Tourism is a major driver of change and can lead to both positive and less desirable outcomes for communities. Careful planning, awareness, and education are required to balance the opportunities in a way that enhances positive outcomes and minimizes the potential for harm.
From the outset communities can be unfamiliar with all the concepts of tourism; what the tourism industry involves and who tourism stakeholders are. As such, communities need to be assisted to understand the mechanisms of tourism as well as the potential impacts before deciding to initiate a tourism operation
Assessment of attitudes and perceptions toward tourism
From the outset, it is important that the community is encouraged to share their attitudes toward CBT and expectations of CBT with each other and with other stakeholders. This initial step needs to be undertaken through open collaborative discussion in a non-threatening atmosphere inclusive of all members of the community (women and men, young and old).
Supporting the community through neutrality
The community needs to feel that they own, are involved, and are involved in driving the CBT assessment process. While the focus is on the community, outside facilitators may be useful in maintaining a neutral position and ensuring that all community members are aware of the impacts of tourism.
Learning by example
Understanding the impacts of tourism can be facilitated through the exchange of ‘look and learn’ visits between communities considering CBT and other communities that have established CBT operations. This exchange may help communities decide whether to develop CBT and understand what kind of tourism challenges and opportunities are involved.