Sharing Tourism Benefits with the local community: A business perspective from the grassroots in Tanzania


Local communities’ participation in tourism benefit-sharing is central to tourism development. While there is a well-established literature on benefit-sharing from the perspective of wildlife protected areas and adjacent local communities, there is little emphasis on how other tourism businesses do this. Using a case study of Barabarani village, Tanzania, this paper examines how other tourism businesses share benefits with the neighbouring communities. It explores this using: in-depth semi-structured interviews with tourism businesses, NGOs, and key decisionmakers within the community; a two-month period of field observations coupled with the researcher’s experience with the wider community; informal discussions with some members of the local community; and document analysis. The findings show that tourism businesses in Barabarani village have schemes that favourably benefit local people, but the extent to which a particular business has developed its schemes differed from one business to another depending on the nature of business, ownership, and objectives. In some businesses such schemes were automatically created as a ‘by-product’ of particular decisions they make. Overall, public businesses had more systematic benefit sharing schemes than private businesses. Thus, there was no guarantee local communities would receive benefits from private businesses, and if any, they were executed on an ad hoc basis.



local communities, benefit sharing, tourism businesses, capacity buidling, pro-poor tourism