in any development program, it is crucial what happens next, namely during the development and consolidation phases. Strategies coping with the stagnation to re-launch a destination depends on the quality of the resources available, and the capability of the government, principally, but also on the involvement of other actors to ensure the protection and preservation of local “competitive” (hotels, restaurants, cultural attractions) and “comparative” (natural resources) advantages (Dwyer and Kim, 2003). Strengthening linkages between food production and tourism might be such an option, as shown by many Caribbean destinations (Mc Bain, 2007). However, authors’ opinions relating the maturity grade and linkages with the rest of the economy within a tourist destination are contradictory. While some sources maintain that mature destinations become more reliable on imports the higher the number of international arrivals and the more developed the industry (Meyer, 2006), Torre’s study (2002), about Yucatan (Mexico) suggests the contrary might be the case (see Figure 4). That is certainly so, in mature destinations, where tourism is established as an important component of the local economy, as in the case of Yucatan, where backward-linkages with the national
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agriculture increased over the time due to the improvement of infrastructure (transport, roads, and communications), quality and availability of domestic FFV and, in comparison, higher import prices.
Certainly, the decline of the tourism industry caused by the loss of competitiveness, whatever the reasons are, has implications (reduced income, losses of employment) for the local economy and especially for the agriculture (Hermans, 1981; Telfer and Wall, 1996), as it is the crucial sector in LDCs (Mitchell and Ashley, 2007; UN-OHRLLS, 2007). Before entering the stagnation phase (Figure 3), well planned and monitored responsible tourism approaches fostering backward-linkages at all levels might prevent entering the decline phase (Dwyer and Kim, 2003; Faulkner and Tideswell, 1997; Mc Bain, 2007; Parke, 2007; Tsartas, 2003).
5. The type of visitor accommodation (ownership, size and class)
Several authors surveyed the effects of type of accommodation in respect to ownership, size and class local food procurement (Bélisle, 1984; Telfer and Wall, 2000; Torres and Momsen, 2004).
It is said that the mature tourism in the Caribbean, characterized by all-inclusive, foreign owned accommodations, is heavily dependent on food imports (see also Bélisle, 1984), and Tobago being a good example, with limited linkages to local producers only for fish and seafood (Abdool and Carey, 2004). Conversely, the pro-poor tourism partnership reported on two particular cases in the Caribbean, one of them in Tobago where some all-inclusive resorts have established strong linkages with a small group of local small FFV producers, and other “value adding” agricultural operations (honey) are being implemented. In addition, relevant to ownership, size and class, also the kind of catering service provided e.g. full/half board as pointed out by Mitchell and Faal (2006) in the case of The Gambia.
According to the literature, the high expectations of international guests (Tadesse, 1991) in term of quality (freshness) and quantity of produce not available locally, seems to be the major determinant for hotels food purchase patterns, thus making imports inevitable in most developing countries (Bachmann, 1988). Interesting are the observations made by Telfer and Wall (2000) in Indonesia and Torres (2002) in Mexico, about high-end, foreign owned accommodations purchasing direct fresh fish and seafood from local sources, following the overall strongly increased world-wide demand for this fresh produce (Delgado et al., 2002), and the trend of meeting guests’ “appetence” motives, namely “tangible” and “intangible” quality attributes, like “locations, freshness”, and “the way they are caught” (Gouin and Boude, 2006; p. 12), as well as, despite contamination risks, beneficial health effects (de Felipe and Briz, 2004; Rossen et al., 2007).
6. Training and nationality of chefs
The training and nationality of chefs and food & beverages managers, might influence hotels and restaurants food purchase patterns, as foreign expatriates prefer imported, familiar foods to those locally available (Momsen, 1972; 1973; 1998; Torres, 2002). Particularly, expected requirements from developed countries and tourism destination usually differ from those encountered in emerging destinations, therefore meeting western quality, size and delivery standards, without any kind of market-oriented support (government, donors, NGOs), hinders the access to those lucrative markets (Pingali et al., 2005), as in the case of tourism.
