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The role of entrepreneurship in community - based tourism

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posted on 19.05.2017, 03:18 by Mayaka, Melphon Angwenyi
This thesis draws on findings from four case studies conducted in Kenya, East Africa, to investigate the entrepreneuring process associated with community-based tourism. This is accomplished by examining the influences of the historical, social, and political context, community needs, and the actors involved on the creation and development of community-based tourism (CBT) enterprises. The thesis is informed by a recognition that little has been written on CBT enterprise creation and development processes. Instead, the majority of CBT analyses have focused on outcomes; yet understanding how CBT enterprises are created and developed is crucial to determining not only their success, but also their importance as social institutions. Practice theory represents a suitable framework for interpreting the complex web of interactions that underlies the process of CBT enterprise establishment and functioning. Using a multiple case study approach, this thesis investigates four Kenyan CBT enterprises by drawing on in-depth interviews, supplemented by document data and participant observations. A total of 48 interview participants were drawn from across several key role-groups, including CBT founders, community members, and members of government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). The combined data indicate that CBT enterprise creation in each of these four cases was driven by the need to address serious problems faced by the community, such as poverty, drought, human-wildlife conflict, and loss of access to traditional land. These findings strongly suggest that the creation and development of CBT enterprises is underpinned by a purposive process of creation. Viewed through an entrepreneuring lens, such creation can be interpreted as a form of coping and surviving within actors’ and communities’ lived environments. The process unearthed in these case studies is one of complex interaction between various actors from within and outside the communities, and the situational demands of these settings. Furthermore, it is characterised by drawing on learnable concepts such as practical wisdom, analogising and improvisation, being community-focused, built on trust, and addressing unequal power relations. This thesis contributes to CBT theory by articulating possible means by which CBT could address poverty, and enhance community agency and solidarity. It also highlights the significance of practice theorisation in understanding the processes of building local community institutions in marginal rural settings. The research reveals new possibilities of approaching CBT as a complex field involving innovative partnerships and collaborations that are able to address local issues in an agentic manner; it also shows CBT to be a means of community development by which historically and culturally embedded structural limitations to socio-economic change can be overcome in diverse peripheral localities. The findings may prove applicable beyond the field of CBT.


Campus location


Principal supervisor

Glen Croy

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre


Degree Type



Faculty of Business and Economics