Exploring the potential impacts of tourism development on social and ecological change in the Solomon Islands
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Pacific Island communities may be vulnerable to negative impacts of economic development, which is often considered a strategy for reducing vulnerability to environmental change. Studies that evaluate potential impacts of economic development in isolated communities may be inaccurate to only focus on asking people to anticipate impacts of phenomena they have had minimal exposure to. We used an open-ended approach to evaluate how communities in the Solomon Islands perceived change, and used this information to anticipate potential impacts of the government’s plans to develop tourism. Our results showed mostly negative expectations of change, particularly socio-cultural, which was perceived as being driven by diminishing social capital, foreign influence, and economic development. Despite minimal exposure, locals supported tourism and had more positive expectations of change associated with this activity. Our findings emphasize the need for locally appropriate planning to ensure intended positive impacts of tourism and other forms of economic development.
KeywordsImpacts of change Economic development Social impacts Perceptions Tourism Solomon Islands Melanesia
We would like the thank the staff at the Zela Field Research Station for invaluable field support and Roddy Mae Bule, chair of the Roviana Conservation Foundation for help with logistics in Roviana Lagoon. We would also like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their valuable insights and contributions to this report. This work was supported by the Pacific Adaptation Strategy Assistance Program, Australian Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency [ABN 50 182 626 845].
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