Visit places you won’t find on Google and have a positive impact on local communities.
Community-based tourism (CBT) not only gives you a real insight into local lives, but also ensures your travel experience makes a genuine difference to local people. CBT experiences vary greatly depending on the country you visit and needs of the local people, meaning every experience is unique. But, what these experiences do have in common is that they are entirely community-owned and managed – meaning your stay won’t just benefit one family, but the community as a whole.
At Intrepid, we actively work with communities and a range of local partners to support the development of new CBT experiences in destinations that otherwise wouldn’t see the benefits of tourism. Then, when we visit the communities on our itineraries, our travellers have the opportunity to connect with the local people and make a positive impact.
What is community-based tourism?
Community-based tourism (CBT) ensures that local communities have full ownership and management of the tourism experience, so that the economic benefits of tourism stay within their community. CBT is designed to give travellers an authentic taste of a local community’s heritage, their cultural practices and natural resources, and in this way offers an immersive and rich travel experience.
Benefits of community-based tourism
CBT provides employment opportunities, revenue generation, local procurement of goods and service and limits the funds that leave the community. It also helps diversify the economic activities beyond farming, which reduces risk in years when climate change produces low or no yield.
Within a CBT, there is a distribution of benefits to all households. For example, though not all families will host homestays some may act as guides or provide meals. Even those not directly involved benefit from the agreed use of the community fund.
CBT provides people with skills-training, opportunities for community infrastructure development (power, roads, sanitation, water) and health benefits (water and waste management education). It also promotes a more equitable community structure and the association with foreign travellers helps raise confidence and pride among the people.
Conservation of the environment, awareness and wildlife protection are all great benefits of CBT.
One of the greatest outcomes is the empowerment of women in the community, as they are often largely responsible for the management and generation of the experience and therefore income.
Preservation of culture
Often CBT prevents young people in communities leaving for larger cities, by providing employment opportunities for them locally.
Case study: Madi Valley, Nepal
The wild animals that live in Nepal’s Chitwan National Park cause huge issues for the surrounding villages like Shivadwar Village, a community in Madi Valley. Local farmers are reliant on their crops for food and income and animals wandering in from the nearby park can cause huge amounts of damage.
In 2015, Shivadwar Village reached out to Nepal’s World Wildlife Fund (WWF-Nepal) for help. Two years later, WWF-Nepal teamed up with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trading (DFAT) to apply for funding through their Business Partnership Platform (BPP).
And, that’s where Intrepid stepped in: to develop a new community-based tourism project (CBT) in Shivadwar that would create jobs, generate income for families, and empower the locals, particularly women, economically, socially and personally.With funding, the community started with upgrading their existing homestays and build some new ones. Around 13 of the 34 households in the village are now operating guesthouses, with more planned. Intrepid visits Madi Valley on a selection of our Nepal itineraries, to bring in international travellers and income.