Appraising the community in community-based tourism
Community-based tourism (CBT) emphasises attributes such as sustainability, local participation, and the maximisation of benefits to the community. However, limited scholarly interventions and critical debates have been conducted regarding what constitutes a community in tourism destinations. In Taman Negara, Malaysia, residents of various ethnic groups have considerably different interpretations of community and boundaries therein. Malay, Malaysian Chinese, and Orang Asli Batek people have contradicting claims and perceptions regarding who is Indigenous, who is a local, and who is the rightful host community of Taman Negara. The perceptions of such boundaries can be highly political; consequently, certain groups feel threatened when they are seemingly peripheral to official designations. The fuzzy boundaries of what constitutes a community make governance and the assessment of CBT considerably challenging. A suggestion is to resist predefining a community and to instead consider its fluid boundaries and heterogeneity in CBT planning and research.