Community-Based Tourism (CBT)
Out of many concepts under the umbrella concept of sustainable tourism, there is a community-focused way of practising tourism, called community-based tourism. In community-based tourism, the tourism business or any initiative exists for the immediate benefit of the communities. The ideology of community-based tourism is to use tourism as a tool to find a solution to existing issues of communities.
As per tourism scholar Murphy, tourism operators sell destination experiences, not just tourism products. Therefore, the host community’s perceptions of tourism and will to participate in it are highly important. A collaborative approach is a key to successful community-based tourism as well as long term benefits to all the stakeholders.
There are a number of ways CBT initiatives have come up with for the betterment of the communities. These initiatives work for any cause that is the need of the community. Women empowerment, child education, health and hygiene, saving local resources, and many such are the issues for which tourism works as an effective solution. Out of many, developing community-led and run homestays is a CBT model.
When tourism destination is in its developing phase, the developers focus on building the best possible infrastructure so that it catches the attention of maximum travelers and establishes as a well-facilitated destination. Standard service of hotels and resorts have been comfortable options for travelers. But to involve the local community in a more active manner, there is an option of using local homes as an asset to develop unique tourism experience. Staying in a homestay brings tourists and community more close and opens opportunity to share their knowledge, lifestyle, and know about each other’s culture.
Value to tourism
Each destination has a different culture, tradition, food culture and many diverse experiences to offer. These are the valuable experiences travelers seek for when they travel to different destinations. Setting up homestays by training locals to cherish their culture and present it to their guests while offering a comfortable stay is an enriching experience for tourists. These experiences are the ones tourists go back with and share with friends and family. This drives to form a unique image and positive image of the destinations.