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Obradović, S.; Tešin, A. Local Communities and Tourism Development. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 14 June 2024).
Obradović S, Tešin A. Local Communities and Tourism Development. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed June 14, 2024.
Obradović, Sanja, Aleksandra Tešin. "Local Communities and Tourism Development" Encyclopedia, (accessed June 14, 2024).
Obradović, S., & Tešin, A. (2023, June 14). Local Communities and Tourism Development. In Encyclopedia.
Obradović, Sanja and Aleksandra Tešin. "Local Communities and Tourism Development." Encyclopedia. Web. 14 June, 2023.
Local Communities and Tourism Development

The growth of tourism is essential to the cultural, social, and economic progress of countries. Understanding the attitudes of the local community about the implications of tourism development is crucial for successful tourism development, as is ensuring their support and satisfaction. The effects of tourism development on the local population are evident and have an impact on their sociocultural, economic, and environmental well-being. While it is well recognized that tourism has many advantages, there are also some disadvantages, such as the danger it brings to traditional ways of life, environmental damage, conflicts with tourists, etc. By improving the quality of life of residents in a number of ways, such as employment opportunities, enhanced amenities, and the retention of youthful people in rural settlements, tourism can help communities.

community support tourism stakeholders tourism development tourism impacts national parks residents’ attitudes

1. Sustainable Development Planning in Tourism

Sustainable development is a method that enables growth to occur without deteriorating or exhausting the resources upon which it is built. In order to achieve the same or higher degree of development, sustainable tourism development entails balancing economic, social, and cultural growth without endangering the environment [1][2]. By embracing the capacity of coming generations to meet their requirements, sustainable development incorporates long-term tourism welfare [3][4][5].
Sustainable tourism development planning is truly environmental preservation planning, and as such, it entails a range of research activities and analysis before deciding on the development course [2]. All of these steps are taken to prevent the intensive exploitation of resources in certain areas without first taking into account their preservation [6], while also having positive economic consequences and high tourist satisfaction [7].
Increasing benefits and reducing costs while simultaneously satisfying visitors and involving the community in tourism decisions is the process of achieving sustainable tourism [8]. To accomplish this long-term desired prosperity, locals’ needs and concerns should be met [9][10]. By including locals in tourism planning, resident empowerment is accomplished [3][4][11][12].
The UNESCO world heritage and sustainable tourism program is an excellent example of stakeholder collaboration. The strategy is built on discussion and stakeholder collaboration, integrating destination-level planning for tourism and heritage management, protecting and valuing natural and cultural assets, and developing responsible tourism. The local population plays a crucial role in tourism planning [13]. The local level is the first in the hierarchy of tourism planning, followed by the regional level and the national level [13][14]. The discussion of community involvement in tourism planning is not entirely new. Its inclusion in the idea of sustainable tourism that was created in the 1990s by Butler [15] confirms what was globally agreed upon in the 1980s. According to theory, community involvement in tourist planning dates back to the 1970s, when the concept of participatory development and empowerment first gained recognition [16][17].
Nevertheless, even though the fundamentals of tourism planning are generally acknowledged, developing countries frequently do not include planning [18][19]. Particularly when it comes to the development of those tourist community segments that will help the local community, the local community must be involved in the planning and development of tourism [4][20][21]. Participation from the community will lead to favorable attitudes toward tourists. On the other hand, if residents’ aspirations are not taken into account when planning tourism, hostilities over tourism growth may happen, which might negatively impact the industry itself [22][23].
Many authors have emphasized the importance of the local community and admitted that the support given by the local population is integral to the development of sustainable tourism [1][20][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29]. According to several studies, locals are more supportive of tourist development if they view it as a tool for economic growth [30][31].

