Comparative Analysis on the Socioeconomic Impact of Rural Tourism Along the West Coast of Sabah

Lim T. S., Geetha C., Mohidin R.

International Conference on Business and Technology (ICBT), İstanbul, Turkey, 6 - 07 November 2021, vol.485, pp.897-912 identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • Volume: 485
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/978-3-031-08093-7_59
  • City: İstanbul
  • Country: Turkey
  • Page Numbers: pp.897-912
  • Keywords: Comparative analysis, Perception, Rural tourism, Sabah, Socioeconomic
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: No


The aims of the study are to gauge the perception of rural tourism development impact on economic, social, and environment, and to make a comparative analysis of the perception about the three aspects involving stakeholders in three locations along the west coast of Sabah. A total of 319 respondents were involved in this quantitative study. Questionnaire was used as an instrument to obtain the perceived feedback of local communities who live in the locations of study, namely Kundasang, Kota Belud and Papar. The data were analysed using descriptive analysis and ANOVA to examine the 12 measurement indicators of the study. Q1 to Q5 measured the financial and the physical economic impact, Q6 to Q9 measured the social impact meanwhile Q10 to Q12 measured the environmental impact. Overall perceptual measures indicate respondents generally agreed that rural tourism have brought positive impacts economically, socially, and environmentally, although the approval about positive social impact is slightly marginally. Despite recorded mostly favourable opinions, the comparative results for economic aspects revealed there were significant differences between at least two study locations, namely increment in economic activities, business opportunities, and property value. No significant differences were found for perceptions about increase in purchasing power and cost of living in these locations. In terms of the social and environmental impacts, there significant mean differences were found for all indicators. The resultant outcomes provide empirical evidence there were perception gaps between at least two localities about economic opportunity, resource distribution, and social benefits brought by rural tourism development to these communities. Managing the perception of stakeholders is crucial. The causes leading to these differences need to be investigated because mismanagement of perception may diminish the supports, even conflict and retaliation, for rural tourism activities by the local communities and in the long run, can disrupt and impede the growth of tourism industry. Moving forward, the study recommended some ideas to better manage perception and to bridge the perceptual gaps.