Posted by: Anni Orekh | June 21, 2010

Community based tourism in the Dominican Republic (I)

 Community based tourism is tourism in which local residents (often rural, poor and economically marginalized) invite tourists to visit their communities with the provision of overnight accommodation.

 Community based tourism enables tourists to discover local habitats and wildlife, and celebrates and respects traditional cultures, rituals and wisdom. The community will be aware of the commercial and social value placed on their natural and cultural heritage through tourism, and this will foster community based conservation of these resources.

 Thanks to responsible tourism and CBT, nature lovers can visit wild areas accompanied by a local guide who explains the traditional uses of the plants and local forest lore, transmitting experience rather than mere information.

 Community-based tourism affords travelers with rare opportunities to experience local communities first hand. It’s distinctive in that it provides an alternative to development that’s not sustainable, giving rural and poor communities an additional source of income.

In supporting community-based tourism, you can immerse yourself in the day-to-day lives of local and indigenous people while helping them to preserve their environment and cultural heritage.

The residents earn income as land managers, entrepreneurs, service and produce providers, and employees. At least part of the tourist income is set aside for projects which provide benefits to the community as a whole.

Tourists will spend time near areas that are rich in culture and biodiversity, and, at the same time, will get to know the locals at the grassroots level.

Many successful experiences in development countries prove that tourism can become a leading sector for the people who conserve natural resources and live on it. Local people of these countries jointly cooperate in Community Based Tourism and this gives not only economic benefits for them but also becomes an example of community involved decision making.

A community by definition implies individuals with some kind of collective responsibility, and the ability to make decisions by representative bodies.

Locals’ participation, traditional culture, cross-cultural issues and raise of local income are basic principles of tourism and it is fundamental to get more in depth for development countries where tourism is dominantly operate by great foreign companies.

Usually families’ interviews make obvious that locals are interested to take part in tourism activities but they don’t know how.

Often the creation of Community Based Tourism is the best solution for local people or at least a great help for them for example in these countries where the main income is from livestock and the desertification, the spread of unproductive land deprived of vegetation, is one of the main concerns (like in Mongolia).

Community Based Tourism is the jointly planned and managed tourism activities of local group: this new business never can be the main or only income source of the communities and cooperatives but can be additional income possibility.

Issues like generating additional incomes for locals and reducing impacts on environment are included in the government policy about tourism, but there has been little implementation and no integrated policy at the national level.

Objective:

Develop tourism as a stimulus of the economy to generate income through sustainable use of natural resources by organizing local people and joint implementation;
Develop new travel products that are efficient for locals and friendly for the environment, society and civilization;
Develop an integrated network of local cooperatives that act independently to preserve geographic and cultural features of various ethnicity
 

Outputs:

Local would be able to generate additional income other than animal husbandry through participating in the travel activities
Locals’ interests to conserve their living environment will be increased;
A system to sell geographically and culturally different groups’ and cooperatives’ products as one integrated product will be established (This website is one way!)
Cooperation of rural development and sustainable natural resource management projects of the international organizations and donors countries can provide these travel products future stability

Read more here

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