The tourist resort and the village : local perspectives of corporate community development in Fiji : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Development Studies at Massey University, Manawatu, New Zealand

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Massey University
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A new global development model prioritises the role of the private sector, with 17 Sustainable Development Goals aiming to achieve economic, social and environmental sustainability in partnership with business. This study examines the capability of tourism sector-led development initiatives, or Corporate Community Development (CCD), to bring about positive, locally meaningful change for two Indigenous communities in Fiji. A Development First framework for CCD developed in this thesis foregrounds community perspectives. Findings suggest the capacity of the private sector to contribute to community development in line with community priorities is constrained by an overriding Tourism First focus on prioritising the business, even where companies aspire to longer-term sustainable development outcomes. Whilst specific initiatives focusing on supporting development projects and running a social responsible business achieve positive outcomes for communities, much CCD is charity-focused and confined to a narrow spectrum of immediately visible needs largely defined by hotels and tourists. Approaching CCD from local perspectives also suggests ways to reconceptualise CCD. It focuses attention on the interconnected impact of all company activities (both core operations such as employment and voluntary activities such as donations), whilst an Indigenous perspective of CCD reframes its purpose as obligation. This can be understood in terms of community expectations around entitlements, reciprocity and fulfilling collective rights. A focus on Indigenous understandings of wellbeing and development shows that tourism is seen as an opportunity to contribute to vanua priorities for both current and future generations, but makes it clear that communities do not want more charity or aid, instead seeking to be an integral part of development conversations determining a fair share of their resources. The twin concepts of corporate social coherence and corporate social obligation acknowledge the significance of people and place underpinning tourism in Fiji and prompt a critical rethink of private sector-led development. Findings underline the risks of charging the private sector with responsibility for community development and demonstrate the current limitations to what the tourism industry can be expected to deliver. Community perspectives present a starting point from which to challenge current ways of thinking and allow conceptualisations of development to flourish.
Community development, Indigenous peoples, Tourism, Fiji