Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to highlight the different realities blended together in community-based tourism, and how storytelling can help us understand the resulting entanglement of actors and power. This paper combines a discussion of power and empowerment in community-based tourism with storytelling. Design/methodology/approach – The fictional narrative of Pandora’s box is used as a metaphor for power and empowerment in community-based tourism, which can leave communities worse off than before the introduction of tourism. Findings – However, the last thing remaining in Pandora’s box after all hardships had flown out, was hope. This paper also presents a hopeful perspective for community-based tourism in the form of another metaphor: the rhizome, which puts power and empowerment in a more dynamic and holistic frame. Just like in the original story of Pandora’s “jar” which gave voice to Pandora herself, within a rhizome, other players are regarded as valuable sources of tacit contextual knowledge. Originality/value – Storytelling and dialogue are recommended methods to obtain this knowledge. Using a storytelling perspective can encourage untold and unheard stories within a dialogue to be heard.
- Community-based tourism