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Article

The Impact of Residents’ Participation on Their Support for Tourism Development at a Community Level Destination

1
Department of Tourism Development, Sangji University, Wonju 26339, Korea
2
Department of Landscape Architecture, Gyeongsang National University, Jinju 52725, Korea
3
Korea Adaptation Center for Climate Change, Korea Environment Institute, Sejong 30121, Korea
4
Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2021, 13(9), 4789; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13094789
Received: 20 March 2021 / Revised: 21 April 2021 / Accepted: 22 April 2021 / Published: 24 April 2021

Abstract

:
Resident participation is crucial to the success of tourism development at community-level destinations. This study examines the effect of residents’ participation on their support for tourism development at the community level through a case study of Gamcheon Culture Village, South Korea. Using the structural equation model (SEM), including the variables of participation of tourism development, community attachment, economic dependence, perceived positive impacts, perceived negative impacts, and attitude toward tourism development, this study found that participation in tourism development significantly influences residents’ attitude toward development. Residents’ participation not only directly affects their attitude toward tourism development, but also indirectly influences it by increasing their positive perception of tourism development. Results empirically reveal that resident participation is critical to tourism development, especially for destinations at the local level.

1. Introduction

Tourism development generates many benefits for local communities. In many cases, it enhances job opportunities, tax revenues, local infrastructures, and so on [1,2]. Thus, tourism development is frequently utilized as a tool to improve local economies and living environments [3,4].
For the successful operation of tourism development, the support of residents is necessary. This finding is especially true in cases of tourism development at the local community level, where resident participation is fundamental to success. The reason is because residents who actually live in the development area are the main actors of tourism development, and their attitudes toward tourism development is directly tied to the economic, social, cultural, and environmental outcomes of the development [5,6].
There exist many factors that increase residents’ support for tourism development, such as their perceptions of the positive and negative impacts of tourism, local community attachment, economic dependence on tourism, and so on [1,5,7,8,9,10]. Resident participation is also an important factor that influences residents’ support for tourism development [11]. The importance of participation in terms of tourism development has been emphasized by many studies of tourism development. Murphy [12] first argued for greater input from residents in tourism development. He explained that because residents are the ones who must live with the cumulative outcomes of development, they must be the primary actors during the development process. After Murphy’s [12] argument, researchers such as Inskeep [13], Simmons [14], Tosun [15,16], Dredge and Jenkins [17], and Bramwell [18] have continued to discuss resident participation in development because community residents’ opinion and suggestions play a key role contributing to tourism planning. They claimed that residents should be thoroughly informed about the development process, be the main actors of every decision regarding the development, and should eventually lead the process of tourism development themselves.
Unlike the conceptual and theoretical concerns of participation in tourism development, the role of participation in association with residents’ attitudes toward tourism development has rarely been studied [7,19]. Although few studies have been conducted [11,20], they operated at the city or state level, rather than exploring community-based tourism development sites at the community level. Thus, this study fills this gap by investigating how residents’ participation in tourism development influences their perception and attitude toward tourism development within their community. It can be argued that residents’ level of participation in tourism development is important for attempting to understand community-based tourism.
This study mainly aims to construct and test a structural model to examine the effect of residents’ participation on their attitudes toward tourism development at the community level. This study employs a case study of Gamcheon, South Korea, which is a village that has been lauded as a successful case of tourism development involving the local community [21]. From 2011, the number of tourists visiting the village increased steadily from 30,000 in 2011 to 300,000 in 2013, 1.38 million in 2015, 2.85 million in 2017, and 2.57 million in 2018. The maximum number of tourists per day in Gamcheon was estimated to be 996, but in 2017, visitors exceeded 1200 on weekends. Even though some local residents began to experience various forms of inconvenience, such as diminished privacy, sky-rocketing house/rent prices, and conflict between pro-tourism and anti-tourism residents, Gamcheon, the case village for this study, is one successful example of a project that involved residents developing the village as a popular landscape tourism destination.
The present research considers community attachment and economic dependence as important factors that influence residents’ attitudes toward tourism development. This study also examines the mediating role of positive/negative perception of tourism development with respect to the relationships between community attachment, economic dependence, resident participation, and attitudes toward tourism development. The findings of this study can provide valuable insights for travel marketing managers and policymakers to expand the understanding of successful community-based tourism in South Korea and guide policy decisions for community tourism development.

