Benefits and complications of Community Based Tourism

Children in a community. Destination: Unknown

Community based tourism is seen as a saviour in terms of a future where tourism is deemed sustainable. CBT, in theoretical terms, brings tourism to the local residents, communities and cultural way of life, rather than experiencing the more gentrified aspect of tourism through all inclusive resorts and capital cities as such. Along with every controversial aspect in tourism, there are pros and cons surrounding each of them, but in regards to Community Based Tourism, there are certainly more positive aspects if the procedures are carried out correctly.

The ideal goal of implementing CBT among rural and indigenous populations is to reduce poverty and increase economic status within the area. The proposed process of CBT is to first market and promote the area thus raising the appeal element to the inbound tourists. Tourists will hopefully take an interest in these deemed ‘unusual’ or even ‘fresh’ areas and proceed to visiting.

Most likely, the tourists will spend their money which will go directly into the community without any external payments such as transportation and manufacturing costs, therefor having a direct impact on the community. Once this process reaches a continual state of growth and/or occurrence, the development of CBT would increase the number of facilities, roads, parks, and recreational and cultural attractions (Brunt & Courtney, 2011). Fundamentally, jobs will be created for the local people within the area and a self-sustaining social-economic environment has been generated.

So, as the tourism increases and tourists visit regularly, local residents begin to provide facilities and services in the involvement stage. In the development stage, local cultural and natural resources are well-developed, and more sophisticated facilities and services are provided by outsiders (Butler, 1980).

However, complications can arise if a DMO (Destination Management Organisation) isn’t implemented. When a destination is of course, in the development process, it is natural for the destination to experience influxes of tourists and even the general public of said area. A higher demand in living costs is probable due to the demand of short stay vacationers  (Lee & Back, 2006). In addition, with the possibility of gentrification (which is the opposite purpose of CBT) it is highly feasible that commercialisation could occur, subsequently leading to low skilled and low paying employment (Davidson & Sahli, 2015).

Community Based Tourism may hold the key to a cleaner and more sustainable way of tourism, however, it is easier said than done in regard to protecting the local residents and socio-environmental factors.

Credit: William WandThe Figure Head

Author: The Figure Head

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