Communities can “save” themselves from Tourism

It is not a secret that tourism is engulfing every corner of the globe. Tourism research, statistics and literature point to nothing but a growing sector. And the growth is nothing short of exponential. International tourists arrivals reached the 1 Billion mark in 2014. Arrivals increased 51 million in 2014. This is according to UNWTO statistics. Many developing economies are desirous to grow their tourism. These developing countries measure tourism growth mainly by number of arrivals and revenue earned. As such tourism strategies of many developing countries focus increase numbers/arrivals. it should be noted that tourism growth in many developing countries is not happening in cities. It is happening in rural/ remote areas where traditional ways of life still thrive. While tourism income is desirable for many developing economies, it can also be detrimental to rural economies if the way the revenues are earned is not monitored. We must not forget that tourism has been described as a selfish act. Some writers have argued that people travel to benefit themselves. So how can communities save themselves from tourism:

Never replace traditional livelihoods to serve emerging tourism needs. The emerging needs should serve to complement local livelihoods.

Don’t let tourists dictate activities. If you do this, you may introduce or do things that will destabilise local social structures and cultures.

Cushioning the community not to respond to unrealistic demands for goods and services by abandoning production of goods that serve their daily needs as a community. For sustainability they should include the new tourism demands but never abandon traditional market of their goods and services

Learning about tourism to understand the dynamics of the business and different ways to engage in tourism without selling “your soul”. Simple, do not give up fishing and convert your vessel into an excursion  boat for tourists if you have not envisioned how to replace your family’s food needs, reviewed your fishing income and consistency vs tourism income, your social time enabled by fishing vs demand on your time from excursions,

Community based tourism should not compete with conventional tourism in terms of product. Different is what makes community based tourism unique. Communities around the world are unique in their cultures and traditions, if we introduce tools to compare and evaluate community based tourism so as to meet the travellers quest for standards, then communities will be at risk as will be their cultures.

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