Building positive relationships to develop a strong foundation for CBT

Partnerships and other forms of networks can provide critical support for CBT initiatives. A CBT venture that is well-networked will be more successful and resilient than one that is internally focused and solely reliant upon CBT managers to build and sustain the CBT venture. Relationships between community tourism managers and external organizations/individuals can be invaluable for many aspects of tourism management from product development to marketing, resourcing and the development of knowledge and capacity to ensure the delivery of a quality CBT experience to visitors. Support can come in many forms, including financial assistance, training in tourism service delivery, networking community managers with other local providers and assistance with marketing.

Identify potential stakeholder relationships
This can be achieved by undertaking a ‘stakeholder mapping’ exercise. Stakeholder mapping can take many forms and be as simple or as detailed as is useful. Typically, at a minimum, this process should involve identifying the name, location, contact details and particular interest in or relevance for the CBT initiative. Stakeholders can also be assessed in relation to their power and capacity to influence. Stakeholders outside the community will typically be from one of three groups: private sector operators, public sector and not-for-profit organizations. Figure 3 identifies types of external CBT stakeholders within these categories. Identifying which of these groups each external stakeholder belongs to is important for understanding both their likely expertise and motivations for playing a role in CBT.

Identify potential relationships between CBT managers and different stakeholders. 
Once the stakeholders have been identified and their potential skills and interest in CBT have been assessed, it will be important to identify aspects of the CBT operation that might benefit from building links with different stakeholders. Think about areas where the community might benefit from external input or collaboration and which of the identified stakeholders might be able to play a role in supporting the CBT initiative.

Build on the strength of existing relationships and initiate new relationships where appropriate
Build on these relationships first, as relationships that already have trust and shared experiences and views will likely be the easiest to nurture and sustain.

Sustain relationships by managing them and letting them change over time
Nominating a particular CBT manager as the main point of contact for each external stakeholder can help to maintain clear communication between groups. It is also important to adapt relationships according to the interests and needs of each party. Stakeholders will change over time and some may not be involved in the CBT in an ongoing way. A critical aspect of effective CBT is being open to changes in stakeholders and adapting as required including initiating new relationships to both fill gaps and open up new opportunities.

Community members are central stakeholders in any CBT operation
This includes those directly involved in initiating and managing the venture, as well as those playing a less active role but still affected by tourism. Recognizing that community members are the central stakeholders and building on the strength of relationships both within the community and with outside groups provides an excellent foundation for CBT.

Relationships develop over time and must be managed
They can be risky and at times laborious to manage. Persistence is required to reap the rewards of effective stakeholder management. Many international donors support CBT ventures as part of Official Development Assistance. Donors can be a source of grant funds (though this is often short term) or can play a role in capacity building or information sharing programs. Examples of donors that have supported CBT include the European Union (EU), the United Kingdom Department of International Development (DFID), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Canada International Development Agency (CIDA), the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.




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