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Kinh and ethnic minority stakeholder perspectives of tourism development in Sapa, Vietnam

Nguyen, Van Huy (2021) Kinh and ethnic minority stakeholder perspectives of tourism development in Sapa, Vietnam. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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This thesis compared the perspectives of Kinh and Ethnic minority groups in terms of the impacts of tourism, participation, collaboration, and their motivations for participating in tourism planning in Sapa, Lào Cai, Vietnam. The rationale for focusing on these groups is that Ethnic minorities account for more than 80% in Sapa, while Kinh people represent 86% of the wider population, but they are the minority in Sapa, making up 18%. Tourism development is primarily in the management of Kinh stakeholders, in Vietnam. The decision-making process is dominated by the Kinh in a top-down approach, and Ethnic minorities with little education are rarely part of the tourism planning process. This thesis employed pragmatism as a research paradigm and employed the exploratory sequential mixed method including semi-structured interviews with key tourism stakeholders and a follow-up survey with broader involvement of Kinh and Ethnic minorities.

The differences between the two groups are that Kinh people perceived the effects of tourism in generic ways, whilst Ethnic minorities responded very specifically and personally. Both groups perceived that participation in tourism planning followed a top-down approach in Sapa. There are differences in perceptions of participation in tourism planning between lower level Ethnic minorities and higher level Kinh government positions. The findings showed that there is a limited collaboration among stakeholders in tourism planning. This current study confirmed that some conditions including; (1) a recognition of interdependence among stakeholders; (2) a recognition of mutual benefits derived from a collaboration process; (3) a need for a convener to facilitate collaboration in tourism planning as suggested by Jamal and Getz (1995) occur in the current Sapa tourism planning scenario. Both groups reflect similar responses when asked about the aspects facilitating or hindering their participation in tourism planning. These aspects comprised of the government policy, economic benefits and distribution of the benefits, social and cultural benefits for local residents, socio-cultural and environmental costs.

The original contribution of this study is that Social Exchange Theory (SET), stakeholder and collaboration theory have been applied in a destination with diverse ethnic groups and rapid changes in tourism development. Future research should incorporate power and trust variables in the SET, since they are considered important influences on the social exchange processes. Some limitations of this study related to language issues, and the length of time allocated for ethnographic fieldwork.

Keywords: tourism impacts, SET, stakeholder theory, collaboration theory, Kinh, Ethnic minorities, Sapa, Vietnam

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Social Sciences and Arts
Supervisor(s): Lee, Diane and Warren, Carol
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