Features

Blueprint for new tourism: A partnership model

26 July 2011
ITC News

 

In its blueprint for new tourism, the World Travel & Tourism Council promotes the importance of partnerships for sustainable tourism development. 

With global travel and tourism forecast to grow at a rate of 4% per year over the next 10 years it is not surprising that governments in many least developed countries (LDCs) have identified tourism as a strategic priority for growing their economies. The question is, however, how to ensure that the benefits of travel and tourism filter down through all levels of the economy so that people can build sustainable livelihoods?

At a macro level, it is important that govern­ments recognize that a successful tourism industry relies on private enterprise, and re­flect this in their policy-making. At ground level, however, a thriving tourism industry that has real benefits to local communities depends on successful businesses – many of which are small- and medium-sized enterprises – prov­iding employment and stimulating the local supply chain.

But it should not be a question of ‘them and us’. The best examples of successful tourism development are where government, local auth­orities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and local businesses work actively in partnership together.

In its 2003 Blueprint for New Tourism, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) set out a vision for travel and tourism that looks beyond short-term considerations, focusing on benefits not only for those who travel, but for people in the communities they visit, and for their respective natural, social and cultural environments. It recognizes that the long-term success of tourism is directly linked to the positive involvement of local communities in destinations. The Blueprint promotes travel and tourism as a partnership, fusing the efforts of both the public and private sectors, delivering results that match the needs of economies, local and regional authorities and local communities with those of business, based on:

1. Governments recognizing travel and tourism as a top priority;

2. Business balancing economics with people, culture and environment; and

3. A shared pursuit of long-term growth and prosperity.

In this context the opportunities for small businesses in developing countries are significant. They tend to be driven by local entrepreneurs and respond to localized demand. They are close to the communities and environments that benefit from tourism. And importantly, they can respond directly to growing consumer demand for authenticity. But they too need to realize the importance of working in collaboration with each other and with local government and third-sector agencies. Strong networks of businesses – accommodation providers, food and drink providers, handicraft sellers, visitor attractions, land managers – all working to a common goal – will offer a better quality experience, and ultimately a more sustainable product.  

For more information visit: www.wttc.org/eng/About_WTTC/Blueprint_for_New_Tourism/

 Case study: Budongo Ecotourism Development Project in Uganda 

 

In northwestern Uganda, the Budongo Ecotourism Development Project has demonstrated the kind of successful public-private partnership that could well be replicated in other LDCs. Recently shortlisted for WTTC’s Tourism for Tomorrow Awards (www.tourismfortomorrow.com), this ecolodge in the heart of the forest reserve is successfully managing to integrate conservation, community development and tourism with tangible benefits to the area in which it sits.

The tourism operation provides an excellent experience that attracts visitors year after year and is financially viable, which in turn ensures that the conservation principles upon which it is founded are being achieved. At the same time, members of the local community generate the income necessary to survive, either by working directly for the lodge as guides, chefs or housekeepers, as farmers providing food and other supplies, or as part of a co‑operatives providing services such as laundry.

At the heart of this success is the partnership between an NGO (the Jane Goodall Institute, which oversees the conservation efforts), a private company (Great Lakes Safari, which manages the lodge), and the government (through the National Park Authority), which leverages the expertise and responsibilities of each organization.