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Community Based Tourism

​​​​​Community based tourism

Community based tourism is tourism in which local residents (often rural, poor and economically marginalised) invite tourists to visit their communities with the provision of overnight accommodation. The residents earn income as land managers, entrepreneurs, service and produce providers, and employees

The National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS) has identified that the growth of the tourism industry has not yielded genuine benefits for rural communities even though they could benefit from participating in the tourism industry.

Some tourism investors and operators have taken advantage of the natural and cultural resources, which belong to communities, without any benefits accruing to the communities themselves.

This is caused by low levels of awareness and limited skills in the communities. This results in communities becoming reluctant to consider tourism and in turn the private sector also has reservations about community involvement in tourism projects. The situation has led to a lack of progress in delivering tourism benefits to communities.

The NTSS recommends the development and implementation of a comprehensive community beneficiation framework. It also speaks to the improvement of local government's capacity for understating community based tourism issues and opportunities to provide realistic assistance to communities to maximise potential tourism opportunities.

To support this recommendation, the National Department of Tourism developed the Operational Guidelines for Community Based Tourism.

The main purpose of these guidelines is to create understanding of community based tourism.

Objectives of the Guidelines:

  • To offer basic guidance on how to establish and operate commercially viable community based tourism ventures in South Africa, in both urban and rural areas; and
  • To act as a reference of good practises and understanding of common challenges within community based tourism.