Capturing Community Participation in Rural Tourism through PRA: A Study in Meghalaya
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Keywords:Community participation, Rural livelihood, Rural tourism, Stakeholders
Rural tourism as an agri-business enterprise has potential for socio-economic development of rural area and yields numerous benefits to strengthen culture, livelihood and technologicalÂ outlook of communities, for which sustainability in the development venture depends on community participation. The study was taken up in two popular rural tourism centersÂ viz., Mawlynnong (cleanest village of Asia) and Sohliya (Strawberry village) of MeghalayaÂ state that has heavy tourist traffic; to carry out community stakeholder analysis of rural tourism. Through key informant technique, personal interview and observation, 15 categories of community stakeholders were identified. This was followed by a community levelÂ meeting of the key stakeholders and few residents in each tourism center where PRA exercises were conducted for information generation and discussion. It was found thatÂ community stakeholders organize rural tourism for various reasons through various means. The village council (Dorbar Shong) performed multiple roles and had high influence inÂ village. Efforts in mobilizing community to undertake homestays and dhabas, emphasis on creation of exclusive tourism cooperatives within village to coordinate vital activitiesbetween stakeholders may ensure effective and sustainable participation by communityÂ members.
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