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Limits to mass tourism’s effects in rural peripheries

Journal article
Authors Robin Biddulph
Published in Annals of Tourism Research
Volume 50
Issue 1
Pages 98-112
ISSN 0160-7383
Publication year 2015
Published at Department of Economy and Society, Unit for Human Geography
Centre for Tourism
Pages 98-112
Language en
Keywords Tourism; Rural; Periphery; Livelihoods; Mobility; Cambodia
Subject categories Business Administration, Human Geography


Economic linkages between mass tourism cores and rural peripheries are widely proposed as developmental. This article adopts a livelihoods approach to investigate the influence of a major Cambodian tourism destination on its rural hinterland. A quantitative pre-study of three rural villages indicated that links were mainly indirect, through labour migration. The qualitative main phase found villagers adapting skills and social networks to a range of employments in diverse locations. Poor households in the rural periphery were thus already connected to wider economies with tourism playing a distinctive low-risk, low-return role in their livelihood strategies. Policy on poverty and tourism should be informed by an understanding of rural households’ existing livelihood portfolios and the strategic contingent decisions which shape them.

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