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Social enterprise and inclusive tourism. Five cases in Siem Reap, Cambodi

Journal article
Authors Robin Biddulph
Published in Tourism Geographies
Pages 1-20
ISSN 1461-6688
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Economy and Society, Unit for Human Geography
Centre for Tourism
Pages 1-20
Language en
Links https://doi.org/10.1080/14616688.20...
Keywords Inclusive tourism; inclusive development; social enterprise; Cambodia
Subject categories Human Geography, Economic Geography, Social and Economic Geography

Abstract

In recent decades, social enterprise has emerged from a variety of traditions and contexts to occupy a prominent position in relation to social change. Proponents argue that people with a business orientation are uniquely equipped to identify social problems, develop solutions and to scale these up. Muhammad Yunus and the non-collateralized loans of the Grameen Bank are held to exemplify this potential. Meanwhile, mass tourism destinations are increasingly found in less developed countries, placing relatively wealthy tourists in close proximity to poor people. One response to this has been a proliferation of social enterprises within the tourism industry. This paper investigates the potentials and limitations of social entrepreneurship to achieve inclusive tourism through an analysis of five established and highly regarded social enterprises in Siem Reap. The enterprises have created worthwhile new opportunities for poor and marginalized people and contributed substantially to revitalizing elements of Cambodian culture. Beyond these significant successes, their capacity to generate broader inclusiveness in either the tourism sector or the Cambodian economy, generally, appears limited. Continued social benefits are, furthermore, contingent on the commercial success of the enterprises, in a sector which is highly competitive and volatile, with even successful, well-run businesses never entirely secure.

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