Research on regional tourism development has traditionally focused on economic factors and resource values. Less is known about the social capital, community needs, and this may not be fully explored in order to be a successful regional development tool. This paper examines how community participation has been structured in the context of rural areas. Based on data and information derived from surveys conducted with 104 households that have participated and collaborated in community-based rural tourism initiatives in the rural areas in North Central Coastal Vietnam’s provinces. The results indicated that residents’ perceptions of environmental and economic impacts of tourism influenced community support and satisfaction with their resident community. Additionally, perceptions of their social capital were also found to be attached to the levels and forms of tourism and was sensitive to rural tourism development. The study suggests that residents’ participation and social capital can be instrumental for the good governance of rural tourism provided that its potential negative consequences are recognized and dealt with appropriately.
Keywords: Social capital, residents’ participation, rural tourism development, North Central Coastal Vietnam