2. Literature Review and Conceptual Model

2.1. Resident Participation in Tourism Development

The role of resident participation was first discussed in the field of urban and regional planning. By the 1950s, urban and regional planning focused on economic growth through development, hence planners mostly focused on generating efficient outcomes from development [22]. This resulted in the marginalization of ordinary residents during the development process and a loss of culture and ways of life in the associated areas [23,24]. Since the 1960s, urban theorists such as Paul Davidoff, Lewis Mumford, and Jane Jacobs, have criticized this situation, and argued that community and human life should be the primary focus of the planning process. They have argued for the adoption of advocacy planning, using a term coined by Davidoff [25] which applies a humanistic, grassroots, and pluralistic approach to the development process. A central tenet of this approach is that planners should engage local communities in the development process. Here, public engagement should not merely comprise residents being allowed to know developers’ plans, but should also encourage their involvement in the process, allowing them to shape the planning and implementation of a project. Furthermore, because each person has different resources and capabilities of participation, this approach also emphasizes giving all community members an equitable opportunity to participate in the process [22,26].
The field of tourism has also focused on the importance of participation since the 1980s. Murphy first argued that the primary stakeholder in tourism development should be the host community, and that they must be intrinsically involved throughout the tourism planning process because they must live with the cumulative outcome of any development [12,27]. Following Murphy’s argument, the importance of community participation has been discussed by various researchers [13,14,15,16,17,18]. Through participation, residents can become more knowledgeable about tourism development, weigh the pros and cons of tourism development in their communities, make important decisions, and ultimately mobilize their capabilities as the main actors of tourism development projects [11,28,29].
Since the 2000s, with the influence of western discourse on participation in the planning process and the growth of the notion of procedural democracy, the issue of residents’ participation has gradually become more prominent in tourism planning in South Korea. The call for community involvement has increased and has actually contributed to the introduction of tourism development projects involving local communities [21,30,31,32,33,34].

