Sustainable Tourism is a term often bandied around these days. As the world’s number one industry, tourism is very profitable. But too often not much of the money spent by tourists is seen in the destinations where they go. Much is kept by travel agents, by owners of hotels who are not locals, or outsiders like guides from elsewhere, who do not contribute to the local economy. Too often, local people see little of the tourist dollars when visitors come unless the form of tourism bringing them is managed ‘sustainably’.
Sustainable tourism not only provides socio-economic benefits for the communities living in tourist destinations, but it also is beneficial in conserving cultural heritage, protecting the environment and creating authentic tourist experiences. It is all about bringing tourists and local communities together for mutual benefit.
When more tourist dollars go directly into the pockets of people in the destination’s local community, they in turn spend most or all of it in their local economies. As more money circulates in the community, this encourages new businesses, creates jobs and reduces poverty. It strengthens communities.
Tourism offers opportunities to people from all walks of life: minorities, youth and women. It particularly benefits smaller communities that have fewer alternative means of income.
Community Homestays Nepal is working closely with the communities of Nepal, to give the opportunity to share their culture and authenticity with the world while providing access to a sustainable source of income through tourism.
Where women are offering accommodation or selling souvenirs and earning money, invariably they spend it on their families, providing better education for their children and better healthcare. And more jobs means less people abandoning their villages for job opportunities in the cities or even abroad.
Koseli, a community driven project initiated by Community Homestay Network to promote and standaralized locally produced goods.
On Picture- Ghee by Nagarkot Community Homestay Network
Sustainable tourism can lead to the creation of natural parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty. By raising awareness in local communities of environmental concerns, this encourages them to protect the environment and wildlife. It can often reduce the numbers of animals poached or traded illegally. It can have beneficial impacts like improved water quality and increased funding for nature conservation and protection.
Royal Mountain Travel operating Eco-friendly Toursim- Electric Vechile for transport Fleet to help promote green tourism and reponsible in Nepal
Tourism often helps to protect and finance the conservation of historic and cultural sites. By promoting heritage and traditions, this instils pride by local communities in preserving their culture.
Tourism often can help preserve things like the handicraft industry, leading to the rebirth of crafts, architectural traditions and ancestral activities. The commercialization of art and culture can be an important drive to prevent the loss of these ancient skills.
See how Royal Mountain Travel has been promoting sustainable tourism development. See their see Impact Report 2020-2021.
Tourism is a driver for peace and encourages tolerance between people as they learn and better understand each other’s cultures. Interacting with people from various cultures and linguistic backgrounds can encourage the expansion of literacy and education among local people. Children often help their parents learn some English. Often extra cash is invested in children’s education and better healthcare is more affordable. Poverty is reduced.
However, for tourism to be sustainable and provide benefits to local communities, negative impacts as well as positive ones must be understood. Communities hosting guests need to be aware of how important their lifestyle, environment, culture and traditions are to visitors. But tourists also need to be aware of how to behave. They need to respect local values and customs. They need to understand how their different cultures could risk disturbing the local people’s ways of thinking and the problems that might arise if locals copy the outsiders’ behavior and attitude.
Local people of Barauli Community engaging in handicrafts creating a job oppurtunity for locals
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