Seasonal fluctuations in demand (high season vs. low season) are often cited as a mayor constraint within the tourism industry (Goodwin, 2005; Meyer, 2006). In this respect, the Tourism Sustainability Group (TSG) of the European Commission (TSG, 2007; p.8) points out the implications of seasonality for tourism as follow: “The concentration of tourism trips into certain periods of the year has a major effect on sustainability. Not only does it seriously reduce the viability of enterprises and their ability to offer year round employment it can also place severe pressure on communities and natural resources at certain times while leaving surplus capacity at others”. This same source furthermore stresses the derived difficulty for tourism facilities to plan and manage the provision of tourism services satisfactorily, as well as it strongly recommends coordinated actions at all levels “bringing tourism destinations and businesses together to influence demand and supply” (p. 8; see also Dwyer and Kim, 2003; Faulkner and Tideswell, 1997; Mc Bain, 2007; Parke, 2007; Tsartas, 2003). Particularly, taking into consideration that climate changes might influence tourists flows and food productivity in the event of rising temperatures, water scarcity (TSG, 2007), and infectious disease spread.
Telfer and Wall (1996), amongst others, draw attention to two relevant issues dealing with seasonality and demand for local food:
First, it is widely accepted that a temporal increased number of foreign visitors´ arrivals will increase the demand for food (see also Schneider, 1993).
Second, frequently tourist peak season does not coincide with productive food periods, thus leading the tourism industry to import food (Aksoy and Kaynak, 1993; Telfer and Wall, 1996), or, in the best of cases, the domestic agriculture to increase production to meet visitors’ expectations (Torres and Momsen, 2004).
However, meeting demand requirements during the peak tourist season does, in turn, obviously have economic implications, such as reduced employment and turn-over/rentability, high maintenance costs, surplus/overcapacity without market (Dwyer and Kim, 2003; Goodwin, 2005), and finally a “price war” or exorbitant prices during high season, affecting the competitiveness of a destination in the long-term (TSG, 2007). Attendants of responsible tourism approaches (Goodwin, 2005, Torres and Momsen, 2004; TSG, 2007) stress the necessity of strategies coping with tourist low seasons to stimulate demand, by targeting other markets, e.g. niche markets, non-family segment, domestic markets and developing “unique” products e.g. food events.
2.2.2 Supply related factors
There is a wide body of work devoted to various interwoven factors affecting reliable supplies of FFV for the tourism industry and other high-value markets, which are presented in the following section. The failure of integrating small-scale farmers with agribusiness/high value markets in developing countries has been widely reported in the literature, being high transaction costs one of the main constraints yet to overcome (Sartorius and Kirsten, 2007).
1. Physical limitations
Climate conditions, soil types, and topography are considered major determinants of production patterns and thus agricultural performance. In addition, production of high-value export crops might claim the best soils (Aksoy and Kaynak, 1993; Bélisle, 1984; Telfer and Wall, 1996). In this context, the competition for natural resources and labour is an important issue also addressed in the literature.
2. Entrenched production patterns
An International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) study revealed the factors, such as the indigenous knowledge of Sub-Saharan small-scale farmers (in Mali) to maintain traditional farming systems (Aksoy and Kaynak, 1993), and acknowledged its conservation potential for local species and culture. According to this same source, small-scale farmers’ reasons to keep traditional crops are threefold:
- Risk management: climate variations (e.g. rainfall) are considered the most relevant risk. In turn, shifting to new productions patterns such as high-yield/hybrid (see also Naylor et al., 2004) and/or organic agriculture, might include some uncertainties like existing demand (currently and in the future), higher costs (fertilizers, seeds, pesticides), long-term involvement and know-how provision (government, donors), low productivity (pest outbreaks, soil fertility reduction) and return on investment.
- Optimization of production factors: through better adaptation to local climate conditions, soil types, and topography (e.g. differences in soil water regimes).
- Diversity of uses: dependent on local food consumption determinants (tastes, edibility, nutrition), which might differ from those of visitors (see also Bélisle, 1984).
