Community-based and pro-poor tourism: Initial assessment of their relation to community development


  • Melville Saayman Director TREES (Tourism Research in Economic, Environs and Society), North-West University, (Potchefstroom Campus), Private Bag X6001, Box 204, Potchefstroom, 2520, South Africa; tel: +27 (0)18 299 4140; fax +27 (0)18 299 4140; e-mail:
  • Andrea Giampiccoli Research Associate, Hospitality and Tourism Department (Ritson Campus), Durban University of Technology, PO Box 1334, Durban, 4000, South Africa; tel: +27 (0)31 37330 22; fax: +27(0)31 373 55 02; e-mail:


Empowerment, community development, tourism development, poverty reduction


Alternative forms of tourism development from its conventional approach such as community-based tourism (CBT) and pro-poor tourism (PPT) are proposed to be specifically relevant to alleviate poverty and facilitate the development of disadvantaged community members. The intention of this review paper is to show, despite an apparent similarity, that there are indeed substantial differences between CBT and PPT. While CBT is an alternative to conventional mass tourism and it prioritises control by disadvantaged community members and the benefits of the tourism sector within a social justice perspective with redistributive aims, PPT originated, sustained and is sustained by the neoliberal system and its work does not offer great possibilities of changing the status quo. This, in effect, increases the inequality gap. The paper concludes that the tourism sector properly and holistically fosters social justice and redistributive measures to decrease the inequality gap and further proposes PPT strategies needed to take a CBT direction guiding the tourism sector as a whole.




How to Cite

Saayman, M., & Giampiccoli, A. (2016). Community-based and pro-poor tourism: Initial assessment of their relation to community development. European Journal of Tourism Research, 12, 145–190. Retrieved from