Appropriate engagement with the private sector can benefit CBT. Realistically, the community may not have all the resources and skills necessary to run an effective CBT venture. It makes sense to work with private sector and private operators when they are able to ‘fill a skills gap’ or offer services in a cost effective way. Private sector partners can provide capital, business and marketing skills and a client base to complement community assets including land, labor and local knowledge. Private firms can be particularly helpful during the early phases of a CBT initiative.
Be clear about the relationship between community managers and private firms
Clear contractual arrangements and taking time to develop a shared understanding of the type and level of service expected will help to ensure the relationship is satisfactory for both parties. This can include discussing with private firms the objectives and philosophy underpinning a CBT venture and ensuring both parties have a shared understanding of values and corresponding modes of operating. For example, if the community is hoping to promote conservation through their tourism venture, it is important that any private sector partners commit to respecting this goal and working in a way that will promote, rather than compromise, this objective.
Partnerships between communities and the private sector are likely to offer greater security for community managers than short term funds or donations from philanthropic and development agencies.
Private sector agencies are often better placed than community managers to undertake market research
This is best undertaken prior to initiating CBT, to ensure there is a market for the proposed tourism experience.
Working with commercial companies to promote the destination
This is particularly important for a small CBT initiative and is likely to improve the chances of CBT being sustained over the longer term.
Consider opportunities to support local business
Support for local businesses can be facilitated by either appointing a local firm directly or encouraging the private partner to provide contracts and purchase goods from local suppliers.