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“The Tourists Want an Experience:” The Influence of a Non-Profit Operator on Tourists’ and Residents’ Impressions of the Tourism Encounter

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“The Tourists Want an Experience:” The Influence of a Non-Profit Operator on Tourists’ and Residents’ Impressions of the Tourism Encounter

Hildebrand, Noelle T. (2012) “The Tourists Want an Experience:” The Influence of a Non-Profit Operator on Tourists’ and Residents’ Impressions of the Tourism Encounter. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This thesis questions the claims that alternative tourism, specifically international, philanthropic tourism, can contribute to poverty reduction and increased intercultural understanding and examines the assertion that the tour operator plays a key role in advancing these objectives. Tourism is located within a neo-colonial framework and philanthropic tourism within an historical trajectory of international, ‘philanthropic’ travelers, such as Christian missionaries and social reformers. A ‘pro-poor,’ non-profit, tour operator-microfinance institution in Mexico which offers village tours and uses tourists’ fees to fund microloans for local women is used to approach the research. Qualitative data was collected through participant observation and interviews with the guest-donors, host-borrowers, and the tour operator. The tour operator demonstrated considerable influence in shaping the tourists’ and residents’ motivations, behaviors, and perceptions of the experience. There was significant divergence among the three stakeholder groups’ reasons to participate and their understandings of the program’s objectives and the guest-host interaction itself, suggesting the difficulty of overcoming the needs and preconceived notions of tourists and residents. The organization directed tourism dollars to marginalized individuals and mitigated many barriers to individual guest-host communication. The egalitarian basis required for intercultural exchange, however, was eroded by the highly-scripted performance of the residents and the exclusion of a discussion on the causes of systemic poverty, suggesting that this example of philanthropic tourism may not be able to address either goal of alternative tourism.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Sociology and Anthropology
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Hildebrand, Noelle T.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Social and Cultural Anthropology
Date:15 May 2012
Thesis Supervisor(s):Amit, Vered
Keywords:alternative tourism, philanthropy, tourism mediators, tourist-resident interactions
ID Code:974479
Deposited By:NOELLE HILDEBRAND
Deposited On:30 Oct 2012 11:31
Last Modified:30 Oct 2012 11:31

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  • “The Tourists Want an Experience:” The Influence of a Non-Profit Operator on Tourists’ and Residents’ Impressions of the Tourism Encounter. (deposited 30 Oct 2012 11:31) [Currently Displayed]
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