Nightlife Tourism: A Blessing or a Curse for Host Communities? "A Case Study on Gemmayzeh,Lebanon"
Nightlife Tourism: A Blessing or a Curse for Host Communities? “A Case Study on Gemmayzeh, Lebanon”
Gemmayzeh is located in Beirut Central District, known to be one of the most famous night attractions in the Lebanese capital. It is also a special attraction for domestic visitors and tourists. However, despite its competitive nightlife advantages in the Lebanese tourism industry, its local residents are not convinced with the way tourism is being developed in this area. The lack of cooperation among the different potential tourism stakeholders and the absence of effective regulations and policies have affected the traditions and heritage of the local residents especially that this specific region is one of the oldest in Beirut with many historical and cultural buildings. All these vibes have created negative impacts on the community’s well-being. The absence of tourism planning is affecting most of the Lebanese tourism attractions and it is getting worse with time especially in the case of Gemmayzeh whose residents have been involved in direct conflicts with visitors and are trying to avoid the negative impacts on their children at times. Therefore, this study aims to review the impacts of tourism development on Gemmayzeh’s local residents, to assess and analyze the type of involvement of local communities in tourism planning and development and to explore the attitudes and perceptions of local residents towards tourism development and its impacts on the community. Out of 1,400 permanent local residents in Gemmayzeh, 50 respondents (representing 5% of the target population) were selected and surveyed during January, 2014. Results have revealed that the lack of involvement of local residents in tourism planning and development has negatively affected their perception towards tourism development. Although this issue is affecting the local community, results revealed that the majority of respondents, mainly young ones, have no problem with nightlife as a type of tourism but with the way it has been developed for years. Furthermore, respondents suggested the development of other forms of tourism such as cultural tourism which can have a better impact on all stakeholders.