Indigenous entrepreneurship and tourism development in the Cook Islands and Fiji : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Business Studies at Massey University

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Massey University
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This thesis provides an understanding of the dynamnics and internal structure of the Cook Islands and Fiji tourism industries and analyses the role of indigenous entrepreneurs in the development of these industries. The role of government in tourism development is reviewed and tourism policies are evaluated. The basic assumption is that the main objective of tourism development is to provide maximum benefits to the resident population of these Pacific Island countries. Tourism, therefore, must be developed in a rational, balanced manner, taking into account four key factors: the economic, social, cultural and political factors. These are presented in a model (in Chapter 12), which was developed in this study, for tourism and indigenous entrepreneurship development for small island states. The model emphasises that there is a dynamic, interactive relationship amongst these four key factors. The model suggests that if tourism and indigenous business development are to be successful, they must developed in harmony with the four key factors. Overall, the study found that tourism policies were quite well developed, however, in several instances the implementation of these policies were found to be lacking. For example, while the policies dealing with employment generation were found to be adequate, there is still a shortage of indigenous people in managerial positions in the tourism industry. In other instances, it was found that tourism policies had not been adequate. For example, both the Cook Islands and Fiji have not developed adequate policies to deal with foreign exchange leakages. Suggestions are made for more reliable data collection and analysis of relevant statistics and surveys to more accurately determine the extent of foreign exchange leakages. Other important economic issues reviewed are tourism's contribution to GDP, and improved linkages with other economic sectors. The formulation and implementation of important social, environmental and cultural policies for tourism development are also recommended. Policies dealing with rura/urban drift and a more equitable distribution of the economic benefits of tourism are suggested in order to ensure the maintenance of political stability in these two countries. Opportunities for indigenous entrepreneurs in the tourism industry were identified and discussed. A profile of indigenous Pacific entrepreneurs is developed. The role of women entrepreneurs in economic development is given special focus, and an analysis of the production of traditional handicrafts in the Cook Islands and Fiji is presented as an example of secondary tourism activities available to indigenous entrepreneurs. The study also reviews and evaluates government structures and policies which support and encourage indigenous entrepreneurs. The role of the Cook Islands Development Bank and Fiji Development Bank is reviewed to determine whether their policies are successfully encouraging indigenous entrepreneurs. In the case of the Cook Islands, the CIDB has been reasonably successful in stimulating economic growth in the private sector and encouraging indigenous entrepreneurs. In the Fiji case, however, while the FDB has been successful in stimulating economic growth, the growth of the number of indigenous Fijians in business has been minimal. The study recommends, among other things, the establishment of a regional centre for business which could provide a data resource base, conduct business training programmes and provide international coordination of regional business development. The conclusion provides policy alternatives and recommendations for action programmes which will promote the growth of indigenous entrepreneurs and tourism.
Cook Islands tourism, Fiji tourism, Indigenous entrepreneurs, Tourism development, Pacific Island tourism