Community Tourism

Community tourism is a type of tourism whose objective is to involve and benefit local communities, especially aboriginal people in the Third and Fourth World. For example, villagers host tourists in their village, managing the operation communally and sharing the revenue. There are different forms of community tourism, including some in which the community works together with a commercial tour operator, but in the end the locals should get a fair share of the profits and have a say as to how tourism is managed.

In general, a few guidelines should should be instated when it comes to community tourism. First of all, it should be run with the participation and consent of local communities, give a fair share of benefits back to the community, involve the entire community as opposed to single individuals, be environmentally sustainable, respect traditional customs and social structures, help communities cope with the impact of western tourism, work with small groups to keep the cultural and environmental impact at a minimum, educate tourists on proper behaviour in advance, not make local people perform inappropriate ceremonies, and last but not least, if a community does not want tourism to begin with, respect their decision.

The Dark Continent has always been a favorite destination for tourists, due to its many natural attractions. However, tourism can also provide a means of interacting with the people, and not just with nature. For example, the Bulungula Lodge in the Eastern Cape is a platform for outsiders to gain access to one of the poorest communities in South Africa. This lodge is located in one of the most remote beaches in the country. The best part of this type of tourism in Africa is the fact that visitors can do a lot more than just sightseeing, and actually help a community in need. Visitors can spend their time making bricks, stamping corn, brewing beer or catching crayfish. They may also share their knowledge in their area of expertise with the community. In this manner, tourists can learn from as well as teach the community.

Community tourism in Africa can also involve visiting different tribes and communities in the continent. This helps people to understand the daily life of the natives. It also includes visits to National Parks and Reserves in Africa and the opportunity to become privy to the co-existence of human beings and wildlife. An example of this scenario is the Masai tribe of East Africa co-habitating with wildlife inside National Parks and Reserves. East Africa comprises the states of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania with the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba islands, and is a melting pot of community, culture and tribes. Each communities with its tribes has its very own particular culture and traditions. Community tourism has become a way to take from but also give back to Africa, an experience that will leave an indelible mark in both the African communities and the tourists, even after they leave.