What is Community Tourism?
Community Based Tourism is a form of sustainable tourism that allows visitors to connect closely with the communities they visit. This emerging form of travel gives tourists authentic experiences, while allowing revenue generated by tourism to remain in the often rural, poor, or economically marginalized community. These communities run these tourism enterprises that provide services such as village tours, nature walks, performances, and meals on their own initiatives. Community ecotourism is a particular facet of community based tourism, where at least some of the experiences are natural resourced-based. Community ecotourism benefits both environmental conservation and local communities, the former generating financing for the management of the natural resource area.
Community tourism not only encourages cross-cultural understanding between host and visitor but also embraces the bottom line of environmental protection, cultural conservation, social responsibility, economic health, and the enhancement of livelihoods. Because communities are the owners of these tourism enterprises, they have the incentive to establish standards for international tourists and invest in a quality tourism product. As such, Community Tourism has been promoted as a means of development where the social, economic, and environmental needs of local communities are met through the offering of a tourism product. Visit a community tourism destination!
Benefits of community based tourism:
- Brings recognition and attention to the community
- Adds value to a community’s economy
- Diversifies economic activity in a community
- Provides an alternative to unsustainable forms of income such as poaching or logging, thus helping safeguard the livelihoods and well being of both locals and indigenous peoples
- Natural resource-based conservation, where the main product is wildlife or natural-resource realted
- Cultural conservation
- Tourism income is more likely to remain in the community
- Encourages community pride and protection of community resources
- Involves and encourages the participation of women
- Receives an authentic experience and learns first-hand about the community from a local guide
- Has an opportunity to create a deeper connection to the destination
- Knows exactly where the money will go and can feel good about it
- In the case of ecotourism, achieves a win-win benefits for supporting natural heritage conservation
- Gets a unique look at a particular destination
- Receives personal tour, individualized service, and attention
Please note that Roots of Ethiopia is an umbrella brand that markets community based tourism destinations and enterprises in Ethiopia. It is not a formal tour operator and does not organize tours to Ethiopia.