2.2. Previous Studies and Conceptual Model

Many studies utilize social exchange theory (SET) to examine residents’ attitude toward tourism development. SET has been a major theoretical perspective in the field of sociology since the early writings of Homans [35] and Blau [36]. SET explains that people enter into an exchange when they expect the outcome of the exchange to be valuable to them. More specifically, people weigh the perceived cost and benefits of an exchange, and when they feel that the benefits outweigh the costs, they enter into the exchange. This social theory has also been utilized in many studies on tourism, especially when examining residents’ attitude toward tourism development [37]. From a tourism perspective, if the perceived benefits of tourism development exceed its perceived costs, residents are inclined to support the development. However, if the benefits do not exceed the cost, the residents are not inclined to support it [38]. Previous research has empirically identified the relationship between resident perceptions of the costs and the benefits of tourism development and how these affect their support for development [6,39,40,41,42,43]. Thus, this study hypothesizes that:
Hypothesis 1 (H1).
The perceived positive impact of tourism development affects residents’ attitude toward tourism development.
Hypothesis 2 (H2).
The perceived negative impact of tourism development affects residents’ attitude toward tourism development.
Community attachment is an important factor that influences residents’ attitudes toward tourism development [44]. Community attachment can be defined as residents’ sense of belonging to the community [45,46]. Accumulated relations within and between individuals and the community create an emotional attachment to it [47]. In tourism settings, several studies have investigated the relationships among community attachments, perceived tourism impacts, and residents’ attitudes toward tourism development. In terms of the relationships between attachment and perceived impacts, studies have claimed that attachment influences the positive and negative perceptions of tourism development. McCool and Martin [46], and Juroski, Usyal, and Williams [48] have found that residents who are highly attached to the community scored higher on the positive perception of tourism development compared to residents who are less attached. Harrill [49] pointed out that the more residents are attached to their communities, the more sensitively they react to tourism development when they have negative concerns. Gursoy and Rutherford [50] also reported that residents with a stronger sense of belonging are more sensitive to the positive and negative impacts of tourism development on their community. Community attachment not only influences residents’ perception of the positive and negative impacts of tourism development, but also influences residents’ attitudes toward tourism development in general. The empirical study by Chen and Chen [5] revealed that community attachment directly contributed to residents’ support for tourism development, while indirectly contributing by influencing their perception of the positive impact of tourism development. Thus, this study hypothesizes that:
Hypothesis 3 (H3).
Community attachment affects perceived positive tourism impacts.
Hypothesis 4 (H4).
Community attachment affects perceived negative tourism impacts.
Hypothesis 5 (H5).
Community attachment affects residents’ attitudes toward tourism development.
Economic dependence means residents’ incomes are dependent on tourism-related businesses [5,51]. In these instances, tourism income is directly tied to the daily lives of residents, which makes them more sensitive to tourism development. Previous studies have found that the economic dependence of residents on tourism influences their perceptions of the positive and negative impacts of tourism development. In terms of their perception of the positive impacts of tourism, Almeida-Garcia et al. [7] discovered that residents with tourism-related jobs had a more positive attitude toward the economic impact of tourism development. Chen and Chen [5] also unveiled that residents who were more economically dependent on tourism were more likely to notice the positive impact of tourism development. These results are not surprising; residents are naturally more attuned to the positive outcomes from tourism development when they are dependent on those outcomes.
Economic dependence influences not only residents’ perception of the positive impacts of tourism development but also its negative impacts. Ribeiro et al. [9] found that residents’ perceived personal economic benefits positively influenced their perceptions of the negative aspects of tourism development. Látkova and Vogt [52] also found negative relationships between economic dependence and perception on the negative impact of tourism development. These studies discovered that residents’ perception of the negative aspects of tourism correspond to the level of intensity of development, even if they are economically dependent on tourism and benefit from it. Economic dependence also influences the residents’ attitudes toward tourism development. Ko and Stewart [53] discovered that personal benefits from tourism development directly influence residents’ attitudes toward tourism development. Therefore, this study proposes the following hypotheses:
Hypothesis 6 (H6).
Economic dependence on tourism affects perceived positive tourism impacts.
Hypothesis 7 (H7).
Economic dependence on tourism affects perceived negative tourism impacts.
Hypothesis 8 (H8).
Economic dependence on tourism affects residents’ attitudes toward tourism development.
Participation in tourism development means giving residents opportunities to meaningfully contribute to the planning and implementation of developments in their community. Despite that there have been no studies directly investigating the impact of resident participation on the perception of the impacts of tourism development using the SEM model, one study exists that shows how residents’ levels of knowledge and empowerment influence their perception of the impacts of tourism development [8]. This study uncovered that because participating residents have more knowledge and experience with tourism development, they are more likely to notice its positive and negative impacts. In addition, participation influences residents’ attitudes toward tourism development directly. Participants have a more favorable perception of tourism development because they have actively contributed to the development process [11,20]. Accordingly, the final hypotheses of this study are as follows:
Hypothesis 9 (H9).
Participation in tourism development affects perceived positive tourism impacts.
Hypothesis 10 (H10).
Participation in tourism development affects perceived negative tourism impacts.
Hypothesis 11 (H11).
Participation in tourism development affects residents’ attitudes toward tourism development.
On the basis of the literature review, this study proposes a study model to anticipate residents’ attitudes toward tourism development, including six latent constructs: community attachment, economic dependence, participation in tourism development, perceived positive impacts, perceived negative impacts, and residents’ attitudes toward tourism development (see Figure 1).

3. Method

3.1. Study Site

As shown in Figure 2, Gamcheon is a hillside village located in Busan, the second-largest metropolitan city of South Korea. In the 1950s, numerous refugees from the Korean War fled to Busan and settled in Gamcheon, then organized their own community [54]. Given the village’s relatively remote location from the city and because it was mostly populated by low-income individuals, it received little attention from government development efforts. Owing to its underdeveloped state, it remained appearing as a poverty-stricken hillside village from the 1950s to the late 2000s [55].
In 2009, the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism (MCST) selected Gamcheon as the site for a public art- and community-based tourism development project. The MCST funded public art projects to promote community villages as landscape tourism destinations and contribute to local economies. Local residents were involved during the entire development process [34]. This case was shared with international media, including CNN and NHK Japan, as a successful tourism development project involving residents [21]. The project introduced art to the village, including murals, statues, lights, and so on. Through this process, the village was transformed into a popular tourist destination [56].