In this respect, the literature suggests that tourism and migration might stimulate consumers’ demand for locally, high-value produced food with specific “health”, “ethical” or “ethnic” characteristics (Schneider, 1993; Tadesse, 1991; Torres and Momsen, 2004) and, even, create the basis for a thriving export food sector later (Cox, Fox and Bowen, 1991;1995), as already proved by the Slow Food Movement, which has shown that consumers are willing to pay a premium for traditional food crops and derived products. Other sources points out that qualitative “unique” food specialities and “deep-routed” ways of production can generate high-yield tourism, as tourists might travel to particular destinations with an outstanding reputation for excellent, traditional foods (Hall et al., 2003). Negatively, farmers can also abandon traditional crops and foods for tourists’ demanded products (Sharkey and Momsen, 1995).
3. The quantity and quality of local production
Traditional small-scale farming, labour-intensive and the lack of proper production practices, are associated with low levels of productivity and quality, including high post-harvest food loses or deterioration (FAO, 2003). In the tourism literature those are factors found to limit the access to the tourism industry, as food service depends on the reliable sources of products in terms of quality and quantity to meet guests’ expectations (Torres and Momsen, 2004). General quality attributes are divided into two groups: extrinsic, form, colour, freshness, and packaging as well as intrinsic ones, e.g. ethical, flavour, texture, food safety. Interestingly, Torres and Momsem (2004) identified that social and ethnic differences in Mexico between those purchasing foods and those producing it, probably influence food purchasing patterns of hotels and gastronomy in general, as it may be the case that chefs and food & beverages managers are ignorant of the existence of products or quantity in the proximity, and automatically relate lower quality with local farming activities and poorer livelihoods (Torres, 2002).
Another important issue widely addressed in the literature is the impact of HIV/AIDS on the rural poor livelihoods, limiting the productivity trough the loss of labour force, and thus perpetuating the vicious circle of rural poverty and dependency on foreign aid and food imports (Shapouri and Rosen, 2001; Siegel and Alwang, 2005). In her study of HIV/AIDS impacts on subsistence agriculture in Mozambique, Waterhouse argues that in addition to productivity losses, local know-how on traditional crops (see e ntrenched production patterns above) might be lost forever. Despite recent acknowledgement of inflated United Nation's Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS) HIV figures and the risk of losing credibility, the problem still exists and should not be underplayed (Wilson, 2006).
4. High prices of locally produced food
High prices, amongst others, are a major small-scale producer’s constraint to participate in high value markets as tourism (Bélisle, 1984; Gomes, 1993; Torres, 2002). Small-scale farming incurs higher unit costs than mass and standardised production, from general low volumes and inconsistent production (quality and quantity) to higher transaction costs (FAO, 2003; see also 2.2.3). Boehlje (1999) and Van der Vorst (2005) stress the necessity of both horizontally and vertically coordination and co-operation of all actors within the supply chain to provide economies of scale, marketing support, with the aim to satisfy the market demand, e.g. intrinsic “ethical” values, as proposed in the tourism literature (Torres and Momsen, 2004), and thus improving price/returns stability. It must be also taken into consideration that small-scale farmers, compared to mass production, can hypothetically adapt rapidly to changing demand patterns as they are not attached to big investments, with the aim to achieve ambitious profitability targets with a single crop.
5. Competition for natural resources and labour force
Increasing competition over natural resources and labour through tourism development, are widely accepted as possible direct causes of reduced agricultural productivity or decline (Bélisle, 1984; Telfer and Wall, 1996). Much of the research refers to the impact of tourism-caused displacements (e.g. loss of livelihoods) and increased water consumption by limited availability, with particular attention to the construction of golf courses in LDCs (Telfer and Wall, 1996). Long (1992) and McTaggart (1988) noted that considerable protection of resources´ exploitation can be only achieved by official land-use planning and water management.
One particular study on The Gambia (Farver, 1984) reported the competition between tourism and agriculture for labour force, as both the peak tourist season and the entrenched production patterns (dependent on local seasonal weather and climate local characteristics) coincide.
While some authors (Latimer, 1985; Hermans, 1981; Torres and Momsen, 2004) considered wage (e.g. increased income) and non-wage (e.g. attributed prestige, social status) as determinants to intensify the competition for labour between tourism and other sectors, Bryden (1973) and Weaver (1988) suggest that, rather than intersectoral competition, governments turned to tourism and export focused agriculture (e.g. banana) as a promising alternative development strategy or supplement in the event of the persistent volatility of to the agricultural sector.
