Community-based tourism is a type of tourism where local communities invite tourists into their communities, giving them insight into their culture, attractions and daily lives. It is a form of sustainable tourism that allows travellers to connect closely to the local community they visit.
Travellers are able to experience the diversity and customs of another culture and to interact with the local community. Think about homestays, farm visits, cooking and crafting together, storytelling, village tours and more that shows insight in their daily lives.
These types of activities create the foundation for increased awareness and knowledge of another culture, its beliefs and social norms. This is what we need if we want to create a futureproof tourism industry where we sustain local culture and nature for future generations!
As someone who was running a successful international volunteer program (I was indirectly running a community based tourism program) and my team and I decided to develop it into a fully fledged tourism unit.
The market is already there, community-based tourism is a promising segment as travellers are increasingly looking for unique and authentic experiences. They are willing to spend more money on these activities, especially if this benefits local communities. It’s already a fast-growing niche market and more and more travelers are interested in learning about local communities and to interact with them.
Besides the fact that you add enormous value to your tour operating business/company/organization by offering clients unique experiences, you can (and will!) create huge positive impact and change for local communities if you do it right.
Tourism is in the perfect position of creating job opportunities and to let local communities share their amazing stories.
Communities that are involved in community-based tourism are strong, resilient and extremely willing to show tourists their culture. They are able to manage both the impacts and benefits of tourism, strengthening their self-governance, economic alternatives and traditional ways of life in the process.
Team Leader | Tour Guide | Volunteer Travel Consultant
SunTrack Adventures | GVA Foundation- Africa