I- Discover the Power of Community Based Tourism
Definition of community based tourism
Community based tourism is a form of tourism that involves the participation of local communities in the design and operation of tourism activities. It aims to provide economic and social benefits to the local community while also preserving cultural traditions and protecting the environment.
Importance of supporting local communities and the environment
Supporting local communities and the environment is increasingly important as the tourism industry grows. By choosing to participate in community based tourism, travelers can contribute to the development and prosperity of local communities while also having authentic and meaningful travel experiences.
In this article, we will explore the benefits of community based tourism and how it can support local communities and the environment. We will also provide examples of successful community based tourism initiatives, such as the Ccaccollo community project in Peru, which has used tourism as a tool to protect and preserve natural and cultural resources while also providing economic opportunities for women in the community.
II- The benefits of community based tourism
Generating income for local businesses and families
Generating income for local businesses and families: community based tourism initiatives often provide a source of income for local businesses and families. For example, the Ccaccaccollo Women's Weaving Co-op in Peru has been able to contribute to their families' income and provide employment for 60 women in the community through their partnership with Planeterra. This type of tourism helps to stimulate economic growth in local communities and can provide an alternative to traditional industries that may not be as sustainable or environmentally friendly.
Preserving cultural traditions and heritage
Preserving cultural traditions and heritage: community based tourism can also help to preserve cultural traditions and heritage. In the case of the Ccaccaccollo Women's Weaving Co-op, tourism has provided a way to protect and preserve natural and cultural resources, and to express, share, develop, and pursue traditional weaving techniques. By supporting these types of initiatives, travelers can help to keep traditional cultures alive and thriving.
Supporting sustainable development and conservation efforts
Supporting sustainable development and conservation efforts: community based tourism can also support sustainable development and conservation efforts in local communities. By partnering with organizations like Planeterra, communities can use tourism as a tool to preserve their natural and cultural resources. This type of tourism can also provide an alternative to industries that may not be as sustainable or environmentally friendly, helping to reduce the impact on local ecosystems.
Providing authentic travel experiences
Providing authentic travel experiences: Finally, community based tourism offers travelers the opportunity to have authentic and immersive travel experiences. By engaging with local communities and learning about their traditions and culture, travelers can have a deeper understanding and appreciation of the destination they are visiting. This type of tourism allows for a more authentic and meaningful travel experience that cannot be found through traditional tourism options.
III- Example of a successful community based tourism project: Ccaccaccollo community in Peru
Background on the community and its challenges
The Ccaccaccollo community is located in the Andean area of Cuzco, Peru and is inhabited primarily by 140 Quechua speaking families. Despite being located near popular tourist destinations such as Cuzco and Machu Picchu, very few surrounding communities have benefited from tourism. The Ccaccaccollo community maintains a traditional way of life, with many people working in agriculture. However, like many communities around the world, women in the Ccaccaccollo community have often been excluded from educational and economic opportunities.
Description of the Ccaccaccollo Women's Weaving Co-op and Community Homestay
To address this issue, Planeterra, a non-profit organization, developed a partnership with the Ccaccaccollo community in 2005 to create a women's weaving cooperative. The goal of the cooperative was to provide economic opportunities for the women of the community through the production and sale of traditional woven items made from llama and alpaca wool. Planeterra provided capacity building programs, built facilities, and purchased equipment for the co-op, as well as supporting the women with new methods of production to make their items more desirable to travelers.
Since its inception, the Ccaccaccollo Women's Weaving Co-op has grown significantly. It is now owned by 46 women, up from just 3 when the project first began. The cooperative has been able to contribute to the income of their families, and those involved in the cooperative are the first generation to be completely literate in Spanish. The success of the cooperative has also led to the development of a Community Homestay in the community.
Impact of the project on the community and its members
The Ccaccaccollo community tourism project has had a significant impact on the community and its members. The women who have been involved in the project since the beginning report that all of their children now study in university. In addition, the project has helped to protect and preserve natural and cultural resources, as well as allowing the community to express, share, develop, and pursue their traditions through tourism. The project has also provided a way for the community to use tourism as a tool for sustainable development and conservation efforts. Overall, the Ccaccaccollo community tourism project is a great example of the benefits of community based tourism and how it can support local communities and the environment.
Watch the video from Planeterra :
IV- How to support community based tourism
Tips for travelers on how to participate in responsible tourism
As travelers, there are many ways to support and participate in responsible tourism and community based tourism. Here are some tips on how to get involved:
- Research and book with companies that prioritize community based tourism: Look for travel companies and organizations that prioritize the involvement and benefit of local communities in their tourism offerings. This can include supporting local businesses, preserving cultural traditions, and promoting sustainable development.
- Choose accommodations and activities that are locally owned and operated: When booking accommodations and activities, consider supporting locally owned and operated businesses. This can help to ensure that the economic benefits of tourism are directly benefiting the local community.
- Respect local customs and traditions: When traveling to a new destination, it's important to respect the customs and traditions of the local community. This can include dressing modestly, avoiding loud noise or behavior, and asking permission before taking photos of people.
- Be a responsible traveler: Be mindful of your impact on the environment and the local community. This can include reducing your use of single-use plastics, respecting wildlife and natural habitats, and supporting local conservation efforts.
Ways to research and book community based tourism experiences
Ways to research and book community based tourism experiences: One way to support community based tourism is to book your trip through a responsible travel agency, such as Travel Differently. At Travel Differently, we prioritize authentic and immersive experiences that benefit local communities and the environment. We work with local partners and support initiatives that empower communities and preserve cultural traditions. By booking with us, you can have the peace of mind that your trip is supporting sustainable tourism practices.
The role of travel companies and organizations in promoting community based tourism
Travel companies and organizations also have a role to play in promoting and supporting community based tourism. This can include partnering with local communities to offer authentic travel experiences, investing in sustainable tourism initiatives, and promoting responsible tourism practices. By supporting community based tourism, travelers and travel companies can help to create positive and lasting impacts on local communities and the environment.
V- Embrace the Power of Community-Based Tourism: Make a Positive Impact on Your Next Trip
In conclusion, community based tourism is a sustainable and responsible way to travel that benefits both the traveler and the local community. By supporting local businesses and cultural traditions, travelers can contribute to the long-term economic and social development of the communities they visit.
At Travel Differently, we believe in the power of tourism to create positive change and are committed to partnering with communities around the world to create authentic and meaningful travel experiences. We encourage all travelers to consider the impact of their trip and to choose community based tourism as a way to support local communities and preserve cultural traditions.