Sunday, 17 January 2016
Location: South Pacific 3
This panel will focus on how access to Internet connectivity and information and communications technology (ICTs), can enable economic development, social empowerment, and equitable opportunities for people across the developing world, and more specifically, across Small Island Developing States (SIDS). In particular, the panelists will focus on how broadband Internet access affects the tourism industry in small island developing states (SIDS), how access to modern telecommunications technology empowers rural women, and how regulatory policies for telcos across the Pacific Islands can improve the possibilities for providing connectivity to a greater proportion of the population.
Assistant Professor, Ethics, Public Policy, Science & Technology (EPPST), Department of Political Science, California Polytechnic State University
Instructor & Ph.D. candidate, Pennsylvania State University
There is no need to emphasize how important tourism industry is to Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Tourism is a key sector in most SIDS, contributing to GDP, employment, and the socio-economic development through direct and indirect channels. The study aims to explore how broadband (both fixed and mobile) affect tourism demand in Fiji and Seychelles.
To answer the research question, tourism demand models are used to find out whether broadband penetration impacts tourism demand in Fiji and Seychelles based on panel data acquired from ITU, World Bank, UNWTO, local governments, etc. Results showed that fixed broadband has a positive influence on tourism demand in both Fiji and Seychelles, and fixed broadband seems to have a stronger impact on tourism demand than mobile broadband.
Due to isolation, connection between island nations and the rest of the world seems especially crucial. With the development of broadband in SIDS, people in tourism businesses are able to do more online promotions and online transactions. Better broadband infrastructure may also strengthen the appeal and competitiveness of SIDS to tourists who need to be connected while relaxing on the beach.
The relationship between broadband and tourism demand has not been examined much. And overall there is a lack of research on SIDS. This study is an attempt to bridge the gap and hopefully shed some light on related policy issues for SIDS governments.
Ph.D. Student, University of Hawai’i, Mānoa
We often see that those living below the poverty threshold are excluded from social capital and social institutions, access to legal processes and economic structures, which further denies them access to taking part fully in society. Two primary principles underlie the motivations for this research. Firstly, the principle that social and economic development truly flourishes where there is promotion of gender equality. Secondly, that one of the key factors in promoting economic growth and ameliorating the vast global economic inequalities is the recognition of the foundational aspect of agriculture and rural development. This paper seeks to explore the means by which women in rural communities in Fiji are empowered through interaction with community radio and mobile devices, two technologies largely accessible to this population, and ultimately how this enhances women's right to access information. The method used is of a qualitative study, utilizing interviews, of a women’s community radio station in Fiji, femTalk, and its rural, female audience. Analysis is carried out in the context of the theoretical frameworks of inclusive innovation, post-development theory and participatory communications theory. Key findings include the use of 'mobile suitcase radio' and 'women's weather watch'. Processes described include monthly women's gatherings and use of mobiles for callback texts and reverse charges. Difficulties using mobile devices include difficulties purchasing credit and power outages, whilst community issues -- such as access to clean water – have become apparent. Furthermore, agricultural practices, as well as information about scholarships, have been shared through women's gatherings. Limitations include empowerment factors described unrelated to mobile devices in relation to community radio, possible positive bias in interview questions, as well as access limitations to audience interviewees. We see that the interaction between mobile devices, beyond mobile-phones, and community radio and its associated activities has a positive impact on women's status in Fiji.