Capacity to sustain a CBT operation and leave a positive legacy is likely to involve compromises to meet multiple objectives

Partners, donors and communities want assurances that their CBT venture will produce lasting benefits and activities that will be sustained well beyond external support may cease. Operational and financial self-sufficiency as a goal is made achievable through mechanisms and processes that focus on building the communities’ capacity to deliver CBT and leave a positive legacy.

Some examples of positive legacy include:
• providing a means to invigorate the supply and demand chain within a local area well beyond a hosting community e.g. creating links between agriculture and tourism
• facilitating trade in locally sourced produce and goods such as fresh food and non food products, accommodation materials and labor, food services, gifts and handicrafts
• designing for environmental and cultural sustainability from the outset.

CBT ventures that are sustained are those, which are perceived by the community to not impinge too greatly on the communities’ quality of life. Striking the right balance is important during the CBT planning and review stages. When changes occur too rapidly they can cause undesirable impacts e.g. changes in social values, degradation of the environment, rifts in community fabric and cohesion, or a sharp increase in the price of commodities and basic services. Potential issues and risks like these should be identified in advance, managed and avoided through good policy and practice that foresee and plan how communities will work together to deal with and avoid these challenges well before they occur.

Risk management
Foresee risks and plan to mitigate them. Potential issues and risks should be identified in advance, managed and avoided through good management plans and structures that set out how communities will work together to deal with and avoid them before they happen.

Design for sustainability
Community sustainability goals and objectives developed in the planning and visioning phase are likely to be broad and extend far beyond financial sustainability to a focus on the social and environmental dimensions of sustainability. Action should be taken, both at the planning and development phases and to start designing for sustainability. Design attention needs to be given to reducing the consumption of water and energy reducing waste and avoiding pollution with a principle of minimal harm. Low energy technologies appropriate to the location need to be considered where possible. The use of environmentally friendly transport needs to be positively positioned, both in the access planning of CBT and in the marketing information supplied to visitors. In some communities, useful income can be earned through, for example, the supply of thatching and traditional styles of building. In many contexts, the use of existing buildings rather than engaging in a new development can be a preferable option. It is important to note that designing for sustainability needs to be supported by sustainable actions and behavior by all staff and visitors to meet the goals of sustainable tourism. There are several tourism certifications that give recognition to good practices in managing the environment and sustainability issues.

Design for marketability
To ensure that a legacy is possible the CBT product needs to be continuously attractive to visitors.

Ownership and legacy
Strong institutional linkages to local, regional government and non-governmental organizations can be integral to support the community’s capacity to deliver and sustain. In this way, communities can be empowered and achieve their vision for CBT without becoming the ‘legal owners’ of the entire CBT venture.

Communities need to consider reinvestment of a portion of income to maintain the business and protect their CBT asset or the tourism product on offer to visitors (e.g. conservation of environmental or cultural heritage), thereby reducing the need for any external funding. To be able to reinvest, the community must be able to deliver a desirable product to the tourism market.


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