3.2. Data Collection and Analysis

The questionnaire used in this study was designed using question items to determine the values for all constructs of the study model. The questions were formulated on the basis of the literature that was used to develop the study model. Four question items were developed for each construct, including community attachment, economic dependence, participation in tourism development, positive impact of tourism development, negative impact of tourism development, and support for tourism development adapted from previous studies [5,11]. This study used a 5-point Likert scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). The primary reason why this study employed a 5-point scale instead of using a 7-point scale was to minimize the frustration level of the survey respondents and to increase the rate and quality of the responses [57].
The data collection portion of the study was conducted in person from 18 to 29 June, 2018. An informed data collector visited the village and randomly recruited survey participants from public spaces, such as streets and parking lots. The survey was explained to the residents, and they were asked if they were willing to participate. Once they agreed to participate, the survey began. All participants self-responded to the questionnaire. A total of 210 samples were collected. During the data cleaning process, we found 12 samples to be outliers (e.g., missing values) and therefore removed from the survey. Overall, this study used 198 samples to test the hypotheses. For data analysis, confirmatory factor analysis was applied to demonstrate how well the measured variables represent their respective constructs, and an SEM was applied to test the model [58]. AMOS 26.0 software program was used for the analysis.

4. Results

4.1. Sample Characteristics

Table 1 displays the demographic characteristics of the respondents. Of the participants, 60.8% were female and 39.2% were male. For birth location, 24.6% were born in Gamcheon, 37.6% were born in non-Gamcheon in Busan, and 38.1% were born outside of Busan. For age, 31.3% of respondents were under 40, 39.1% were between 41 and 60 years old, and 29.6% were 61 or older. For household size, 14.8% participants lived alone, 23.8% lived with two family members, 23.8% lived with three family members, and 37.6% lived with four or more family members. For employment, 24.9% were office workers, 24.9% worked in services or sales, 9.5% were technicians, and 40.7% were unemployed. The monthly income of 36.5% respondents was below $850 (1 million KRW), 45.0% had an income between $851 and $1700, 11.1% had an income between $1701 and $2550, and 7.4% had an income of $2551 or more. For residency length, 25.4% participants had lived in the village for 10 years or less, 25.4% had lived there for 11 to 20 years, 18.0% for 21 to 30 years, 10.1% for 31 to 40 years, and 21.2% for over 41 years.
The normality of the data was acceptable with an absolute skew value between ±0.7 and an absolute kurtosis between ±1.0.

4.2. Results of Confirmatory Factor Analysis

The results of the confirmatory factor analysis show that all variables represented their respective constructs well. The fit indices show the model was well structured, with PCMIN/DF = 2.299 (p = 0.000), CFI = 0.911, TLI = 0.8956, RMSEA = 0.083, and SRMR = 0.061. The reliability of the model is confirmed by the fact that all estimates are <0.001, meanwhile all factor loadings were over > 0.69, and all CR > 0.82. The convergent validity and discriminative validity of the model are confirmed by the fact that the AVE was >0.53, and the R2 of correlations among the latent constructs was <AVE (Table 2 and Table 3). Thus, the four measured variables for each construct were well constructed and adequate to utilize for SEM analysis to test the proposed model.

4.3. Results of the SEM

As shown in Table 4, the fit indices resulting from the SEM analysis supported the proposed model, with PCMIN/DF = 1.956 (p = 0.000), CFI = 0.935, TLI = 0.935, RMSEA = 0.071, SRMR = 0.0590. As a result of the SEM analysis (see Figure 3), Hypothesis 1 (positive impacts→attitude toward TD) was supported, with t = 0.146(p < 0.1) and β = 0.313, and Hypothesis 2 (negative impacts→attitude toward TD) was supported, with t = 0.067(p < 0.001) and β = −0.217. This means that the residents’ perceptions of the positive impacts of tourism development positively influenced the residents’ attitudes toward tourism development, whereas negative perceptions negatively influenced their attitudes. Hypothesis 3 (community attachment positive impacts) was supported, with t = 1.994 (p < 0.1) and β = 0.142, and Hypothesis 4 (community attachment→negative impacts) was rejected statistically. This means that community attachment influenced residents’ perception of the positive impacts of tourism development, but not the negative impacts. Hypothesis 5 (community attachment→attitude toward TD) was supported, with t = 0.071 (p < 0.001) and β = 0.370. This indicates that residents’ community attachment positively influenced their attitude toward tourism development. Hypothesis 6 (economic dependence→positive impacts) was rejected statistically, and Hypothesis 7 (economic dependence→negative impacts) was supported, with t = 1.800 (p < 0.1) and β = 0.196. This signifies that economic dependence on tourism influenced residents’ perception of the negative impacts of tourism development, but not the positive impacts. Hypothesis 8 (economic dependence attitude toward TD) was supported with t = 2.902 (p < 0.01) and β = 0.201. This means that economic dependence on tourism positively influenced residents’ attitudes toward TD. Hypothesis 9 (participation in TD→positive impacts) was supported, with t = 5.968 (p < 0.001) and β = 0.681, and Hypothesis 10 (participation in TD→negative impacts) was rejected statistically. This means that participation in tourism development influenced residents’ perception of the positive impacts of tourism development, but not the negative impacts. Hypothesis 11 (participation in TD→attitude toward TD) was supported, with t = 1.704 (p < 0.1) and β = 0.225. This means that residents’ participation positively influenced residents’ attitudes toward development.
The total impact of each construct for the support of TD were as follows: the perception of positive impact was 0.313, the perception of negative impact was −0.217, community attachment was 0.429, dependence on tourism was rejected, and participation in tourism development was 0.422. The total impact of the three constructs on the perception of positive impacts was as follows: community attachment was 0.142, dependence on tourism was rejected, and participation in tourism development was 0.681. The total impact of the three constructs on the perception of negative impacts was as follows: community attachment was rejected, dependence on tourism was 0.196, and participation in tourism development was rejected (Table 4).

