Promotion of Community-Based Tourism

A lot is said about sustainable community-based tourism – SCBT or CBT, but do you really know its characteristics ? What defines it? This is what we will be discussing here, in another episode of our “What we do at Raizes” series.

By definition, sustainable community-based tourism prioritizes those who already live in the territory. That is, before being good for tourists, the destination needs to be good for those who live in it.  

In addition to prioritization, there is the matter of being the leading player. The main goal of sustainable community-based tourism is to think about and engage in tourism not only within, but also with the community. Thus, it can be an instrument of continuation and resistance from the local population on their own terms.

The purpose of Community-based Sustainable Tourism

It is quite common for companies, when investing in a local business, to think that they are investing in sustainable community-based tourism by hiring a producer from the region, but it doesn’t work that way. For SCBT to exist, this producer must be truly involved in that small business, and the community must individually or collectively own it.

There may and indeed there should be external partners, especially in marketing, but it is important to observe the degree of community autonomy in choices and decision-making.

In other words, in community-based sustainable tourism, the community must be the leader of that initiative, so that the activity contributes toward its existence and the conservation of the territory,  without causing it to lose its essence, culture and identity.

Raízes believes in this type of tourism because it is a true sustainable development form, with the potential to generate solutions and income in the medium term.

In this sense, we have encouraged SCBT as a private social investment target,  since it also potentially  improves the company’s relationship with the territory.

Sustainable Community-based Tourism in the Jequitinhonha Valley-MG

One of our strongest  examples of sustainable community-based tourism is the project we developed in the Jequitinhonha Valley in Minas Gerais, which covered three rural communities in the municipalities  of Minas Novas and Turmalina.

Launched in 2011, up until when Raízes transferred its travel operation to Vivejar in  2016. In addition to the co-created and community-formatted script (From Barro to Art, or “Clay to Art”), the legacies of the project can be seen in the actions of voluntary tourists (e.g. the creation of a community library, painting of walls with earth/soil paint), 09 families directly involved, R$ 60,000 in direct income from tourism. and about R$ 100,000 in handicraft sales to the 92 visitors fostered within the period.

Thus, sustainable tourism values local culture and generates a   complementary income that is not extractive, that is, it does not compete with the preservation of the environment. It also reveals knowledge that cannot  be replaced, and strengthens the natural  identity and assets of communities.

Raízes believes that community-based tourism should be seen as both a public as well as a social policy, with private investment by companies, thus being an interesting and sustainable solution for the territories.

Here at Raízes Sustainable Development, we foster sustainable community-based tourism so that it inspires and multiplies transformation in the territories. If you want to know more about our ideals and projects, please contact us!

Do you identify with our purpose and believe that our services can help you and your organization achieve the impact you crave?

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