This thesis is an exploratory study, so further empirical research may need to be carried out,
both in Vanuatu and in other countries, to confirm these findings. The study utilised both
primary and secondary data, of which the latter consists of a review of literature on both
tourism and cruise ship tourism impacts on residents and their coping strategies. The literature
was drawn from a variety of academic, tourism industry sources, and Vanuatu government
reports. The primary data was collected using qualitative research method of interviews over a
six-week period in Port Vila from June to July 2006. Structure of the thesis This thesis comprises seven chapters including this introductory chapter.
Best hotels and private apartments for holidays and vacations
Chapter 2 outlinesm the theoretical background and will form the basis for the analysis of this study.
Chapter 3 introduces Port Vila (the study site), and describes the research methodology and the rationale
for its usage.
Chapter 4 presents a contextual background on Vanuatu, discusses relevant
policies and plans for tourism in general, including a discussion on cruise ship tourism.
Chapter 5 presents the results of the field work carried out over a six-week period in Port
Chapter 6 discusses the coping strategies employed by residents of Port Vila against the
two models of coping strategies and their applicability. Finally, in
Chapter 7, results of the
study are summarised, conclusions and implications of the study are drawn and
The aim of this chapter is to provide a theoretical basis and a framework for assessing the
strategies used by Port Vila residents to cope with the impacts of cruise ship tourism. The
chapter begins with a review of previous studies on cruise ship tourism impacts. Following
this, a discussion of some of the theories on factors influencing resident attitudes, perceptions
and reactions to the socio-cultural impacts of tourism. Next, Dogan’s (1989) and Ap and
Crompton’s (1993) models of coping strategies to tourism development, the two models
chosen for this study, are reviewed to establish a context for the findings of this study.
Finally, a review of two of the potential consequences of coping with tourism impacts
(empowerment and neo-colonialism).
Impact studies on cruise tourism
To understand how residents cope with cruise ship tourism impacts, it is necessary to review
studies that have already been carried out on this topic. A literature and internet search on
cruise ship tourism revealed that only a few studies have been carried out on cruise ship
tourism in general. However, there is a growing literature on the broad topic of cruise ship
tourism and its impacts. An example is Dowling’s (2006b) recently published book, with a
whole section on the impacts of this type of tourism.
Existing research tends to focus mainly on the American market. However, some research have also be carried out on the South and Central Pacific regions (SPTO, 2003a b; TCSP, 1992). Where such studies existed, reports often include information on Australia, New Zealand and Asia as well. However, cruise ship tourism, like all forms of tourism, can bring both opportunities and challenges to the
destination (Ringer, 2006).
Economic impacts cruise tourism
Of the previous economic impacts studies conducted, some have concentrated on the impacts
of cruise ship passengers on the port communities and island economies visited. The benefits
it brings to these ports has been considered in terms of the number of visitors, revenue
generated, jobs created, contribution towards the country’s gross domestic product (GDP),
and increasing or improving foreign exchange earnings (Braun et al., 2002; Bull, 1996;
Chase, 2001; Chase McKee, 2003; CLIA, 2004; Douglas Douglas, 1996; 2004b; Dwyer Forsyth, 1996b; Henthrone, 2000; Mescon Vozikis, 1985). There is limited data available on the economic impact of cruise ship passengers (Douglas Douglas, 2004, 2005; TCSP, 1992) in the South Pacific.
The studies were mostly visitor surveys focusing on the overall expenditure of cruise ship passengers rather than individual port of call and the business community.
Most used quantitative research methods to determine the economic impacts of this sector on the local economy. There are not many studies that used qualitative research methods whereby residents are interviewed with regards to the impacts of cruise ship tourism on their lives, businesses, attitudes towards the industry, and how they deal with the impacts.