5. Discussion

The purpose of this study was to construct and test a structural model to examine the effect of residents’ participation in tourism development on their attitudes toward tourism development in an Asian context, through a case study of Gamcheon, South Korea. A study model that included six latent constructs (community attachment, economic dependence, participation in tourism development, positive perception of tourism development, negative perception of tourism development, and residents’ attitudes toward tourism development) was constructed and tested using SEM analysis. Using SEM analysis, the hypothesis test results varied, with eight being statistically significant and three being insignificant.
Hypotheses 1 and 2 tested whether residents’ perceptions of the positive and negative impacts of tourism development influenced their attitudes toward tourism development. The results of this study reveal that perceiving the positive impacts of tourism development positively influenced residents’ attitudes toward tourism development, whereas perceiving the negative impacts negatively affected residents’ attitudes toward tourism development. These results are an important theoretical finding, as they further support concepts suggesting that incorporating these aspects into the community-based tourism model provides a better understanding of how residents’ perceptions of the positive and negative impacts of tourism development influences support for tourism development within their community. These findings are consistent with the findings of previous studies based on social exchange theory, which states that residents’ attitudes toward tourism becomes more optimistic when personal benefits outweigh the cost of tourism development [1,38,50,53].
Hypotheses 3 and 4 examined the impact of community attachment on the perception of the positive and negative impacts of tourism development. The results of the current study found that community attachment is an important factor influencing residents’ perception of positive impacts of tourism development (i.e., Hypotheses 3). This indicates that the more attached residents are to the community, the more likely they are to perceive the positive impacts of tourism development. However, the current study found no significant relationship between community attachment and residents’ perceptions of the negative impacts of tourism development (i.e., Hypotheses 4). This corroborates previous studies that unveiled a positive influence of community attachment on perceptions of the positive impacts of tourism development, and no relationship exists between community attachment and the perception of negative impacts [5,59]. The negative impacts of tourism development (e.g., noise, congestion, rent increases, and so on.) would be common to every resident regardless of their level of community attachment. This would be one of the reasons that the perception of the negative impact of tourism development is not significantly influenced by community attachment. The result of testing Hypothesis 5 shows that attachment to the village positively influenced residents’ attitudes toward tourism development. Residents who had a high sense of belonging or rootedness in a community were more supportive of tourism development. This finding is consistent with a study by Gursoy and Rutherford [50] that found that residents who are devoted to their community tend to welcome tourists and express positive attitudes toward them.
Hypotheses 6 and 7 tested the relationship between economic dependence on tourism and perceptions of the positive and negative impacts of tourism development. The current study unveiled that economic dependence on tourism influenced residents’ perception of the negative impacts of tourism development, but did not influence their perception of the positive impacts. This finding is in line with previous studies that uncovered a positive relationship between economic dependency and perceptions of the negative impacts of tourism development [9,51,52]. This circumstance is understandable in scenarios where the income generated by tourism does not meet residents’ expectations; because they have low income and depend on tourism for money, they are more sensitive to the negative impacts of tourism. Hypothesis 8 examined how economic dependence on tourism positively influences residents’ attitudes toward tourism development. This result corroborates previous studies, such as that of Ribeiro et al. [9], which found that the more residents depend on tourism, the more positively they react to tourism development with the expectation of future development. Although participant income is currently low, it may increase with additional tourism development.
Hypotheses 9 and 10 examined whether participation in tourism development would influence the perceived positive and negative impacts of tourism development. The results of the present study showed that participation in tourism development positively influenced residents’ perceptions of the positive impacts of tourism development, but did not statistically influence perception of the negative impacts. Although no study has investigated the influence of resident participation in tourism development on the perceived positive/negative impacts of tourism development using the SEM model, a study finding discovered the impact of residents’ levels of knowledge and empowerment on their perceptions of the impacts of tourism development [8]. In addition, Hypothesis 11 tested whether participation in tourism development would directly influence residents’ attitudes toward tourism development. The results show that participation in tourism development actually contributed to residents’ attitudes toward tourism development. Palmer et al. [20] and Rasoolimanesh et al. [11] also explained the positive relationship between participation and residents’ attitudes toward tourism development. Thus, the results of this study confirm that participation in tourism development influences the perception of residents.
Fundamentally, residents’ attitudes toward tourism development were directly influenced by their participation (0.225), and indirectly influenced through the positive impact of participation on the perception of the positive impacts of tourism development (0.681). Residents’ attitudes were also directly influenced by their community attachment (0.370) and indirectly influenced through the positive impact of community attachment on the perception of the positive impacts of tourism development (0.142). Moreover, residents’ attitudes were indirectly influenced by their economic dependence on tourism through the positive impacts of economic dependence on the perception of the negative impacts of tourism development (0.196).
The role of participation was significant to residents’ perceptions of the impacts of tourism development and their attitudes toward tourism development. Participation is a fundamental component of community-level tourism development [13,14,15,16,17,18,60].