6. Undercapitalisation of the agrarian sector
Torres and Momsen (2004) report about isolated and uncoordinated economic development strategies in Mexico focused on high-value export crops (Naylor et al., 2004) and tourism, which draw all capital and technical expertise. This contributes to the downward spiral of undercapitalization and, finally, to the underperformance of the local farming sector not being able to satisfy the local tourism demand for food, and thus eventually leading to increased food imports (Bélisle, 1984).
7. Technological and processing limitations
Value adding agriculture is considered by many developed and less developed countries as a key issue contributing to rural development at local or national level. Even if capital or know-how is lacking, the Asian Development Bank proposes from a project in South Africa linking farmers to one supermarket-chain that producers can participate in value adding process within the FFV supply chain on a simple, inexpensive level: sorting, washing and bundling (Mongiorgi, 2007). In tourism, more elaborated products (i.e. fresh pressed juices, banana chips) can contribute to an overall “tourist experience by reinforcing a sense of unique regional identity and place” (Torres, 2002; p. 303).
2.2.3 Marketing and intermediary factors
Within developed and less developed countries, transaction costs (Sartorius and Kirsten, 2007) have been considered a major factor hindering small-scale farmers’ access to lucrative markets and to rural development in general. According to the FAO (Pingali et al., 2005) a government policy focused on reducing such costs might reduce poverty amongst small-scale farmers. Identified components are further discussed below.
1. Distribution Infrastructure
The lack or bad condition of distribution infrastructure (post harvest handling facilities, cold storage, road networks and marketing outlets) affects the development or improvements of linkages with local food suppliers (Aksoy and Kaynak, 1993; Latimer, 1985; Sartorius and Kirsten, 2007; Tadesse, 1991; Telfer and Walls, 1996; Torres and Momsen, 2004). According to Pingali et al. (2005), high-value products such as FFV and fish, generally spoken, incur higher transportation costs (refrigeration, ice-cubes, poor road condition), leading in some cases, amongst other factors (e.g. lack of demand), to the decreasing (subsistence) or finally abandonment of farming or fishing activities. Improvements in distribution infrastructure not only contribute to reduce transportation costs but they also, as widely acknowledge by the World Bank, facilitate the access to new markets, and, in turn, customers travelling inexpensively have more money to spend on services and products. Hakansson and Wootz (1975) argue that, generally, industrial buyers prefer to buy from local suppliers because they are less expensive, and delivery may be more flexible and on time, due to their proximity.
2. Spatial patterns of supply
Dolan et al. (2001); Reardon and Berdegué (2002) confirm previous findings of the tourism literature (Bélisle, 1984), suggesting that concentration and market power of few retailers and intermediaries (see also Minot, 1986), as well as agribusiness in the food supply chain (Sartorius and Kirsten, 2007), might threaten the livelihoods of small producers and other small businesses. In this context, race and gender-based barriers (inequality) exclude poor people from participating in more lucrative markets, and thus hinder poverty reduction (USAID; World Bank, 2005b).
One particular practice of entrenched food suppliers reported in the literature is the provision of “kickbacks”: economic incentives paid to chefs and/or food & beverages managers with the aim to obtain a competitive advantage, and thus decreasing the poverty alleviation (Dalton, 2006; Torres and Momsen (2004).
3. Agreements / contract
Bélisle (1984) and Telfer and Walls (1996) acknowledge the importance to enter into contracts in terms of quality, quantity and price, with local farmers and other food producers in order to foster long-term strategic linkages. In this context, researchers get right to the point in the following quote: “Paying farmers on the basis of the quality of their produce should act as an incentive for the farmers to improve the quality of their produce”.
