Written by 8:32 am Travel

#BTColumn – Village tourism within the Caribbean

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the writer(s) don’t represent the official position of Barbados TODAY.

 by Basil Springer

“Behold, how good and the way nice it’s for brethren to dwell together in unity!” – Psalm 133:1

One among the enjoyable experiences in writing my weekly column is the feedback from readers which results in content for one more column. Last week was no exception.

“Thanks, Basil, for this great article on community tourism and hope you’ll do one other one on the importance of the Villages as Businesses (VAB programme for sustainable development of communities for Jamaica and the world and which (is) now supported by the Diaspora as Community Economic Tourism,” responded Diana McIntyre-Pike, President/Founder at Countrystyle Community Tourism Network/Villages as Businesses.

Goal number 16 of the 17 United Nations Millennium Sustainable Development Goals is devoted to the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development.

Rotary International (RI) is a number one international service organisation which brings together business, skilled and community leaders to advertise – amongst many other values – peace on this planet.

February 2022 is Peace & Conflict Resolution month within the RI calendar. Tourism, by definition, brings people together. Community tourism cements relationships on the grassroots level and establishes a foundation on which to construct unity and sustainable tourism.

It was reported within the media last week that “the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) is supporting communities as they prepare to welcome visitors back (after COVID-19) and realise the potential of tourism to kickstart recovery and drive sustainable and inclusive growth.”

“As restrictions on travel proceed to be steadily eased or lifted, UNWTO is shifting its focus from supporting its members as they mitigate the impacts of the historic crisis to rethinking tourism’s longer-term role in constructing resilience and providing opportunity,” the report read.

UNWTO promotes communities because the centrepiece of tourism’s future.

In January 2015, McIntyre-Pike penned an article on the target and purpose of the Countrystyle Community Tourism Village programme, which rests in the basic vision of Countrystyle to empower and develop communities, on a sustainable basis; dynamically marketing and exposing their natural culture, talents, passions and potential to the world; and packaging each individual community as a singular destination (product) inside their general destination.

In September 2020, former St. Lucia Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, himself a proponent and visionary of village tourism, lauded the village tourism project in Anse la Raye as an initiative focused on driving community tourism, while encouraging tourists to immerse themselves within the wealthy history and culture of the destination.

The target is to create new employment opportunities for local St. Lucian entrepreneurs and existing businesses owners in rural communities. Village Tourism provides an authentic experience, while integrating tourists into the material of the local economy.

This project was supported by the Government of St. Lucia and the Caribbean Development Fund towards the event of quality community infrastructure which can see the upgrading of the tourism services provided by the local village community.

Listed below are seven systematic generic steps to expedite Village Tourism projects and propel them on the journey to sustainable success:

(1) Recruit a shepherd (life coach and business mentor) – guidance;

(2) Establish the worth proposition – what you promise to deliver to your clients;

(3) Define governance systems – sound foundation;

(4) Foster partnerships with government, UNWTO, funding organisations, Rotary clubs and the private sector – financial security;

(5) Recruit marketing and PR expertise – brand image enhancement and revenue generation;

(6) Hire leadership and management personnel – high productivity, cost containment, profitability; and

(7) Embrace workforce development – sustainability.

Allow us to make the most of this chance to determine unity and peace amongst our people, across our villages, and your complete world.

Basil Springer GCM is a Change-Engine Consultant. His email address is [email protected] His columns could also be found at www.nothingbeatsbusiness.com.

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