6. Conclusions

The present study provides several practical implications. Deliberative and democratic decision-making processes based on procedural nationality are important for respectful community participation. Good participation in tourism development involves all stakeholders, each representing their interests, and allows them to discuss the direction of the development [61]. Here, participants in the discussion should be involved voluntarily and guaranteed the opportunity to share their thoughts freely [15]. This discussion should start at the first stage of a project [62]. After the implementation of a project, residents should also have the right to monitor the management of tourism facilities with the help of professionals who are selected by residents [63]. Through continuous participation in the overall process of a project, people can gain experience, learn about social issues, and develop alternatives to address those issues. This process ultimately improves the capacity of residents as social capital, and it allows them to actually control the projects in question. This is the ideal stage of civic participation that Arnstein’s [64] ladder of citizen participation identified. In addition, in terms of involving residents, no one should be excluded or marginalized due to their class, religion, or other characteristics [22]. Planners should implement an equity plan that creates intersectionality between citizens and allows them to understand how different groups think about, experience, and facilitate effective negotiations among groups. Indeed, Tosun [16] asserted that “sharing power” to achieve mutual benefits from tourism development is essential. Rather than having a centralized public administration structure making decisions, establishing non-governmental-organizations (NGO) to influence local decisions would be the preferred solution. Certainly, if Gamcheon residents were involved in tourism development, as many expressed a wish to be, inclusion could positively influence their attitude toward tourism development.
However, tourism managers should also recognize the negative aspects associated with community participation. If the decision-making authorities depend substantially on local residents for resources and advice, their autonomy may be compromised. This implies that if residents have immense authority, they may attempt to influence decisions to no one’s particular benefit. Conversely, Tosun [16] claimed that if governments yield excessive power and authority over to local residents, over-centralization can negatively affect the willingness of residents to participate in tourism development. Thus, governments should strive for a balance and recognize that over-centralization does not necessarily deliver positive outcomes.
In terms of community attachment, attachment is not something that can be unilaterally imposed. Attachment is naturally constructed through the accumulated feelings and emotions of residents over time [47]. Thus, to improve community attachment, efforts should be made for residents to build relationships within the community and foster good memories. For example, community spaces for residential gatherings and activities can influence residents to build relationships. Hosting events to function as communal gatherings is another option. Furthermore, efforts to improve living conditions of residents can be considered. For example, improving and enhancing transportation systems, beautifying street landscapes, providing community activities for seniors, and so on can be used to foster community attachment. Given that more than two-thirds (68.7%) of Gamcheon residents are 40 years of age or older and almost half of our respondents (49.3%) had lived in the village for more than 20 years, providing financial assistance to repair their homes, build community fitness centers and offer free healthcare services are ways to increase community attachment. Protecting living environments from disturbances caused by tourists could be an alternative approach. One suggestion is to control the number of tourists in a destination to ensure tourism can be managed without causing life disturbance, while also educating tourists so they behave with respect for the lives of residents.
For economic dependence, this study uncovered that the more dependent residents were on tourism, the more likely they were to perceive the negative impacts of tourism development, specifically in cases where their income was low. Therefore, structuring development so that the tourism business structure brings meaningful income to residents is important. For example, locally owned and managed businesses should be promoted while minimizing the leakage of income to sources outside the village. Attractive and profitable tourism products and programs should be developed to increase profits. In addition, common income generated by community tourism, such as entrance fees and parking fees, should be adequately distributed to the community. Because every resident bears the impact of tourism, all residents should be included in the income distribution.
This study is meaningful in that it identified the importance of participation to residents’ attitudes toward tourism development, especially in the case of South Korea and in the Asian context, which has been less studied and where participation has only recently been considered an important aspect of tourism development. However, this study has limitations. First, the sample size of this study is not large, at 198. Nonetheless, with consideration for the total population of Gamcheon, 8000, this size was adequate for the purposes of this study. The sampling error of this study was 5.89% at the 90% confidence interval. Another limitation is that the study focused only on quantitative research.
Finally, this study includes community attachment, economic dependence, participation in tourism development, perceived positive impacts, and perceived negative impacts in the model to explain residents’ attitudes toward tourism development. However, tourism has many other aspects that may influence residents’ attitudes, such as individual backgrounds, relationships with the government, unique experiences during tourism development, and so on. Therefore, future studies are encouraged to include more participants and conduct additional constructs so that greater insights into residents’ attitudes toward tourism development can be provided.