In fact, what the tourism authors propose is a practice already being applied as a tool to link small-scale farmers to high-value markets (ADB, 2005). Researchers from the Michigan University (Minot, 1986) acknowledged already in the 80´s, the potential of contract farming, which is described as “agricultural production carried out according to an agreement between farmers and a buyer which places conditions on the production and marketing of the commodity” (Minot, 1986; p. 2), with the aim to guarantee a regular supply of fresh food items in terms of quantity and quality, and to reduce prices (fewer transaction costs) for buyers on the one hand and, on the other, to provide small-scale farming with technical assistance, inputs, credit, and what it is more important: with relatively secure markets (income, employment) in developing countries (da Silva, 2005; Eaton and Shepherd, 2001; Sartorius and Kirsten, 2007). Although Patrick (2004) agrees that contract farming might be a viable development strategy, he stresses the role of government (regulatory and enabling framework) to encourage the private sector participation with the local smallholders, as well as the necessity of a negotiator (e.g. NGO) to negotiate “fair” terms for small-scale producers and, finally, the economic viability for both farmers and the private sector. This same source acknowledges that the “middle peasantry”, namely the “less” poor, might benefit the most. All of them being common issues of the pro-poor tourism approach (Ashley et al., 2001).
Based on previous experience, Sartorius and Kirsten (2007) recommend the formation of farmers´ associations to strengthen the negotiation power, foster trust, and increase information exchange and capability to satisfy the demand (also logistics) in terms of quality and quantity (see below)
The participants´ unfulfilled expectations (products and markets) with previous experiences aimed at linking agriculture with tourism, are considered to obstruct any attempt to form a strategic alliance within the food supply chain (Sartorius and Kirsten, 2007). Several sources related to tourism development (Torres, 2002) suggest that mistrust in agricultural projects is caused by the failure of previous initiatives in terms of continuity, unmet promises (e.g. benefits), and of tourism projects aimed to reduce poverty, which ended up limiting the access to natural resources (Koffa et al., 2001). In addition, Torres (2002) points out that social differences are another factor affecting backward-linkages, as hotels/restaurants and even consumers do not trust the competence and/or reliability of local small producers in delivering the quality, quantity and safety required for particular food products.
5. Supply poorly adjusted to demand
Telfer and Wall (1996) and Torres (2002), categorically emphasise that there is a lack of understanding and communication amongst the food supply chain actors in LDCs undermining any attempt to link agriculture with tourism (see also Sartorius and Kirsten, 2007). Interestingly, in this context those findings confirm those of the more general, agriculture-related literature, which also stress the lack of coordination among different development agencies, NGOs and governmental bodies, the duplication of efforts, such as agricultural research, and the disinterest about small-scale producers (Farrelly, 1996; Alila and Atieno, 2006). Even more, uncoordinated large scale food development programs led to market gluts in the past (Torres and Momsem, 2004) or limited the access to natural resources (Koffa et al., 2001). The lack of market information (demand and prices) or new technologies amongst food supply chain stakeholders (vertical and horizontal), results in periodic market inefficiencies (Minot, 1986; Poulton et al., 2006; Sartorius and Kirsten, 2007) increasing the risk of price-depressing market gluts (Meyer, 2006), followed by scarcity/spoilage (lack of cold storage), increasing prices in turn. Definitely, inconsistent supply affects on the one side the livelihoods of the poor (reduced income) and, on the other, the planning reliability of the tourist food service (local vs. external sources). Improving farmers’ ability to plan and coordinate their production with the aim to meet tourism industry (or the demand side) requirements in terms of quality and quantity, can only be achieved through personal commitment and communication (Leenders and Fearon, 1993; Telfer and Wall, 1996).
2.3 CASE STUDY GAMBIA IS GOOD
To better illustrate the key issues identified in the literature review, it is presented a case study which examines the lessons learnt from previous pro-poor initiatives and the factors affecting backward-linkages between tourism and agriculture in The Gambia. This chapter addresses a fundamental objective of this study, namely to review suitable pro-poor tourism strategies for Sierra Leone.
In the framework of this project it has been repeatedly said that The Gambia tourism product should not be an example to follow for Sierra Leone (FIAS, 2006), although the similarity of both countries in terms of socio-economic conditions and tourism assets, make them comparable. Besides, reviewing the Gambian tourism sector’s efforts in addressing poverty, and, particularly, in fostering backward-linkages (Ashley, 2002), can be relevant to identify “best” or “good” practices and lessons (Ashley et al, 2001), and at least to adjust the tourism development in Sierra Leone to those standards of established competitors. Within this context, the literature widely recommends the adoption of sustainable practices (social, economic and environmental) in order to maintain long-term competitiveness for a destination. It is widely accepted that the overall “appeal” and unique tourist experience can only be maintained by keeping minimum environmental (e.g. sea water and beach quality), and physical/services (hygiene, security, food) quality standards (Dwyer and Kim, 2003).
