The commodification of culture in tourism is often critiqued and lamented in academic texts (Wishitemi et al. 2007). What this process often seems to entail is that so called “cultures” of local communities are showcased to tourists from around the world. Often, it is especially what is considered “exotic” and “indigenous” that is showcased to tourists (Wels 2004). This is the case in South Africa, for instance, regarding Zulu culture, however, white Afrikaner or English cultures in the same country are not promoted or put up for consumption by tourists. One of the reasons these practices is critiqued is because powerful tourist entrepreneurs are accused of “exploiting” less-powerful local communities for their carefully crafted and marketed exoticism (cf. Lindfors 1999) while not giving them enough in return, either financially speaking or in terms of management and decision-making (Spierenburg et al. 2011). In other words, “the winner takes it all” and the local communities are once again on the losing end. Would it be possible for communities to showcase their own local cultures, while at the same time earning a serious income and being involved with the management and decision making around the tourism venture? Is it possible to reconcile showcasing community cultures and local participation in tourism operations? To put it more abstractly, more conceptual and more radical: is it possible to reconcile neo-liberalism with the strong ideological principles of Community Based Tourism (CBT) (cf. Suansri 2003)? Or is this too good to be true? Read more