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Exchanged actors behind the creation of sense of place value in indigenous tourism enterprise Karangrejo Borobudur Indonesia

Cicilia Larasati Rembulan, Astrid Kusumowidagdo, Melania Rahadiyanti

Abstract: Purpose: According to the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, there are 7,275 indigenous tourism enterprises in Indonesia. However, only 0.5% of these are certified as a sustainable tourism village. One of them is the Karangrejo village in Borobudur, Indonesia. This village is able to sustain their enterprise, which is a unique and rare context. This study aims to address this gap by examining the sense of place value created from the collaboration between actors, mapping the actors and their resources who have crucial roles in indigenous tourism enterprise, and examining the relations between actors, mapping the characteristics and efforts made by the indigenous tourism enterprise. The novelty of this research is the unique context that it takes place, and the use of comprehensive theoretical perspectives combining architecture, sociological social psychology and marketing/business theories in tourism context, which is uncommon for research in this area. Design/methodology/approach: Participants in this study were 17 individuals, comprising Village Chief, accompanying state-owned enterprises, tourists, owners of micro, small and medium enterprises, village economic center manager and village-owned enterprises manager. Data were collected from interviews and field recordings using purposive sampling technique. The study design was a case study. The data were coded in two steps: first cycle and second cycle coding. Member checking with research participants was conducted to ensure data credibility. Findings: This study revealed several novel findings. First, sense of place value was not merely perceived as material and nonmaterial components, but also as networks between actors that were involved in creating such components within (value) exchange framework. Second, the actors involved in the exchange were provider actor, external supporter actor, internal supporter actor, collaborator actor and consumer actor. Each of these actors owned one or a combination of material and nonmaterial values that are exchangeable. Mapping of the actors involved was discussed using a combined perspective of consumer-centric and balanced network. Third, exchange relations that occurred between actors could be balanced or imbalanced, depending on the amount of resource owned by each actor. Nonetheless, imbalanced relations because of discrepancies in the value contributions could still have positive impact because it was motivated by the intention to help others. Fourth, this study identified the importance of having characteristics as resource integrator/gatherer for indigenous tourism enterprise (provider actor) to ensure the economic sustainability of their business. Research limitations/implications: This study was conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic, where governments imposed strict travel restrictions. Consequently, data from tourists were limited in particular, the lack of perspectives from international tourists. During the data collection, the government were still limiting international travelers to visit the country, hence only domestic tourists were able to visit. The perspectives of international tourists would have added valuable data. Because of pandemic, the data collection process was initially conducted online, which was then followed by in-person data collection. Online data collection is common in research; however, in-person data collection would have been more preferred, where possible, so that the researchers could directly observe the situation in context. Future research could be conducted after the pandemic ends. Furthermore, findings of this research asserted the importance of actors’ motives, situations, quality of the values and relational attributes, but had not discussed these in detail, especially from the perspective of each actor. Future research could address this limitation. Practical implications: Enhancing material and nonmaterial sense of place value would involve multiple actors. Therefore, mapping of the resources owned by these actors as well as their roles is critical. To create sense of place value, synergy between actors is essential and could not be achieved by a single actor. Every actor is influenced by motives and circumstances when interacting with the other actor. Awareness of such motives and circumstances where the exchange takes place is necessary, to ensure that the cultivated relationship aligns with the goals and expectations. As exchange relations could be balanced or imbalanced, every actor also needs to be aware of their position and continuously evaluate it to avoid being constantly in a powerless position. Indigenous tourism enterprise could not singlehandedly provide every resource needed. Therefore, developing a character as a gatherer/resource integrator becomes crucial to gain access to all necessary resources. Currently, there are no tools available for identifying actors, resources and relational attributes. This could be a potential avenue for academics in this area. Further, the government should identify the best practice from the successful indigenous tourism enterprises, not only giving recognition awards or certifications to these enterprises. Originality/value: Findings from this study have several contributions; among others, it discussed sense of place value of indigenous tourism enterprise more comprehensively, as the essential actors who exchange resources were identified. This study also underlined positive power imbalance, which had been generally seen as a negative dynamic. Moreover, this study highlighted that indigenous people, despite living by communal value (non-transactional) in their daily lives, would need to engage in transactional relations and develop resource integrator characteristics to maintain tourism enterprise. Indigenous people have often been seen from their communal side, while their transactional (non-communal) side has been rarely seen.
Keywords: Value exchange / Stakeholder / Social exchange theory / Indigenous tourism enterprise / Sense of place value

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