Date of Award

12-2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Economics

Advisor

Hughes, David W

Committee Member

Willis , David B

Committee Member

Norman , William C

Abstract

Fair trade tourism commonly refers to any attempts to ensure and maximize the benefits from tourism for stakeholders in destination areas (Tourism Concern, online; FTTa, online). It is drawing recent attention as a means of reducing associated economic and social costs that undermine the validity of tourism as a development tool, and to make tourism more sustainable. To achieve these goals, the principles of the commodity-based fair trade movement (a set of well-established efforts designed to result in a more equitable distribution in product markets) are introduced to tourism. However, both the nature of tourism - as intangible and destination-oriented products - and the large potential scale of tourism impact prevent unaltered adoption of commodity-based fair trade principles. Thus, a tailored approach is needed that can reflect the natures of tourism while retaining the essential elements of the fair trade movement. Seeing fair trade tourism as a type of sustainable tourism especially focusing on community-wise fairness and benefits can provide a framework to better understand the concept and distinguish it from other similar concepts. A survey of 191 fair trade consumers confirmed the following set of hypothesis: 1) there exists a positive correlation between attitudes toward commodity-based fair trade and willingness to participate in fair trade tourism, 2) economic and social sustainability possess higher priority than cultural and ecological sustainability, though all four sustainability domains are considered important, 3) consumers of fair trade products are willing to pay a premium for a fair trade tourism experience, and 4) willingness to pay for such premium is affected by enthusiasm toward and experience with the commodity-based fair trade movement. Based on the findings, it is suggested that promoting fair trade tourism on a domestic level can be advantageous for visitors, host communities, and fair trade organizations as it can lower barriers to participate in fair trade tourism and utilize unexplored business opportunities.

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