There is a statement that lifestyle entrepreneurs can jeopardise economic development of tourism destinations. Just as Dewhurst and Horobin (1998: 33) state that lifestyle entrepreneurs ‘may not be capable of long-term survival: this in turn could serve to jeopardise seriously both the economic health and social fabric of those communities, resorts and regions which are becoming increasingly reliant upon tourism and hospitality related activities’ . As far as I am concerned, I totally do not agree with this opinion. Hence, in this essay, I will present that lifestyle entrepreneurs can play a critical role in the economic development of tourism destinations and provide the relevant concrete theories and examples to support my opinion.
Lifestyle entrepreneurs are classified as those ‘who are primarily motivated by the need to succeed at living in a certain quality of life by maintaining an income which allows them to survive’ (Deakins and Freel, 2006) and ensure that the business provides their family with a satisfactory level of funds to enable enjoyment of their chosen lifestyle (Rimmington et al, 1999: 13). The tourism and hospitality industries are dominated by small business and the vast majority of the entrepreneurs are lifestyles (Middleton, 2001). In a Cornwall study, one third of tourism entrepreneurs were lifestyle motivated (Shaw and Williams, 2004). Moreover, many researches clearly demonstrate that lifestyle factors are predominant motivators in the tourism and hospitality sectors (Andersson, Carlsen, & Getz, 2002; Ateljevic & Doorne, 2000; Getz & Carlsen, 2000; Shaw & Williams, 1998). Examples of such lifestyle entrepreneurs have been identified as adventure tour operators in New Zealand (Ateljevic and Doorne, 2000), surfers in Cornwall (Shaw and Williams, 2004), arts and crafts producers and retailers in Bornholm, Denmark and bed and breakfast (B&B)owners in Canmore, Canada (Getz and Peterson, 2005). In many cases, we can see that lifestyle entrepreneurs could contribute to the development of economy and the community in the tourism destinations.
Firstly, lifestyle entrepreneurs have a great contribution to those tourism destinations which have fragile economic and depressed situation, for example, in some remote rural regions. As a form of bottom-up development, lifestyle entrepreneurs offer the potential for increased employment opportunities and local economic diversification, increasing economic stability in regions which would often otherwise be vulnerable (Wanhill, 2000). Just like Middleton and Clarke (2001) assert that lifestyle oriented small tourism firms can play a vital role in stabilizing fragile economic regions, providing the underpinnings for entrepreneurship, and job creation. Morrison et al. (2008) also argued that it should be noted that many regions, particularly rural regions in transition from farm-based to tourism and lifestyle based economies will benefit from the growth of lifestyle oriented small tourism firms. For example, in South Africa, the South African government undertook to make tourism as one of the country’s leading industries in the creation of employment and the generation of foreign income (Tassiopoulos et al. 2004). The largest proportion of the small to medium tourism enterprises (SMTEs), which owned by owners of predominantly European descent that operate a host of different establishments from travel and touring operations, restaurants, small hotels, self-catering and resorts, game farms, bed and breakfasts or backpacking hostels (Tassiopoulos, 2008) that is important to the development of tourism. Among all the factors influencing these owners, lifestyle factors are found predominantly amongst entrepreneurs (DTI, 2003). These lifestyle entrepreneurs contribute to the tourism development of the South Africa in terms of economic development, the job creation and the improving quality of the local residents.
Accordingly, lifestyle entrepreneurs benefit for these...
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