Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Kenneth Backman and Dr. Lauren Duffy

Committee Member

Dr. Sheila Backman

Committee Member

Dr. William Terry


The role of tourism industry as an agent to foster community development, and as a means for poverty reduction in lesser economically developed countries (LEDCs), has been widely addressed by the literature. However, critics have pointed out that tourism has failed to promote local development and improve the livelihoods of local communities in LEDCs due to unequal trading and neoliberal economic policies resulting to economic leakage. The introduction of fair-trade movements is a response to a call to redress these unequal trading and neoliberal economic policies between the Global North and Global South. Fair-trade is considered one of the ethical and sustainable forms of business models that can reduce economic leakage in terms of providing fair prices to the producers. Despite that, there is a paucity of empirical research on the contribution of fair-trade business models in the handicraft sector and more importantly in improving the livelihoods of the poor people in LEDCs. By adopting the principles of social exchange theory and to address impacts of handicraft markets on livelihoods, a value chain analysis is used to explore the actors (individuals and support institutions) involved in the tourism handicraft industry in both conventional and fair-trade value chains. To capture a multitude of perspectives on both conventional and fair-trade handicrafts, a qualitative case study approach was adopted which focused on selected handicraft clusters in Tanzania. Ninety-one semi-structured interviews were conducted with purposively and conveniently recruited handicraft stakeholders, including artisans, traders, and private and public institutions with affiliation to handicraft sector. The qualitative data was thematically analyzed by using MAXQDA 2020 software. The finding shows that key actors in the conventional handicraft value chain are integrated into tourism industry while actors in fair-trade handicraft value chain are not. The study also highlights the nodes where economic leakages exist and recommends some measures to minimize the leakages by identifying the nodes where opportunities exist and thus build linkages. This study informs the theoretical understanding of the fair-trade movement in the handicraft sector and suggests practical economic policies that are sustainable and beneficial to all stakeholders in the handicraft sector.

Author ORCID Identifier


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