Implementing CBT at a pace and level that is within the comfort zone of the community is important because communities are never entirely market ready from the moment they open their doors to visitors. Many CBT lessons cannot be taught through training and are best learned on the job through delivery. Building local capacity in simple and measured ways develops the skills of local people and increases their sense of ownership for CBT. This enables them to gradually adapt to having a CBT venture into their lives and better cope with, control and drive further expansion in the future. CBT stakeholders contributing to this manual advised that taking the approach of starting small and then expanding CBT product and business as community experience deepens, ensures that a consistent quality of service can be delivered. In many cases, CBT stakeholders report this has also resulted in a competitive advantage for their CBT business.
It’s important to pace expansion with visitor carry capacity, local skill development and the CBT vision to ensure expansion is aligned with the community goals.
Build and maintain momentum
All staff should be aware of and have a stake in, realizing the objectives and vision set out in the CBT plan. Through building and maintaining momentum toward these it is important for staff performance to celebrate small ‘wins’ (e.g. a celebration to mark the opening of a visitor’s lodge, via gathering media attention around an event such as the ‘100th tourist’ prize). Through celebrating small ‘wins’, staff and the entire community can periodically take stock of what has been achieved rather than what needs to be achieved. Such events can also provide a valuable marketing opportunity.
Equitable skill benefits from tourism
Mechanisms such as rotation of roles in CBT delivery will help to increase the breadth of skills individual community members have and will serve to evenly and equitably distribute the skill based benefits of tourism employment within a community.
Consistent service from ‘front’ and ‘back of house’
When starting out, CBT service can be inconsistent and haphazard at times. All steps should be taken to swiftly address any issues and skill gaps. A visitor’s experience of CBT will reflect the service provided to them by front line staff, however, strong people management skills are required by ‘back of house’ and owners, managers and supervisors to ensure the whole CBT experience for visitors is positive.
Foresee staff shortages in rural communities
Many rural communities embark on CBT because they have a decreasing population and or changing demographic structure (such as youth migrating to urban centers). This may result in a shortage of people in the potential labor pool for CBT ventures; however, CBT can also be a strategy to address and reverse these trends.
Challenges specific to rural communities
Lack of infrastructure (e.g. unreliable phone reception and Internet for making bookings) can affect rural communities at the outset of a CBT venture and time is required to make necessary adjustments to the day-to-day CBT operation to address such issues (e.g. ensuring a staff member travels to town bi-weekly to obtain bookings).