Author Contributions

Conceptualization, S.K. and Y.K.; methodology, S.K.; software, Y.K.; validation, S.K., and Y.K.; formal analysis, S.K.; investigation, Y.K.; resources, J.-H.P.; data curation, Y.K.; writing—original draft preparation, S.-E.K.; writing—review and editing, S.K.; visualization, Y.K.; supervision, S.-E.K.; project administration, J.-H.P.; funding acquisition, J.-H.P. and Y.K. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.

Funding

This paper was supported by the research work “Support for Implementation of Climate Change Adaptation Plan” (2021-001-01), conducted by the Korea Environment Institute (KEI) upon the request of the Korea Ministry of Environment.

Data Availability Statement

Data sharing not applicable.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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Figure 1. Study model. Note: TD = Tourism development.
Figure 1. Study model. Note: TD = Tourism development.
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Figure 2. Landscape of Gamcheon Culture Village. (a): Source: Taekugdo (www.tgd.or.kr) (accessed on 20 January 2020). (b): Source: Authors.
Figure 2. Landscape of Gamcheon Culture Village. (a): Source: Taekugdo (www.tgd.or.kr) (accessed on 20 January 2020). (b): Source: Authors.
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Figure 3. Results of the structural model. Note: TD = Tourism development; * p < 0.1, ** p < 0.01, *** p < 0.001, PCMIN/DF = 2.042 (p = 0.000), CFI = 0.937, TLI = 0.926, RMSEA = 0.074, SRMR = 0.0580.
Figure 3. Results of the structural model. Note: TD = Tourism development; * p < 0.1, ** p < 0.01, *** p < 0.001, PCMIN/DF = 2.042 (p = 0.000), CFI = 0.937, TLI = 0.926, RMSEA = 0.074, SRMR = 0.0580.
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Table 1. Characteristics of the respondents.
Table 1. Characteristics of the respondents.
FrequencyPercentage
SexMale7439.2
Female11560.8
BornGamcheon4624.6
Non-Gamcheon, but Busan7137.6
Non-Busan7238.1
AgeUnder 405931.3
41–607439.1
61 or more5629.6
Number of Residents in Your Home1 (alone)2814.8
24523.8
34523.8
4 or more7137.6
JobOffice workers4724.9
Service/Sales4724.9
Technicians189.5
Unemployed7740.7
Monthly Income ($)Below 8506936.5
851–17008545.0
1701–25502111.1
2551 or more147.4
Years of Residence in GamcheonUp to 10 years4825.4
11–204825.4
21–303418.0
31–401910.1
41 years or more4021.2
Table 2. Results of confirmatory factor analysis.
Table 2. Results of confirmatory factor analysis.
Factor Loadingst-StatisticspαCR
Participation in TD 0.910.89
I participate in TD0.84
I am involved in the decision-making process0.7716.53***
I am informed about TD0.8512.76***
I have opportunities to be involved in decision-making0.8111.94***
Economic Dependence 0.940.95
Tourism improves my basic life0.95
Tourism influences my economic condition0.8318.00***
Tourism helps me economically0.9527.90***
My income is dependent on tourism0.8720.12***
Community Attachment 0.920.92
My life is centered around the community0.77
The residents of this community are precious to me0.8612.96***
This community is special to me0.8512.85***
I have close relationships with the community residents0.9414.36***
Positive Impacts 0.840.84
