Shuwen Liu* - The University of Hong Kong
Teresa C.H. Tao - The University of Hong Kong
One effective way for residents to gain benefits from tourism is through their direct participation in tourism related businesses and projects. However, little research has been done to understand why or why not residents participate in tourism and identify what factors influence their participation. This study adopts a livelihood perspective to explore how local people's livelihoods are influenced by tourism, why they choose to participate (or not) in tourism, what factors influence their livelihood choices, and if and how culture as a context, plays a role. We select Wailingding in Zhuhai in China as a case study, employ an ethnographic research approach for data collection, and adopt frameworks of sustainable livelihoods and endowments and entitlements for data analysis. The results indicate that residents in Wailingding want to generate more income by adopting tourism related activities as livelihood activities. Their successful participation is determined by both their willingness and their capability. People require different combination of assets to conduct different tourism related activities in Wailingding, and the access to land and properties as well as an effective use of social capital are crucial for successful livelihood outcomes. Land resources and a number of properties are controlled by local authorities, and their allocation is influenced by both formal and informal institutions at both national and regional levels. Bonding and bridging as social capital has influenced people's access to other capitals and opportunities. The significance of the social capital in pursuing livelihoods can be regarded as a reflection on Chinese culture.