Seminar Room 246, Humanities Building, Sandy Bay CampusSummary:
An Asia Institute Tasmania public lecture
- Adjunct Professor Heidi Dahles
Social Innovation in the Cambodian Tourism Industry: The Rise of a New Generation of Social Enterprise
Social enterprise has a crucial role to play to achieve both sustainable development and the advancement of responsible forms of tourism. Yet little is known about how tourism-based social enterprises (TSEs) encourage social innovation at a grass-roots level. While the current model of community-based tourism in Cambodia is often embedded in the commercial activities of international and local NGOs, there is little evidence that this practice is achieving empowerment and sustainable livelihoods among the poor. However, a new generation of TSEs is rising. Established, owned and managed by young, well-educated Cambodians, the new TSEs apply value-based strategies including multiple stakeholders in local tourism development. Beyond being the recipients of benefits, local community is participant and partner, and is encouraged to engage in entrepreneurship and business ownership. However, challenges are looming large. First, awareness of and preparedness for tourism in local communities is still undeveloped, severely hampering an effective participation. Second, the new tourism may fail to appeal to the soaring market segment of East Asian visitors which are basking in the attention of government and business community.
Heidi Dahles (MSc & PhD, Radboud University, Netherlands) is an Adjunct Professor at the Griffith Institute for Tourism (GIFT), Gold Coast, and Visiting Professor at the Cambodia Development Resource Institute (CDRI), Phnom Penh. Prior to these appointments, she held academic leadership positions at Griffith Business School (Brisbane) and VU University Amsterdam (Netherlands). Her research interest is in local livelihoods, resilience and social enterprise, in particular in the tourism industry, in Southeast Asia.