Getting more Jamaicans profitably involved in tourism
Community-based development is a strategy used by tourism planners to mobilize communities into action to participate in broadening the scope of offerings in the industry. The goal is socio-economic empowerment and a value-added experience for local and foreign visitors.This process opens new niches for destination Jamaica, most notably for the nature, culture, and adventure traveler.
Tourism-based development has now been formalized as a developmental tool for building not only the tourism industry, but the entire country, by opening up communities as attractions with definable modus operanda with achievable goals. The process is guided by industry standards of health, safety and regard for the environment.What this achieves is a policy objective of creating a culture of inclusion in the industry, whereby communities participate and share in the wealth of the industry, dispelling a long held perception of tourism as an exploiter of wealth where only the rich can benefit.
The concept existed in Jamaica for many years at an informal level, where visitors sought a ‘home away from home’ with Jamaican families - participating in, and learning about the Jamaican way of life while experiencing warm Jamaican hospitality.This fostered greater interactivity, built cross cultural bonds, respect and understanding, and gave authenticity to Jamaican lifestyles, while creating a source of income for the host families.
|TPDCo encourages entrepreneurs to reap the benifits of the tourism industry. |
|Community tourism is about developing tourism attractions around beauty spots such as this.|
Community-based development empowers people to be more aware of the value of their community assets - their culture, heritage, cuisine and lifestyle. It mobilizes them to convert these into income generating projects while offering a more diverse and worthwhile experience to visitors. Every citizen is a potential business partner to be trained in small business management, environmental awareness, product development and marketing.This type of ‘people-centred’ tourism promotes a sense of ‘ownership’ which augurs well for the industry’s sustainability.
The Tourism Product Development Company has been actively involved in formulating, implementing and acting as a catalyst for community-based development and offers this guide for project development and implementation.