The regions where CEN works offer tremendous natural beauty. The communities are rich with local knowledge and a strong appreciation of natural and cultural heritage. Tourism offers economic opportunity, generating a continuous flow of investment and visitors and contributing to overall regional development. Practiced carefully, responsible tourism can also help the communities preserve their culture and environment.
With community-based tourism, residents from the local community have a significant involvement in developing and executing tourism plans. They develop ecotourism based on the needs of their communities and in accordance with their cultural beliefs and consideration of natural resources. An equitable portion of generated income stays within the community. Local management tends to be more positive because residents have a vested interest in the well-being of their community, and they are therefore more accountable to environmental protection. The smaller scale of community-based tourism operations can also be marketed to a different kind of tourist than large-scale packages. Hence, the development of facilities and infrastructure does not need to conform to corporate Western tourism standards and can be much simpler and less expensive to produce.
Though community-based ecotourism can generate new revenue for the community, it is not a cure-all. All projects must be a part of a wider, integrated development approach in order to responsibly create ecotourism opportunities that produce sustainable income for the community. Read more about community-based tourism