This case study used the methodology developed by the Pro-Poor Tourism Partnership (Ashley, 2002) and gathered the necessary information through web research and email contacts. The following section presents an overview of The Gambia’s geographical, socio-economic and political characteristics, as well as the key components of its tourism sector. Then, the selected PPT initiative for this case study and its components are shortly explained, followed by an overview of critical factors for further success, and the impacts on the poor.
2.3.1 Area and Context
The Gambia: The Gambia is one of the continent’s smallest countries on the western African coast, with roughly 1.6m inhabitants, and formed along the River Gambia and surrounded by Senegal. The Gambia's post independence history (till 1965 a British colony) has been more stable than that of many other countries in the region (compare Neumayer, 2004; Mansfeld, 1999), yet it has experienced some political instability in the 1980´s and 1990´s. Some international disputes caused by Southern Senegalese separatists and other West African countries (5,955 Sierra Leonean refugees) have been reported.
illustration not visible in this excerpt
Figure 5: The Gambia
Source: www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ga.html, accessed July 10, 2007.
The Gambia is one of the 48 Least Developed Countries, ranking 155th out of 174 on the United Nations Human Development Index of 2006. Applying international poverty criteria, almost 60% of the population lives on less than a dollar a day (compare 2.1 above); most of them survive on subsistence agriculture. As seen further on this thesis, donor support remains a major source of income. Despite several initiatives, little progress has been made in reducing dependency on the production and export of groundnuts. This reliance on a single crop with fluctuating international prices translates into insecure export revenues as well as into uncertainty for this country’s major economic sector. Yet, there is little room for expansion in the agricultural sector, as arable land comprises just 28% of the territory. The development of the private sector remains restricted due to the lack of access to credit (IMF, 2007a), although several micro financing institutions are already operating in the country, targeting the rural poor.
In the following section, the critical factors (compare 2.1.2 above) for the implementation of this PPT initiative are further discussed.
2.3.2 Tourism in The Gambia
The Gambia's vulnerability to fluctuations in agricultural prices was recognised shortly after independence, and consequently the government initiated the development of a tourist sector. Today this is the biggest contributor to national wealth, accounting for 16% of GDP in 2005, and also remains the second biggest source of direct employment in the country, after agriculture, with 2,700 workers. Visitor arrivals have grown substantially from the 2003/2004 season to the 2004/2005 season by 23%, reaching 111,000 arrivals in 2005 and 121,335 in 2006 (GTA 2007). As a well established destination in West Africa, it benefits from traditional winter sun, sand and sea tourism, as well as from the proximity of six hours´ travel time to the European market without jet lag. Britain and The Netherlands accounted for almost 70% of all international tourists in 2005. About 99% of all visitors came on holiday purpose, from which the majority (84%) were beach-holiday packages including flights, accommodation and breakfast, benefiting from the purchasing power and good prices of the major tour operators which feature the destination.
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 Not exclusive for small-scale producers of LDCs, as for example in the case of Ireland (Enright et al., n.d.).
 It comprehends findings from 9 case studies of pro-poor tourism interventions, in Southern Africa, The Gambia, Tanzania, Namibia, Uganda, St Lucia, Ecuador, Nepal, and Lao PDR.
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 Also known as “nephobic” (dislike) and “neophylic” (like) taste tendencies of human beings (Fischler, 1988).
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 Might vary in time and space; some stages might not occur or happen sooner.
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 E.g. wild species, luxury image.
 E.g. mercury, antibiotics, etc.
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 See also Daw Win Win Kyi (2001) “Value-Added Food Products Processing for Micro-Income Generation of Rural Communities in Myanmar”. Retrieved July 20, 2007, from: www.fao.org/DOCREP/006/
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- Quote paper
- Dirk König (Author), 2007, Linking agriculture to tourism in Sierra Leone - a preliminary research, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/91629