When the sense of place value is challenged by pandemic: Value exchange in indigenous community-based tourism in Sade-Lombok, Indonesia
Rembulan, Cicilia Larasati
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Purpose – The purpose of this study is to investigate problems that emerged in indigenous community-based tourism during the COVID-19 pandemic, to identify the actors involved and to identify values that were exchanged between actors during the pandemic. This research is crucial given the limited studies around indigenous community-based tourism during the pandemic, especially within the perspectives of value exchange theory. Design/methodology/approach – This research used a constructionist paradigm with a qualitative case study design. Data collection included interviews with six participants, virtual observation, an openended questionnaire to 22 community members and 20 tourists, analysis of a book written by Sade’s customary chief and social media artifacts. This study was conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic, where physical distancing measures were applied, therefore most data were collected remotely. Purposive sampling was used and research credibility was increased through detailed note taking, data sources triangulation and member checking. Data analysis was conducted with a coding process, which involved continuous iterations. Findings – Problems identified were decreased revenue and power disadvantage suffered by indigenous community-based tourism. The actors involved in value exchanges varied, including value supporter (i.e. government, private sector such as television, university), value creator (i.e. tourist) or secondary value provider (i.e. travel agent). Values emerged in the interaction between actors in the network. Changes in value exchanges were in terms of value types, relationship intensity between actors and ways of doing the exchange. Non-human factor (i.e. non-actor) was also involved. Research limitations/implications – Due to restrictive circumstances (i.e. COVID-19 pandemic), the data collection procedure was limited to online communications and letter correspondence. Therefore, opportunities to capture the full phenomenon might be missed as the researchers could not physically meet with the participant. Practical implications – It was possible for value exchange to alter due to situational factors, including a pandemic. Business diversification is needed by indigenous community-based tourism to achieve a power advantage. Values were found in the relationship between actors, hence, meeting channels or dialogue with other actors could be optimized. Originality/value – The context of this study, which was indigenous community-based tourism during a pandemic contributed to the study’s originality. Research in this context, which used a clear theoretical framework such as value exchange theory, is scarce. Thus, opportunities for transferability are broad.