In spite of reported economic benefits of cruise ship tourism, studies have also noted some
controversy over the real economic benefit towards the local economy due to the difficulty in
obtaining accurate and reliable data in expenditure surveys (SPTO, 2003). It has been argued
that expenditure figures may often be misleading and exaggerated as multi destinations are
visited. Therefore, surveys often revealed the overall expenditure of cruise ship passengers
that may not be specific to port community (Douglas Douglas, 2004b; Seidl et al., 2006;
SPTO, 2003). In addition, for some tourists, the cruise is not the whole purpose of the trip but
just a part of a larger trip. This, therefore, makes it challenging to establish which portion of
the expenditure is attributed to the cruise industry (Braun et al., 2002; Seidl et al., 2006).
There are also conflicting reports on purchasing patterns amongst cruise tourists (Hall Braithwaithe, 1990; Henthorne, 2000). The former argues that the multiplier effects of cruise
ship are greater than resort tourists, and the latter argues that cruise ship tourists spend less as
they spend less time in port.
Recent tourism literatures on this topic have argued that the cruise ship tourism brings few
financial benefits to the resident communities, compared to other forms of tourism (Seidl et
al., 2006; Sorenson, 2006; Pulpsipher Holderfield, 2006). They argued that the cruise
tourist product offered on board for the shore attraction has provided tourists with an
impoverished experience and leave communities disempowered and underpaid. Other studies
have also noted that since the cruise ships are foreign-own, they are also not required to pay
host taxes or adhere to labour regulations (Wood, 2000).
Adding to this, many cruise companies are also investing in their own islands as playgrounds for their passengers as an extension of the cruise ship onboard services so that passengers can utilise without having to deal with customs and labour laws of the countries visited (Klein, 2006). Often employees in
these playground areas are hired from other countries or from the ship’s crew members rather
than locally, because the skills base is not available in the destination community (Momsen,
2005). Such arrangements do not bring much economic benefit to the port communities.
Additionally, the cruise ship provides an all-inclusive vacation package as an incentive to
encourage passengers to spend more time onboard and less time onshore as everything has
already been paid for (McKee 1988; McKee Mamoozadeh, 1994). Increasingly, it has also
been found that more and more passengers prefer to stay onboard during port stopover or
return to the ship to eat, rather than taking a tour (Johnson, 2002; Momsen, 2005). The
economic benefit for the destination community is very limited because the passengers are not
paying for accommodation, meals and other services in the destination port (Dickinson Vladimir, 1997; Douglas Douglas, 2004a; Wood, 2004
However, Dowling (2006b) argues that this system is changing from an ‘all-inclusive
vacations’ to some ‘user-pay’ situations where cruise passengers are given a choice of
onboard services, which may include shore tours and shopping programmes. This can have
implication for port destinations too as tours are purchased onboard in currencies passengers
are familiar with, but at a much higher price than shore price. This essentially means that
onboard services sell all the shore products, including tours and attractions, by charging a
commission. So a passenger will be paying a higher price, which will be shared by more than
three different companies.
This would normally result in a large percentage going to companies offshore, and leaving a small percentage to the port community this is seen as an income leakage.
Another leakage is seen from the playground areas mentioned above; these
are manned and operated by the cruise ship and are user-pay facilities, so the income
generated by this is again siphoned offshore instead of benefiting the country and the port
community (Braun et al., 2002; Klein, 2006; Seidl et al., 2006).
So, the economic impacts of cruise ship tourism are often misleading, as it does not take into
account the leakages (Klein, 2003; Wood, 2000). Some of these leakages are in the form of
imports from overseas, causing major problems for many small developing countries
dependent on tourism and relying on imported foods and goods to service the visitors.
One study conducted in the Caribbean found that the average expenditure per cruise ship passenger
disembarking was much less than some previous studies have estimated (Johnson, 2002). The
study found that almost 30% of the cruise passenger’s estimated daily tour expenditures went
back directly to the cruise ship in the form of commission. In addition, the majority of tourist
spending is on duty-free goods that are imported from overseas, adding little to the local