2 February 2009

Tourism as a sustainable livelihood strategy

Teresa C.H. Taoa,
Geoffrey Wallb,
aDepartment of Geography, University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong
bDepartment of Geography, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue West,


Sustainable development and its derivative, sustainable tourism, have both conceptual and practical deficiencies that have frustrated their application. A sustainable livelihoods approach is introduced as being more practical, especially in the common situation in which communities and individuals sustain themselves by multiple activities rather than discrete jobs. When tourism is introduced into a community, it is important that it complements rather than displaces existing activities. A case study is presented of an aboriginal community in Taiwan to illustrate the links between tourism and other livelihood strategies.

Keywords: Sustainable development; Sustainable tourism; Sustainable livelihoods; Aboriginal communities; Taiwan

Article Outline

1. Introduction
2. Sustainable livelihoods
3. Research approach
4. Livelihood resources
4.1. Contemporary livelihoods
4.2. Relationship between tourism and other economic activities
4.2.1. Cash crop production and livestock
4.3. Livelihood activities in tourism
4.4. Benefits redistributed from the park by local institutions
4.4.1. Employment under SCDA and paid by it
4.4.2. Employment under SCDA but not paid by it
4.4.3. Employment outside of the park
4.5. Summary of livelihood strategies
5. The place of tourism as a livelihood strategy
6. The utility of a sustainable livelihood approach to tourism
7. Conclusion