Participation in educational tourism: transforming individuals, communities and societies by stakeholder involvement
Konferensbidrag (offentliggjort, men ej förlagsutgivet), 2015
Tourism is a social activity with the ability to contribute to sustainable development by responsible action from all stakeholders: tourists, local communities, industry, government and academia. A sub-sector of tourism that is highly relevant but generally overlooked in this regard is educational tourism.
The aim of this paper is to highlight educational tourism as an important part of responsible tourism. The purpose is to explore what roles tourism stakeholders have in identifying and addressing issues of sustainability in educational tourism, and how a participatory approach can enhance learning. An action-oriented research project that aims to develop ecotourism in Dunga community in Kenya is used as case study.
School buses with students from all over the country arrive at Kisumu by Lake Victoria every day to visit the harbour, the zoo, the museum, and the small village of Dunga. They learn about fish species, the wetlands, and the propagation of water hyacinths in the lake. However, there is potential to make a greater difference among young people by raising their awareness about environmental and socio-cultural issues, which could in turn change their behaviour and influence their families, friends, and communities.
The study identifies a need to prioritise multiple stakeholders’ engagement in educational tourism from the start to improve the process and the outcomes of it. Further, the study highlights that learning is improved when tourists actively participate in activities on a tour. This research thus supports the notion that participation combined with education enhances the transformational potential of tourism.