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Tourism in Kullu Valley
Problems and Prospects of Sustainability -
Community Tourism

 
by Ben Heron
benheron@ecosse.net

Community-based tourism is perhaps a more sustainable approach than eco-tourism, for it specifically "involves and benefits local communities". If community tourism is designed and operated properly, it can act as a mutually beneficial exchange in which the hosts, the guests and the natural environment benefit from their encounter.

The following guidelines are the "ten principles for community tourism" set out by Mark Mann for Tourism Concern, the UK's leading ethical tourism organization.

Ten Principles for Community Tourism

  1. Community tourism should involve local people. That means they should participate in decision-making and ownership, not just be paid a fee
  2. The local community should receive a fair share of the profits from any tourism venture.
  3. Tour operators should try to work with communities rather than individuals. Working with individuals can create divisions within a community. Where communities have representative organization these should be consulted and their decisions respected
  4. Tourism should be environmentally sustainable. Local people must benefit and be consulted if conservation projects are to work. Tourism should not put extra pressure on scarce resources.
  5. Tourism should support traditional cultures by showing respect for indigenous knowledge. Tourism can encourage people to value their own cultural heritage.
  6. Operators should work with local people to minimize the harmful impacts of tourism.
  7. Where appropriate, tour operators should keep groups small to minimize their cultural and environmental impact.
  8. Tour operators or guides should brief tourists on what to expect and on appropriate behavior before they arrive in a community. That should include how to dress, taking photos, respecting privacy.
  9. Local people should be allowed to participate in tourism with dignity and self-respect. They should not be coerced into performing inappropriate ceremonies for tourists, etc.
  10. People should have the right to say no to tourism; Communities who reject tourism should be left alone.

Source: The Community Tourism Guide

 
 

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