Platform-mediated tourism micro-entrepreneurship: implications for community-based tourism in Thailand
© 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited. Purpose: This paper aims to bridge micro-entrepreneurship, sharing economy and community-based tourism (CBT) literature by analyzing the specific ways in which technological platforms mitigate risks and create opportunities that benefit local communities. Design/methodology/approach: Six online platforms (two local and four international) used by tourism micro-entrepreneurs in Thailand were systematically analyzed to compare and contrast nuances in their business models, as well as their features to highlight benefits to CBT. Thematic analysis was used in the data analysis. Findings: Three different types of business models based on tourism offers, membership policy and contributions to the destination community were identified. The variety of tourism offers includes tailor-made tours and private tour guides, local food experiences, skilled workshops and other local/community-based activities. Importantly, Thai platforms work closely with the Thai Government to promote tourism micro-entrepreneurship. Originality/value: This paper adds to tourism micro-entrepreneurship, sharing economy and CBT literature by dissecting the business models of online platforms and their roles as mediators of CBT, discussing the platforms’ contributions to the achievement of sustainable development goals.