TD contributes to community incomes0.71
TD contributes to community identity0.789.85***
TD contributes to the conservation of the local environment0.759.45***
TD enhances the living conditions of the community0.759.42***
Negative Impacts 0.820.82
TD promotes the excessive use of environmental resources0.76
TD harms the village landscape0.779.39***
TD harms the village culture0.698.61***
TD harms the community’s traditional relationships 0.698.41***
Attitude Toward TD 0.840.83
I support TD0.69
I will support additional TD0.739.10***
I am grateful for TD0.8110.05***
I hope for additional TD0.759.32***
Note: TD = Tourism development; *** p < 0.001, PCMIN/DF = 2.299 (p = 0.000), CFI = 0.911, TLI = 0.8956, RMSEA = 0.083, SRMR = 0.061.
Table 3. Correlations among latent constructs (squared) and AVE.
Table 3. Correlations among latent constructs (squared) and AVE.
Participation in TDDependence on TourismCommunity AttachmentPositive ImpactsNegative ImpactsAttitude Toward TD
Participation in TD
Economic dependence0.366
Community attachment0.267 0.057
Positive impacts0.667 0.324 0.525
Negative impacts0.020 0.050 0.000 0.039
Attitude toward TD0.596 0.320 0.476 0.276 0.011
AVE0.669 0.813 0.735 0.559 0.531 0.557
Note: TD = Tourism development; AVE = Average variance extracted.
Table 4. Results of the SEM.
Table 4. Results of the SEM.
HypothesisSupportΒpt-
Statistics
Direct
Effects
Indirect
Effects
Total
Effects
1Positive impactsAttitude toward TDY0.313*0.1460.313 0.313
2Negative impactsAttitude toward TDY−0.217***0.067−0.217 −0.217
3Community attachmentPositive impactsY0.142*1.9940.142 0.142
4Community attachmentNegative impactsN−0.0690.493−0.685−0.069 −0.069
5Community attachmentAttitude toward TDY0.370***0.0710.3700.0590.429
6Economic dependencePositive impactsN0.1230.1161.5730.123 0.123
7Economic dependenceNegative impactsY0.196*1.8000.196 0.196
8Economic dependenceAttitude toward TDY0.201**2.9020.201−0.0040.197
9Participation in TDPositive impactsY0.681***5.9680.681 0.681
10Participation in TDNegative impactsN0.0750.5720.5650.075 0.075
11Participation in TDAttitude toward TDY0.225*1.7040.2250.1970.422
Note: TD = Tourism development; * p< 0.1, ** p < 0.01, *** p < 0.001, PCMIN/DF = 1.956 (p = 0.000), CFI = 0.935, TLI = 0.935, RMSEA = 0.071, SRMR = 0.0590.
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Kim, S.; Kang, Y.; Park, J.-H.; Kang, S.-E. The Impact of Residents’ Participation on Their Support for Tourism Development at a Community Level Destination. Sustainability 2021, 13, 4789. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13094789

AMA Style

Kim S, Kang Y, Park J-H, Kang S-E. The Impact of Residents’ Participation on Their Support for Tourism Development at a Community Level Destination. Sustainability. 2021; 13(9):4789. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13094789

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Kim, Songyi, Youngeun Kang, Jin-Han Park, and Sung-Eun Kang. 2021. "The Impact of Residents’ Participation on Their Support for Tourism Development at a Community Level Destination" Sustainability 13, no. 9: 4789. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13094789

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