2. Tourism Impacts on Local Communities

Local communities are immediately impacted both favorably and unfavorably by the growth of tourism and the interactions that result from it [32][33], and these changes may have an impact on the values, way of life, and general standard of living of the communities [22]. Local communities, particularly those near protected areas such as national parks, can experience changes in their social, economic, and environmental growth as a result of tourism. Economic factors account for the majority of the positive effects of tourism on communities; cultural effects can be both positive and negative; and social and environmental effects are typically negative [22][34].
Local businesses can be boosted by tourism, which can also help locals find work and bring in income for the area [22][35][36][37]. However, the growth of the tourism industry may also have unfavorable impacts on it, such as increased crime, higher costs of living, host-community resentment of visitors, and lower standards of living for locals [36][38][39]. From an ecological standpoint, unfavorable effects could include harm to the environment and natural resources, as well as possible air, water, and other types of pollution [22][37]. Socially, tourism growth can improve the accessibility of recreational amenities [40], promote better intercultural dialogue, and promote community awareness of cultural identity [41]. However, tourism can also pose problems for local security [42], alter family values and interpersonal interactions [43], and cause traffic congestion [44]. The absence of planning or a lack of community involvement in tourism planning may be the cause of these bad effects of tourism [21][45]. In fact, the idea of tourism planning was developed in reaction to the negative effects of tourism’s quick growth.
Scholars have thoroughly examined the various categories of tourism impacts, including socioeconomic [3][27], sociocultural [46], political [47], environmental [48], and the combined impact of all mentioned segments [30][49]. Research on the impacts of tourism and how local people perceive these impacts has become valuable and vast [50]. Studies on local perspectives in protected areas in developing nations are relatively rare [51], despite the fact that this kind of research is essential for the initial phases of tourism development. Therefore, this research aims to enrich the literature by investigating local community support and the impact of tourism in a national park.

3. Relationship between National Parks and Local Communities

National parks are undoubtedly the most well-known nature tourist destinations in the world, and ecological awareness and ecotourism have increased, as has their appeal [52][53].
Two fundamental principles have driven the development of national parks around the world: the preservation of wildlife and natural areas and the provision of recreational opportunities. However, the conflicts that have developed between these two concepts have been the primary causes of issues with managing and arranging national parks [53][54][55]. The tourism sector has also grown in importance as a user and socioeconomic component in the transformation of natural areas, which has led to the creation of new types of utilization requirements for the remaining wilderness [54][56][57].
The most crucial places for sustainable tourism are national parks and other protected areas, which puts them at the heart of the conflict [58][59][60]. Local communities are unavoidably impacted by national parks. On the one hand, they generate expenses such as entry limitations or land losses. On the other hand, they produce advantages, such as the preservation of delicate wildlife and nature as well as the development of recreational opportunities, and they support regional development by generating income and employment [53][61]. The long-term protection of the area’s biodiversity and the maximization of the benefits for the community depend heavily on the development and improvement of relations between the local community and the protected area [62].
Due to the special environmental component and status of such areas, there is a specific dimension of influence in the relationship between tourism and the local people when it comes to protected areas such as national parks [53][63]. The local community’s cooperation is essential for national parks and other protected places to keep existing and to be successful in setting protective measures in place. Local community dissatisfaction or exclusion of the local people can result in confrontations, protests, and a lack of cooperation with managers of protected areas, as well as the degradation and loss of biodiversity [62][64][65][66]. To avoid this, one must be aware of the attitudes and requirements of the community [67]. Understanding the attitudes and needs of the community is essential for developing appropriate policy guidelines and management choices and mitigating negative social consequences [68]. One of the key measures of a protected area’s effectiveness is the support and participation of the local community, which significantly enhances the area’s conservation, protection, and sustainable management efforts [62].
Sustainable tourism development initiatives are anticipated to be successful with local community support and involvement, particularly in developing and remote destinations [30][31]. Locals should be motivated to participate and aid planners, share their ideas on planning directions, and assist in the process of implementing and supervising planning actions, in addition to reporting the effects of tourism development, they have experienced [69].
In the case of Tara National Park, agriculture and forestry are the two main economic pursuits. Planning for tourism growth is of secondary importance, and the economic benefits to national parks from tourism are simply symbolic. This is demonstrated by the number of locals working in the tourism industry, which ranges from 6–8% of the economically active populace [49]. As an example of the good relationship between the management of Tara National Park and the local community, user councils were established in 2019, which ensure better management of protected areas through connections with local communities. User councils are made up of managers of the national park and representatives of local self-governments, associations, and organizations. They participate in the development of plans and programs for the management of national parks, and the priority is to ensure better protection and promotion of the area through the connection between managers and the local community [70].


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