About this course
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.
The SRU Community based tourism minor enables students 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.
The Community-based tourism affords students the rare opportunities to experience local communities first hand. Its distinctive in that it provides an alternative to development thats 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. Students 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 dont 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. 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.